Mastering for Dummies Checklist?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Adrenaline, Oct 25, 2001.

  1. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline Active Member

    Oct 25, 2001
    What up,

    look, a friend of mine suggested that i record all my traks under 0db until i get to the mastering stage..What do you think? And can anybody out there give me a version of their mastering checklist in 2500 words or less :) ?
  2. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    If you're at 0dbfs (digital) you will have no headroom to boost EQ. It will distort. Granted you don't want to do large boosts on mastering, but you should still leave a little room.

    As far as a mastering checklist. My first rule is that of a doctor "First do no harm!" I try to bring things out that might seem lost and soften things that are sticking out in a funny way. Then of course make it bigger, without making it sound like distorted/mashed crap.

    My $.02
  3. joe lambert

    joe lambert Active Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:

    I'm new to the moderator thing so I thought I would just jump in head first.

    First thing 0db digital, or anolog. If your recording to a digital device (my guess is you are) than 0db is your ceiling. Digital does not compress in a nice way when hit hard like anolog does. With the generally low noise floor of digital i'ts not necessarry and actually can be very nasty sounding when you go to hot.

    If your mixing, pay attention to the relative volume of your mix (the dynamic range) how it feels. Do the intruments gel together? Can you hear everything at a low volume? Is there a sense of space? This is more important than your peak level. With that said, keep the peaks under zero as to not add distortion. As a mastering engineer it's not hard to make a record loud. It is hard to get rid of digital distortion. I often get dat tapes that are crushed volume wise. DONT DO IT!! This actually starts to make your stereo image cave in. And just generally makes everything thin.

    If your working with anolog let me know and I can give you a rundown on that. I hope this helps and I'll try to get to the 2nd part of your question next time.

    Joe Lambert
  4. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline Active Member

    Oct 25, 2001
    Here's what i'm using.

    I've got a home built PC with a Soundblaster platinum soundcard. The PC holds 40Gigs ( i don't know if that matters)The recording program i'm using is the newest version of samplitude. To master I usually use TRacks or Wavelab amdI've got a ton of plug ins. I'm just trying to get the best results from the little bit of equipment i've got from the mix to the mastering programs. Anybit of input would help dramatically.Holla. Thanx
  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    When I first starting Mastering on my computer I imported some files from a commercial CD into wavelab and looked at the waveform levels to get a gauge as to where I should be working in as far as levels and so forth. Listening and looking at that I learned how to sort of "match" what I saw from the commercial CD. From there it's practice. We can give you all the tips and hints and levels to check out but you have to know what's missing and what not to add. It's sort of like David Gilmoure's solo's....he knows when NOT to play!!
    Listen to some CD's that are the same style as the songs you are working on and listen to them thru the same output as you are when mastering. A soundblaster might not have the dynamic range so you have to learn to compensate for that as well. Mastering is an art that takes time to understand and perfect.
    my $.02 worth
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