What kind of processors do you use on your master bus?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by hxckid88, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    I'm not in a professional studio here, I am just doing "in the box" mixing at home. From what I've learned from friends, teachers, and being in professional studios, you should do a couple things when bouncing, mixing down to tape/2-track etc.

    At home, I keep my recordings in 24bit/44.1khz and then I dither on my export out to 16 bit. Not only that (in reference to plug-ins), I insert an EQ (usually to filter out lows and add a little brightness or notch out frequencies I dont like in the mix), stereo compressor to tighten up the entire mix, and a limiter on its way out.

    Theres no "correct" way to do anything... but said ways have certain effects that are more pleasing to the ear. Whether using professional outboard gear or plug ins, what do you like to use on your master stereo bus and what should you use? And I'm really not looking for a "mastering at home and sending unmastered mixes to a mastering engineer" argument. Please understand what I am trying to accomplish! Thanks everyoooone!

    =)
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, that's a loaded question.

    Personally I prefer not to put anything across my stereo mixing bus. Many folks tell me my mixes already sound mastered. They're not as loud however as other notable well mastered CDs frequently sound. So for that, I'll do a little "DAW" mastering in the box, for my clients that don't want to pay for a mastering engineer. But the overall integrity of the mix isn't modified that much. Sometimes a simple little normalization is all that's required. Other times, I might add some additional equalization, then some broadband compression, then some more equalization, then some multiband limiter to finish things off in software. But that's usually when I get other tracks handed to me that I'll pile up all that stuff. The above also applies to rockers that care more whether their CD is as loud as Metallica's as opposed to the integrity of the overall sound. Go figure? It's not like everything is heard on FM radio anymore much less AM. I think streaming audio sounds pretty awful? How about you? So what's with that eh? It sounds like everything is underwater.

    Drowning in bad sound
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  3. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    Thanks for that advice. And yes, as a "rocker", I've been sucked into the trend! I've made great mixes with TINY compression and solid EQ and not much at all... and the first things my friends or listeners say is, "Why isn't it loud?" of course, given their lack of audio knowledge...

    Streaming audio does make me sad. All of my songs on myspace sound miserable it's almost embarrassing,

    One thing Im curious about that you touched on is EQing, compressing, and EQing again. What do you usually intend to accomplish with doing that? My ears have found if I filter off the lows and notch out muddy mids (for metal/rock), and then compress, it sounds SUPER punchy and doesn't need alot of bass at all really. (It's all in the kick drum and compressed guitars).

    Basically I'm just trying different approaches to the final stage of my mixing. KEEP EM COMIN'!
     
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Post them on Soundclick, then.

    Like I do.

    Put a link on your MySpace page to your Soundclick page.

    MySpace players suck!

    Any page that automatically plays music when you visit it should be destroyed! Pages like that sucked in the 90's and they still suck today!
    If I'm really looking to listen to someone else's crappy music, I'll gladly spend my time searching the page for a link...
    And another thing, any page that throws up some lame ass video, photo album, etc. that I've gotta wait through, or has the video window with a link or button that I have to waste more than 250ms searching for, so I can Skip It, really ticks me off.
    Marketing folks beware, you'll always lose my business if your site contains either one!

    Oh, yeah, Waves L1 on the mix bus ITB.

    Nothing when mixing analog, but then again, outside of live sound, I haven't mixed OTB in years...

    :wink:
     
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I don't mix much anymore - But it's pretty rare that the Vari-Mu isn't across the main bus when I am (from the start - not added later).
     
  6. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    AGREED. haha. Might have to try out Soundclick, because I hate how they give you a 6MB limit on myspace. I had a 8 minute song at probably 60MB .wav file and do you know what quality I had to export that as?! Yay for compression right? Jeebus.

    Always hear good things about waves, just never really had the money to invest in some plug in packages.

    Speaking of analog, coming right out of a Neve onto tape sounds amazing. I wish digital sounded that amazing sometimes haha. But then again... I should just buy some Neve Pre-amps!
     
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    There's an interesting idea...a compressor/limiter/EQ on the mains at a live setup. Is it done? (EQ speaks for itself actually).
     
  8. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    *shrug* I haven't done much live sound, although speaking of, I am assisting my friend at a live show next weekend.
     
  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Yes, I have a Waves96 card in my DM2K specifically for that purpose.

    Many of today's digital crossovers contain comps and limiters in their settings. BSS, XTA, etc...

    http://www.bssaudio.com/productpg.php?product_id=4

    http://www.xta.uk.com/products-dp226.html
     
  10. OMM

    OMM Active Member

    HEY, YESTERDAY WAS MY FIRST TIME ON THIS FORUM, AND I READ THIS ENTIRE POST.
    I HAVE A VERY SUCCESSFUL ONLINE MIXING AND MASTERING BUSINESS, AND WORK IN SEVERAL STUDIOS USING BOTH HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE (TUBE TECH, WAVES BCL, SADIE, WAVES MERCURY)
    I WILL ONLY TELL YOU THAT I, AND MOST OF THE TOP MASTERING STUDIOS IN THE WORLD REQUIRE "NO COMPRESSION OR LIMITING ON THE STEREO MASTER MIX CHANNELS, AND A MIX DONE AT -4 TO -5 DB".
    THIS IS THE STANDARD SINCE YEARS.
     
  11. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Welcome to RO!

    capslockor6.jpg

    Thanks!
     
  12. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    THANKS BENt, YOU DO A HELL OF A JOB AROUND ... HEAR!!!!
     
  13. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    THANKEE-SAI, SpAcE!!!!!!
     
  14. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    LOL JESUS I FEEL LIKE WE'RE AT A CONCERT AND CAN'T HEAR EACHOTHER OR SOMETHING.

    But seriously, if I were to send my mixes to a mastering engineer I would not put anything on the stereo bus. Because... Thats what a mastering engineer does right? haha. But yeah, I'm wondering about my own recordings and friends recordings, and in the box mixing/mastering!
     
  15. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I like to add a limiter, and softly limit the transients. Oome times I like to string two compressors together. It truly depends on what type of music I am doing.
    I only limit to grab transients. I use the compressor chain if I feel the songs needs a little excitement. I am still just experimenting. I have yet to settle on one technique.

    Also I have a bit of an issue with making the vocals sound brighter then the rest of the mix, so I feel I am having this problem I use less boosting on the vocal channel and give the master a little high end bump.
     
  16. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    So i listened to the Black Album, and it was quiet as $*^t!=)
     
  17. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Hi,
    I usually stack a few things across the 2-bus. One thing that I find works very nicely there is multiband stereo expansion. I get a really nice wide spread on the highs without muddying up the lows that way. I multiband compress, limit, sometimes add verb, use dynamic enhancing... all of it. High pass, low pass, EQ's... hahaha. There is definitely something to be said for just leaving everything untouched (which I prefer), but from what I hear of modern music, it sounds like everything is extremely processed to me. Plus I don't have a ton of top notch mics and pre's here so I'm sure that has something to do with my processing habits. On the flip side, sometimes I'll just setup a few mics in the room and record the entire band to half track reel to reel with no effects on anything, if I can convince the band that it's a good idea that is. :)
     
  18. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The "Black" album was plenty loud - Just a whisker too loud.

    The current stuff is beyond mere ridicule.
     
  19. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    +100
     
  20. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'm actually wrecking an otherwise perfectly decent mix right now. :-?
     

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