Mastering routines

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Alécio Costa - Brazil, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hi friends!
    As soon as you have downloaded, copied or a/d your client masters.. what is generally your first step?
    a) clean the bottom, let us say DC to 40 HZ
    b) Make the vocals a little bit more apparent
    c) correct dull/overbright
    d) check mis inconsistences like snare too buried or dull x hihats too bright/dull x too much sibilance..

    I know this will depend on every master´s one may receive for that specific dayjob...
    Thanks
    Next weekend to all
     
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    When I load in the material, I listen for any pops or clicks that need to be cleaned up and I mark them as I load in. Then I clean them up. The next thing I do is find the best sounding mix in the project and Identify any big problems in the other mixes.
     
  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    thanks. I always look for the number of clips, people still tend to mix glued to 0 dB " to use all the available bits".

    Sometimes, normalized files are sent ( blergh!)
    Joe? Dou? Don?
    Nice week
     
  4. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Alecio:

    First I listen. Then I try to find out if the client is happy with the recording or if they have some problems coming in. Then I try to find out, if it's not obvious, where they want to go with the sound. If a client is attending we might listen to other CDs they brought to determine the sound of the room on material familiar to them so they can make informed decisions with me.

    I do not as a matter of course filter out the low frequencies you mention (step A). Steps B, C, & D are handled during the mastering process as a matter of course. They are not separated out. The mastering is done as an organic whole with all factors taken into consideration. Often, solving one problem has an effect on other problems (could be good or bad) that must be dealt with at the same time.

    If a project is handed to me that has been "premastered" and is over compressed or over normalized, I will ask the client if a "before-mastering" copy is available. Otherwise, I can only do so much.

    I like to work on a project as a whole to maintain consistancy of sound throughout the project. I then recheck work done at the top of the session at the end of the session / day to act as a "reality check".
     
  5. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    sure. But nowadays folks are bas deaf.
    Man, lat week I "junior mastered" an important samba release ( São Paulo Carnival Samba Schools)here in Brazil. Some tracks had tons of 8 hz!
    I was amazed with that content!
     
  6. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Are your monitors capable of playing 8 HZ? Wow.

    Could be that they didn't know the LF's were there. Probably made using small near fields.
     
  7. Alécio and Don,

    This is all very useful information for me. ;-) I really appreciate seeing the posting. Just out of curiousity for each step what do you use? I am not asking about specific equipment but more to the point what I am asking about is what tools do you use for each step like a compressor or a multiband compressor or EQing etc... Some hints as to how you can tell something is compressed or overly compressed those kinds of things. Thanks,

     
  8. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hi Don! For sure the monitors can not provide 8Hz -lol
    But Waves´s PAZ showed it all in detail.
    After the job done, I played it on a $40 portable stero system and it did fine, even the poor speaker was able to "give the message".
     
  9. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Soloman,

    You have to use your ears. If there is a section of music where there should be dynamics & there are none, you begin to look for too much normalization or too much compression. Also if you hear the program pumping. Also if the waveform coming in looks like a breadbox. It's all rather subjective.

    You want the music to breathe, not be slammed up to peak all the time. Everything else can be handled with EQ & creative compression as needed.

    If a master comes in sounding unstressed and peaks at -3dB (more or less) that's just fine.
     
  10. Don,

    Thank you. I have been a big fan of your work for years and I greatly appreciate the tip.

     
  11. Damohonda

    Damohonda Guest

    Hi

    I just wondered what this actually means?

    a) clean the bottom, let us say DC to 40 HZ

    What is DC?
     
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Cheaper converters can leak DC (direct current) into the signal. The signal then oscillates around this DC offset which reduces headroom and can damage your monitors if it's severe. In severe cases, you can actually see this offset in your waveform. It'll look like the waveform is not centered around 0. Actually anything that is powered by a DC current can leak DC into the signal so it's good to check everything that goes into you DAW. Cleaning up to 40HZ is kind of drastic. we've had a thread on this awhile back and came to the conclusion that there are some instruments that produce notes down to 8HZ, like pipe organs for example.
     
  13. golli

    golli Active Member

    I am wery unclear on what Normalising is, as oposed to compression. :(
     
  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Normalization is a process in where the peak of the song is brought up to zero without effecting the dynamic relationship of the song. This can sound OK to bad depending on the program that is doing it. Compression is where you are changing the dynamic relationship of the song (bringing the peaks down in relationship to the rest of the song).
     
  15. golli

    golli Active Member

    Ok so you'd normalize when the meters dont go up enough, when the loudness is'nt there yet?
     

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