Mastering software

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by tsha57, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. tsha57

    tsha57 Guest

    I have three Rap/Pop songs that I recorded and mixed at my home studio... I will also have to master these songs because we cannot afford to take them to a professional. I want to make sure that I the finished products have a consistant feel so the listeners ears will not have to reajust when they go to the next track. Although everything was recorded on the same gear I used different sequencers and generators for each song which gives them a slightly different sound. Is it possible to make the sound consistent using one mastering tool for each or should I consider using a different app for each song? I know that these is a very vague question but I am just wondering if anyone has come across a similar situation and what they did.
    I currently have waves mastering bundle and izotope ozone as my tools.
    I would appreciate any suggestions.
  2. chrisperra

    chrisperra Active Member

    Oct 24, 2002
    do you have a mastering program like wavelab or soundforge?

    chris perra
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    The tools you use, as long as you're in the Waves bundle and above camp, are a lot lot lot lot lot less important than the speakers and room.

    And also a lot less important than doing the mastering somewhere other than where you mixed .

    Other than that, no, you usually don't need to use different tools, or sets of tools, to master different songs. You always need to use different settings.
  4. tsha57

    tsha57 Guest

    I do have wavelab... I also track in nuendo 1.61. Are these toolsadequate? Should I look to buy more tools?

    Jon Best,
    I do like waves programs quite a bit although I feel very comfortable using ozone. Where would ozone rank as far as mastering tools are concerned?
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    If you know what it is you want, and you know what it is each song needs, and you know what tools and how to use them to get what you want, then you now know what it is you need to do.

    That is pretty much how mastering works and what mastering engineers do. The more experience you have the better you are, or will be, at doing all those things.
  6. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    I've never used ozone, but the people I know that have used it, and have also used more mastering oriented tools, seem to give it fairly lukewarm reviews.

    If your monitoring is up to par, you will be able to hear the difference between all the tools at your disposal, and use the appropriate one- just in plugins, I've got half a dozen EQ's I might use to, say, do a narrow cut in the mids, or add a couple dB of top. They're all different, and one is usually 'righter' than the others.

    If your monitoring is not up to par, and you can't really tell the difference between the tools at your disposal, then you're hosed from the get-go AFA mastering.
  7. chrisperra

    chrisperra Active Member

    Oct 24, 2002
    i use wavelab as well. i wouldn't really use nuendo for mastering even thoug you can use it on the way out final 2-bus

    wavelab is a great program and with the waves and isotope ozone you can do many things.

    you probably won't get results as good as if you sent it to a pro mastering house but, you can get closer to a finished product with what you have.

    my advice is to use the less is more aproach, don't do anything drastic, daw plug ins are not as forgiving as top of the line analog gear.

    jon best's advice is paramount as well. if you play 10 different "store bought" albums on your system and don't hear a radical difference in space, highs, mids low ect. mastering could be tough.

    how drastic a difference is there from song to song?

    chris perra
  8. tsha57

    tsha57 Guest


    The difference is not really that drastic... the problem is that I know there is a difference because the songs were made using different sequencing software(Reason/FruityLoops)... I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times.
    Mastering is still relatively new to me so forgive me if I ask dumb questions.
    Guys... I really appreciate all of the advise you have given me... feel free to ask more questions or give more suggestions.
    I have been recording and mixing for about seven years now and I must say that this is the most informative and helpful website like this that I have come across.
    Keep up the good work guys.
  9. chrisperra

    chrisperra Active Member

    Oct 24, 2002
    it sounds like you just need a bit of eq and leveling, isotope can do all of it so can the waves.
    either one if used too heavily can wreck tings. what kind of monitors do you have?

    chris perra
  10. The above statement rings so true. Such simple words, well chosen and placed. Basic tenet in life and applicable for most, if not all, professions. Just what the doctor ordered for folks trying understand the "art of mastering". Kudos!!!
  11. tsha57

    tsha57 Guest

    That is actually a good question... I am just using my home stereo speakers right now. I have tried to make my sound setup as un colored as possible... but there's really no easy way for me to tell how much my speakers are coloring the sound.
    What types of monitors would you recommend? I would prefer powered monitors. Keep in mind that I am on a tight budget.
  12. Tight budget? I highly recommend the Yorkville YSMP1'S. Do the google thang', investigate, see the reviews, and see for yourself. 400 bucks and you can get any job done with confidence. ---Lee
  13. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    I'm not sure it makes sense to trade in some speakers that you probably know fairly well for some speakers that you *don't* know very well, if you're talking about spending a few hundred bucks. Given a good room (and that is taking a shitload for granted), there's this sort of 'worth upgrading plateau' up around $1K-1200 that includes the Mackies, the Haflers, the JBL's, and some other choices. Then there's kind of a hole, and you get into speakers that are really worth using for good mastering, starting in the $5K range.

    But back to the good room- in a pinch, I would MUCH rather have my $400 combination of NHT Super Ones and an Adcom 535 (currently doing house duty) in a really neutral, easy to work in room, than my Questeds in a crappy one.

    So, if you understand your speakers pretty well, and you have not spent a lot of time and effort on the room, then I think the best investment you could possibly make would be a few months or a year learning about the basics of acoustics. Save money the whole time. Then lay out a plan for the room, and make the room better and better until it's good enough that you can't stand your speakers. Then, spend a few months finding the set of speakers in your budget that fits you the best, buy them, and never worry about it again.

    Until then, do a few things as far as mastering is concerned. If something is important, send it out. If it's not, then pay someone to do one song really well, and spend a few weeks with the tools you have trying to get the other ones to match it.

    The absolute, most important, critical thing you could possibly have is knowledge and experience. So start building it now. At some point, you will reach the full potential of the gear you have, and it will start to piss you off. *That* is when you spend money on gear.
  14. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Study your wavelab program. It's really pretty good and you'll be able to do quite a bit with it very, very quickly once you overcome the learning curve. It is built for the needs you are expressing that you have. Use it for your amature pre-mastering rather than Nuendo. Track in Nuendo and master in wavelab. The waves mastering plugs are the best of the waves products IMHO. Rent some good monitors if you can't afford to buy them. If your room is lousy sounding then use nearfields at a fairly low volume level to minimize the damage. Your mastering will only be as good as your ears, your room, your monitors, your tools, and your experience. You may already have three strikes against you from the get go. I say this not to discourage but to give you a sense of what's really needed.
  15. chrisperra

    chrisperra Active Member

    Oct 24, 2002
    a basic way of feeling out your speakers is use the audio generator in the tools section of wavelab. use the default of tone generation 20hz to 20khz or whatever it is, create the wave, play it.

    as it runs through the frequencies, you'll hear the spikes as it climbs. this is a rough indication of your speakers and your room if there's something that is totally jumping out, or completely missing you'll know it.

    this doesn't help you master in any way and it may confuse you a may ask yourself "what do i do if i have a huge spike or no bottom under 100hz?" but it will let you know if you have a fighting chance with what you have.

    i feel that listening to stuff that you want it to sound like and using the spectrum analizer could be the best start.

    if you are on a tight budget,you probably can't afford speakers good enough to master properly with.

    use the analizer, and maybe get a good pair of headphone like the akg 240 studios. there not gonna be good enough by themselves either but by a/b ing other tunes with your own, you'll get a fairly good idea of what going on.

    in the end it's be time spent that will get you where you need to go.

    good luck

    chris perra
  16. timjames

    timjames Guest

    Chris Perra hit it dead on, spend time listening to anything and everything that is in the genre of music you want to sound like. Preferably audiophile quality stuff. Listen critically to everything. I myself am still very new to mastering (about 4 years). But I find that critical listening is a very important learning tool as it has helped me tremendously. I spend many hours listening to many different types of music over my system. If you know your system well enough to hear subtle differences then you should be able to achieve your goal. Most important,IMO, is watch the low end it can get out of hand real quick. Also pick up a copy of Bob Katzs' book "Mastering Audio the art and the science" it was a great help to me also. Good luck and keep at it, thats the best way to learn.
    By the way great site, I'll be hanging out here a lot!

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