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Thread: Best Mastering VST

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    Perdicament's Avatar
    Perdicament is offline One way ticket
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    Best Mastering VST

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    What is considered the best for software mastering? I am new at this...I have T-Racks but my buddy has Waves...Is one far superior to the other? What others are recommended?

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    fldrummer is offline Force of Nature
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    Massive Master's Avatar
    Massive Master is offline MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
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    (IMHO, YMMV) - Waves is FAR superior to T-Racks (which is considered sort of a "toy" in many circles), but many (including myself) find UAD's collection superior to ALL.

    Then you've got hardware...
    John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering


    Spoon-feed a newbie the answer and he'll mix for a day --
    Spark his curiosity to find the answer himself and he'll mix for a lifetime...

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    Perdicament's Avatar
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    Thank you for your quick replies... So T-RackS is not considered as one of the better Mastering tools... I should maybe consider using my buddies Waves collection of VST's... Do you feel it might be worth it for me to invest in the UAD collection over using Waves..or is the UAD collection just a bit better than Waves? I think that I've gotten fairly decent results using T-RackS, but I don't want to cut myself short. We are doing a demo CD this up coming week and (of course) I'd like the best results I can get. Just keep in mind that I am a newbie with this but I am going at it 'full-throttle' reading everything I can get my hands on and picking peoples brains for useful info/tips. I have learned alot but realize that there is still alot more to learn, not to mention 'hands-on' experience. Could I be so bold as to ask: what are the 'top' 5 mastering tools IYO?
    Also Here is a little more info for ya: I'm using: Cubase SX, with a Delta 1010... the pc is a P4 3Ghz 512 MB ram... We have a 16 channel Mackie Mixer and an 8 channel Mackie mixer. I don't have Monitor Speakers so I run it into a sony home stereo..and I use both that and some Beyer Dynamics HP's to monitor (switching back and forth) also I burn a CD every hour or so..(when I'm liking what I hear) and play it on various systems to hear it in the context of 'real life'. I'll mix/master a tune to where I/we think it's good...then come back to it in a day or 2 and see if I/we still like it. Then make any adjustments, and I just 'rotate' the songs until I've/we've finished and have a cohesive sounding demo. Anyway, thanks for the advice/words of wisdom in advance.

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    ryanlikestorock is offline Force of Nature
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    Get some monitors (see the million posts about monitors on this board) and the UAD card and you'll be doing much better than you are now.

    Getting your buddy to "lend" you the Waves plugins is going to improve your sound, but how will you know that without a decent set of monitors?

    Trust me... I used to be exactly in your shoes. The monitors, UAD card and thousands of hours of messing around have had me come a long way... but, I definitely wouldn't be doing the same work without the monitors or UAD card.

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    xstatic is offline Been Here, Posted That
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    I wouldn't say that the UAD is better or worse than the Waves bundles, just different. I love the individual comps on the UAD card (1176 and LA2a revamps). However, I usually use thos on individual tracks during mixing or on something like a guitar bus. I also love the Pultec EQ on final mixes. But from waves, I like the L3 multimaximizer lightly on entire mixes and the linear EQ for narrower EQ cuts. Personally I like the waves Audiotrack for individual EQ-Gate-light comping on channels inserts better than I like the UAD channel strip. Mostly because I really don't like the UAD channel strip compressor, and the fact that it doesn't offer a gate. For me, I would not want to mix in the box without either the Waves bundle or the UAD. I have found strengths in each that when used together really help me in my mixing.

    As far as T-racks goes, it seems to be very muddy sounding to me. I NEVER use software to try and do the whole "tube" thing. If I want the tube sound, I get it going in, not coming out. Thats not to say that T-Racks is garbage or useless. Others may get good results with it. I can only say that every time I have tried T-Racks, other plugins (i.e. waves, UAD) sounded much better me and were much easier to use. However, those other things cost a lot more as well, so in reality they should work better.

    I completely second the notion of getting better monitors first though. Great mixes can be done on the lowliest of gear with good engineers and musicians, but I fell positive that those same engineers and musicians would put out even better stuff had they been using better gear. The problem with home set-ups is mostly due to their lack of detail in my opinion. Any speaker system can be learned and utilized. You can learn that your spekers are light on the high end, heavy on the lowend and you can do a certain amount of mixing based on that. However, what you can't learn, or "fake" is the level of detail and imaging that may or may not be present with your speakers. Having studio monitors adds a degree of clarity and width that does not tend to reproduce well in the vast majority of home speaker systems. Using studio monitors allows you to hear those little details and allows you to really fine tune your mixing so that spacial placement, EQ'ing and level balancing takes on that whole third dimension.

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    Massive Master's Avatar
    Massive Master is offline MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
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    No question - Good monitoring trumps most gear.

    In mastering, it trumps everything.
    John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering


    Spoon-feed a newbie the answer and he'll mix for a day --
    Spark his curiosity to find the answer himself and he'll mix for a lifetime...

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    Waves is more general and transparent, whereas the UA stuff has more character to it.

    In general I would venture that more people would rather UA stuff than Waves on sound alone. BUT.... the UA stuff isn't as precise as the Waves stuff can be.

    If you get the UA for mastering, make sure to get the Cambridge EQ.

    Personally the TC Powercore has some decent plugs for mastering. More versatility than the UA stuff (but not as good a sound), and more character than the Waves stuff.

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    ecktronic's Avatar
    ecktronic is offline Mixing and Mastering.
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    What about Wavelab? Thats what i use. I like the multiband compressors, but the EQ is a bit limited with only 3 bands! VST dynamics is good for the compresion - limiting.
    Stereo expander can be good, but on certain tracks it can make the track sound terible and loose alot of clarity.

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    The Steinberg plugs in Wavelab are... mediocre at best. Cheap plugins like that will have to do in a pinch, but don't expect great sound. There's a reason those are usually free! To me they sound extremely harsh and bland compared to the Waves stuff... and Waves isn't the big plugin standard it was 5 years ago.

    Heck, there are freeware plugs out there that dust the free stuff in Wavelab.

    I'd steer clear myself.

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