Advice on a good mastering chain?

Discussion in 'Audio Producers Discussions' started by moneyrollbeats, Sep 20, 2012.

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  1. moneyrollbeats

    moneyrollbeats producing that fire!

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    Whats up anyone out there have any advice on plugins for mastering? so far i have been using izotope ozone + ssl stereo comp just want to know if there's anthing better... what are you guys using?
    test
  2. WrekWon

    WrekWon WhoLacedUWithDaIllHaircut

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    ssl stereo comp isnt that great for mastering,plus its just a comp, izotope just lacks (i think) Ikmedia TRacks is the way to go for cheap digital mastering, works wonders ;) it has awsome Vintage Gear emulators and great mastering presets ,

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  3. ReeSeOnTheBeaT

    ReeSeOnTheBeaT Member

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    its really hard to say there are some programs better than others but it really depends on the producers knowledge audio engineering you can use the best mastering software claimed but if you lack the knowledge its going to still show in your works. me for the most part i master all my tracks right in fl-studio , i also use izotope and adobe audition3.0.
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  4. TheRealDetour

    TheRealDetour @therealdetour

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    the specific brand of plugs you use is on you, but i can tell you this, as someone who's bout a semester or so away from they BA in audio production an two years from they MS in audio engineering:

    mastering in the box isn't gonna give you what you want in all likelihood, unless u really understand the fundamental differences between what analog does to sound an what digital does to sound...like that shit draws the waveform differently...

    chances are the sound ur lookin for when mastering is that clear, rich, solid analog sound...you can get it with plug in's, but you REALLY need to understand what's goin on beneath the console an buttons...it's voltage an currents vs one's an zero's...

    also, there's things like aliasing, intersample peaking, digital clipping vs analog clipping, playback level, dithering, phase distortion, standing waves and room accoustics, temporal an frequency based masking, monphonic compatability in stereo tracks, EQ balance (which is way harder than it sounds, goes beyond just EQ'ing till u like the sound), the fletcher munsen curve, negative vs positive frequency changes, etc., that you really need to know when ur mastering...

    i say all this to say my by far best advice is pay a lab to master ur shit after u mix it...some places will do it for cheap, like ten bucks per finished minute, an i GUARANTEE you'll be much happier with the results...if u master urself, ur askin for problems, an i say that cuz if u don't have a grasp of the proper mastering chain then chances are u don't know much about the subject alltogether...hell, send me some tracks an i'll master them for you at ten per finished minute...i rock on a neve 5088 with a set of genelec studio monitors...sound treated room, the whole nine...

    however, if u wanna try it urself (which i strongly dont recommend) do something like this:

    1) get ur mix done...when u bounce ur mix to a stereo wav track (NOT mp3, please for Christs sake lololol), make sure it peaks out between -3dB an -6db...if u push it to digital zero or close, it leaves no room for you to do things such as optimize loudness, multiband compression, etc., when mastering...also, many plug in's use phase distortion to raise or boost things (such as an EQ plug in) an this means the plug in basically doubles the track an bumps up the amplitude, then combines the singals to phase in or out what you want...this means a track at -1dB will likely start clippin once u throw an effect on it, even if it doesn't look like it should...

    also, do EVERYTHING u can to make it sound perfect in mixing...it should sound ready to release after mixing an mastering just improves on that...

    2) start with a multiband compressor...adjust the bands per the sound ur lookin for...always make sure nothings clipping anywhere, cuz analog clipping is actually a good thing often times, but digital clipping flattens the waveform instead of rounding it, so u get nasty distortion, not hte pleasant kind...

    3) follow that with either an EQ or an aural exciter and an EQ if ur wanting to add brightness and air...BEFORE the EQ, u may also want to load up a tape delay plug in (most programs have one), an set the delay time to zero...adjust the wet/dry ratio so its playin just the delayed track, which isn't actually delayed at all...this will give the effect of runnin ur song thru an analog tape machine an give u some of that vintage sound...sometimes u want some dry in the ratio, usually it's all wet for me...

    4) light EQ followed by a goinometer...this basically checks ur song for phase issues...in short, if two identical sound waves play at the same time but out of phase (the peak of one is at the valley of the other) then when they combine they will cancel each other out an you get nothing...u can lose lots of bass this way, lots of high end harmonics, an sometimes sounds will seem to "jump" from left to right or vice a versa...phase is an issue when dealing with stereo sounds...u dont hear it in stereo, but if it gets played in mono (many car stereos, most night clubs, the radio, an ipod, earbuds, etc.) then the sound with phase issues will disappear from ur mix...

    5) adaptive limiter of some kind...set this to brickwall the sound at -1dBfs an boost the gain high as u can without it distorting...listen CAREFULLY tho', its easy to do to much gain an have the bass start sounding pumpy...some people say master right to 0 dBfs or maybe .5 dbFS, but then intersample peaking becomes a problem if ur file ever gets tramsferred from wav to mp3...it can also cause very noticeable clicks an pops in ur songs when someone plays them on an older or less expensive CD player, even tho on ur system it sounds fine...

    also, sometimes its a good idea to throw a little bit of reverb on the song as a whole to get everything to sit well together, but this should be done as one of the final steps in mixing, not mastering...there's lots more shit u can do to get great sound, but most of that is done in mixing, so i didn't list it here...g/luck if u do it urself, if u want a pro to get ur ish soundin right, hit me up on the inbox...i can send u a couple before an after tracks an show u the difference an what i can do...hope some of this was helpful, either way...pz
    test
  5. TheRealDetour

    TheRealDetour @therealdetour

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    on a side note, PSP audioware series has some EXCELLENT plug ins that do a decent job of mimicking analog sound...u still gotta work to get that realistic sound an not be digital clean too much, but they're a great company with professional grade products...
    test
  6. BlackSoultan Ad Infinitum

    BlackSoultan Ad Infinitum aka Billy Shoreview

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    Assuming you don't have fifty grand to build your own mastering rig and don't subscribe to the idea you can't do it with plugs, here's what I do, and it seems to work:

    1. Waves q10 eq - use this to find and cut problem frequencies. Absolutely no boosting.

    2. Slate Digital VTM 2inch setting - use this to warm up the overall sound. (Do NOT overdo this step!

    3. Slate Digital Virtual Classic Console - this just gives you more analog character. It's not an eq or dynamics processor, but they have alleged emulators for an SSL board, an Ardent, Neve, Trident, and a Tube. Each has its own character to it. The SSL tightens it up, but the Neve adds ridiculous knock in a unique way.

    4. Waves L3 Multimaximizer - adds a little compression to taste. Careful with this thing.

    5. Waves LinEq - I use this to cut all below 30Hz, add a resonant shelf if needed.

    6. Slate VTM 1/2 inch - helps add that final sheen for mastering.

    Post Fader:

    1. Waves L2.


    Don't overdo the first six, watch your outputs. If you find you don't need the L2, you overdid the first 6.

    If you under do it, and you rely too much on the L2, you'll hear a lot of digital artifacts.
    test
  7. LVDon06

    LVDon06 Member

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    Mastering is art...
    test
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