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To master or not to master?

permalink   Tue, Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:16 AM
Anyone who’s heard our output will probably know the lack of mastering.

My reason for this is it’s a skill area I lack, and we’ve yet to re-assemble the team that can do it well.

The other reason is it might be better to master after MP3 decoding, with the mastering system taking out many of the digital artifacts associated with MP3.

How do others feel on this issue? And does anyone here offer either amateur or professional mastering.

We used to use a program called T-Rax years ago, it might be still around and does sound good, but is pricey and processor intensive.
Platinum Butterfly
permalink   Tue, Apr 19, 2016 @ 11:02 PM
t racks is nice to start with for eq-ing and compression/limiting. But for better results i would advise to first, monotize the bass (under 225hz) and demudd the bass (that means so much, as only leave the bassdrum and the leading bass at normal levels on eq (some minor subbass decreasing around 30hz) and also reduce all the other instruments basses from around 225 hz. This must be done for each mixing channel, than on the master put an eq where you tweak the sound further and behind the eq, put a dynamic (3 or more way) limiter or compressor. There are a lot of tutorials on that subject on youtube. There are some free limiter/compressor vst’s on the internet. I don’t know exactly with wicht programs you work so i gave an answer out of my own experiences.

On mp3 decoding i’d suggest you use the lame encoder that is used in audacity, the only reduction in sound i noticed was some less bass, so you can give your bass in the master a little boost, then the ruduction of the lame encoder would make it fine.
Best time to master is in the morning when your ears are all fresh, and when you use headphones, make sure to also listen aloud and take breaks when you put a lot of time in it. After a while you get tonedeaf and then your ears need a break :) .
This is my vision and how i do it, but i’m sure others have their opinion and ways on it too.


ps. If you like, i can do an example mastering on reaper for you. Then i can send you back the track file and you can watch how it is done. Reaper is in demo version two months available without restrictions, so it would be an easy way to view some of the things i have done and translate it to your own software. Then there are no costs at it. PM me if you like.
permalink   stellarartwars Tue, Apr 19, 2016 @ 11:34 PM
Thank you for your help and advice. My monitoring system (like most other things) needs an overhaul, it looses power on one or the other channel during mixes, the problem is dirt (smoking ciggies and weed are not good for anything electronic with switches and contacts)

I’ll follow some of your suggestions- it’s easy to say “I can’t do that” without trying. Rather like Jim Carrey’s Yes Man :)
permalink   Platinum Butterfly Wed, Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:27 PM
i also noticed when you record, that it seems that you only have one track for the drums( i looked at some of your stems tracks) , i would give everything a separate track, so the sounds can be better tweaked, bassdrum needs a whole other eq setting then a hihat for instance.

greetz Frank
permalink   stellarartwars Thu, Apr 21, 2016 @ 4:02 AM
One of the problems is me being lazy, I have multi outs on my drum machines and the same in software. I tend to get bored with an idea after a day or so, when I’ve got a better state of mind, more methodical and less random I’m probably going to do them again properly.

In the meantime, if you’d like to master one of our tracks, we’ll obviously credit and royalty split. It would be nice to see what we someone else could come up with.

It’s only been the last few years where I’ve been engineering my own productions, oddly going before that I did the engineering for other producers. It’s hard to work as a one man band, or even as a trio (two guys managed by my missus) without bouncing ideas around.
Abstract Audio
permalink   Mon, Apr 25, 2016 @ 12:24 AM
I haven’t listened to your songs for a while, will do that in the near future. One piece of advice that I can give you is: make sure your track has had a (near) perfect mixdown. If your doing something radical to your master it went wrong at the recording/miximg stage
Things like for example monofying or de-mudding a bass is stuff that needs to be done before the master.

Mastering is al about finesse, final little and subtle adjustments to make the album sound as a whole. Or if you into it make it as loud as possible.
And also thinknof how your going to present the album. An mp3 album can be presented in diffrent qualities if you do that make sure your render each track in from the master to the disered quality. If you’ll go from 320 to 192, you’ll lose a lot of quality. Any other product, cd or lp should NOT be delivered as mp3.

Another thing is make sure you’ve got a good set of speakers or headphones. It’s rwally hard to create a good master on a bad system, it’s like if a cook can’t taste.

If your gonna do it yourself there’s a ton of great info out there
I’ve had massive help from the following
A channel @ youtube: pro audio files

And something more on the mixdown but thats where allmost al my knowledge of how to work with audio comes from

It’s a fun thing to do and you’ll learn so much from it. It will proberbly also help you at the other stages.

I really don’t have time to do a mixdown or mastering but if you want I can allways have a listen.

Good luck AA
permalink   stellarartwars Tue, Apr 26, 2016 @ 3:27 AM
thank you