Getting back into Mastering ...Kinda..

LarryQualm2

Chuck
Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Location
Metro-Detroit, MI
I was fooling around with mastering again with some new gear and I took on this little rap snippet. Technically it was not ready to be mastered but I wanted to chomp on it anyway. I also did this with headphones so my reference is probably a little off.

What I did EQ wise..

The piano is dark and the high-hat bright. So in M/S I brightened up the side channels for the piano. As a result the high-hat got a little harsh so I used a HP limiter to soften these peaks a bit. The male vocal was a little woofy so I removed some of that too. The rest was just some regular EQ adjustments with with a high-shelf lift for some air at 15K. Some reverb was used to add a least a minute amount of space since it was dry to no end.

Also, I can tell his mic's are a bit tinny and or his converters are not that good. This unfortunately got a little enhanced when I removed the woof from the male vocal.

This was really ..playtime, but I know there are some great ears here that can certainly give me the right criticism.

Thanks
-Chuck


 

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  • mst.mp3
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pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
Hey, thanks for sharing.
I'm not at the studio, but I can say it sounds ok on earbuds.
I don't like the hi-hat, I feel it takes too much space while not adding much of rithme support.
If you must have a percussion with that kind of perfo, I'd use a tambourine, a shaker or tabassa, something less agressive... (personal taste of course)
 

LarryQualm2

Chuck
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Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Location
Metro-Detroit, MI
Thanks, PC. I appreciate your input. I completely agree on the high-hat - a tambourine would be MUCH nicer!

I noticed on my phone (strangely) that it seemed a few db too loud. Can you let me know what you think about this later too?

Always a pleasure getting the opinions of you "core" guys here. Thanks!
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
The level seems fine, but it depends on the other songs of the album and what it is aimed at. Streaming, video or CD calls for different levels.
Your master turns around -13db LUFS. Good for streamin ;)

As for the master, I find it a bit bass heavy.. but it sounds ok.. (again the HH)
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
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Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
on my computer speakers it sounds overly bright in the 2-5k range, and the hi hat/tamborine is no bueno. maybe a little excessively loud too? i could see where a subtle tape sim like Slate vtm could slightly round the track out more. id like to hear the song sound more scooped. considering it was done with headphones its not bad. its a good song. id also like to here some dynamic shifts like maybe a fade in and fade out, it seems like volume/dynamically its on 10 the entire time. just my 2 cents.
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Here 'tis.

- Took away some of the "drive".
- Added some more dynamic compression.
- Removed some harsh sounds.
- Cut low end.

Seems to have more air too.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i3arrk2kqjistoe/mst.wav?dl=0

Thanks, fellas.
-Chuck

i think theres a significant improvement overall. its sounds more 'there' more rounded and real. less strident. i feel like the mix shines through now. my only complaint is that hi hat/shaker. in Samplitude and [adobe audition i think] you can use spectral editing to tone down that instruments frequency very transparently, and artifact free, even withing the stereo mixdown. samplitude is sequoias little brother, sequoia being the daw of choice for ME's like Bob Katz. you could maybe ask the mixer to just turn it down or off, switch it to a more pleasing sample, or change the sound to something else. i dont think it really needs anything there, the vocals and paino do quite well to carry the momentum. it worked for adele [someone like you it just 4 tracks total]... you might be able to fix it in the 2-track with a transparent multi-band compressor like the fabfliter one, or maybe by side chaining, or automating an eq cut on and off each time it hits.

the end is kind of abrubt. id either fade it out, or add some sort of 'tape stop' effect, or maybe a reverb swell, or something, to make the ending a feature, as opposed to it sounds like the waveform just ends without a fade, or someone pulled the needle up on the record.

overall its much better, and i feel like its nice and dramatic now, without being overdone. good work i say.
 

LarryQualm2

Chuck
Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Location
Metro-Detroit, MI
Thanks again, kmetal - very much appreciate the input. As you can see the advice here is materializing into sonic improvements and is testament to yours and PC's knowledge and experience. Very cool.

I'm going to try to hit those frequencies with a multi-band compressor as you say. (It certainly needs taming and as you said should really not be there as the ideal instrument.)

A few things I can add are that it's just a snippet and I didn't record or mix it. I'm just doing the final master when it's actually completed. Either way the points you make regarding those things are true, none the less and they could end up being my problem anyway.

I think I have one more run I'd like to do for you to hear that will include your multi-band suggestion.

-Chuck
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
my honest opinion is that most people will like the last version best. i tend to like the one previous to it better. it sounds more 'pretty' to me. the last one gets perhaps a little strident, even though some of the details are brought out a bit more. i know bringing up the volume is going to do this, so i wonder if perhaps doing both volume hike and vocal level hike was perhaps too much. again its probably just me. its better to have the vocals a little high than a little low on a song like this, but theres something about the previous one that just sounds 'right' to me.

good job w the hi hat though. it only ruins the intro now, not the rest of it lol :)

again, im listening on a $10 set of computer speakers, plugged into a laptop headphone jack, so i could be off the mark.
 

LarryQualm2

Chuck
Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Location
Metro-Detroit, MI
You know the funny thing kmetal is that I have a vague feeling when I put the file up of these things and you just confirm it every time. :LOL:

I think you didn't like the limiter setting ..it was too hot. I brought this down where it should be, I think. I really like the "in your face" vocals here. I also removed a hair or verb. I think this is like the one you favored but more up front and a little louder.

I won't keep you with doing this over and over again. This will be it and I thank you guys much for you help.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/w6iht597yvae7ff/mstfnl.wav?dl=0

-Chuck
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
there ya go chuck, this is the most well rounded one yet. sounds like a finished product to me. bag it, tag it, and sell it at the store. Nice work. until next time sir!

-kyle
 
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