Final mix before sending to a Mastering House

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by aacdpro, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. aacdpro

    aacdpro Active Member

    Hello All,
    At final stages of mixing projects to send to mastering housing, questions?
    1. I look at my Eq curve of the final mix on a RTA realtime analyzer and try to get it as flat as possible. (right now they are pretty close ) Is this a good thing?
    2. I bounce my final mixes with NO comp or master EQ on the master buses.
    3. Should I send my final master to the mastering houses this way or should I put a final EQ, Comp, Dither, on the master bus to get it to sound the best to my ears as possible.
    4. Does the mastering house sweeten the final EQ and such, so it is better to send them the unprocessed mix.
    Thank You for any input on this.

    Equipment; Pro -Tools 9, 003 Rack / SSL Plug-ins / Sony Oxford / PT standard Plug Ins / Izotope mastering Plug In.
    Apple Mac Pro / Mac Pro 3,1 Quad-Core Intel Xeon-2.8 GHz / 2 processors-8 core / Genelec 1031 monitors, Original Aurotone cubes / Vintage Neumann Mics, U-67 ect.. API mic pre / Neve 1073 mic pre. Mytek 2 ch. converter.
  2. Herbeck

    Herbeck Active Member

    What your mix looks like on a RTA realtime analyzer is more or less a non issue.
    How does it sound?
    I think you will find some answers to your questions in this pdf.
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Please use your ears and not an RTA to do any equalization. Having a ruler "flat" eq on an RTA does not necessarily mean a good sounding mix.

    Leave about 3 dB of headroom for the mastering engineer to work with.

    No overall bus compression or limiting unless it is part of your "sound" and then be on the conservative side. Don't do any overall EQ or limiting and unless you want it for "your sound" and no overall reverb - again unless it is part of your overall sound.

    You can send a an additional copy of your mixes with limiting, compression and equalization as a guide track to the mastering engineer. I would also have a some examples of other artists music that you are trying to emulate that you can send along or take along to the mastering session to show the mastering engineer what you are going for in terms of overall sound.

    The most important thing to do is to be communicative and be upfront with your ideas and what you are looking for. Just telling a mastering engineer to "make it loud" or "make it sound good" really does not tell him or her what you are ultimately looking for.

    Good communications both ways is most important for a good mastering job.

    One other caveat don't send the mastering engineer "brick mixes" (called that because that is the way they look on the DAW) and then tell him or her to make the tracks "dynamic". It is basically impossible. Once you have limited and compressed the mixes to the point of being one large brick you have already taken out the dynamics and there is no tool in the mastering engineers setup that can correctly put them back in.

    Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.
  4. Herbeck

    Herbeck Active Member

    I don't know American geography to well but aren't you guys neighbors?
    If that is the case, you could do an attended session at Thomas place.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yeah, Oberlin is not that far from Cleveland. So you go to Tom, pay him this time to master your disk while you are there in person. He's a wonderful teacher and highly experienced at what he does. He may even have an additional fee necessary for the client to be in attendance. It's worth every penny to you. It's a full education in a couple of hours time. All of his suggestions are extremely valid. When I make a recording, I'm always quite happy with my own mixes & engineering skills. Not much of my stuff has to be mastered much because it already sounds mastered in the way that I mix. Frequently my mixes only requires some normalization. The mastering process is merely nothing more than icing on the cake and some touchups. At least, that's all it's really supposed to be. And too many people are calling themselves Mastering Engineers because they have purchased some kind of " Mastering" plug-in. Well I hate to tell you this, that ain't mastering. That's marketing. People need to sell stuff to stay in business and folks like yourself all think the Mastering is a magic pill. And for some, it is. I master projects for people even though I don't consider myself to be an exclusive Mastering Engineer. Unfortunately, too many so-called Mastering Engineers are nothing more than frustrated home recording engineers. Tom is the real deal, Michael is the real deal, I'm just a real good engineer that will master your project if you ask me to because I know how to do it properly. And it's not a plug-in but a hybrid technique of analog & Digital with incredible equipment that I understand inside and out. I've mastered ITB & OTB & IOTB, Times two. Hardware compressors/limiters, hardware EQ's, integrated software packages & plug-ins, the whole gamut. And parallel processing that seems to be integral to an open sounding yet highly processed mix. The parallel processing can be accomplished ITB or OTB or both. So many different selections and processes, it makes your head spin but that's an older technology we don't use much anymore. Mine seems to be attached rather securely and only my ears wiggle.

    When my mixes are good I wag my tail. Where's my milk bone?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. aacdpro

    aacdpro Active Member

    Thank You, for the help. I truly appreciate it!
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    PM sent to aacdpro.

    Never replied with a yea or nay.
  8. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    this is what I really never understand...w
    why people can't spend 3 minutes on email, and be kind - say - 'no, thank you',
    or yes, whatever... is it lack of good manners ?
    if someone else make an effort to write email, not to mention situation when free sample was made,
    why the guy on the other side can't make a smallest effort too ?
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It certainly clues you in to how they were raised by their parents. I think most of us here at were probably raised better than most of the people that hang out at Gearslutz. Besides, is a Canadian-based site and in Canada, all of the Canadians seem to have much better manners than us here in the US. I know that not everybody where you are comes from London speaking the Queen's English. Some are from Liverpool, Birmingham with much more indecipherable sounding speech patterns that a lot of Americans cannot comprehend or understand. And because I so love fine British actors, I've been able to develop a fairly believable London accent LOL. No really, I'm serious. At an after AES convention studio party, I was telling my story about my interview with Sir George Martin. Of course I was doing it with my phony British, London, accent. I didn't know there was a woman from London standing behind me while telling this story. When I finished, she came around in front of me and asked me what part of London I was from, LMAO. I had to look at her and say " sorry honey, I'm just an American redneck audio engineer." She seemed to be quite insulted by that and quickly walked away from me LMAO. So I guess I was believable?

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    was the lady attractive ? maybe it was worthy to continue in sluggish-east-London-cockney?:)
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    She was a gorgeous blonde beauty except for her reaction to me. It threw me back to a memory of me getting into a highly discriminatory only French speaking nightclub in Montréal in 1978... LOL. I speak no French so my first name is usually quite misleading. So my professional partner Philip and I wanted to go out on the town after that evenings convention (a weeklong convention). We asked the concierge at the hotel where they might recommend we go. So we headed for this nightclub. There was a maître d' at the door. We had just watched a couple of other dudes go in with T-shirts & button-down sports shirts. We were well dressed in chic casual button-down shirts & jackets. When the maître d' spoke to us in French I responded in French that we didn't speak French. So he says to us in his Montréal French accent " You cannot come in...". To which we responded why? He said that we were not dressed properly as we had no ties. I said you let the dudes in before us that were wearing only T-shirts and button-down short sleeve shirts. He said he didn't when we saw what he did. So Philip looks at me and says "I don't need this crap... I'm going back to the hotel." I just hang out for a few more minutes feeling somewhat rejected and despondent. Then I saw a group of five French-Canadian guys about my age, walking, chuckling, going towards the nightclub. So I rush up behind the last guy, chuckling and nodding my head. Then the maître d' asks each one a question and leads each one in individually. I have no idea what he is asking them... And then he comes to me. He doesn't seem to remember me and asks me some kind of question in French of which I have no idea what he is asking. I looked at him and said " OUI ". Bingo! He leads me into the coat check guy. So something in French to the coat check guy who says something in French to me. I respond again with "OUI ". Hand the coat check guy my jacket and so money. Then the maître d' leads me into the very busy bar. He motions for the bartender to come over and says something in French to him. The bartender looks at me and is most obviously asking me a question in French which I assume is an indicator for what type of drink I wanted. I look at the maître d' apperceptive bartender and respond with..." I think I'll have a whiskey sour ". Well... the bartender and maître d' start to yell at one another and I get handed a whiskey sour, LMAO. I guess I said "OUI " with a French Canadian accent? So inside the club, I find this beautiful French-Canadian girl who seems to be their interacting with no one. I can only speak a couple of words in French thanks to my Berlitz book. She could only respond with a couple of words in English as she spoke no English. She did however have the ability to indicate to me that she was quite despond over the fact that in her own country, she was raised so strict French-Canadian that she could not speak to any of her other fellow Canadian citizens who all spoke English. She indicated most of her country spoke English but not where she lived in Montréal. She had been denied any American English speaking television or radio programming in her household and only attended strict French-Canadian schools. We had a lovely evening together in spite of our language barriers. I think I was the only English speaking non-French speaking person ever to have been allowed in? It was a fascinating experience for me and before I had ever visited France as I did years later. The following day I was having lunch speaking to a Parisian Psychiatrist. He said similar things happen to him also in Montréal.??? I responded to him " but you speak French." He replied, AH, OUI but I do not speak French the way the Canadians do so they pull the same crap on me". I told him " that's insane...". He said it was OK because they did the same to the French-Canadians in Paris, France, LOL. There must be something about that language and causes this to constantly happen? C'est la vie! LOL

    I don't think OUI understand them fully?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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