Mix For Master

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by eightsonstudio, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. When mixing a record that will be mastered is it better to

    1. mix low and have the master fader at unity

    2. mix normal and lower the master fader to read about -2db

    and what effects does these methods have on the overall sound?
    i have my first project going to be mastered so i am just making sure i got my game down

    also what do you mastering guys prefer to recieve you mixes as -3,-2?
    let me know what i dont know

    and other tips would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    It's more of an issue of what your DAW likes more than the ME. What I would do is mix normal and print it. then group all of the faders and bring them down and print that. then bring them up and print that. Level match them in another session and see if you can hear any difference. If you are printing you mixes at 24 bit, worry about other things than your level. As long as you are above say -30 and below 0, you'll be good to go.
  3. cool thanks alot mike, i am using pro tools and it cen get dicey with the automation, so beofer i start writing any automation i need to know where to be

    i am at 24bit, are there anyother things to worry about, i have laready tested
    writing a a 24 bit dvd and that is working fine for me. i am gonna have allen do all the d/a conversions
    he will recive the dvd in te format in which it was recorded
    44.1 24 bit
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    That's it in a nutshell.

    You'd be surprised how much you DON'T have to peak the preamp while recording and mixing. Once all the signals are mixed in, a hot output is almost always assured (unless you're doing something dreadfully wrong... :) )

    So, record at "regular," not overly hot levels and if you see your master fader clipping or hitting 0dBFS - find out what is the culprit.

    The most common thing that I get from clients is:
    "My mix is REALLY quiet, but according to my PT LE rig, I'm clipping."

    Invariably, I open up the mix and find that only the snare or kick tracks are clipping and everything else is well situated in the mix, just low. In this case, the snare needs to be lowered (or kick...).

    Often this is due to one of two problems:
    1. The person doing the recording REALLY likes his snare sound so he/she records it and mixes it REALLY hot...
    2. The monitors that the person is using (or the room) do not accurately portray the fast transients of the snare - so they get mixed high in the overall mix to compensate.

    While mixing - I often rely on meters.

    When mastering, I try not to.


  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    I'll go a step further - When you go hot, you're going well above where the analog gear was designed to run at - (0dBVU, or around -14dBFS).

    So instead of being surprised at how much "don't have to peak the preamps" I tend to think of it as "how much damage it's causing" getting those "hot" levels at the input. Maybe it isn't noticable on this track or that track - But when you add it all up, it all adds up.

    Volume during tracking and mixing does NOT equate to volume of the finished product - I'd say that the majority of the time, it actually inhibits the volume *potential* in the long run.

    I regularly get projects in that put "sheer volume" very high on the priority list. Most of the mixes that were obviously shooting for it from the start don't really get it in the end.

    On the other hand, the mixes that come in peaking at -12dBFS running levels at -25dBRMS - THOSE are normally the ones that wind up over the top on the sheer volume factor when it's done.
  6. so i sould keep my master fader around maybe -4 and let my ME take it from there. i just dont want ot do all my sutomation then have do it all over beucae wwhen i drop the master fader down to give extra room for masternig it gets "dull"
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    if it gets dull, then that should be a sign. Most likely clipping the internal bus. Best thing to do is keep the master fader at unity and mix accordingly.
  8. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    Home Page:
    In ProTools, DEFINITELY leave the fader at 0. If you hit the red, you're clipping. Bring everything else down a notch.

Share This Page