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Thread: Mastering: The DIY Guide

  1. #1
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    Mastering: The DIY Guide

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    https://en.audiofanzine.com/masterin...diy-guide.html

    Hi! A friend of mine wrote this rudimentary guide and I published it on AF. So I thought this could kick off a great DIY mastering thread...

    For now it is a sticky....enjoy!

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    I imagine this will draw some attention


    Nice to see Studio One being used...I was really impressed with its mastering abilities, workflow especially..Im not at that level yet but soon will be and have considered that software with a interface upgrade..

    The mix project is linked to the mastering project in S1, both can be accessed at the same time and any changes in the mix are updated straight to the mastering project, so tweak away

    I think when its comes to limiting and the "loudness" wars Ozone 4s excellent limiter has been superseded by Steven Slates FXG...also using T-Racks in its suite form seems to be where the un-informed will destroy there work at the flick of a preset...i think using them as individual units, which they can be used, provide a better understanding of what they are capable of.

    I watched some very good tutorials from SWA on Ozone 4...taught me some rudimentaries of how Id approach mastering several tracks together, which I hope to attempt shortly. Though gather as much information as possible before putting your hard work through another set of processes imho...
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    Personally, I made it to the third paragraph. So far, so good. Then I came across this statement:
    There’s no doubt that the key to mastering is the correct use of compression and this is usually where us home users come unstuck.
    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.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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    [COLOR=DarkGreen]RECORDING RESOURCES AND INFO SITE:[/COLOR]
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    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."

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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."
    Ah yes, the primmer of all primmers. Thanks Harvey! Proper and straight to the point.







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    ^^ Great post Harvey, Hilarious, and would fit in well with the litany of questionable advice in the article

    I had some other issues with the article and some of my favorite WTF moments are:

    1) He says:
    take it to a mastering house where they will gladly warm up your tunes and relieve you of a load of cash
    And then suggests using TC Powercore CL1B on individual tracks and then either Ozone or T-Racks on the master.
    These plugs cost about $700 combined (assuming you already have th powercore DSP card). For $700 yo could easily get 3 albums mastered professionally at a reputable Mastering House
    WTF?

    2) he says:
    All i’m doing is what i should have done in the first place – applying some compression. The music i’m making is very dynamic so i don’t want to just squash everything so here’s how i approached it:

    Solo the track, insert the plug-in.
    Switch the meter to “input” so i could see the level coming in
    Adjust the threshold knob down to the same level
    Switch the meter to “compression”
    Adjust the threshold until the meter was showing about 3dB – 5dB of compression
    Adjust the ratio knob to alter the severity of compression – I left this quite low as i was looking for light compression
    Un-solo the track & adjust the gain to compensate the drop in level.
    This isn’t a mastering process – this is mixing properly!
    Compressing a random track with a goal of simply reducing the output by 3-5dB is not mixing properly. It's checking a box for the sake of it without understanding what you are doing or why.
    why pick that track? What made him feel it needed compressing? Why 3-5 dB? what about attack and release settings? why do it solo rather than in the context of the mix?
    If he just wanted the track 3-5 dB quiter in some spots why pick a compressor at all? what about riding the faders or volume automation?
    In fact why even talk about mixing in an article about mastering at all? Mastering tracks assumes the mixes are done and you are happy with them this is just confusing.
    WTF?

    3) he says:
    I would recommend using a different piece of software to that which you created the music in – it’s not essential but it does give that feeling of progression
    Huh?
    So although my DAW has a perfectly good audio engine and can host all of my VSTs I need to buy more software to master?
    WTF?

    4) He says:
    Most people go on about how it’s all to do with your ears – which it is of course – but i find it very helpful to be able “see” what’s going on. The spectrum meter gives an instant impression of where your music is harmonically heavy and where a bit of EQ would smooth everything out.
    So if it sounds good but looks harmonically heavy you should EQ the F*ck out of it anyway, even though it sounds good? (you do know that those plugs suggested will also add euphonic harmonics by design right? to make the music sound more analog or "pro" or whatever,right? So he suggests slapping in processing to add harmonics and then use those same processors to EQ out the harmoncs, HA HA HA)
    WTF?

    there was lots more but these really made me laugh and say WTF?

    I'm not saying you can't master your own stuff at all because you absolutely can. But buying $700 of "mastering" plugins plus a new DAW to master in (to save $2-300 bucks on getting an album professionally mastered) and then slapping a bunch of random effects on, regardless of how the music actually sounds seems to go against everything this forum usually stands for in terms of how we advise people go about mixing/mastering in a smart way
    Last edited by Bristol Posse; 11-04-2010 at 11:07.

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    You folks are killing me......... DIY mastering. Search for proper mastering "house" call, discuss, prep your mix. Pay $. simple. Get good product back. Repeat.

    On a side note I am regularly faced with "Please can you make it louder for my jam box I use when I am offshore?"

    Damn I hate that.

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    Lol @ the mastering mis-infomercial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
    When the waveform looks like one solid block of color, you have achieved a perfect modern mastering job.
    Yeah, but what color, Harv? Sometimes I think the salmon color sounds better, other times the teal. It's so confusing....

    G.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthSIDE Glen View Post
    Yeah, but what color, Harv? Sometimes I think the salmon color sounds better, other times the teal. It's so confusing....

    G.
    Standard black sounds the heaviest. None blacker.

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