Soon I'll have to send something for mastering but

junplugged

Taking the slow road
I'm worried that I won't be able to hear the difference. I once listened to a Neve preamp at that convention at the Javits Center and I couldn't hear the difference. I don't know what to expect but I also know that I've never tried to master something diy, so I'm in an unknown area. I did put some stuff up on nowhereradio a few, or many, years ago and they sounded like they needed something but I also liked their bombastic nature. There are some very smooth sounds from some obviously mastered tracks that I love, but I'm listening to mp3's and using ear buds, maybe my ears are worn out after all these years and tinnitus and 5 feet from giant PA's in very crappy rooms, I won't say who I saw, I'll look too old. What if some master at mastering sends me a sample of a potential mastering on my own track and I can't even tell the difference? Do I just assume it's better and I should use the service and just trust it? Should I try those $10 auto-master online services and then see if maybe I can notice a difference there first? What if I like that better than a human with hands on the dial custom mastering? Isn't streaming now (2022) actually at higher quality than prior years/decades and therefore maybe mastering is actually more important than back with 128k mp3's? Budget questions exist as well. I guess I have to enter every single one of these sentences, no matter how poorly constructed on my favorite search engine. Just wondering.
 

junplugged

Taking the slow road
I slept on this, and I decided that since I have no budget and my song and subsequent releases are indy, meaning no promotion budget either, that they aren't going anywhere anyway. And so, in the unlikely event that they get any popularity at all, and that would mean a little bit of budget would then, at that point be available, then I can re-release a new version called, "Songtitle (Remastered)." A.K.A, "kick the can down the road."
 

jamesperrett

Active member
Don't worry about not being able to hear differences in preamps - these days any differences in sound are extremely small unless you are driving the preamp outside its design limits or unless the preamp is designed to alter the sound. Sound On Sound came to a similar conclusion in the review at


As for mastering, it depends on how confident you are that your mix matches other mixes in a similar style. Have you missed any issues with your mix?
 

LazerBeakShiek

AKA Optimus Prime LEGO Vampire
I found some references to saturating the circuit. The preamp would be used to push against the compressor with the make up gain knob in the neg numbers. In this instance the compressor acts a magnifying glass. Adding slight coloration. Saturation. Different preamps can be unique sounding. The release knob on the compressor becomes a overdrive knob.
 

junplugged

Taking the slow road
I was looking up mastering options and found that CDBaby requires mastering using their service prerequisite to uploading a track for them to distribute. So I guess I'll be starting there. $75 fee.
 

jamesperrett

Active member
I was looking up mastering options and found that CDBaby requires mastering using their service prerequisite to uploading a track for them to distribute. So I guess I'll be starting there. $75 fee.

I'd be very surprised if that was the case - I've not heard that from anyone else who uses CD Baby though the last album I mastered for release through them was a few months ago.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Absolutely NOT the case. Mastering was a complete separate stage that few top of the line studios could even do, and it was a mixture of very specific electronics for the distribution media of the time - I mean, how many of us have ever even operated, let alone owned, a record mastering lathe - like this old video

Now - we 'master' for media that are just storage - they don't need specific physical processes to make them work, so our more modern mastering is to do with levels, loudness and similarity across products in the same genre. If you have recorded and mixed a drum and bass track, it needs to sound like typical drum and bass - but people into EDM have subtle differences in how the tracks should sound. Same with older genres - 70's pop, and classical, jazz and big band - these all need a different approach to what is 'right' - but almost certainly this kind of mastering is part of your mix, not a separate location, process and gizmos any longer.

I have a 5% rejection rate for my releases, and that was where a track was identified by iTunes as too quiet. Normally small differences their systems crunch automatically without your permission or knowledge - so getting your levels right is important, but the tracks I get queried are when I have deliberately recorded very low. My distributors (originally the Distrokid idiots), now Songtradr and Ditto in the main, but occasionally a couple of others, know when a release will fail certain outlet's requirements. Paying them for mastering could just be an extra income stream from creators a little green?

Would your $75 be mastering by a skilled person, with manual adjustments, or somebody in the office applying a stock plugin, without even having any monitor speakers, or an automated loudness conversion? I would not pay a stranger to manipulate my music without my approval!
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
Don't worry about not being able to hear differences in preamps - these days any differences in sound are extremely small unless you are driving the preamp outside its design limits or unless the preamp is designed to alter the sound. Sound On Sound came to a similar conclusion in the review at


As for mastering, it depends on how confident you are that your mix matches other mixes in a similar style. Have you missed any issues with your mix?
I link this article all the time. I love my MPA II
 
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