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> The Faith Fanatics - Alright, Settle Down, mastering the single
Saoirse O'Shea
post Jun 23 2010, 12:27 PM
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Adrian and his band The Faith Fanatics have recently released their new single 'Alright, settle down', which you can find more details and a link for here.

Here's a brief summary of how the single was mastered:

Adrian and I had discussed some previous mixes for the single and following those he sent me two versions:

One that had been recorded and mixed for radio broadcast and which had temporarily been mastered to peak just below 0dBFS to get maximum volume for the broadcast. A second which was identical to the first but with the master fader brought down by -3 dB. Both were 24/44.1 wave files.

Adrian felt that the former didn't quite achieve the result that they wanted and asked if I could look at it mainly to achieve a loud master that suited the material. I listened to both versions and agreed with Adrian that we should be able to improve on the first and I opted to use the 3dB down version. Whilst just moving the master fader doesn't always do much more than increase apparent headroom in this particular instance it was sufficient to clear the mix up enough to master from. What follows is therefore based on the -3dB version:


Adrian advised that he wanted a Stone Temple Pilots recording as the reference when he received the first master print, particular the warmth and analogue type vibe of their track.

1st critical listen
Some intersample overs, stereo width is quite narrow, some sub bass noise, low mid 2-400Hz is a bit busy, upper mid-band around 3-6000Hz is busy with some overlap between vocals and cymbals. Track is digitally bright compared to STP track.

1st mastering pass, EDL save 1
DAW ==> Lavry DAC ==>> Ibis EQ ==> Lavry ADC ==> Daw ==> Lavry DAC ==> Monitoring
Listening check confirms above. EQ set to low cut the sub bass at 40 Hz on -12dB per octave and a high shelf starting at 7.5kHz at -.5 dB. A high shelf of more than -.5 started to take out too much of the cymbals. Not enough clear separation between main vocals and cymbals to warrant use of M/S.

2nd listen
Better but still some overlap of vocals and cymbals.

2nd pass - EDL save 2

As above but with a wide bell centered on 4k and -.5 dB and a narrow bell on 260Hz +1 dB.

3rd listen
Better, voice comes more to the front and cymbals occupy less space but still present. Stereo width of the track is better.

3rd pass - EDL save 3
Add STC8 compressor after eq in above chain. Adjust to bring up drums to add punch. Insert Flux Limiter and Sonoris dither on 2 bus in DAW: dither off for now. Limiter on sift clipping and set with output at -.1dB, gainstage adjust hardware chain to take level up, +.5 in to eq and +2.8 in to comp. Limiter just kicking in without brick walling.

4th listen
Level back up to just above first version. Sounds a little bright but in keeping with commercial cds.

4th pass - EDL save 4
Dither on set as TPD type 3 to 16 bit depth and print first version. Audio check, ok. Send to Adrian for comments. Adrian said he liked the increased punch on the drums but also thought the master was bright and suggested the Stone Temple Pilots track as a reference. Also asked for the intro and outro to be made quieter/faded

5th Pass - recall EDL save point 4
- dither off. Eq high shelf taken down to 6 kHz and up to -0.8dB, wide bell at 4kHz to -.7dB. Some loss of cymbals. Low cut to 55Hz, high cut put in at 14kHz, -12 dB per octave, STC8 switched over to KI 2nd harmonic mode and increase gain stage. Automate volume to reduce intro and outro volumes as requested by between -9 and -10 dB whilst maintaining main part as before. Dither back on and print- save edl point 5. QA listen ckeck ok.

Return version 2 master to Adrian for comments:
Adrian happy with result and requests a high quality mp3. Note - it's not possible to just format a wave to an mp3 without taking in to account any dithering and peak level. In this case I went back to edl save 5, reduced the input into the limiter by -.5 dB and reset the output to -.8dBFS. I turned the dither off and then format shifted the processed file to a HQ mp3 at 320, qa listen checked it ok and sent that to Adrian. Adrian happy with mp3 as well as wave.

End.



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Kristofer Dahl
post Jun 23 2010, 12:59 PM
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Very interesting to see your workflow Tony - thanks!


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jun 23 2010, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for sharing this Tony! I read it all and its really interesting to get insight into the process! smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 27 2010, 03:23 AM
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All I can say is wow.. The methods you use are top notch! smile.gif


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Adrian Figallo
post Jul 1 2010, 06:24 PM
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just saw this thread tony, wow dude, it is a LOT of work, more than i really tough, looks like the All in one plug in don't really have ALL smile.gif
thanks for the amazing job brother!


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audiopaal
post Jul 1 2010, 06:32 PM
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Very nice as always Tony smile.gif
I'll use your services sometime as well, just need to get some recordings finished for a change laugh.gif

Oh, and I sent you a new e-mail..
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 2 2010, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the kind words all.

@Kris - workflow isn't set and can change depending on what the audio is like and what the client wants/needs but a majority follow a pattern very similar to this one.

@Adrian- thanks and happy that the master works for you smile.gif.

@Audio - thanks smile.gif received but not yet had time to look at it as I'm in the middle of a longish mastering session for a UK label and beta testing the upcoming release of a mastering daw.


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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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