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Thread: Free Mastering Plugins

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    Free Mastering Plugins

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    Has anyone had good luck with a free mastering plugin (preferably for Logic)? If so, what are they?

    Thanks

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    I don't know of any, but doesn't mean there's not one out there.

    But, within Logic, you've got compressors (regular & MB), EQ (regular & LP), all kinds of reverb, an exciter, limiters, plus loudness and level meters. Couple a fantastic room and monitors with a great set of ears and you can probably go a long way.

    Or, you might consider this course for $10 (limited time offer - I haven't taken it but have read a lot of their posts - not a waste of time IMO).
    miL Gold Member | Mastering In Logic
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Tokyo Dawn Labs has several freebie versions that are quite handy... Whether they'd be considered "mastering plugins" would depend on if you're using them for mastering.

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    I use a tonne of free mastering plug-ins here at Joe Caithness Mastering, I love some of them as much as hardware I've spent grands on, seriously!

    I plan to make a big list on my blog of free mastering plug-ins with a bit of a description for each so I'm keeping an eye on this thread

    ---------- Update ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Tokyo Dawn Labs has several freebie versions that are quite handy... Whether they'd be considered "mastering plugins" would depend on if you're using them for mastering.
    Tokyo Dawn Labs plugs could be 200 quid each and no one would flinch IMHO!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Tokyo Dawn Labs has several freebie versions that are quite handy... Whether they'd be considered "mastering plugins" would depend on if you're using them for mastering.
    I think it's the "Kotelnikov" that's made for mastering. Seems pretty good to me, though I have a fraction of the experience using them that you do. But a switch for both RMS and Peak levels, super long A/R times, and knee options, not to mention default of 80hz for sidechain, points towards mastering use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrushkiwt View Post
    I think it's the "Kotelnikov" that's made for mastering. Seems pretty good to me, though I have a fraction of the experience using them that you do. But a switch for both RMS and Peak levels, super long A/R times, and knee options, not to mention default of 80hz for sidechain, points towards mastering use.
    Check out the TDR Slick EQ M

    Really brilliant and very cheap mastering EQ from a few years back. Not free, but is similar to many of their free bits and bobs in many ways.

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    There is no one plugin that will master a song and do it well. Every good mastering chain is a series of plugins that must work together in tandem. The main goal is to get the track to not only be louder and crisper, but also punchier and be able to bring out the best elements of the track.

    Most all chains will start with EQ, Multi-Band Compression and a Limiter as the barebone basic chain. Then as you get more advanced you add saturation, stereo width, soft clippers, multiple compressors, sometimes multiple EQs. The idea is that the settings on all these plugins are very subtle but when all used to together stacked one after the other you achieve a much louder overall volume which makes the track sound better and warmer without crushing or squashing the life out of it. It’s an art form and takes a lot of practice.


    I don’t beleive that you need crazy speakers or gear to master tracks correctly, but you need to know how to use the gear you have and you need to understand why you’re using specific plugins—not just slapping them on because someone told you to.

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    Coming in sideways just to -- I dunno, make a point of order or something...

    (1) I know a grand total of *0* mastering engineers that think of maul-the-band (multi-band) compression as a "typical chain" tool. Been trying to figure out for decades where that whole thing started - about MBC's being the "mastering engineer's secret weapon" or however they've pushed them over the years. I guess they got the "weapon" part right to some extent (as it can destroy an otherwise perfectly decent mix easier than just about anything else I can think of), but I'm not sure about the rest. Just about every time I feel the need to reach for a multi-band compressor, the next thing I reach for is the phone to see if the mix engineer can fix whatever was screwed up enough to require the use of a multi-band compressor.

    (2) Any audio engineer - mastering or otherwise - is only as good as his speakers. You can have $100k in gear and decades of experience and you will only ever hear as accurately and consistently as your monitoring chain allows you to hear. To that end, you can have the greatest, most accurate and consistent speakers ever designed but they will only ever be as accurate and consistent as the space they're in allows them to be. Far and away, the absolute most important part of any audio chain at every possible stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Been trying to figure out for decades where that whole thing started - about MBC's being the "mastering engineer's secret weapon" or however they've pushed them over the years.
    It was the TC Finaliser that started the rot - instant mastering in a box was its main selling point. Very occasionally MBC can get you out of a hole but I'll only use one or two bands at a time.

    I'd certainly agree with your point about monitoring - that's one of the most vital tools for a mastering engineer and one that non mastering engineers always overlook.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesperrett View Post
    It was the TC Finaliser that started the rot - instant mastering in a box was its main selling point. Very occasionally MBC can get you out of a hole but I'll only use one or two bands at a time.

    I'd certainly agree with your point about monitoring - that's one of the most vital tools for a mastering engineer and one that non mastering engineers always overlook.
    Oh shit, I remember that TC piece of crap...

    I also remember the days thinking MBC (OZONE) was the shizzle. Man was I wrong...

    Over the years it became obvious that acoustic treatment and good monitors in the room recording and later mixing is key to getting the best results. Yeah, it takes some manipulation to get a shit recording to sound decent but still never use a MBC.

    If it sucks bad enough to need it I just say to a client 'nope'. Start over...
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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