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Thread: Mastering: The DIY Guide

  1. #101
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    word! Thanks for the info. I'm not too concerned with mastering at this point as I am just making beats and don't have anyone to do vocals for me so far, but I am always striving to learn as much as possible and trying to be as self sufficient as I can. My only major concern at this point is track to track volume leveling, as I believe I do a pretty damn good job of mixing down my songs...
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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
    How hard can it be?

    Simply find the quietest place in the song and note how far down the signal is (in dB). Plug that number into the threshold of your limiter - and you're done.

    If you see any dips in the waveform after that, zoom in, find the low spot and repeat.

    When the waveform looks like one solid block of color, you have achieved a perfect modern mastering job.

    "Low levels are for wimps."

    "Dynamic range is way over rated."

    "0 dBFS is not a limit, it's a goal."

    Say it aint so.....

  3. #103
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    Hey can't be serious!!!

  4. #104
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    Some numbers are always nice when mastering. About 5dB of envelope is max, before it gets noticable.

    To find that value, you can use a peak limiter, and limit things so that there is no envelope. (just before enveloping). And then set a compressor before it, with 5dB more threshold.

    Also I think "overlimiting" is often due to peak and program being the same, when using a conventional limiter.
    I have developed a limiter that can reserve (and does in standard preset) ~0.5dB for peak transient. It really fixes that, and material can be processed to a great extent.

    Also in this limiter, there is a lookaheadmode, that fixes the dull lookahead of typical limiters.

    It is even free and opensource. No more inane marketingspeech, from yet another stoogefoot wanting to make a buck.

    Engineering | Oves Blog

    PBWY!

  5. #105
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    Excellent article. And it points to some really useful links. Thanks for the OP!


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    Red colored audio regions actually play back faster based on the red-cars-are-faster principle.

  7. #107
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    For me the game changer was flatter monitoring. I won't say flat monitoring, because I know mine isn't 100% accurate (yet). But once I seriously sat down to deal with my monitoring (read: invested money into it), all of the mysterious mastering garble started to make sense to me in a tangible way (as in, I could start to re-produce what I previously knew only in theory).

    If your monitoring isn't set up properly (and that includes the room), a 2dB boost or cut at 300hz or 500hz or 4.5khz or 10khz or any Hz isn't going to make sense in the end because the extreme curves of your monitors/room/headphones will slant what you are hearing. Even some of those expensive Senheiser headphones have big swells and dips.

    That means, right off the bat, you might think your mixes lack air, are too sharp sounding or any other number of things. You might also not notice when there is grainy 3-5khz mess across the mix (as I didn't last year when I mastered my own album - I just thought it was clear) because, say, there is too much natural top end in your speakers.

    That set up includes optimal gain staging as well as room analysis, treatment and, if necessary, speaker/cans calibration.

    After that's taken care of, then you can look at how well you can hear harmonic distortion, pumping, subtle EQ changes and slight resonances.

    There are really two types of mastering which have emerged (I think).

    Colorful Mastering - where the engineer uses all sorts of trickery to change the sound of the mix.
    Transparent Mastering - where the engineer sticks to linear phase, and does only what's needed to bring out the best qualities in the mix according to the song's style.

    IMHO, the goal of mastering isn't necessarily to make your mixes sound better. It's to make them translate across playback systems. A byproduct of this is often better sounding mixes, but it all begins with reliable monitoring. In theory, a well balanced mix won't need much in the way of mastering other than standard things all mixes need for distribution. Inter-sample peak detection/reduction, limiting, ISRC code input, downsampling, bit reduction and dithering.
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  9. #108
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    One trick I've found works

    New to mastering in the box, but using reference tracks seems very important.

    One trick that's worked every time we think mastering's sorted is to put the finished song into a playlist along with four or five reference tracks, then put that playlist on random and play it while doing something else, like cooking or driving. When our track comes on (unexpectedly - it's a random playlist) it's immediately obvious whether it's good enough or not; there's either a swell of pride or a sinking feeling.

    This has never proven wrong. Unfortunately.

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  11. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthSIDE Glen View Post
    Personally, I made it to the third paragraph. So far, so good. Then I came across this statement: I knew not to read any further. Sorry.

    Actually, just a small re-write of the sentence would put things right. May I suggest:

    "There's no doubt where us home users come unstuck is our belief that the key to mastering is the correct use of compression."

    G.
    Correct grammar here is actually "we home users".

    Your friend may wish to have an editor look at the guide before distributing it.

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