Very uninformed question about mastering...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by TheAngryFedora, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. Exactly how would I master something after recording it with a DAW and finalizing a CD? I know that I can use the software that I have for that (Logic express 7), but I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing here. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    EQ and compress and junk until it sounds good. Compare to other CDs you like. That's about the best answer you will get. These dudes here that master for a living will not be able to tell you how to properly master your stuff in a little paragraph on a messageboard. Especially without hearing the stuff. Just do your best to make it sound good or send it to a professional who will do it right. If there was an easy answer, the mastering guys would be out of business.
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I just posted to a similar question on another forum yesterday - I think this goes to the core of a widespread misunderstand of the "sweetening" portion of the mastering process...

    The original post was about establishing a "default" processing chain. This might not be right on target, but I'll post it here in case it applies well -

    ** This is also the main reason why mastering one's own mixes can be self-defeating... If the mix isn't how you imagined it to sound when you mixed it that way, why did you mix it that way?
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    First you have to understand the goal of mastering. The goal of mastering "used" to be making the mix translate properly on the delivery medium as close as possible to the original. This is still the case with most of the high profile mixers. Really not much "has" to be done other than creating a little continuity between tracks and making sure that everything is level matched. Over the last 10 years as projects were being completed in less that ideal conditions with engineers that maybe aren't even engineers, mastering has become where the project is "saved". Ironically, the projects that need to be saved, are the ones that don't have the money to save them. One day you are playing guitar, the next day you are mixing, then you're the mastering engineer. The problem with this is 1) you are most likely creating a project from start to finish in less than acceptable conditions. The tracking is not done in a tracking room, the mixing is not done in a mixing room and the mastering is done in the same room as tracking and mixing. Just like in the US of A, there needs to be 3 branches of government to check and balance each other. problems during tracking can be checking during mixing as the room is designed for this. Any problems during mixing that weren't caught do to the limitations of the room can be addressed during mastering. 2) having the same person do all of these is like asking someone if they think they are attractive. There is too much baggage to objectively answer the question. When you listen to something that you wrote, played, recorded, and mixed. You most likely have more baggage than a Louis Vuitton warehouse. You probably can't listen to the song and not hear the bad chord you remembered playing, or that sentence that doesn't really work.

    There are so many factors involved in correcting certain things to make a project sound better. Just hearing what your mixes CAN sound like as opposed to WHAT they sound like can be a huge learning step. I know most guys that do their own mastering is due to money. So why not hire a great mastering engineer to do one song. This can be your reference for the rest of the project. You can use this as your benchmark to try to achieve for the rest of the project.
  5. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Hey now that is an awesome idear :!:
    :cool: (thumbs up)
  6. axel

    axel Guest

    yepp, michael is a nice dude! :p
  7. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Michael is an awesome dude!
  8. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Ok, now convince the wome(a)n in my life of it. Ahh who cares if there's more than one, they never visit here anyways.

    Here's another example:

    I have a couple of clients that have started working on projects for money. they hired me for some pocket change to listen to their mixes and give them real world advice on creating better mixes. normally I will take a listen for nothing but this is more of a schooling kind of thing. 3 weeks ago, one brought in a handful of mixes they were working on. I listened down and having been an mixer for awhile, I knew what was going on. i'll share some common problems mixes have and the causes. 1) screwy monitors. I don't care what anyone says, mackie monitors suck. 9/10 times i can pick a mackie monitor mix out of a crowd. Stop using them and get better monitors.
    2) move the monitors back.
    get some air between you and your monitors. i don't care how small your room is, you can find a way to get them off of your head. don't spread them too wide or too narrow either. If you can get at least 6 feet from your monitors, I'll bet you the change in my right pocket that your mixes will be better.
    3) Stop referencing your mixes on your stereo upstairs and making corrections. I know this sound contrary to what others have told you. but it's much easier to correct a mix that is consistent. the minute you start referencing on other screwed up systems, the more trouble you'll find yourself in. I find it's better to stick with 1 system and make it sound great on that. If there is something a little off with that system, it's more likely going to be a global problem and correctable. When you listen on your bose system upstairs, you change this or raise that and now you've got a mix where the bass sits right but everything else is out of balance. Or the vocal is a little buried so you bring it up and now it's out of place not thinking that maybe it's just a midrange dip on the home system or visa versa.

    Once he corrected these 3 things, the whole world opened up. Yesterday I listened to his revised mixes and the difference was incredible. he had a big smile on his face too. sure there were some problems with the mixes but they were correctable and global. A little nip here and tuck there and he had something that sounded like a record.
  9. I can see that. Thanks so much for the advice. I'll keep it in mind.
  10. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Feel free to print out this thread and show it to them!
    I'm sure they will go soft in their legs and surrender to your awesomeness.
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Still waiting to go to Denmark where the real women live.

    how's the UK? Sick of boiled meat and fish and chips yet?
  12. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Well, then you are in for a chock!
    They might look pretty and talk like they are experienced, but that's about it. No commitment what so ever!

    Thanks, Brighton is great.
    ...I think it was in the 80'ties they started to explore other kinds of food than that.

  13. britbrian

    britbrian Guest

    Another Brightonian!... How long have you been here?
  14. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    I've been a Brightonian for over a month now.
    You are welcome to email me at corrected)
  15. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Ain't it the truth ! :wink:

    A good part of the projects we get, are there to be "saved". I can tell in 10 seconds or less whether it's a polish job or a "rescue" job. We should charge double for those "rescue" jobs... but not less for the high gloss polish jobs :p

    As usual Mikey... right on target. 8)
  16. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Im REALLY!..REALLY! impressed with youre studio--------oh--what i would give to take a flight to NYC just for the sole purpose of having the pleasure of meeting you and stepping foot on youre studio.
    The statements youve just made about monitors,what system to listen to youre mixs, as far as refrence etc......are questions that Ive been pondering on for some time now.....everything youve just mentioned....are the answers to my questions.
    Youve just given me a swift kick in the ass to keep going on.
    Everything youve just mentioned,(chicken skin all over)is the approach Ive been taking and am comming up with much-much better results------------its almost seems like Ive actually learned how to listen all over again.
    I dont have all the gear needed for real mastering,nor the expierence,but I.ll give it all I have.
    Ive actually taken the time to find the shityest cd player---no eq,no dynamic bass boosters etc...---------play my mix through it----------and if it sounds good......I know Im in the right direction.
    Regards Mike------------------Thanks so much.

  17. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    around here, he's known as Jedi Fossenkemper ! :wink:
  18. gootnBFF420

    gootnBFF420 Guest

    question about mastering plug-ins....

    I am using a digi002 and a powermac G4 as my primary DAW(and Reason for sequencing of course), but what is the best set of mastering plug-ins that I can get that are RTAS? I prefer to stay away from analog stuff(aside from a synthesizer like the Andromeda or guitar effects and a tube amp) because I am in the navy, and whatdoyaknow, sailors go out on ships and ships go out to sea(big surprise right?). Anyway, what are the best plugins for mastering(how does maxim compare to the VST BBE sonic maximizer for instance), or as far as compression and EQ, how are the plug-ins that come with pro tools?
  19. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    You might demo the Waves Mastering Bundle ... very good plugins... but they are CPU hogs... might need more RAM for your G4. 8)
  20. poolio

    poolio Guest

    And another one here!

    Do any of you guys know of any prog. room workspaces going aroung here or Hove? I've been looking for months and the London commute is getting me down!

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