Metal - Mastering?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Andi, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. Andi

    Andi Guest

    Hi everyone,

    I play (bass+vocals) in band that plays melodic trash/death metal. We have just finished recording and mixing our first album. Plus the regular metal band setup (drums, 2 guitars, bass, vocals) our music has a lot of string arangements, multiple extra guitar and vocal lines, so it is a hell of a job taming it. All the work was done by ourselves in the studio, which is owned by two of our band members.

    Now we are in dilemma. Should we search for a mastering engineer, that has mostly expierience and the abillity to master metal, or do we try it by ourselves?

    I would also like to ask the parcipitants of this forum for some recomendations regarding names of people who are experienced in this field. Our budget is limited to 2000 $.

    Greetings,

    Andraz Grahek, Dusk Delight
     
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    The problem with mastering it yourselves is that It's really hard to get it right if your not mastering on a daily basis with good equipment. PLus it's nearly impossible to be objective if you've been working on it for a long time. If you have a budget of $2000, you should have it mastered.

    As far as choosing someone, The mastering engineer should be familiar with the type of music that he's working on but I don't think he needs to specialize in only that style. In fact someone that has a varied background can bring more to the table.

    If you want, you can contact any of us mastering engineers directly about your project.
     
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    All the moderators here I can boutch for.

    Last time I checked, everyone including myself will do a freebee sample for you to decide the flavor.

    Lots of talent within RO.

    I am sure everyone I speak of here would love to give it a shot!

    Now.

    Metal is a shade different from other artforms...well it is quite a bit different as to respect of how it is recorded. The genre' of Metal has the widest swings from fantastic captures and musicians ready to master and wrap to some utterly horrible recordings that were all but masterable. Even some are totally unmasterable. Nothing left tpo grab due to all the clipping./

    In metal mastering, I tend to look at the compression settings of the recording and "meald" or "vibe" with them to pick a vibe that is high energy, clean and powerful..but dirty enough to sound like a huge marshall stack at wits end. The music has to speak for itself and their is not a real standard for recording as their is a standard for mastering in metal!

    I still like to leave some punch, have big tone and vocals that are meaningful to the crowd.

    It can be a lot of fun and rewarding!
     
  4. hello bill.
    i dont write alot- i read alot.
    since the topic was raised .
    i am interested to know how much compression do you put normaly,do you limit it.
    what kind of eq shapes do you put?
    exciters and other fine things to make it -wow!!!
    i know every project has a different approch-and i agree with that .but there are some standarts in metal music ?(or in different sub-styles of it).
     
  5. why isn"t anybody giving there opinions??????
     
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Maor,
    There are really no rules or guidelines that we follow. It really depends on what we get and where we think it should go to.
     
  7. o.k
    i thought there are some tips
    but if not -o.k
     
  8. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    In metal mastering, I tend to look at the compression settings of the recording and "meld" or "vibe" with them to pick a vibe that is high energy, clean and powerful..but dirty enough to sound like a huge marshall stack at wits end. The music has to speak for itself and their is not a real standard for recording as their is a standard for mastering in metal!

    I still like to leave some punch, have big tone and vocals that are meaningful to the crowd.

    The above is in this posting.

    To translate what I said, I never use the same settings for more than one song. Each song has various amounts of necessary changes that can be placed on it to vibe. IF I were to use presets or "rules" then I would not be a mastering engineer that uses my artform to work magic. Anyone with a 400 dollar computer and a waves plug-in can select "heavy compression" and get "heavy compression".

    IT all depends on the tune. I may use different settings for verse, chourus, hook, intro and outro. It is what I hear that allows me to decide what I will use and how. I usually start by decompressing first to get it to sound real and then I employee as many dirty tricks as I need to to make it "real" for the artist.

    As for generalizations, I have had tracks that had -18dB rms sound MUCH LOUDER than some that were at -13dB RMS. IT is all in how you EQ it, use tasteful compression and give the artist what they want in the end. I will use different signal paths for different songs on the same album as well. It just depends firstly on the song, secondly on how it will relate to the other songs.

    One thing that is difficult is someone that wants you to master one song, without hearing the entire album. It is essential to hear everything that is going on the album before you set your mastering for final. They all have to correspond to each other but have their own flavor and make the album an exciting work of art for the artist and most importantly, to the buyer of your art.

    One can only guess what to do in the event of doing one song, no knowing what the others are like.

    I am a pretty good guesser though! Do it all the time, it Ain't easy.
     
  9. thanks for the information.
    i have been doing some metal mastering to bands here .
    all of the mastering studios here in are o.k and some of them are good but they dont do a good job for metal (i think its because they have less experiance and they dont know this kind of music too much) and alot of bands are not happy with the resualts.
    so i help them and master for them.
    its not my job .i just do it because i know this music and i like to help out bands.
    i use some analog outbord and digital.
    it turns out nice but i thought that maybe some people here have some tips like eq. (what freqencies to cut or boost-in general ofcorse).
    and other fine ideas.
    i know each song has its way of working.but there are some good setting that might fit my work and i thought you can give me some better clues on how to do it better.

    but i have to say that each time i read somthing in this forum -i learn more
    "the more you know ---the more you know you need to know more" --thats just a small thing i learned
     
  10. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Most Metal records I hear that arent on major labels sound like crap. I can't believe how bad most of them sound.

    Many new bands are tuning very low now and it's harder to shape the low end without loosing the meat of the track. Some records are so compressed and overly loud before I get them it limits what can be done

    Metal is a very low end dependent. So you need to make that big without loosing the presence. I do a lot of metal records and it is something I love. I just finished the new Dog Fashion Disco for Eagle Rock. It has a lot of heavy riffs , huge low end but without loosing the presence that gives it the air and detail

    It's not possible to answer questions like how much compression do you use or EQ curve. It makes me nervous that someone asking these things would attempt to master a record!


    Listen to the songs. If you don't know how to make it sound great send it to someone who does. The artist will thank you for it.
     
  11. you are right about the low end that is hard to work on because the low tunning.
    i heard alot of metal albums that have good sound and they are on small labels.its all a mater of taste and
    as you know "sound" is like fashion.
    it comes and goes and then it return and so on.
    what fits hard rock of the 80 doesn"t fit the death metal of the 90s and doesn"t get close to the expeimental metal of 2000.
    its not eazy to do mastering for metal.
    alot of people think its eazy but they are wrong.

    i try to add some middle range that is lost because of the low end and the compression that chokes it.
    the reason i asked the question is to see if people feel the same way about the things that might be importent to know about metal mastering
    and what they can also teach me.
     
  12. hello joe lambert
    i must tell you somthing- you did a great job with the first and second pro-pain albums

    i like them alot were they remasterd for spitfire records ?
    because i have the old versions?
    and i dont remember if it was you or someone alse.

    and dont worry i dont master albums i just master metal demos here in israel because the profesional mastering rooms just do a realy bad job. and they take alot of money.
    i do it for free and
    i dont make it great -i just make it o.k thats all -not more then that.
    but the bands are happy.
    what is your price for mastering an album of a small unsigned band?
     
  13. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Thank You,
    Yes I did remaster there CD's for re release on Spitfire. Those records are a good example. The originals didn't have the balls the music deserved. That band has a great sound and I'm glad you hear the difference.

    I know there are some indie metal records that sound great. But a lot of them would sound even better if properly remastered.

    That's my humble opinion for today. Gotta go master another metal record!!
     
  14. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    If the mastering houses aren't doing a proper job with the records over there send them here! I have clients from all over.
     
  15. what is the cost?
    for an unsigned band for 10 track album.?
     
  16. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Maor,

    Give me a call and we can talk about your project.

    Classic Sound
    212-262-3300
     

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