I'll try my hand.....

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by therecordingart, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I'm at the point that I want to start learning the art and science behind mastering.

    I was planning on getting the Bob Katz book, asking a lot of questions here, hopefully start sitting in on mastering sessions, and start buying or building gear that would be useful for both mastering and in my recording/mixing sessions.

    I don't plan on offering mastering as a service, and if I do it wouldn't be for years after I'm confident in myself and my signal chain.

    What are some good tools to start with beside ears and the room? (EQ, compressors, monitors, software etc?)

    I have a good day job, and audio is now just a really expensive hobby. I'd like to turn it into a career, but if it doesn't...oh well. On that note, I am budget minded, but I don't expect something good for nothing.

    So....what do you think would be a good start for a basic signal chain?

    By budget minded I'm not saying that I want a stereo compressor for $100.....I just can't spend $60,000 on compressor or $100,000 on monitors that sit on limestone.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Yo Art!

    Glad to hear you're taking the plunge. I'm kind of "half way through" the transition you're talking about. I do mastering for clients but don't advertise it very much.

    Here's the steps that I've been taking.

    1 - Get a good room
    1A - Get good monitors (I list that as part of 1 because a good pair of monitors work WITH the room, not just IN the room.)

    Personally, I went with NHT 2.5i's as my mastering monitors. I find these to be ruthlessly honest speakers yet still incredibly musical. I also went with a REL Storm III subwoofer because it is, IMO, the MOST musical and visceral subwoofer I've ever heard.

    The great news is, NHT 2.5i's are GREAT speakers for monitoring (similar in quality to B&W's 700 series) and they can be had on Ebay for next to nothing!! Bear in mind though, they need a BIG room to really open up and TONS of power (I do recommend bi-amping them, you'll definitely see/hear the results!) Personally, I have mine in a room that is just a tad under 4000 cubic feet and that's just enough. I use a Rotel RMB1075 to power the speakers (4 channels total, leaving 1 channel for center channel applications for surround). The rest of my set up is handled by NHT super zero speakers and an HK PA5800 amplifier.

    Of course, the room is heavily treated with Auralex acoustics products (I simply did the acoustics planner - where you send them your dimensions and what you want to do and they send you back the layout).

    Having this accurate of a set up is the SINGLE reason I'm confident while mastering.

    Right now, I don't have the massive load of expensive outboard gear - I use the plug-ins found native in Sequoia and a few others. I'm also in the process of rebuilding my ART ProVLA into a mastering grade device (more on that later).

    My final step will be to purchase gear for mastering. On my mind right now are:

    Crane Song


    TC M3000, M4000, or M6000

    After that, I believe I will have the experience, knowledge and equipment to compete on the real market.

    Of course, all of the above ramblings are just one approach you can take. It seems to be working okay for me right now though.

  3. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Very informative...thank you! My room is pretty small (12x14) so getting good monitors that work in that room may be a bit of a challenge.

    The reason I want to learn this is mainly just for the experience and knowledge, but also because in general I like tweaking audio more than tracking bands.

    Don't get me wrong...I love tracking bands, but I can spend days messing around with wav files and tweaking them.

    Does that mean I'd make a good ME...hell no...but I'd enjoy trying.
  4. Grooveteer

    Grooveteer Guest

    Hey Art,

    Get Bob's book. I have just finished reading it. Some parts were a bit over my head, I have to admit, but it's really good. I don't intend to become an ME, but it helped me improving my mixing skills. I feel I now have a better understanding of what is required in terms of headroom and dynamics.

    I'm having one of my mixes mastered tomorrow by an ME. I have asked if I could attend, and I'm going to keep my eyes AND EARS wide open.

    Did I already say that you should get that book? :wink:

    Good luck!

  5. Aitzi

    Aitzi Guest

    my tipp for getting started.

    check out the UAD ultra Edition it inclueds some great
    emulation of in real very expensive stuff.
    and so you can try on a cheap way if you have the heart and the ears
    for a good mastering eng. :wink:

    best wishes

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