mastering at home although you know nothing about it

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by sheld, Nov 25, 2004.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. sheld

    sheld Guest

    These finalizers have great reviews its just so tempting not to get one and try the wizard modes out. so i have three questions

    1 jump straight in and get the tc electronic 96k and learn from the wizard mode

    2 look for something secondhand like the dbx quantum

    3 dont bother its just another mythe so you spend even more on being curious :roll:
  2. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    If you want a robot to master your stuff then give it a try.
    But be carefull, things can easilly get out off hands with robots simply because they are stupid.

    I would say 3.
    You will be much happier in the long run by having someone else mastering your music.

    If you can't keep your hands off then you could go for the secondhand quantum... and probably be happier about than if you got a finalizer(new or secondhand).

    Best Regards,
  3. sheld

    sheld Guest

    I agree it would it be a robot doing the mastering, on the other hand would it be a good starting point in learning how to master?
    are these machines capable of doing the job in the right hands.
  4. taylor

    taylor Guest

    i would go somewhere between 1 and 2.

    i am all for "jumping in"... no better way to learn, eh? just, keep in mind the results will NOT be up to the quality of a professional mastering engineer but you will learn a lot on the long voyage.

    i would definitely skip the finalizer or any other all-in-one-box mastering solution. i dumped my Drawmer 2476 box after a bit to use my much more flexible and better sounding UAD-1 plug ins.

    there is a lot of important gear involved in mastering... from lesser-known, and less-fun things like good power supplies and amps... to DA converters, monitors, proper room acoustics.. etc..

    if you look at the hardware involved in most mastering chains you'll find it often involves:

    (not necessarily in order)
    - a surgical, precise, clean EQ
    - a compressor
    - a "colorful" EQ
    - a limiter

    (this is only a suggestion, there are as many differing opinions on tools as there are mastering engineers)

    so.. you might want to begin here with either hardware or plug ins.. the UAD-1 card and also the Sony Oxford plug ins for the Powercore are excellent and inexpensive starting points that will also give you a lot of use outside of mastering.

    once you get hooked, however, expect to spend thousands on outboard equipment and room treatment. but, you have to start somewhere.

    there are also a couple of excellent books available, bob katz's "mastering audio" and.. another one (forgot the name.. even though i just ordered it myself!)... do a serach for "mastering" on amazon and you'll find them.

    read these forums a lot, too... and begin training your ears.... which, as anyone will tell you, are the most important tools of a mastering enginer..
  5. sheld

    sheld Guest

    Thanks taylor, i can safely say i am no mastering engineer. Ive been into recording for about three years now just experimenting with plugins and various cheap outboard equipment. ive had the oportunity to record various singer songwriters and my results are getting better and better through trial and error.

    for mastering ive been using the waves plugins starting with the maximizer then the c4 compressor then the L1 limiter im still using the presets at the moment but i am starting to get a picture on what mastering does to a finished track. oh and TLA eq

    i agree its just a robot selecting the settings but it makes a big difference to my finished tracks. and i am nowhere near serious enough to get them proffesionally mastered. i was just wondering what peoples views were on these outboard all in one finalizers. If waves plugins can make a big difference to my final mixes what would these have to offer.

    Thanks for the info on acoustic treatment its something im looking into at this point of time, ive have just bought some bass traps and acoustic foam (though not quite sure where to put it yet) im reading everthing available on the net.

    Speaking of software for mastering have you had any experiance with t-racks or am i goin way off the tracs.

    anyway thanks for your info, i think i will just stick around for a while before i make my mind up what to buy (if anything) for my final mixes.
  6. taylor

    taylor Guest

    hi sheld,

    well, for starters, i think you should DEFINITELY pick up some books. get bob katz's book. it's VERY high end, but it covvers a lot of basics that i think you'll benefit from.

    your waves plug ins are decent starters. they're really by no means tools that top end engineers would use, however, if they are making your tracks sound better, then there's nothing wrong with that! i use the C4 as well, but you'll hear a lot of people say that multiband compressors can cause more damage than good, especially if you don't know what you're doing. you might want to consider a decent single-band compressor.

    the L1 is an old standby.. but there are much better software limiters.. the L2, the L3.. the UAD-1 precision limiter... but the L1 is OK.. and, again, if you feel as though it's improving your tracks, then that's what counts.

    T-Racks i wouldn't suggest so much. i used to use it, but soon heard its faults and found much better. you're better off with Waves.

    you migtht also want to check out Izotopes "Ozone".. it's like T-racks... an all-in-one mastering plug in.. words on some the boards are postitive... i'ts got some great features... and i've read some nice things about it... also heard some bad things about it... but i think it's a step up from T-racks.

    room acoustics are one of the most important things in proper mastering... i'd say room treatment, proper monitors and good DA converters are almost more important than good processing hardware. i mean, look at it this way: if you aren't getting an accurate representation of your mix due to crappy monitors, bad room acoustics and crappy converters littered with jitter.. then how can you really accurately make decisions about correcting and mastering your tracks.

    i think you should pick up a book or two.. "the mastering engineers handbook" (that's the book i was talking about in my last post) and "the mixing engineers handbook"... i think you'll really benefit from these books.

    also.. keep practicing! use your tools.. learn your tools.. read about what your next step will be.. and just keep working at it.

    i'm sure a lot of mastering engineers are cringing at my remarks about telling you to keep using your L1.. but, really, even if you don't have the tools and experience of a mastering pro you have to start somewhere and you will learn a lot about your own sound as you go.

  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    The L1 isn't evil... People abusing it MAKE it evil. :twisted: Actually, I think Fletcher would probably agree that the L1 (along with the rest of the L-series limiters) is pure eeeeevillll.

    Montoring chain (including the room) and converters are things that there are absolutely no substitute for.

    It's also important to never master your own mixes, but I digress... :shock:

    Bob's book is a great source though - Not too much on "technique," but a lot on "understanding" about the craft.
  8. sheld

    sheld Guest

  9. sheld

    sheld Guest

    Taylor quoted only the top paragraph (something else i need to work out) :oops:
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Why do you want to do your own mastering. Is it to learn about mastering or is it to save money?

    I have been in proaudio for over 40 years and working as a mastering engineer for 10 of those years. Mastering is not something you just decide to do. Firstly there is a lot to learn about audio in general which you say you have been doing for three years, secondly there is the room and the monitoring equipment that may set you back thousands of dollars thirdly there is the equipment used to do mastering which may also set you back thousands of dollars then there is the experience which is hard to come buy if you are only doing your music and have never done another project before doing your own stuff. (Have you ever been to a mastering session with a pro to see how the real mastering session is handled?)

    This is not to discourage you but simply to state the obvious that to do mastering properly you need the equipment, the room and the experience and above all - the time to learn. If this is a project that is ready for mastering then I have to assume that it is ready for production once the mastering is done. If you want to take a year or more to learn the craft and techniques of mastering before you tackle your own project then go for it. If you think that you are going to buy an all in one box or some piece of software like Ozone and thereby be able to master after spending a couple of hours on learning the basics then you are dreaming.

    Reading good books on the subject is a good way to start but actually being at a pro mastering session would be an even better place to start. I can read all I want to about baseball but until I get to see a real baseball game I will not have the foggiest notion of how the game is really played and until I get my hands on the ball and or bat will not have the skills necessary to actually play baseball and then there are the YEARS necessary to become a good player.

    I wish you well on your quest to learn mastering but if this current project needs to be mastered soon you should consider using a pro. Also before doing your own mastering I would suggest going to a "real" mastering session before you attempt to do your own.

    Best of luck.
  11. sheld

    sheld Guest

    Yes i can appreciate what you are saying, i suppose buying an all in one unit with presets cant even come close to what a mastering session with a pro engineer could do, i was just simply asking if anyone has had any experiance with these IZERS and would it be a good place to start on getting to know what mastering can do to finished tracks.

  12. zumbido

    zumbido Guest


    Try Har-Bal.

    I've had GREAT results with this PC software.

    It's $99. You get to try it out for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.

    It works.

    The so-called pros will scoff at this. But what could be expected?
  13. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    Hey, try it all. Just give yourself plenty of lead time so you can explore all sorts of options & can take it to a pro if your experiments don't work out.

    My advise would be to send one track to a person with a good track record just to see what can be done.

    Listen with "ears wide open" on a variety of systems. Try doing it yourself. See what you come up with. Be honest & detached in your evaluations.

    Good luck!

  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    Re: HarBal

    It must be nice to have a $99 plugin solve all of your problems. My printer that I use to print out the analyzation sheet cost more than that. But what do I know. When I was 12, I used to think that my radioshack speakers sounded great.
  15. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    Re: HarBal

    Wow... I have to buy that plug.... and those speakers to go with it.
    I might as well get the whole package!!:cool: :lol:

    When I was 12 I listened to LP's on my fathers 70' stereo... it sounded good to my ears, and not like $*^t as my first "highly" recomended monitors did.

    Best Regards,
  16. wiz1der

    wiz1der Guest

    Re: HarBal

    I don't know what year you were born, but when i was 12 my mach one's from radioshack DID sound great!!
  17. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    They sure did get loud, but I wouldn't say great. I find that memories always sound better than reality.
  18. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    Yes, and the mid horns in my dad's system was blown!!
    So indeed great sound it was :?
    I have a theory that the woofer was cut off high and gentle in the upper mids... he he, look at my excuses!

    Maybe it had good vibrations?... :cool: :lol:

    Best Regards
  19. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    Jun 5, 2004
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Home Page:
    learning to master would be a good thing. We need good mastering engineers for the future generatino of engineers. I can't stand the studios that use T-racks and Ozone and charge hefty fees. If you want to learn read posts on this forum and learn that way. Also PICK UP THE FREE DEMO OF THE SONALKSIS COMPRESSOR AND EQ!!!! you will need them for accurate and surgical operations in your songs.
  20. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003

    When do we see some pic's of your studio?

    Best regards

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