Good Mastering Software

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by d-gautam, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. d-gautam

    d-gautam Guest

    Hi Friends,

    I am looking for a good mastering software standalone or VST. I am currently having a UAD-1, is there any plugin that is good for mastering.

  2. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    hey guatam, your uad-1 is a great mastering tool, use the quality Eqs and compressors to your advantage, but to master you need not just the plugins, you need good monitors, don't bother unless you have super flat monitors, or you could do more damage then good. Also i would recomend browsing this site for mastering techniques and tools, just because you have a "basic" software package for mastering doesn't mean that you can get the job done. Have fun and best of luck :cool:

    p.s. if what you want to master is critical, such as work of another band that could benefit your studio appeal, i would suggest pm ing one of the Mastering Engineers here, im sure that they would be glad to do one song free of charge.....
  3. d-gautam

    d-gautam Guest

    Hi Ben,

    Thanx for replying. I hv Jbl LSR 32 monitors in my studio. I have no optional plugings in UAD-1, but I have 1176 LN and LA2A & Pultec eq. are these good enough for mastering?
    thanx again
  4. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    As we have talked about before, no one in here has what you would call "super flat monitors"(correct me if there is somone who has +/-0,5db full range in here)

    I will refer to Don's way of saying it, I have full range monitors.
    And as I've said before, plugins are not good for mastering.
    You can mess around with them(And mess up your sound).
    But eventually they will be no more than a simulation of the real thing.

    As a studio owner from Denmark says "plugins will kill you... and your mommy and dad... and your friends... and every body other that listens to it". :lol:

    Best Regards
  5. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    hey guatam, although i would go for different monitors, and Ammitsboel is right, plugins aren't the best for mastering, the ones that you have will do fine in your case, read some articles about how mastering works and use every tool that you have in your possession, remember .. The last judges are you ears, if it sounds good, go for it! :cool:
  6. davidl

    davidl Guest

    Hello Gautum

    Let me put in a plug for my dear friend, electronics designer & manufacturer Nishi Nakra (Enbee Electronics, Shankar Market, Delhi) whose speakers amaze me every time I pass through Delhi. I find them to be the best speakers made in India, at maybe a third of the cost of Phillips etc.

    Well worth a listen.

    Salutations, David Lewiston
  7. d-gautam

    d-gautam Guest

    Hi Ammitsboel,

    Please suggest me the cost effective way of mastering what is least requirement. I have JBL LSR 32 monitor, Nuendo 2.01, Uad-1 (with 1176 LN, LA2A & Pultec eq.), Focusrite Compounder in my studio.

    Best regards,
  8. d-gautam

    d-gautam Guest

    Hi David,

    Thanks for replying, But I am not looking for speaker I have good JBL’s in my studio. I know well about Enbee’s but they are not in JBL’s league. Please tell me something about you. How u know Mr. Nishi Nakra in India.

  9. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Hi d-gautam,

    What amplifier(s) are you using with your JBL's?
    I don't know if your JBL's are good for mastering? I haven't heard them.
    But from reading reviews on the internet i can extract that peoble that likes them only talks about how tight the bass is and other small things from the whole spectrum they like.... Mastering speakers is about how the whole spectrum sounds and react, not just about bass, mid and highs.
    But you are the one to deside this so you have to trust your own opinion.

    I can't give you an "all you need is this" list.
    If I should give you an advice of the cheapest way to master just one style of music only from one recording engineer, then I would say you should pay a Mastering Engineer to listen to it and talk about what it needs and afterwards go purchase the units he recoments. And adjust the units as he recoments.

    ...this could cost from $20k and up, and will be a very limited solution that requires that you only master material from the same record/mix engineer + it will still not be as good as a real mastering session.

    So you should also ask yourself if this is worth the extra costs?
    Because you could also just pay for a mastering session every time.
    Or you could take your time and learn about mastering and start doing it for real at a facility... or start your own witch cost a lot more than $20k.

    I'm not good at making desisions that compromises the sound quality! I try to avoid them as much as i can.
    So if you want the El Cheapo/Radio Shack solution then ask about it over at the Pro audio gear forum.

    Solutions that compromise sound quality doesn't belong in the mastering forum.

    Best Regards,
  10. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I've been watching this one for a few days... I'm just chiming here, but I think there's a point being missed -

    What exactly are you (D-gautam) trying to accomplish? A pro facility, a home setup or something in between?

    The thing is, there is no magic piece of gear or plugin that will make any setup a "Mastering Rig." I can crank out stuff forever using Nuendo and a UAD card if that's all I had available (both of which I actually DO have and use here also) that none of my clients will complain about. It's not the gear as much as the ears and the years.

    That being said - If you're taking it seriously, there are two things that CANNOT be compromised - (A) Your conversion, and even more importantly, (B) your monitoring chain.

    Converters are self-explanitory... Almost anything from Lavry, Benchmark, Apogee, etc. will give you the quality that will hold up to the "big boys" because they ARE the big boys.

    On monitoring, I have to disagree with an earlier post - The LAST thing you want are flat monitors. Audiophiles and yes, even the everyday mundane listeners don't listen on razor-flat response systems or studio monitors. You want reasonably accurate "real-world" loudspeakers that actually sound GOOD. Better than good - They have to be GREAT. You need detail at full-range that sounds great to YOU. It's a fairly personal choice, but I can tell you that you won't find what you're looking for at a "music store" or Guitar Center...

    You can easily expect to pay $5,000 minimum for main speakers - USED. Add to that solid amplification - Bryston (my personal favorite), Pass, etc. Again, no Guitar Center stuff.

    The point is, that no matter what gear you have, it means nothing unless you can hear it accurately on a full-range system that you're intimately familiar with. When I was looking for new speakers, I'd keep a new set in my "B" position for 3-6 months until I decided that I didn't like them enough. Even my (Bowers & Wilkins) M-802's spent a few months being the "backup" set until I knew exactly what they were "trying to say" to me. The funny thing is, that they always sounded better than my previous "A" system by leaps and bounds. Now, I can't even imagine mastering without them.

    If you're looking for a "starter" setup, B&W 602.5's or the 604's are amazing AND relatively inexpensive ($1000-$1600 for a PAIR). Throw in a used Bryston amp ($500-$1000) and you've got a fairly impressive setup by almost anyone's definition. Then, make sure your room is up to specs...

    Once you have the right monitoring and LOTS AND LOTS of practical experience, you'll be able to do decent work with Behringer equipment. Not that I'd recommend that... :lol: At the very least, you'll know what your gear would actually sound like on an audiophile system, therefore knowing the gear's limitations and qualities. That is KEY when using, and adding to, your current gear pool.
  11. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Hi John,

    What do you use your UAD's for?
    Are you only using them because you don't have hardware?
    Or do you use them because they are easy to "plugin"?

    Best Regards
  12. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    It depends on the project - I tend to get 90% of what I'm looking for through the analog garden, then once in the DAW, I can tweak a little or pull some parallel with the plugs.

    Other times, I start in the DAW, and maybe I'll notch using the UAD stuff, go through the analog and back in.

    That Pultec plug rules... That one, I actually DO like better than the hardware. Although, the last Pultec I used was a little... Old... Dirty... You know...
  13. d-gautam

    d-gautam Guest

    Hi Ammitsboel & John,
    Thanks for your valuable comments.
    I have Hafler P3000 & P4000 (P4000 is out of service now, looking for mosfets not available in India) amps for my Jbl lsr 32's. I am satisfy with the sound but not happy. But I have not any budget to upgrade my monitors.
    I have a small studio in India. Mastering is not popular in India. I don’t know any mastering studio in India. The Albums we record in our studio are on tight budgets. We charge $125 for eight hours. Clients do not have any budget for mastering. So I am going for mastering my own projects for better quality. Can you help me? My e-mail is

    Best Regards

  14. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    to john at mastering sound Ive heard better mixes from a cheap prosumer sound card and cool edit then ive heard at mastering sound what your cranking out does very lil to impress me you will hear better mixes from home recording then at your facility and none of what you submitted really sounds mastered you have thousands and thosand in gear and mundane results such a pitty.
  15. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member


    Tone it down a little. Constructive discussions, not destructive.
  16. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member


    What do you expect from mastering?
    High volumen? snappy sound? hype sound? is there a special color you are after?

    You have to bear in mind that every body might not like what you like in mastering.

    Who knows... maybe what you like some peoble find over processed?

    Best Regards,
  17. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member


    First, I totally agree with Henrik. Maybe you are under the impression that Mastering is an "Extreme Make Over" and an "Automatic Personal Taste Sensor". Some parts of Mastering are based on making things "technically" correct (levels, balance, eq's +phasing etc.) and dealing with compromises too. Producers are aware of that but not to many artists/musicians.

    It is not a total face lifting and a Remix, but it is to make your song/music commercially ready to satisfied the Broadcasters exigeances and criterias as well.


  18. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    After searching through the thread for John at "Mastering Sound," I sort of figured that doulos21 might be referring to me...

    If that's the case:

    If doulos21 would've read the header, those files are up there because of their problems - Not neccessarily because of the results. Anyone can throw up stuff that sounded great to begin with. I had 3 recordings on the Grammy ballot last year. You'll notice that those recordings are NOT up there. Why? They sounded fine to begin with. Whoopie.

    Now, if it's not the case, I add to Ammitsboel's and TrilliumSound's comments. Mastering for the most part, isn't meant to be "body work" - It's meant to be "detailing" - A bit of polish. If you polish a mint-condition Lamborghini, you've got a sweet-ass mint-condition Lamborghini. If you polish an old rusted AMC Pacer, you have an old, rusted AMC Pacer that's a little shinier than it was before. It's still an old Pacer, but it's been brought up to its full potential.

    That being said, a lot of the samples on the MM site are representative of "body work." Most of them are from home or small project studio setups. Some of them are absolutely horrible sounding recordings. The point of the excercise was to point out that even some horrendous recordings may have a hidden potential that can be brought out.
  19. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    i didn't read the header point well taken. I'm sorry for making an assumption that this was your prized mastered work, and in fairness id like to take you up on your offer for a
    sample audition master on your site, if your willing to give one to me. I see you offer one of the most valuable tools in the mastering service which is mix consultation i might be up for that to if i you give me and i like your audition master. again im sorry and id like to seriously see what you have to offer as i am looking for a place to trust my mixes to for mastering on small labels and indy released projects
  20. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    the question was brought up what do i think mastering is or should do here is my list of things i would expect from a mastering job in no order

    1. mastering should bring the volume up to commercial cd quality or as close as the recording permits without killing the dynamics
    2. the master should flow smoothly from track to track with adequate spacing of the songs including fade in fade out etc
    3. the master should have a continuous bass level making each song with the same amount of bass response or close enough where there is no questions
    4. the master should provide better stereo imaging if needed and or an excited high end if needed
    5. the master should provide feed back on the mixes given if requested to allow them to know problem areas of there work or if before hand an honest this should be remixed before mastered comment and a description of why it is unusable.
    this is what i feel mastering should be if i am wrong please tell me what i have confused and why mastering engineers wouldnt be able to do the following above thank you.

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