Project mastering for dummies....

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Kswiss, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    Hey, my band is having our next release mastered professionally, but we are going on a tour in two weeks, and the ME we're using isn't available til next month. So we're gonna DIY 500 CD's for our tour and then come back and professionally reproduce for the official release after its mastered. So I'm gonna master them as well as I can. If you guys could critique my chain (i'm working in cubase with waves plugs.) that would be awesome. I know i won't get great results but at least it will hopefully be palatable. I've been practicing with test mixes and this is what seems to work best.

    Waves LINeq
    Waves LINmb
    Stereo spread
    L2 Lim

    so i have a few probalby common sense questions too.... just to make sure i'm doing it right. I'm using the new finch CD as a i'd just put that through my monitors at the same level and A/B right? And i should be setting the limiter to -.1 instead of 0?

    My last question.... how do i tell my progress. I obviously want it loud, but thats not the end all. I just want it comparable to other CD's, but i don't mind it being a little softer with more dynamics. Is there a way besides my ears to measure real volume so i know how loud it is comparable to other stuff?

    Thanks! Your replys would be greatly appreciated!

  2. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    i would say drop the stereospreader...... it will take out the punch....

    start off with a highpass filter at 30Hz.... the lin eq lowband in accurate mode... maybe with a slight boost at 50Hz to compensate for the rolloff.... and to emulate "pseudo sub"......

    you can put the lin eq before or after the comp..... experiment a bit...

    and go with a 1-band comp instead..... the ren-comp than sound ok if you set it to manual release (min 500mS) and smooth instead of warm... attack time 20-50mS (play with it) and ratio about 2:1..... no more than 3dB compression...

    last but not least..... the L2 i usually set at 3mS release and 0.1 dB out ceiling.... i hate the arc..... and no dither or noise shaping.... and about 5dB gain reduction at the most.... use your ears.....

    use pow-r dither 2 if you have it.... (you could convert it to 16bit afterwards in a program that has pow-r dither)

    this would be ok for diy cd's.... hope this helps... good luck...
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I would say just do what you can. You probably aren't going to get it to sound like other stuff. If you are shooting to make your CD sound like somthing else, you have to be carefull you don't suck the life out of it just trying to get the volume. I personally never reference anything while I'm working on something. But if you aren't comfortable, then it might be a good idea to see how far away you are.

    I would also have other people listen to it that would be able to tell you if it was good or not. You only get to make a first impression once, and if it's not that good, you would probably be better off not putting it out there.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Trying to make your disc sound like another disc is normally a bad way to start...

    You need to bring out the potential in YOUR recording and get it where it "wants" to be - Not force it (MBC, L2, etc.) into being something it's not.

    IMHO, YMMV, etc.
  5. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    thanks for the tips. I'll put up some samples tonight with settings. I know i'm not an ME....i just want to get it up to listenable volume without raping the sound too much. I'll try it without referencing and see what happens. thanks again for the info

  6. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Therein lies the challenge... Best of luck.
  7. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    That Finch CD seems to be really light on the bass; it is kind of different sounding for a modern rock CD. So keep that in mind I guess. Easy on the bass.
  8. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest are some samples.....

    this is before

    and this is after

    its not the greatest....but i have the session saved so i can tweak it if you guys have any helpful hints. I've got the mix about finalized, but if there are any suggestions there too let them be known...
  9. Mackenzie

    Mackenzie Guest

    Easy big fella

    ...first off, good band, good song; good luck on the tour! I'm hearing a low end smear in your mastered version and the limiter is pumping. I master in Wavelab and make lots of use of the real time frequency analyzer. Having a visual reference can be very helpful--and I recommend using a commercial cd as a reference if it's close to your sound overall, i.e., instrumentation, genre, etc. However I'd rip a track and place it in cubase (with mastering plugins bypassed) so the sound source is the same--so you're not listening to a cut in Windows Media Player and switching to cubase and trying to somehow equate the two. Plus, if you can get an analyzer going, you can equate the sound you like from the reference cd visually, which can tell you a lot--and help compensate for a less-than-stellar listening environment. I'd say you need a multiband compressor or limiter and stomp on the low/low mids, by what I heard--again, this would be obvious visually. And I would recommend you use the automatic release control on the limiter to avoid the pumping. Lastly, I'd agree--lose the stereo widener at this stage; it'll only f**k things up. If you did want to try it, add it across the master bus on mix-down so you have control over the balance; adding it at mastering means you have no control and you'll hear the guitars get louder and the drums go away as you widen the image (usually). Good luck!
  10. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    ya...i didn't use a widener on the master.... i was trying to use the suggestions of the first poster.....with a single channel comp and a set release on the limiter...... i think i like my results better with the multi i'll probably go with that. Ya....the drums got kinda killed in the mastered version.....i either need to mix in more kick, or master it better so that the drums stay punchy....i'll try another one and post it tomorrow morning. thanks for the help


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