Recently recorded a punk / metal album. The album has the feel of an old-school punk band but also has a real metal type sound with big guitar and tight drums. It's mainly me on instruments, with special guests
This album was recorded on my PC using Logic and a Q10 as well as a wide variety of medium grade microphones. The actual tracking was done very well, with healthy levels, minimal clipping and very minimal background noise.
I have started to master the album but have not really concentrated on mastering it yet. I am just basically playing around with a few techniques and letting my ears get used to it for a few days just to hear different possibilities.
The sound coming straight off the mixes is rather tight and I am actually pretty satisfied with the overall "sound" of the music, but I know that there are definitely mastering techniques that could bring out more intensity and clarity to the instruments.
I know basically what I am looking for: A tight sounding recording with a solid and precise bottom end and "air" in the high end that doesn't make it feel "canned." I'd like this album to sound somewhere near System of a Down or Slipnot type production but I know it will not be as loud or good as that. I'd like somewhere close to a pro sound level.
The Mastering tools I currently have in my arsenal include:
C3 Multiband Comp, Endorphin, SlimShowSlider Linear Phase Graphic Eq's versions 1 and 2, as well as Logic Audio's built-in plugins (the multicompressor isn't too bad) and I also have Cooledit Pro 2.0 which has some useful tools like Filter, Eq and a Hard Limiter. I'm sure you are all aware of these tools moreso than I am.
If there are any other freeware mastering tools that you think I could benefit from, let me know. I would even consider spending some money on a plug if it was totally a useful tool.
I know that mastering each song will take a lot of listening, tweaking and reading, that's no problem...I have patience. And, I know there is no "easy answer" to mastering, that it all comes down to what is right for each individual song.
I'm not going to profess to being a master at mastering, but I do know some of the basics, most of the terminology and some of the principals of compression, limiting, reverb, eq, enhancers, etc.
But, what I am asking is pretty simple, and it is mainly out of interest in learning that I ask, I am not necessarily looking for an "easy answer" but moreso asking as a basis to learn from. I have read mastering articles up the YIN YANG but they are fairly "generic" and don't give me real world answers that apply directly to my song.
OK Finally, here is my direct question: I just want to know, basically, what is the general technique that you might use on my songs to give it a decent master, using the freeware and purchased software that I mentioned above.
Here is an example of a couple of the basic mixes, of course they may have to be tweaked as well. I'm not asking for "easy answers" for each song, but more just some general theories and philosophies that I can use on the album.
Oh ya, I have no doubts that this will not turn out to be a "major label" quality recording. I just want to master it lightly so that it at least sounds fairly "normal" when we give them out at gigs and stuff.
I'm actually really interested in what you guys will say about this. Oh sure, I could put the Endorphin on and turn the level up to 99% and call it a day, but that's not what it's about it, is it? If you guys say "your mixes suck, go back and fix them" then that's what's I'm missing. If you say "probably just a bit of eq will help that music" then i'll try tweaking in a bit of eq. I'm just looking for general hints and suggestions to think about, not how to master each individual song, because there are 30 songs on the albuM!