mastering comes at differnt levels

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by michjassir, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. michjassir

    michjassir Active Member

    Hello guys im new to mastering myself, and i did a decent job on a few house tracks but theres a subtle difference in volume between some of them after i burn them to cd. How do i get them all together at the same level so the project sounds more unified? Im mastering in pro tools
     
  2. orbit

    orbit Guest

    ive always kind of used this basic method:

    http://www.har-bal.com/mastering_process.php

    sort of follow that as far as eq and multiband compressing goes and you get a decent upgrade from the mix IMO <shrug>
     
  3. michjassir

    michjassir Active Member

    thanks man nice link
     
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Three words -

    Consistent monitoring levels
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Three more words. You're doing it.

    Oh? Make that four words. You're doing it wrong.

    Mastering is not an automatic process. Mastering engineers don't press a button and sit back and wait for their ducks to all line up. They're engineers and want to. And it's not all plug-ins. Many mastering engineers also utilize analog components because they really can't be replaced.

    Every mastering engineer tweaks the level of each track for a consistent feel. Every song cannot be the same level as the next unless its death metal. You have to make manual adjustments. WHAT A CONCEPT! WHAT A GREAT IDEA! DON'T TELL ANYBODY ABOUT THIS OR THEY'LL ALL WANT TO DO IT.

    Doing things automatically in a manual way
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  6. orbit

    orbit Guest

    some people like to have some kind of a baseline to work with since they otherwise have not a clue of what they are even trying to accomplish.
     
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "since they otherwise have not a clue of what they are even trying to accomplish."

    What a way to run a railroad. Mastering without knowing what you're even aiming for or trying to achieve. You can't build a boat if you don't know what water is.
     
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Re: mastering comes at different levels

    It is partly in the level of experience you have doing this and as someone else mentioned consistent monitoring levels. Once I set the volume control on my DAC-1 I try hard never to touch it throughout the mastering process if I do I lose my benchmark.

    Good articles on mastering at http://www.digido.com. Especially read the one on monitor levels and the K system.
     
  9. orbit

    orbit Guest


    as if the creative process starts only from education? maybe i should have said "trying to accomplish something that sounds better, based on relative things i've heard of doing....eq/multiband compressing...." - maybe that is ambiguous enough not to catch any flack...
     
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    It's that freakin' Hairball again. You can't see good sound. And, the multiband comp? Do a search and seek opinions on that. No doubt it can be a useful tool though, I'm not sure I would ever use one.
     
  11. orbit

    orbit Guest

    anything that makes my mixes sound better is worth spending time on...whether its traditionally used/correct/preferred, i dont have a clue. but only a fool would not explore things that has already shown to improve things...

    theres a million different ways to do any step of the process from start to finish and the only way to get experience is to use as many things/concepts you come across, no matter how foggy the concept is initially.
     
  12. MarkG

    MarkG Guest

    I am in a similar situation as you, fairly new to mastering. I realize you can't "see" good sound, but I think opening all of the files and looking at them can at least give a head start on which songs look like they might need work.

    I also would not be afraid to try multiband compression. I know it gets a bad rap here, but it seems like most of the people who don't like it have the tools to master properly.
    I completely agree that a song recorded right and professionally mastered without multiband compression sounds better. But if your mixes are only average (like mine) I would use every tool available to get an advantage.
     
  13. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Take a commercial release of something that you think sounds particularly good and import it into Hairball. Does it LOOK harmonically balanced? I can think of a number of recordings that would "look" bottom or top heavy depending on the part of the song.
     
  14. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    That's a pretty good shout. I used it when I had a live vocal recording (6 inches from mic to face) and consequently there was a lot of breath noise. Multiband compressor made the best of a bad situation.
     
  15. MarkG

    MarkG Guest


    That is a geat point, but the OP was referring to making his CD more unified. I was thinking he should look at the relationship between his own stuff, not compare them to other material. Although, comparing your own waveforms to others could be somewhat useful. I just wouldn't make a decision based solely on a waveform.
     
  16. orbit

    orbit Guest

    hehe i never paid attention to the harbal crap...i just got the idea of the signal chain and the MB compressor...was the quickest way to improve my mixes, but in the last 2 weeks now that i finally have some mics/preamps that can actually do their job, im finding the MB compression being either NOT a good thing or (what i originally thought) that i was just not setting them up properly.
     
  17. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I say use any tool that works, just know why you are using it and why it's working.

    You have to pick a correct volume and not move the knob. I feel you need a little distance from your monitors to your head. And I feel you need full range monitors. Once you have all of these at the same time, it becomes fairly easy to get a consistent volume from song to song.
     
  18. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    what... did i say something you guys didn't like?
     
  19. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    No I think you summed it up quite nicely.
    Logic shouldn't be offensive.
     

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