what's the typical mastering plugin chain?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by southboundloco, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. hey guys...am just wondering what's ur typical mastering chain i.e. EQ-COMPRESSOR-EQ-EXCITER-MULTIBAND(?)-MAXIMIZER(LIMITER) <--- is this chain even right? coz i always end up having this chain...

    i'd appreciate any suggestions... cheers
  2. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    i don't master or anything, but why would you eq twice? why not compress and then eq and forget about the first eq. i can imagine somehow your loosing some sound quality with the 2 eqs. and an exciter and maximizer....aren't they the same? and whats a multiband? is that some kinda eq or compressor?
  3. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    just smile and shake your head.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I would suggest you take your tracks to a professional mastering engineer who knows what he or she is doing.

    There is no such thing as a "typical mastering chain" because there is no such thing as "typical music"

    Go to http://www.digido.com read the whole site page by page, buy Bob Katz's book on mastering read it cover to cover and then take your stuff to a pro for mastering.
  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    You are correct in using a eq pre compressor if you are trying to correct the balance before you compress. you may or may not want to use an additional ep after the compressor. Don't think a fixed chain. Think what do I want to accomplish. depending on the processor the less may be better.
  6. southboundloco

    Don't listen to these people,Michael Fossenkemper, Thomas W. Bethel they don't have a clue of what they're talking about.....

    Quit being lazy and put more work on the individual tracks, for us
    (track ticklers and mixers) a master fader should be packed with some great meters and (engineers look away) a compressor.

    Omit the first sentence.
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    (A) I'd worry a little if you tend to use the same chain all the time - Unless these are only used on your own mixes (which would reveal that you need some work on mixing somewhere - but that's for another thread).

    (B) I'd *seriously* worry about your situation if every mix you work on asks for a maul-the-band compressor or an exciter. Either you're getting in consistently messed up mixes that would require such unorthodox treatment, or you have a deficiency in the monitoring chain where such treatments actually seems to make things sound better.

    That all being said - I'm not totally against multiple EQ's to a point - I tend to take care of *corrective* EQ before any type of dynamics processing. Shaping EQ might come before or after dynamics - Depends on what the mix is asking for.

    Funny - I'm working a project right now (at this very second) that I'm switching the position of the EQ for almost every mix... The settings are actually staying pretty similar (he mixed on NS10's - What can I say :lol: ), but the position of the shaping EQ in the chain is a night-and-day difference from mix to mix.
  8. headchem

    headchem Guest

    I admit I use a pretty fixed chain, although I often bypass some of the devices. Note: I master my own mixes digitally using Reason 3.0, so I'm definitely not a professional... I'm sure every mix needs a custom setup, but I'm still in the "just add a touch of everything" phase. So here it is:

    Stereo Imager, dual-band (often bypassed)
    Single-band compressor with side-chain EQ (sometimes bypassed)
    High Frequency harmonic Enhancer (very low levels)
    Master Reverb that only affects the mids and mid highs (low levels)
    Maximizer with soft clip (don't turn it up too much or you'll lose dynamics)

    Finally I have a big button that bypasses everything and plays back the unaffected mix at a comparable volume, so I can A/B my mix and master at the same volume. As far as I know, the know purpose of mastering is to first do no harm, and second to try to make it better. The A/B mix/master is a crucial "step" in the chain.

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