Mastering

Discussion in 'Production' started by IV4, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. IV4

    IV4 Currently a newt.

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    What is it really? What is its purpose? Why do people who master professionally need 6db of head room. I use mastering to get my songs louder in both perceived loudness and actual volume and that is it. The tools I use are the ozone maximizer for reason with very little going on, to be honest I do not really understand it.



    and then I bounce the track out and use the reason master compressor with the threshold turn way down.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015
  2. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    For me it's always been just the "extra pair of ears" from someone who understands what club system aimed music entails. You become so "blind" to your own tunes that you might not hear the finer nuances in EQ.

    Other than limiting to maximise loudness, the engineer might work on the tonal balance, stereo image (and both with mid/side eq) and dynamics. One thing that they usually also contribute is the ISRC codes.
     
  3. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    i've always wanted to send one of my songs off to get professionally mastered by someone who really knows what they're doing and uses $$$ hardware, just out of curiosity. different mastering engineers request varying amounts of headroom. i just sent a song to Metropolis Mastering, they wanted me to gain stage my track at -4db so i did exactly that and left off any master bus limiter/ny compression/etc. apparently Metropolis has been for awhile because they've done mastering for alot of big names. but what sold me was their list of past clientele that are dnb producers - Cyantific, Adam F, Roni Size, Dillinja, Chase & Status, Pendulum, Nero and i think High Contrast. i think i should get it back in around a week, i'll be sure to post it up here for comments. so give me a week and i'll post up the finish product, let everyone be the judge on what the gain is (cheesy pun intended). below is a clip of an interview with them.

     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  4. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Kind of irrelevant but
    Only electronic music sees mastering as an essential I think.
    Alt-j won the mercury prize with an album that has no mastering or mixing whatsoever- at least that's what it sounds like.

    Radiohead also have really terrible recording/mixing/mastering, and loads of people think they're the dog's bollocks.

    This always makes me think that people fuss too much about mastering. What us producers would think is just a quick bodge job master we do ourselves would be 10x better than a million bands and singer songwriters do.

    But I guess it's important for a clubs and DJs so you have to do it, and if you can't do it well you have to get someone else to do it for you.
     
  5. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    the mastering i've seen for rock genres definitely seemed to be very bare bones but then again, most electronic music seems far more complex due to it having many layers of synth sounds which would make for a more difficult mixdown due to the harmonics involved with most of the complex synth sounds that are common to electronic music. especially dnb where you have multiple layers of drums, hats, percussion as well as a greater likelihood of overlapping frequencies of the actual synth sounds due to there being alot more harmonics in comparison to traditional acoustic instruments. at least that's been my observation, fwiw.

    warning - yank question: I thought bollocks was a good thing and dog bollocks was a bad thing? that's what robert carlyle explained to samuel l jackson in formula 51 aka the 51st state. and what's the deal with zed? I hear it in shaun of the dead, is that just a synonym for the letter "z"? like you recite the alphabet and it ends in "x, y, zed. now i know my a, b, c's, next time wont you sing with me".... kinda ruins the rhyme. plz forgive my typical generic american ignorance and thank you in advance :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  6. lasiien

    lasiien Meh

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    I agree with kama about the extra pair of ears and I guess that's the most important thing, especially if it's a professional who has allot more experience than you do using a proper studio space. Also, they often have equipment you may not have access to, Ozone is fine for most of us as we can't afford a massive studio full of analogue goodness to add that extra special sauce. But I also remember some advice someone gave me which was essentially 'you can't polish a turd'....meaning if your tune isn't great a professional master won't really change that :)
     
  7. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Lol I feel so british... I'm actually having a mug of tea sitting here reading this.

    It's the other way around, dog's bollocks is the best, but I swear no-one uses the phrase apart from me ocasionally.
    Bollocks is the british equivalent of bullshit, but it means testicles rather than cow poo.

    I also thought only british people liked shaun of the dead and hot fuzz, you have good taste for a 'murican. :D
     
  8. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    ah i gotcha. thanks for setting me straight, i'll be sure to spread this important knowledge across 'murica. it'll confuse alot of people but these people are easily confused anyway. since i live in atlanta, i'm pretty much surrounded by yeehaws. believe it or not, it's not too bad in atlanta because most people in atlanta are transplants. i'm from cleveland, my wife's from san francisco, most of my friends are from chicago or brooklyn. but as soon as you leave the city, you remember that you're in the southeast USA. some of the dumbest people on the planet and a serious language barrier; that southern thick twangy accent.

    the cornetto trilogy are masterpieces as far as i'm concerned. we love those movies over here. i saw shaun of the dead and hot fuzz in the theater and remember the theater was packed for both movies. to this day, me and my friends still quote those shaun and hot fuzz and I even used soundbytes from shaun of the dead's "it's not hip-hop. it's electro, prick" skit as an intro for a breakbeat mix I made several years back, i have it up on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AG1Y_OSzYM
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  9. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    sorry for getting off-topic IV4. I just got my song back from the mastering studio. i posted it up in "new talent" but i'll include it here so an easy a/b comparison can be down. also i'd recommend downloading both versions so that additional compression used in streaming isn't an issue and of course using good speakers or headphones so you can hear the difference. on the version i mastered, i did my best to get the peaks and rms as close as possible to their version. both versions were mastered from the same pre-master wav file (24-bit, no dither) which had -4db headroom. click the link below, downloads should be enabled.

    https://soundcloud.com/djdizzyofficial/dj-dizzy-keep-on-mastered-by-me-itb-with-software/s-1rUvF
    ^ here's the version i mastered. it's all ITB with software (but it was really good software). my master bus consisted of:
    1) Nebula (AlexB's Synth Filter - MMG Line Amp) gives a great sounding amplitude boost. i can't say enough about how great Nebula is at being the best at emulating amazing hardware
    2) AOM's Invisible Limiter (definitely my favorite software limiter, i like it better than Ozone and FabFilter Pro-L)

    https://soundcloud.com/djdizzyofficial/keep-on-1/s-Es9Zk
    ^ here's the version that was professionally mastered. they mastered OTB, performed by experts with decades of experience and used very expensive tube/valve compressors and the whole nine.

    then we both followed the same final steps, we took our master and downsampled it to 16-bit WAV with our choice of dithering, then encoded to 320kbps mp3.

    IMO their version sounds cleaner to my ears, more defined and it just seems like everything cuts through the mix perfectly, and everything sounds more 3d. it's hard to explain but if you download them and listen close, it seems like all these subtle differences add up to theirs sounding way better and superior to my version. you probably can't tell much difference if you stream them because of crappy streaming compression ruining the audio.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
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  10. Mania

    Mania i fukin wot m8

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    Mastering is used for enhancing a tracks sonic performance for the widest variety of listening environments and the implementation of vinyl compatibility, whilst making any beneficial changes to the mix that effects the whole track
     
  11. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    Anyone who says that mixing rock music is easier than mixing electronic music clearly hasn't recorded/mixed a band before. If you can get the same mixdown/tone as Misha Mansoor then you'll probably find yourself a good job.
    It's harder than it sounds. If you want good drum sounds then you buy some sample packs and layer. With rock:metal you need to find a decent kit, have it mic'd and set up properly, set recording levels that have a good signal to noise ratio and so on.

    Also I think mastering should always be done by a professional. When making music you have an emotional attachment to the track you're working on. On e the track is finished it's hard to listen to the track objectively.
     
  12. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

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    Erryday!
     
  13. SafeandSound

    SafeandSound Mastering Engineer

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    Maybe this explains...

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015
  14. JAWX

    JAWX New Member

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    Mastering now adays is both to get the final peak of better quality, but also about what the industry want and need. Say example you put a song on Spotify, and your song has less volume then the rest of Spotify.. or if a DJ have to raise the gain when playing your track. You want to keep this volume at a "industry level". With that you have to compress and limit both frequencies and volume all over... the industry is very much about air time, getting the track played on radio.. so they make sure that all sounds are coming through on a hi-fi stereo, in your car, on a poor radio etc. This is kinda a problem to day, as many songs sound crappy on larg PA systems. I hat that when DJ-ing! And ofcourse, mastering is about getting wrid of those dirty noises and frequencies you don't want.. the kind that's not healthy for the speakers and cannot really be heard with the human ear.

    Here is a good example of keeping everything "up and high" for the radio, but it sounds shitty in a large PA. When there main part kicks in, the punch is all gone!

     
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  15. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

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    Everything was good up until that point, what youre saying couldnt be anymore subjective if you possibly tried. From my personal experience in dance music is if it sounds sweet outta my laptop then it'll sound banging on a system, no doubt. We are all into dnb rememeber mate, not fucking Calvin wank face Harris
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015