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mastering piano and vocal track

Discussion in 'Piano' started by dottoris, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. dottoris

    dottoris Guest

    can anyone give me some good advices how to do a good mastering ona simple piano and vocal song.thanks.
  2. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    less is more.
  3. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Yeah, it's very easy! I know just what to do (even without I've heard your material) but i wont tell ya!... he he :lol: :?
  4. dottoris

    dottoris Guest

    oh thanks for not telling me:)
  5. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    It was a kind joke.
    Nobody can tell you exactly what to do, my advice is to read some books and listen to some music.
  6. dottoris

    dottoris Guest

    ok...i tell you what i do...
    for the piano track first i do a little bit of eq, pushing up some highs and lows, cutting the middle tones, then i pan the high tones to the right and low tones to the left. i usually give a little bit of reverb, just to sound more huge.
    the vocals i take em twice...doubled...one centered, one panned slightly (30%) and approx 2db quieter.
    then i use waves c4 on vocals, and TC native compressor deesser, sometimes also a waves vocal exciter and a little bit of reverb.
    then i mix em to sound good, but what to do next that the thing doesnt sound so cheap....
  7. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    ...take it to a mastering place, it sounds like it will take some serius skill to make it sound ok.

    Also, the key is not to think "how do i make something not sound so cheap" but instead "how do I start out by making something that sounds good in it self".

    Best Regards
  8. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    what is cheap sounding about it. Telling us what you did doesn't tell us anything. We don't know what it sounded like before you did anything to it.

    There is no set thing you must do to a track to make it sound good. There is no preset that's going to work, there is no plugin that does it all, whatever all is. And that's the point. These devices are dumb. You have to know what something needs and then you have to tell the dumb device to do something to correct it. Which means you have to know what is wrong and you have to know what to tell the device to do to correct whatever is wrong. The first step is identify the problem(s). we can't do that without hearing it. You have to be able to accurately describe what it is you don't like and what you are using and how you are using it to correct the problem. Then maybe we can give you some kind of meaningful answer.

    Or you can buy that silly does it all program and hope that they have whiteboy playing piano preset.

    Or you can buy that stupid fix it all program and hope that they have whiteboy playing piano preset.

    Example- the piano I just mixed is sounding a bit thin and doesn't have much body in it. I have (insert plugin or outboard) to work with. I tried compressing the piano with (insert device) but it took some of the dynamics away and didn't give me any body. Would my (insert device) eq work better if I were to boost the low mids and maybe some lows?

    You get the point. You have to be specific if you want specific answers.

    If you just tell a plugin to do something, anything, then it's going to do just that. It's not going to correct what is wrong if there is something wrong, it's just going to do whatever it wants to do. Mastering is like pool where you have to call your shot. 6 ball in the right corner pocket. you tell us where you are hitting the ball and the shot you are trying to make, and we can give you some advice on maybe where you can hit the ball to get it in or maybe a choice of stick. If you are just hitting the cue ball and hoping one goes in, then we can't be much help.
  9. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    If it's a cheap mic, through a cheap mic pre, a cheap AD converter, and cheap reverb....You get the picture.

    The fact that you doubled the vocal on a solo piano/vocal tells me you've already decided to bark up the wrong tree.
  10. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    And I am not a gear/plugin snob by ANY means. Many of the people here can vouch for that.
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    It would be like someone asking a makeup artist "What should my wife do to make her make her face look like a model - Here's what she does now"

    He's not going to be able to tell you anything without seeing a picture - and even that won't help much because the personallity would make a difference too. Depending on the face, there may be no hope, but a different approach might yield best result.

    If this stuff was cookbook, there'd just be a bunch of presets everyone would use. That ain't how it works.

    The piano, the room, the condition of the instrument, how it was played, the voice, the type of music, the mic placement - all of that stuff is going to impact what is done during mixing and mastering.
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I don't know, the whiteboy playing piano preset on that "special" program might do the trick.
  13. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Who said he was white? Who said he was a he?
  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Good point!

    Then I guess that the preset might not be so good after all. guess we're back to experience. Damn that devil experience!
  15. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Well, I don't care.
    The auto mastering program should be able to do it anyway!...

    Do you think it has a Bob Ludwig preset?
    This also reminds me og band-in-a-box, maybe you could also make the program improvise itself through the mastering??

    It looks like someone has turned my idea of "random mastering and random satisfaction" to a program before me!! I want royalties!!!

    Best Regards
  16. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    I used that white boy playing bass preset last night................ Didn't help.
  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Hi dot;

    Sorry so many are pulling your chain here...I think we got off track from your original question....

    Actually, Mastering should be the last step, and you probably need to sort out the recording itself, first of all.

    What's with all the gimmicks on the vocals? Is your singer that weak? Assuming this isn't just a track within a rock tune but more likely a Jazz/Pop/Cabaret/Live vocal with piano recording, you shouldn't have to do too much trickery to get it sounding good, assuming:

    1. You have a good, tuned grand piano in a decent space. (Studio, hall, etc.)
    2. You have a trained accompanist/piano player who's into doing a good job supporting the singer.
    3. You have a good singer with pipes, chops (pitch and phrase control) and material.

    Assuming you have all that, I'd simply mic the piano in a traditional stereo "classical" or Jazz approach (stop over to the Acoustic Music forum for more info - there's a long thread on there about miking a piano.) DO NOT go tweaking the high end brighter, and the low end bassier. That's just silly; the piano strings already do that by themselves, naturally. You want accuracy first; all the tweaks and EQ (if any) should happen later. And don't try to go carving the "middle" out of the piano with EQ. I don't know who gave you THAT advice, but all you're going to end up with is a cheesy sounding piano.

    Use a pair of good quality condenser mics, of course. (No dynamic mics on the piano).

    As for the vocalist, you'll probably want to check out a few different large diaphragm condenser mics that suit your singer, and again, assuming it's jazz/classical/traditional singing, you'll probably want to go sparingly with any EQ or compression. Keep it light, and only for peaks, overs, etc. (Let the mastering house tell you if there's going to be anything else needed, later on.)

    For mixing, you want to create a crisp, clean soundstage that will feature your vocalist front and center (hopefully with enough talent that you effects needed will be minimal), and the piano can spread out and "live" in the aread behind and around the singer. Add Reverb and/or room sims to taste; you may want one generic room sim sound for both, plus a little extra plate or brighter hall sound for the vocal. You may want a LITTLE bit of peak limiting on the stereo bus as you mix/bounce it all down, but don't overdo it.

    Go for the cleanest, non-gimmicky sound you can get, believe me, all that goopy stuff gets dated really quick. (If done properly, you may not need much EQ at all; maybe some low end rolloff for the vocal mic, etc. Best to leave it out of the signal chain if you don't need it.)

    Assuming you're working at 24/44, make a hi res copy at that rate, and then do a dithered-to-16bit copy for the temp copy/reference copy. Bring BOTH to the mastering house if you're having someone outside do it.

    Get your proof copy when it's ready and enjoy the rest of the process.
  18. dottoris

    dottoris Guest

    thanx!!!! great help!

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