Self-made mastering...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by dymaxian, Sep 25, 2003.

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  1. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Hey guys!

    The long and the short of it is that my band can't afford to send our mixes out to a pro mastering house. (*sniffle*) So I've got to deal with it myself. Most of the local bands I record don't have the cash for it, either, so they invariably have me do what I can to master it for them, and often times, it's enough. They often complain that it's not loud enough (listen to Disturbed's new one, man! That sounds MUCH louder than we do!) so I have to explain that I can't get that kind of volume boost with the tools and limited knowledge that I have...

    But that's not my question. I'm just wondering what the best method would be for me to go about it... The best compression tools I have are a Waves C1 and Ultramaximizer. SoundForge has a multi-band compressor included, but I'm not all that proficient with it and I seem to do more harm than good with that. I believe that if I have the mix in front of me, then EQing and levelling before the mastering stage should do more than the multi-band would...

    I've also noticed that if I get the mix sounding perfect, then apply 'mastering' compression to it afterwards, by the time I get the volume up to where I want it, the mix is unbalanced by the amount of compression. The only reliable way I've found to do it is to put the C1 and L1 in-line WHILE I'M MIXING and get the amount of compression/limiting in the right spot, then mix with it at that level. I don't think it's supposed to work this way, but that's the best I've been able to do.

    When you guys need to master your own work, how do you go about it?


    To hell with CD sales; download the MP3s and come to the shows!
  2. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Get rid of C1 from your junior mastering chain. Go with TC Master X, Vintage Warmer, C4, MC 2000 DSP.
    Use a nice Cd reference , rom acoustics and monitoring are the most important so as to excell in this private job.

    As you have all the time of the world to do, re-do, test, a/b, listen in the car stereo, friend´s spekers, etc also read some nice books and ask us here, so we might have any chance to help ya.
  3. 3dchris

    3dchris Active Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Once again I repeat that doing it yourself will NEVER give you pro results. And NEVER try to compare your master to Disturbed. Disturbed had it mastered by a pro on a pro gear. Without pro gear and perfect listening room nobody will ever be able to do proper mastering. So if you do it yourself, you'll have to live with the fact that it WILL NEVER sound pro. Don't even try to fool yourself or anyone else.


  4. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    T-RackS 24

    Answer to your problem. It's suprisingly good software. It's not truely "pro", but I get about 14-16 perceived dB gain without beating the hell out of my mixes. I use it as a sample master for anything I do for myself or anyone else. It's good enough for demos.

    Just try it out.
  5. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
  6. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003

    I'm far from pro, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Get your mix going into the master channels as loud as you can without clipping. Then use the L1 to push the levels. I never have a problem matching or even eclipsing the levels of major releases. My main concern is sound quality.

    Also try some mix compression. In other words, run the kick drum thru a compressor, and the lead guitar, and the snare, and.... Or try bus compression, where you send all the guitars thru a bus and place a compressor on the bus.

    Multi-band compressors can do some major damage, but try soloing each band and applying gentle compression, all the while checking it effects on neighboring bands. Procedure should be the same with any multi-band compressor.

  7. missilanious

    missilanious Guest

    "14-16 perceived dB gain"
    if thats the case that your hamering the T-racks so hard (thats alot of gain reduction, alot) try mixing the track again.
  8. lefty

    lefty Guest

    The LINMB compressor is a great tool to use in mastering . It is one of the most transparent tools that Waves have. If youre using sound modules youll have no problem getting close to pro quality.., also.., if your mix is balanced the C1 will not unbalance it try tuning your monitors to your room
  9. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    I guess C1 was not originally developed for that. Try Vintage Warmer, C4, Lin Phase bundle, Tc MAster X and Mc DSP MC 2000.
  10. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    Well, ok the 14-16 is a ballpark figure only... that's how far I'm pushing the limiter and compressor together. The actual reduction is probably less than that, perhaps 6-9 dB :d:

    I mix down peaking at -6 to -3 dB, which is standard I believe.

    But for a chump like me who doesn't want to send my homemade demos to a mastering studio if I'm not going to make a return on my demos... this software lets me post my songs without people going "that's kinda quiet".

    All I can say is... poor mastering engineers, software like this makes guys like me do quick and lazy masters on my comp, and they come out ok. But again, $1000 american for a cd is more than I have to just throw at my personal music.
  11. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Hey guys! Thanks for all the advice. No, I don't expect pro mastering on my own (at least not yet!). I know better. The reason that I use Disturbed as an example is because a lot of other musicians use it. Not about sound quality so much as about perceived volume. They don't hear the effect that the uber-compression has on it, and they only grudgingly accept that I can't get our own stuff that loud without destroying it.

    I guess that's why I'm the one who is doing the recordings...

  12. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    It's a real shame that mastering is now perceived by many as simply making a loud CD. There's SO MUCH MORE to it than that. And it can't be done at home, in any way. Put the money you're throwing away on "mastering" plug ins toward actually getting your material mastered. If you admit that you do more harm than good with some of these tools, why continue to use them? That doesn't make sense.
  13. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    let us not confuse mastering with noodling. Running a mix through a compressor is not mastering, it's compressing. self-made mastering falls into the same catagory as self-surgery, or self-therapy, or self-love making. It's just not going to be as good as having someone who knows what they are doing and the tools to do it with. If you want to crank up the volume to present your mixes, then cool. But don't call it mastering, It cheapens the word.
  14. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Michael, that is precisely the point I've been trying to make to the guys. And you're right- I shouldn't refer to it as 'mastering'. Thank you. :D

    I'm not going to be buying anyplug-insor tools to do my own mastering, I'm just trying to get along with the tools I have.

    Thanks again for the replies!

    "to hell with the record sales, download the MP3s and come to the shows!"
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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