Mastering an album

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by liveit777, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    Hi guys.... I need some mastering tips. First, how loud should a song be after it's mastered and stuff... Second, should I put the same master settings on each song on the album... And last, is there any other tips or tweaks any of y'all have to do to a song after it's mastered, or do you just leave it?
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Mate, no offence, but you may not get a response with a post this vague, from an experienced mastering engineer. A bit of detail - what format, how it was recorded, where, what your goal is, what equipment, etc etc - please be detailed, this is a detailed topic.

    To give you the simple answer for finalizing a track when you cannot send out to a mastering studio - peak up at -0.3dB, settings are there to make sure everything fits creatively, so its not something that can be communicated in terms of numbers, and after its mastered (by a mastering engineer), its finished, so yeah just leave it.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Beginner to beginner

    So you are a beginner and I am a beginner, let's help each other at our simple level:

    I normalize everything to -1 db. Just seems to work for me. Trial and error got me there.

    I use the same VST plugins on every track, but tweak the individual settings for each song. For example, a ballad and a rocker will both have the same compressor on them, but the settings for the rocker is different from the ballad.

    Here's what I do, in order. I am no good at this, really. The Pros here can help much more.

    After loading the studio master in;
    1. Chop off junk at beginning and end of song.
    2. Apply fade-out to end if needed.
    3. Apply a very quick fade in at the beginning. I always do this. Leave a split-second of silence at the beginning and fade it up. Seems to stop popping at the beginning of my tracks.
    4. FX:
    Sonic Maximizer
    Main compressor
    Peak Master... that order.

    Puncher and Maximizer generate harmonics that add punch and treble-bass enhancements.
    The main compressor is usually set to just catch the peaks: attack time real short, ratio 1.5:1, release slow, and threshold pretty high. My meters barely twitter on the compressor.
    And Peak Master is the brick-wall compressor. Never shall a signal go above what Peak Master allows. It's a great safety features for amateurs like me.

    5. Render those FX.
    6. Global analysis
    7. Normalize panning.
    8. Normalize to -1db.
    9. Save file.
    10 Wipe hands on pants.

    I hope this helps. I am not very knowledgeable about mastering, and this procedure is just the product of trail and error, mostly error! :rolleyes:

    But it should get you started.


    PS The post above mine was posted while I was writing mine. Listen to that guy, he's good!
  4. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    It's always interesting to see what's been said on this kind of posts! Rock on! Quick Tip - invest in your art with professionals who know what they're doing... I know... this is a "shitty" answer... but as Jeemy said... it's really necessary more details about what you want! Just one more thing: Can you copy or paint Pablo Picasso?! Well I believe not... but you can start by getting some clues, right... Is that enough?! Nahhhh... You have to learn from the bottom what to do, how you do it, and how things work, right... So since you're in the first step... getting some clues, be more specific... ask the right questions - or just deliver the work to a professional and value your art as it should be valued!

  5. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Truth is...I found something that sounds good and I'm afraid to change it. :)

    A Pro would do much better than that.
  6. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    I can't argue with those settings of yours... It's your thing and I respect that as much I respect someone who want to learn how to it... I just think that we have to try to orientate people to the right path...
  7. Herbeck

    Herbeck Active Member

    There is nothing wrong with trying to do everything yourself.
    But the first step towards professionalism is to start cooperating with others.


  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    There are literally hundreds of posts on this subject. Some time spent with the search function would be in order.

    Best of luck!

    ps. There are NO magic numbers and no magic ways of doing mastering. It takes a great room, great speakers, great equipment, a trained ear and lots and lots of experience to do the job right. Maybe pay for a track or two at your local pro mastering studio to see how someone does it before attempting to do it yourself.
  9. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    Wow. I wasn't expecting to get this many replies. Y'all all have been very helpful. I would love to send my songs to a pro. I don't think I have the money right now. How much does a good engineer cost. Please give me a chart or something. Like this.....

    Ok - $-$

    Descent - $-$

    Excellent - $-$

    Heres a link to a demo my band made. We are going to re-record everything from scratch. But just some pointers would be nice on how to make the recording sound better. Thank you all so much for being so nice. I posted another thread and people didn't seem to like my question too much:) LOL

    YouTube - liveit777's Channel
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have never used a formula, I do what the song demands. Know your tools, and let the music guide you.
  11. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    For us here, for a 4-track demo or single with EP songs:

    OK - we do it ourselves, bill out at £30 p/h ($50 or so)

    Decent - £250 / $400

    Excellent - Could easily pay £1000 and it would be worth it, if I produced mixes of a quality that would benefit
  12. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    A Mastering Engineer's Guide to Final Mixdown - MTT - Music Think Tank

    Here's a neat little article, courtesy ASCAP's The Dean's List.

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