how is your average mastering chain order ?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by dummydrummy, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. dummydrummy

    dummydrummy Guest

    hey big boys, how do you order your toys in an average session ?
    I know there is no general rule, but do you place your eq first,> then compressor> compressor, etc.
    What is your favourite gear, and how is it chained ?
  2. iznogood

    iznogood Member


    (optional)digital eq for notching>D/A>surgical eq>comp>sweetening eq>A/D>(optional) digi comp>L2
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Depends on the mix. sometimes the comp first works best but almost always the eq first works best for me.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    My only rule of thumb is "correction before enhancement."

    Hiss, noise, rumble, siblance - All handled first. Shaping EQ and any M/S processing and/or parallel dynamics next, and "normally" final dynamics and / or limiting on the way back to the box.
  5. lowland

    lowland Guest

    For me generally:

    1. Workstation (SADiE 5) occasionally with Sonalksis EQ plug-in for HPF/notches

    2. Sintefex FX2000 for digital EQ and compression, usually in that order, though it's switchable. I don't tend to use compressor gain reduction much here, it's mostly for the analog-style flavours

    3. Benchmark DAC-1

    4. Chandler LTD-2 analog compressors (mastering version) - these have turned out to be unexpectedly versatile so I use them quite a lot but sometimes bypass the analog loop. Next analog purchase will be EQ, possibly Millennia NSEQ-2, with detents if I can afford it

    5. Crane song HEDD ADC, plus Pentode and Tape processing where required. I've not so far found a use for Triode

    6. dbx Quantum - love this box! Mostly used nowadays for clipping and overall level, but the EQ and multiband compressor (single bands for things like bass correction and de-essing) get used once in a while. It also gives me a certain amount of redundancy if something else breaks

    7. Workstation again to record the proceeds, and the final playlist has L3 as a Direct X plug-in, then SADiE dither - either TPDF or POW-r

    8. Another DAC-1

    9. Monitors
  6. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    Hey Lowland, how does that Benchmark DAC-1 compare to other converters like say the Lavry Blue series?
  7. ambientdig

    ambientdig Guest


    It's interesting to me that you put the HEDD in the middle. (Of course there's no wrong place - part of the "art"). I tend to put the HEDD first because it affects both color and dynamics. If I were to EQ and then add the HEDD, everything would change drastically. I use the HEDD more as an initial "shaper" and then go to EQ and dynamics.

    BTW, Triode can be great. It can either tighten the low end or crap it out if you're not careful. If I use it, it's usually on about 2, maybe 3.
  8. lowland

    lowland Guest


    I haven't heard the Lavrys and can't comment except to say that there are a number of well-respected MEs using Blues, just as there are using DAC-1s. My Benchmarks do the trick for me, I'm happy with the results I get - they have a nice open sound to my ears, and I have the feeling that they're not getting in the way but are providing a true representation of what's there. No-one's complained about my D to A conversion yet, but I suppose there's always a first time!


    I probably spent more time than was strictly healthy thinking about my commonest chain order, and the reason the analog loop (and hence the HEDD) sits where it does has been governed by things like putting it downstream of main EQs, but with a good EQ (the Quantum) in 'post' position if that's working better. John's observation of "correction before enhancement" is one that generally holds for me too, and I also remember Dave Hill passing some comment about preferring HEDD processing to be post compression - why, I don't know, but as with the DAC-1s it works for me!

    I'll persevere with Pentode...
  9. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

  10. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    i hope the lavry is better.. :shock:
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    To get a certain effect on the mix, I'll sometimes exagerate a frequency to affect how the compressor reacts, then on the back end of the compressor i'll undo the exageration. this can really get a lot of workable color from your compressor.
  12. lowland

    lowland Guest

    Wrong knob - probably couldn't resist the alliteration. Perhaps I should have said 'I'll try harder with Triode' :)
  13. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

  14. ambientdig

    ambientdig Guest

    Watch that language!

    That's one of the funniest typos I've seen.
  15. lowland

    lowland Guest

    Reminds me of something I saw years ago, a cv submitted to a Mac-based employment agency specialising in the publishing world: 'I am an experienced prof reader'. Apparently not!

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