Mastering Tips - Six Simple Things
Todd Simpson
Jun 28 2020, 06:52 PM
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1.)MAKE SURE THE MIX IS DONE
If the mix is not “done”, the mastering process will only make the problems stand out more. The mix needs to be as good as it can be, before the mastering process. If the mix is only have done, or has glaring problems, it can’t be properly mastered. You can’t “fix it in mastering”.


2.)SET UP YOUR METERS
Make sure you have a full set of meters going so that you can view your metering at a glance. The overall volume, phase, peak, etc. Should be in view at a glance.

3.)E.Q. THE GOAL IS TO BE SUBTLE
Don’t go beyond 2 or 4db in your E.Q. otherwise the changes are very drastic and can ruin the entire mix. Using your ears, sweep through all of the frequencies to find problems. If there is a small problem, you can make a small change. If there is a BIG problem, you may need to send the song back to the mixer. Have the client send you several tracks that they like, to get a feel for what kind of overall E.Q. they are looking for..

[b]4.)DYNAMICS
[/b]
Listen to the track and determine if all the tracks sound “glued” together and not separate like they were recorded in different rooms at different times. We want it to sound like it was all recorded at once, almost in a live way with a very organic sound. We want to make sure our changes sound better, not just louder. So make use of the BYPASS after you make every change.
Attached Image


You may want to use a multi band compressor. If you want to tame the low end for example, you can use a multi band compressor just for the low end of the song. Conversely, you may want to tame something in the high range. A multi band compressor is great for this as well. You can usually shift the range in each section to find the exact range you want to effect.


5.)TONE SHAPING
Pay close attention to your reference track. Is it bright and shiny or dark? This will impact your overal E.Q. decisions in your master. Keep in mind you are making GLOBAL decisions. You are not affecting individual tracks, that was done in mixing, you are making sweeping, broad changes to the entire overall sonic character of the song. Compressors are part of this in addition to E.Q. each song and the reference tracks will lead you on the correct path. Saturation is another key of tone shaping. When mixing in the box, adding a pinch of saturation can be a good thing. You can use a saturation plugin or just use the E.Q. level control. Too much saturation and you can wreck your track and it compresses the dynamic range so be careful.

6.)LIMITING

The most mis understood tool in mastering. When you over use a limiter, you RUIN the track. Keep your meters open and watch them carefully. Always watch how much “gain reduction” is going on. The last thing you want is to push the volume up all the way and crush the dynamics on your song. 1 to 5 db of limiting is a general range. 5 is really pushing it. Trust your ears. Don’t mix or master with your eyes!!!!!


BONUS TIPS:


MID SIDE PROCESSING

Using this approach you can compress the middle of your song differently than the far right and far left. This is a great way to create a sense of depth in your track.
STEREO EXPANSION (OZONE IMAGER IS FREE!!! HERE IS THE LINK)
https://www.izotope.com/en/products/ozone-i...utm_term=Launch
Using a pinch of stereo expansion can make the track sound much bigger. Be careful with this, if you go to far you can get really bad phasing so again trust your ears!!

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jun 28 2020, 06:54 PM
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Mertay
Jun 30 2020, 09:42 AM
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When you have time definitely test this plug-in I shared; https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=61084&hl=

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Todd Simpson
Jun 30 2020, 10:07 PM
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Posts: 20.609
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
That is a very spiff mastering EQ. It's like a more advanced version of the parametric in LOGIC X. Thank for the share!

Todd
QUOTE (Mertay @ Jun 30 2020, 04:42 AM) *
When you have time definitely test this plug-in I shared; https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=61084&hl=

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
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Kristofer Dahl
Jul 1 2020, 11:32 PM
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From: Stockholm, Sweden
Yes #1 is important when mastering your own stuff - because if you find a problem the best solution will most likely be in the mix - not through mastering.

So that is why I do not mix down / export my projects when mastering - I simply add effects on the master bus.

I usually just add compressor and limiter - and if I want to add frequencies/EQ etc I will do it on the individual tracks instead.

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Todd Simpson
Jul 3 2020, 03:40 AM
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Very true! Also, that approach is very popular with home musicians since they are in charge of the entire pipeline. Once can sit a mastering chain on the mix bus and just turn it on and off to see how it's going.

QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jul 1 2020, 06:32 PM) *
Yes #1 is important when mastering your own stuff - because if you find a problem the best solution will most likely be in the mix - not through mastering.

So that is why I do not mix down / export my projects when mastering - I simply add effects on the master bus.

I usually just add compressor and limiter - and if I want to add frequencies/EQ etc I will do it on the individual tracks instead.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
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