EQ: Manley or Avalon, et al?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by beardb, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. beardb

    beardb Guest

    It's great to find such an informative forum, and also people still willing to give advice.....(or maybe it's all advice to mislead the "masterworld sheep" who must be kept glued to their L2 Relgion of thinness, mud and mediocrity - all in order to save the world from the everyman producer)......Sorry, excuse that. The question, or my predicament, is:

    I'm using native Protools/Waves Platinum/Bias Peak setup in order to 'Do it All' in the production of an album. I'm at the Mastering stage, and find that my midranges, around the tenor vox area, drive me nuts. Where there should be roundness and warmth there's a thinness and annoying candor to the sound, which seems to me made more drastic when L2ed. I've tried to EQ and LMB down the mids/hi's but then the final product is relatively Dull and Muddy. It's seems its either piercing or dull, no middle region.

    So I assume I need a nice Analog EQ, and probably a Compressor too. But am I right to think an outboard & Warm EQ would be more important in my case than a Comp? I'm willing so spend about $6000? This is broad, but what is a good move? The Massive Passive seems cool, or then maybe Avalon AD2055: others? Oh yeah, and the music is of an eccentric Pop/Dance/Hip-Hop variety: both sparse and full mixes. Any help before I just buy stuff on the basis of Sweetwater descriptions?

    all the best,
    beard bates
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    First, I'm getting a sense of desperation/frustration in your post. Stop, take a deep breath and repeat after me. I will not buy a $6000 compressor or eq out of desperation or frustration. The only thing it's going to get you is a $6000 box that is going to sit there and take up electricity. If you are doing this all in house, then why not address the offender in the mix. If the mix is fine and you love it, then ask yourself what you are doing during mastering that is making it bad, Then stop doing that thing and have someone hit you in the back of the head everytime you do it. If you don't know exactly why you are buying a piece of gear and exactly what it's going to do or not do, then this would be the most unwise purchase you can make.

    Best to fix it in the mix. Second, stop following the "masterworld sheep" and autopiloting what everyone else says has to be done in mastering in order for it to be mastered. If you put something in and it makes it worse, then take it out and don't put it back in until you know why it's making it worse. maybe it doesn't need to be in at all.

    Lets start over. what does your mix sound like? forget about mastering. what does the final mix sound like? To you. And don't reference level or volume either. just turn up the volume knob or amp to a level you like and tell me what you hear.
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    This sounds like something that should be addressed at the core - Preamps, mic selection, etc. Then during mixing.

    It could also (easily) be a monitoring problem...

    "Some" help *might* be applicable during the mastering phase, but usually at the expense of something else.

    Not to say that a nice Massive Passive and maybe an ELOp wouldn't be in order, but applied at the track level.

    [I see Mike is in here - I hope we didn't repeat each other too much]

    In all seriousness - If you've got decent gear already and $6,000 to blow, think about your monitoring situation and room... Obviously, I have no idea what you've got going for monitors, but you can't tweak what you can't hear. Mastering on nearfields (or most any box that says "STUDIO MONITOR" or something similar on it) normally isn't going to get you very far - Especially if your trying to master the recording using the same monitoring chain (this includes the room, speakers, amp, etc.) you mixed on.
  4. splurge

    splurge Guest

    As you've got $6k to spend why not get a pro to master your mixes? ( I'm not a mastering engineer, so this isn't me touting for business ) I know some of the MEs here have an arrangement whereby you can send them one of your mixes, they will part master it ( a minute or so ) and send it back to you. If you like what you hear then you can decide if you want to go for it.

    Failing that, remix or even rerecord. Your problems may have started before you even pressed record.

    Good luck

  5. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    I read tenor vox and L2 in the same post and it makes me shudder. And I don't even hate the L2.
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    For $6000 you could probably have every project you could do in the next decade mastered by someone who actually knows what they're doing. Not only would it turn out better, you also wouldn't have to worry about having to sell that piece of gear on ebay next year. Just food for thought.
  7. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    Yeah, and you don't want to go out and back in from an mbox/001/002, so you're talking another $2000 for some good converters. Though if you had an HD system, the massenburg Hi-Res is tight.
  8. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Congrats! you have located your problem.
    Through out your DAW and plugs and do it analog.
    Or you could also get better recording converters and try not to use plugs.

    Best Regards
  9. beardb

    beardb Guest

    thanks everybody & "Call for Exceptional Online Mas

    To all,

    This has been very helpful. I realize that one piece of gear is not really going to solve my problems. In the end, I'm really just fascinated with cool gear and would like to work on amassing a great collection. Also, the project I'm working on now will probably be mastered, maybe remixed, professionally after label folks get it, but I'm working to increase my expertise in the engineering side of things.

    The monitoring issue is probably an all important one. I'm mixing with KRK V6s. I've added various sound diffusers and things, for the room was really brilliant at first.....All in all....YES I SHOULDN'T REALLY BE MASTERING THIS MYSELF...

    It definately is a good idea to have somebody master it. I've had things done at Masterdisk and TheKitchen in the past, but I'm wary of spending big $ myself, when label will probably have it re-mastered regardless (and charge me back the $).

    New Solution: Before I buy gear I may not need, or have the experience to immediately utilize, I will postpone my "desire to buy cool stuff" and will have the project mastered.

    So to you guys who are willing to accept stuff over the internet, let me hear. I'd love to hear the difference.

  10. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I think cool gear is great, but it's best spent at the source and not the end. I can't tell you how much better a well recorded and well mixed song will sound in the end. (I like to use analogies) it's like puting fuel additive in a pinto and putting in roll bars or just buying a better car to begin with. I can't stress enough what good monitors can do. I just sold sold some great tracking and mixing monitors that i had to a client and he can't believe that he ever like his KRK's. He has no more problems with translation and decisions are made much more quickly. He gets more out of the equipment he has and rely's less on me to keep his clients happy. End result, better CD, happy clients, less cost in mastering.

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