Tips on NOT rushing the song

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Ben Godin, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    Hey i was reading John's (Massive Mastering) process of mastering the song and i realized that i was rushing the song because i was done in approx 25 min. I really need to slow down and listen, does or has anyone else expirienced this and if so how do you NOT rush the song, i just can't seem to stand listening to the same thing over and over, i just listen to it twice, take some mental notes on what is good and what is not, and 15 min later im done. Its not that my outcome is bad, its just that i think that i can benefit from slowing down... any tips here?
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Ben - I don't think it's bad to work quickly - Once you get to familiar with a tune, that's where the objectivity gets lost.

    I probably average between 20 & 30 minutes on any given track. On this one (a rather long song), just listening to it twice took 20 minutes. Taking additional notes another 10 or 15, leaving 20 or 25 minutes to actually get the tweaking done.

    It's not at all uncommon to turn on a tune, listen to the first verse (or if in a DAW, just "jump around" the track to check for consistency) and just "guess" at what the settings should be to finish it. I do this a lot. I'll set up the chain and make the "ballpark" adjustments without the tune actually playing. Then, I'll start playback from the top. If it sounds right, I *might* tweak it a little more, but I might leave it alone. First impressions tend to be the right impressions in many cases. Once you start overthinking and "micro-tweaking" too much, you can wind up with a mess really fast.

    Thank goodness on stuff like this (that sounds pretty nice in the first place and just needs some polish) it's fairly easy to just mentally *visualize* what the final product should sound like.
  3. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Are we talking about solo work or attended sessions?
    I think first impressions are good, but i also find myself evaluating my first impresion in my head before turning the knobs or choosing a unit.

    I like to simplify things and I often get the best results by cutting off one unit in the choosen signal chain and make up* for it by adjusting the rest of the chain.

    Less units in the chain means more fidelity and puts you in more "direct contact" with the music.

    *I doesn't see it as a make up really, you are removing the fault in the chain. The right word should be correcting.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Henrik - I'm actually referring to MY first impression after setting up the chain and ballpark settings.

    I try to listen for a short time (with NO processing), "visualize" what the final product "should" sound like, then stop it and set up the chain (with the settings I *think* will work) without listening to it. When I hit PLAY again, I just tweak it quickly and then actually LISTEN to it from the start with those settings in place.

    That way, I'm getting MY first *real* impression from something that's close to being finished - If my settings worked...

    Of course, not every mix is like this, but I find myself doing this a lot with mixes that sound pretty nice from the start.

    But basically, I think we're on the same wavelength here - Assess, visualize, decide, execute, confirm.
  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I personally don't work this way. At the start of a project I hop through the whole thing to get a idea of what is what. i then take the best mix and I listen to it again. I then hop around again. This gets me into the vide of the project, unlearn what's in my head. once I tune my ears to what I have, I tweek the best song for a while. This gives me an idea of where it can go and where it shouldn't go. It also allows me to unlock the key to the project. Every project has a key, Once I find the combination, everything else moves quickly. But I can spend up to one hour on the first song.
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I too like to listen to many cuts off the album to see what "surprises" maybe lurking in some of the tunes. I don't spend a great deal of time on any one song when I am listening but kind of do a quick quick listen to each one. Then I ask the client which one he wants to start on (if it is an attended session) or if I am doing it without a client I start on what I think will be the hardest song to master. Most cuts take about 30 to 45 minutes to master but I have worked longer and shorter depending on the quality of the incoming material.

    Hope this helps.
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I should probably specify that when working on a project, I tend to work in a similar fasion as Thomas and Michael (and I would think most M.E.'s in general). I'll bounce around and try to roughly assess the project as a whole, then start concentrating on it track by track. Didn't want to give the wrong impression there...

    My comments are generally a single-track approach, but as a matter of course, taking the entire project into consideration.

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