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> Completing Our New Mastering And Recording Studio
Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 15 2009, 10:43 PM
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I've already said thaqt we were in the throws of refitting a room at my home specifically for mastering plus some tracking and mixing. We're approaching completion - today we put in most of the extra audio insulation and started to run some tests on the set up.

Audio is good down to below 50Hz but we have some jitter on the DAC - ADC is fine (great so tracking is fine but mastering has an issue dry.gif .) We're going to switch to a different master clock tomorrow and see what happens.
Everything else seems to be kicking with the only downside that we take our SADiE out on location for the next few weeks (we're doing a location record and broadcast of a poetry festival).

Current set up is mainly (mastering only ITB - there's other standard studio stuff for tracking/mixing):

Lavry AD/DA
Sonus Faber speakers on dedicated stands plus Cyrus pre/power amps
additional RME i/o but not for conversion
i7 dedicated pc
Flux Solera, E Pure and Pure Limiter, ProAudio DSM, Voxengo Elephant, plus a few others
SADiE 5.3 with some CEDAR restoration, Sequoia 11 (on trial)
K-monitoring with audio set at K14
Internal pc and external dedicated CDaudioR
R8Brain
...

Anyway I'll try to post some pics over the next few days - bit pushed for time as we're concentrating on the location work.




I'll post pics of before and after in the next few days.


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MickeM
post Oct 15 2009, 10:50 PM
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Wow looking forward to the pictures! A full featherd studio, that's something smile.gif


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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 15 2009, 11:22 PM
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Wow this sounds great! I'm looking forward to some pictures of the studio! smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 15 2009, 11:46 PM
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This all sounds very very sweet, can't wait to see it! biggrin.gif


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Artemus
post Oct 16 2009, 12:19 AM
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*drools over keyboard*


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audiopaal
post Oct 16 2009, 09:23 AM
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Awesome, looking forward to pics smile.gif
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Staffy
post Oct 16 2009, 09:28 AM
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QUOTE (Artemus @ Oct 16 2009, 01:19 AM) *
*drools over keyboard*


*Drools all over the house*


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 16 2009, 11:50 AM
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tony, it would be great if you could also sometimes give us some tips and insights about your job. I'm very interested in knowing how the mastering process works in a dedicated mastering studio, and also very interested to hear some interesting stuff you already experienced with the jobs you had. I think lots of other people would like to know this stuff as well, perhaps a post here and there about it would mean a lot. smile.gif


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skennington
post Oct 16 2009, 02:04 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Oct 16 2009, 06:50 AM) *
tony, it would be great if you could also sometimes give us some tips and insights about your job. I'm very interested in knowing how the mastering process works in a dedicated mastering studio, and also very interested to hear some interesting stuff you already experienced with the jobs you had. I think lots of other people would like to know this stuff as well, perhaps a post here and there about it would mean a lot. smile.gif


Absolutely, me too Ivan! smile.gif Looking forward to reading and seeing Tony!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 16 2009, 02:04 PM
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This sounds great! Can't wait to see and to hear! biggrin.gif


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Clare
post Oct 16 2009, 02:10 PM
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anytime we can learn new recording tecniques is all good....looking forward to this as well.
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 16 2009, 02:43 PM
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Some before and after photos.

I've scaled compressed these from the originals so the image quality is a bit weak but thought that would be better than uploading a set of images that were each 5 meg in size.

Before:


This is about 1/3rd of the cabling used. There's TRS, XLR, TDIF, SPDif, AES, USB, Firewire, BNC Clock and a few others here
Attached Image


the empty room - measure approx 9' by 20'. Tiled floor, wooden ceiling door at far end and a window in the middle.
Attached Image

After:

Shot from far end near the door. Chair is at the stereo sweetspot for the main speakers and is just over 1/3rd the way down the room from the far wall. There's a lot of bass trapping in the corners of the room now and the floor has been acoustically insulated to sort out reflections off of the tiled floor.
Attached Image

Closeup of the pre and power amps
Attached Image


Close up of one of the main speakers. Main speakers fire down the length of the room with nothing between them and the sweetspot. They're on dedicated stands and are about 3' from the rear wall and angled at 47 degrees.
Attached Image

Close up of the desk from the chair. The pc, SSL compressor and the Lavry DAC are below the desk out of shot. You might be able to make out a R Neve preamp and eq and an Eventide Eclipse in that rack. Tannoys are used for mixing and tracking.
Attached Image



Things are still a bit messy in there as we're still moving bits about. I've not included any photos of the main tracking/mixing but we have a couple of digital desks for that.

Future plans include adding a Cranesong Avocet monitor controller so that we can add a sub to the main speakers and possibly a summing desk.


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Sensible Jones
post Oct 16 2009, 03:08 PM
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Yay!!!!
Packets of Wine Gums and a Map of the LU!!!!!
biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 16 2009, 03:36 PM
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Wine gums are mastering grade and essential studio equipment SJ. BTW not quite a map of the LU - it's a musical version that shows the connections between various groups, the coloured lines are types of music ie R&B/Blues/Jazz. Best bit are the main line intersections cool.gif


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 17 2009, 01:07 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 16 2009, 03:43 PM) *
Some before and after photos.

I've scaled compressed these from the originals so the image quality is a bit weak but thought that would be better than uploading a set of images that were each 5 meg in size.

Before:


This is about 1/3rd of the cabling used. There's TRS, XLR, TDIF, SPDif, AES, USB, Firewire, BNC Clock and a few others here
Attached Image


the empty room - measure approx 9' by 20'. Tiled floor, wooden ceiling door at far end and a window in the middle.
Attached Image

After:

Shot from far end near the door. Chair is at the stereo sweetspot for the main speakers and is just over 1/3rd the way down the room from the far wall. There's a lot of bass trapping in the corners of the room now and the floor has been acoustically insulated to sort out reflections off of the tiled floor.
Attached Image

Closeup of the pre and power amps
Attached Image


Close up of one of the main speakers. Main speakers fire down the length of the room with nothing between them and the sweetspot. They're on dedicated stands and are about 3' from the rear wall and angled at 47 degrees.
Attached Image

Close up of the desk from the chair. The pc, SSL compressor and the Lavry DAC are below the desk out of shot. You might be able to make out a R Neve preamp and eq and an Eventide Eclipse in that rack. Tannoys are used for mixing and tracking.
Attached Image



Things are still a bit messy in there as we're still moving bits about. I've not included any photos of the main tracking/mixing but we have a couple of digital desks for that.

Awesome! smile.gif

QUOTE
Future plans include adding a Cranesong Avocet monitor controller so that we can add a sub to the main speakers and possibly a summing desk.


*drool* smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 19 2009, 01:08 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Oct 16 2009, 10:50 AM) *
tony, it would be great if you could also sometimes give us some tips and insights about your job. I'm very interested in knowing how the mastering process works in a dedicated mastering studio, and also very interested to hear some interesting stuff you already experienced with the jobs you had. I think lots of other people would like to know this stuff as well, perhaps a post here and there about it would mean a lot. smile.gif


I'll see what I can do do. Most of my mastering historically has been spoken word/plays/soundscape - often for radio broadcast - and I'm only now just starting to branch out in to music.

In the interim my best advice is get the best monitor set up - both speakers and DAC - you can. Very simply if you can not hear it accurately then you cannot master it. You need to be able to hear an accurate and precisely defined stereo spatial field in terms of frequency, timing and imaging. Frequency needs to extend up to at least 20kHz and below 80Hz accurately. Instruments cannot 'wander about' but must be placed and stay in place both LtoR and in depth in the field.

In terms of mastering this generally means as a minimum you need very good mid or far field monitors and a very good DAC. Sadly even what most people regard as good recording/mixing monitors are not good enough and neither are the DACs on most sound cards, speaker amplification and cabling. TBH what I use is just about good enough but not anywhere near ideal - and what I have is nearly 10,000 US Dollars worth of main speakers, cables, amps and DAC. A high end mastering studio may well quite easily have spent over 50k just on the speakers (but they will also charge clients proportionately more).

In terms of work that I generally do - at present most of my work re: mastering has to date been orientated on stuff for radio transmission and broadcast, either live or recorded and mastering out to commercial cd of pre-broadcasted material we have done. As such we have a slightly odd mastering situation in that what we master for direct radio broadcast (live or at a later date) has to be mastered in a slightly different way to what we later do for the cd - broadcast radio doesn't work to quite the same spec as redbook audio even though the former uses the latter a llot.

One example is the forth coming poetry festival. Here I need to master broadcast on 3 different fronts (albeit that the 3 tend to fold in to one another).

1-
There's a live stream for our local town radio transmitter and much of the work here is companding and spectral editing on the fly of audience noise (think taking out the noise of a car horn in real time). Spectral editing and restoration here really needs you to be able to accurately see the fft spectrum and have the software to be able to edit it. SADiE for us is particularly good as we do this in real time on a live broadcast i.e I have to be able to do this between us capturing the audio and us transmitting and as this is a live stream there is not a lot of space. Some stuff I can preset and automate but not all.

A lot of this work is sort of audio restoration BUT it also includes the big add on of radio broadcast quality. Here we have to think about broadcast standards and how radio compression works.


2-
We're also in contract to produce a soundscape of the poetry festival for later radio broadcast and the mastering of that will involve much more post work including spectral editing, leveling and so on - that will be submitted digitally and needs to be formatted correctly. This involves an awful lot of post-editing pre-recorded material, both ours and other sources. A lot of the stuff that we will probably end up mixing in will be in different audio formats and I need to be able to get all of those in to digital and at a consistent and appropriate quality. From past experience I will have to up sample, re-process, edit and down-sample pretty much the lot to ensure consistency and quality.

Audio editing here is also often on the pre-recorded stereo file where I don't have the original individual mixes. So I'm often trying to get the best out of a stereo main using eq/compression without messing up the existing field and balance. Try this at home - take a track from a pre-recorded cd that you know well and re-sample it in to a wav file. Now try and re-master the stereo file to alter only the low mid. Then down sample it back to cd audio and compare it with the original. To do this I have to use linear phase EQs and precise compression. Occasionally I have to adjust the field width via MS techniques along with eq and some parallel compression and very rarely I'll resort to multiband dynamics. Again try this at home - but this time only adjust the bass guitar in your re-master with out affecting the vocals or anything else.

As I'm just starting to master audio commercially another bit I find myself doing more and more is having to deal with audio files that have been recorded/mixed too hot and that need upward compression/expansion etc to reintroduce dynamic range, remove distortion and so on and re-gain stage. Those are a real pain but that's a different story.


3-
We also may have to post-produce a CD and that requires full redbook. This adds the need to maintain full redbook, including cd total length, track length, fades between tracks etc. I also have to render and dither it back down to cd. We nearly always also have to do ISRC. We always have to supply fully PQ for the mastering plant. As yet even though we can do DPP here we have never had to.


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 19 2009, 12:37 PM
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This is very useful info Tony, thanks a lot man. I will definitely try to make use of this information, and now I know a bit more about mastering processes that take place in various situations.

I wanna ask you about acoustic internal treatment you did in this room. On the picture 2 the room is not treated, and on picture 3 it is. What were the benefits with this exact setup in your opinion. Have you done some measurements as well?


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 19 2009, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Oct 19 2009, 11:37 AM) *
...

I wanna ask you about acoustic internal treatment you did in this room. On the picture 2 the room is not treated, and on picture 3 it is. What were the benefits with this exact setup in your opinion. Have you done some measurements as well?


A large part of the treatment in the room was to sort out the bass Ivan. Prior to treatment the bass tended to get lost in the corners (this tends to be true of all rooms). Without treatment we couldn't really get clear defined bass below about 90Hz and what we were finding is that we were overcompensating for that and so producing stuff with a boomy bass end. Another issue we had was that the room had a lot of reflection from the tiled floor - ok for some things but not great for mastering.

Measurement wise we did some old fashioned manual tests (like clap tests) and some proper sound tests (using a noise generator and oscilliscope) pre, post and during treatment. What we started with was a very spiky frequency graph and what we now have is a much smoother, more linear one. On playback of a number of pre-recorded cds over the last few days the sound has improved quite a lot - on well engineered stuff the bass is much better defined and positioned and more natural. With the stereo field the perceived depth has improved and there is no wandering about on music that has a lot of rhythmic shifting.

Shifting stuff about in the room also meant that we got the chance to be able to place the main speakers so that the sweetspot falls properly for the mastering chair and without any objects between them and it.













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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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audiopaal
post Oct 19 2009, 07:55 PM
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Hi Tony.

I'll finish mixing a metal album this week.
Not the band you heard earlier, which I posted here,
but a norwegian black-metal band this time smile.gif

They're awesome (if you like that kind of music),
and really good musicians.
They asked me to master it as well if I could.
I want to, but I got some questions for you if you don't mind? smile.gif

It's their third album, so I wanna make a good impression biggrin.gif

I'll send you a PM if it's fine by you!?
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 19 2009, 10:20 PM
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Sure np mate


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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