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Ivan Milenkovic
Gab told me in previous thread about PSP OldTimer that he used VintageWarmer & Ultramaximizer for mastering, which is a very nice combo, I used L3 multimaximizer for quite some time too, which is very similar, transparent multiband compressor.

Let's share out compressor plugins for mastering here and some of the frequent settings that you start out with and tweak from there. It would be good what are the plugins you base your mastering method.
smile.gif

Possibly Tony could give us some insight on some plugins too, we know you're using professional gear and compressors, so you know how the "real" stuff works and possible ways to emulate the effects with software.
Saoirse O'Shea
None of the above TBH - personal choice but I don't tend to use vsti compressors in mastering that add colour, if I want to do that I use hardware. I've found that vst comps that add 'colour' also tend to add unwanted artefacts and create other issues. Personally when I use a vsti comp it needs to be clean, have full control over attack and release times and preferably also needs to be able to do upward compression. One of the better suited ones here IME is the Flux comp.

To be brutally honest vstis that 'emulate' hardware just don't do it very well and whilst they may be alright for mixing duties they aren't up to it for mastering IMHO.

I don't start with any setting - it all depends on the music itself. That includes deciding what comp to use - ie whether its opto, vari or VCA hardware or vsti, and the placement, i.e. whether before or after the EQ, side chained, parallel etc.
Gabriel Leopardi
Good post Tony! Thanks for that important info!

Nowadays I'm using Izotope Ozone for mastering. I really like the results but I know that it can't be compared to high quality hardware.
Todd Simpson
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Nov 3 2011, 05:35 PM) *
Good post Tony! Thanks for that important info!

Nowadays I'm using Izotope Ozone for mastering. I really like the results but I know that it can't be compared to high quality hardware.


These are really two different worlds we are talking about. High end mastering, using pricey hardware is a different planet than home recording using software. Both have their place of course. For home recording/software mastering, I also dig the ozone plugin. They make some great stuff. Depending on who you ask, and which world they live in, you are going to get widely different responses.

Some folks feel the ozone is too heavy handed and tends to over do it. There is some truth to to this, and if I was paying top dollar for a mastering session and the guy whips out his laptop and ozone, I would probably walk. If paying for a session, I'm expecting gear that I don't have and wouldn't buy (cost/maintenance issues). But for home recording, and getting a decent result with a minimum of time and hassle, Izotope ozone on a laptop is really tough to beat.
Saoirse O'Shea
QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 4 2011, 04:39 AM) *
These are really two different worlds we are talking about. High end mastering, using pricey hardware is a different planet than home recording using software. Both have their place of course. For home recording/software mastering, I also dig the ozone plugin. They make some great stuff. Depending on who you ask, and which world they live in, you are going to get widely different responses.

Some folks feel the ozone is too heavy handed and tends to over do it. There is some truth to to this, and if I was paying top dollar for a mastering session and the guy whips out his laptop and ozone, I would probably walk. If paying for a session, I'm expecting gear that I don't have and wouldn't buy (cost/maintenance issues). But for home recording, and getting a decent result with a minimum of time and hassle, Izotope ozone on a laptop is really tough to beat.


Very true Todd. A couple of things to be careful of with Ozone is that the presets are all a bit too extreme for mastering and when Ozone is pushed it distorts and produces some odd atefacts. If you keep it within its comfort zone its ok.

Pro mastering sessions are not as expensive as people think btw. The main purpose of mastering however is not about effects and dynamics processing. It is more about quality control: ensuring that the project is coherent and consistent, and that the final audio is fit for purpose, and in particular, meets redbook. Most people don't think these quality controls are important - until the day when their 'premaster' is either rejected by the replication plant or worse still goes through a duplicator who leaves them with 1000s of unplayable CDs. Same for digital only - people wonder why their digital recording sounds rubbish on youtube, soundcloud, radio, digital download and so on and most of the time its because of poor control so the product is not fit for purpose.
Todd Simpson
QUOTE (tonymiro @ Nov 4 2011, 05:26 AM) *
Very true Todd. A couple of things to be careful of with Ozone is that the presets are all a bit too extreme for mastering and when Ozone is pushed it distorts and produces some odd atefacts. If you keep it within its comfort zone its ok.

Pro mastering sessions are not as expensive as people think btw. The main purpose of mastering however is not about effects and dynamics processing. It is more about quality control: ensuring that the project is coherent and consistent, and that the final audio is fit for purpose, and in particular, meets redbook. Most people don't think these quality controls are important - until the day when their 'premaster' is either rejected by the replication plant or worse still goes through a duplicator who leaves them with 1000s of unplayable CDs. Same for digital only - people wonder why their digital recording sounds rubbish on youtube, soundcloud, radio, digital download and so on and most of the time its because of poor control so the product is not fit for purpose.


This is a GREAT point. A PRO mastering session is far less about making the mix sound better than it was recorded than it is about ending up with a professional product that can be distributed/pressed up/duplicated/streamed etc. without fear of said recording falling apart under the stress of say, youtube compression. When you pay for a mastering session, you are paying for not only the ears, and gear of the Engineer, but for his years of experience and ability to save a track and it's owners from endless frustration resulting from their audio not meeting "book" specs, and not holding up in "the wild".

So if you plan on releasing some music (releasing is vastly different from sharing), as a band, solo performer, etc. It really is worth having it professionally mastered.

Sharing your music (putting it up on the web to get feedback, let people hear it, etc.) is important. Until you make music and share it, your not yet honestly a musician. Music wants to be shared, so share some! smile.gif

"Releasing" music is a bit more than just sharing. An actual Release is more formal, more serious, usually involves spending some money and carries a host of considerations with it. It's important to be able to decide which of your tracks should be shared and which merit a "release". For an actual release, you should go ahead and create a business entity (even a sole proprietorship) and fill out the copyright forms (here is a link to some info) to protect your melody and lyrics (you can't copyright a songs title or idea) and be prepared to pay for pro mastering and have some units printed up even if you plan on releasing digital just so you have a promotional item you can give away and maybe even put in a frame to mark the event.

Whether to "share" or "release" is up to you. Both have their place.
thefireball
I remember using Ozone before I restarted my computer. I tried to download it again and I couldn't open it. I says it isn't compatible with my computer. I downloaded the latest for Windows. I didn't see any other option on Izotope's website.
Sinisa Cekic
Ozone user here, also ..
OzRob
Tony has been the single biggest influence on my mixing and 'mastering' - I hesitate to use that term for what I do because to me it's like a burger cook considering themselves a chef. smile.gif

But after reading many of his posts on here and trialling various software, I steer clear of certain products and have focused in on a few really high-quality plugs, namely, the Flux Pure Compressor and Pure Limiter II. The Limiter was also one of Tony's suggestions when I first asked him about the Waves L3. And they're very reasonably priced considering their quality. They can be pushed quite hard (which I only do for electronic music) but are transparent and it takes a lot to get them to distort, IMO. I find this compressor to be particularly good with drums as compared to several others I've tried.
Todd Simpson
QUOTE (thefireball @ Nov 4 2011, 10:37 PM) *
I remember using Ozone before I restarted my computer. I tried to download it again and I couldn't open it. I says it isn't compatible with my computer. I downloaded the latest for Windows. I didn't see any other option on Izotope's website.


Make sure you download the version that goes with your version of windows. Did you check the FAQ and support section of the OZONE site? Could be a small issue that's easily fixed.
OzRob
Question for Tony - have you used Flux Alchemist? If so, what's your opinion?

I have the opportunity to pick up a license for significantly less than retail but it's still a large investment. Every review and comment I've found has been favourable except for those from fanboys of other products.

Saoirse O'Shea
Hi Rob,

Afraid I've never used Alchemist as we don't use splitband much here. (Contrary to what most people think we really don't use split/multi that much in mastering - I use it maybe at most 1 per year.) Most of the comments I've seen from pro engineers are very positive albeit that as with all splitbands a minority have concerns with artifacts, distortion and so on. Most seem happy though.

AFAIK it's very similar to Solera apart from being split rather than broad - it looks more complicated but that's really only because you're dealing with 2 or more comps at once as it's a splitband. The general compression design etc will be good if it's the same as Solera so any issues might therefore come down to the X-overs and related HPF and LPFs they've used to do the splitbanding. I don't know what's been used but Flux generally are also good on EQ filters so again that should be ok.

If it's a really good deal then go for it as it'll certainly be one of the better vst splitbands.

If you're short of cash though you can always use aux send to several track lanes with individual eqs set up specific shelving/HPF/LPF and feed them individually in to their own comps to mimic a splitband. A bit messy and takes a bit more time to set up the signal path but do-able.
OzRob
Hey Tony,

Thanks for that informative reply, as always. Not so much short of cash, as I don't like buying cheap plugs and then later upgrading - would rather buy good quality as I can. I have the Flux Limiter and Compressor and have been very happy with them but there's the occasional track that really benefits from a multiband compressor and the one included in my DAW is not that great, and I'm not interested in Ozone or the like.

I do like the idea of using multiple sends and creating a split signal path but I'd still really need a good quality EQ or HPF/LPF filters as I would suppose the crossovers would be very problematic with consumer level EQs.

You've given me food for thought though, so I'll take a few days to consider my options.

Thank you! smile.gif
Saoirse O'Shea
NP Rob smile.gif - happy to help.

Yes you'd need a good EQ. If you're staying ITB then the Flux Pure should be fine for this but OTB a good EQ would end up being expensive.

BTW you could do a simple single band split band in line, which would have simpler routing (yes I know it sounds like a contradiction but it isn't). Put an EQ before the comp and HPF/LPF to just have the band you want. Would probably be ok for things like cymbals in the overheads where you want to comp them but have spill from a kick - HPF out the kick... It's kind of like a simple de-esser - if you can feed the comp's side chain from the eq then even better smile.gif .
OzRob
Thanks as always Tony. smile.gif
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