Question for Mastering Engineer's!

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Roswell-CS, May 21, 2004.

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  1. Roswell-CS

    Roswell-CS Guest

    Hey all --

    Im just finishing up mixing and readying an EP for one of the group's i produce.
    This is the first times we've ever had anything mastered, so i have a couple of questions! :

    1) What levels should the final bounced mix be at? Obviously not clipping. And does it matter if there was an L2 limiter placed over the Master, or would u rather not.

    2) Everyone thinks the mixes sound really good, even though this is my first big attempt at it, and we dont have lots of money to go sending it to be professionally mixed BEFORE mastering, so even if it sounds good to my ears, would u suggest it getting professionally mixed anyways?
    Or is it all in the way I want it to sound.

    That would be all :)

    Thanks in advance..
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    1st, take the L2 off the mixes. print without it. It will do nothing but tie the hands of the mastering engineer. He will do it in mastering.
    Print at a good level, don't clip and you should be fine if your working in 24 bit. 24 bit has plenty of headroom to not have to worry about level unless you can barely see the meters move. Keep your L2'd mixes and send them along with the mixes with NO L2 and no EQ on the stereo bus. Again, this will do nothing but tie the hands of the mastering engineer. limiting and EQing on the 2-bus is the #1 mistake mixers make. It's ok to do a little to play for people but don't send this to the mastering engineer. I know i've said this about 4 times here but i can't stress the importance of this enough. It's like trying to scrap off the burnt parts of toast if you do.

    As far as the mixes go, you should send them to the mastering engineer and let him have a listen to them. he'll be able to shed some light on the issue and you can go from there.
  3. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:
    All of Mikes comments are good. It sounds like you answered your own question about having it remixed by someone else when you say you don't have the money for it anyway.

    If you and your client are happy with the mixes send it to a pro mastering engineer. If something is really wrong sounding they will let you know.
    That is a big part of developing a relationship with my clients. Over years of working with them we build a trust. They send me things to listen to and they trust my opinion on if something should be tweeked before we master it or if it sounds great and they should leave it alone.
    Trust your own ears as well. Listen on a couple different systems.
    I always tell engineers to make sure they like it before they bring it to me. This way it will only get better.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    One problem that is rampant in the industry today is people who cannot hear that they are out of tune, that they have used way too many effects, that the mix is muddy, that they have gone over the top in the level department - so asking someone who had just done the mixing if they "like it" is like asking a starving man if he would like a steak dinner. Of couse he will "like it" because it becomes its own frame of reference. He has watched the song go from the original tracking sessions to the final mixdown and knows all the problems that are "hidden" in the mix and is not going to say he does not like it because he is the one doing the mix. Many projects today are written, played, recorded and mixed by one person without the benefit of any type of colaboration with another human being. They are working in a vacuum and they like it that way with no one to distract them from their "goal" what ever that is.

    By the way I too would look closer to home for a mastering engineer so you can attend the session and learn from it.

    Just my thoughts.....

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