Mix Down vs Mastering....?

richie_stix

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#1
Right, never had a track mastered but i am looking to do so in the near future so i was wondering how much time should i spend on mixing down my tacks when it's just going to be re-mixed down once each individual track has been mastered? Surely the mastering process should cover my back for a few dubious bits of mixdown due to not owning monitors?

advice, experience, audio of mastered vs mix-downed tracks etc all appreciated! :D
 

TongueFlap

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#2
Right, never had a track mastered but i am looking to do so in the near future so i was wondering how much time should i spend on mixing down my tacks when it's just going to be re-mixed down once each individual track has been mastered? Surely the mastering process should cover my back for a few dubious bits of mixdown due to not owning monitors?

advice, experience, audio of mastered vs mix-downed tracks etc all appreciated! :D
mixing and mastering are two different things.

You need to make sure that your mix is a 105% finished before it goes off to be mastered, as the masterer will only have access to the 'bounced' WAV. A mastering engineer will then look/listen to your mix. He will most likely compress and EQ your final bounce again. This will bring your tune up to the 'commercial' level. It will sound 10 times warmer/bigger/fuller after its done.
 

Dave Dexcell

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#3
This^^^

you need to make sure theres nothing to loud and nothing to quiet etc etc the engineer is not a magician lol

to be honest it isnt worth getting one tune mastered as they will usualy do it cheaper the more you do, and it certainly isnt worth paying for if it is not being released.

If i were you and the tune is good enough to get picked up by a label i would let them deal with the mastering etc just make sure you get final say!
 

richie_stix

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#4
it's just for personal use... one of the members on this forum offers your first track free (mastering) so was thinking of doing this?

what i think i'm trying to get at is (lets say hypothetically), say in my tune the hats sounded nice and at the right volume, but in the mastering suite they were to harsh and loud... the engineer would just knock of a notch of volume (maybe compress) and cut out the harsh frequencies to bring it back in line... yes?

so, if a few frequencies or levels were a bit out the engineer could sort it out?
 

TongueFlap

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#5
^^ also this.

but if you do get it mastered make sure you send it to someone who knows what they are doing with DnB. A normal studio engineer who is used to rock etc will probs mess it up.
 

GiDriK

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#6
engineer get ur master wav wich must not peak over 0db, usually they want headroom, like so it peaks at -3db.

what i think i'm trying to get at is (lets say hypothetically), say in my tune the hats sounded nice and at the right volume, but in the mastering suite they were to harsh and loud... the engineer would just knock of a notch of volume (maybe compress) and cut out the harsh frequencies to bring it back in line... yes?

"in the mastering suite they were to harsh and loud.."
That means u mastered it shity.
 

richie_stix

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#7
engineer get ur master wav wich must not peak over 0db, usually they want headroom, like so it peaks at -3db.

what i think i'm trying to get at is (lets say hypothetically), say in my tune the hats sounded nice and at the right volume, but in the mastering suite they were to harsh and loud... the engineer would just knock of a notch of volume (maybe compress) and cut out the harsh frequencies to bring it back in line... yes?

"in the mastering suite they were to harsh and loud.."
That means u mastered it shity.
don't really know what your going on about mate apart from the headroom bit... most want between 3&6db on every track.

That means u mastered it shity

i haven't mastered it shitty, as i am refering to pre-mastering and the engineer fixing that? :confused:
 

kama

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#12
mastering will not fix problems in mixdown. It is only meant to lift your tune up to par with commercial tunes in terms of loudness and tone. You can't really leave your hihats loud and hope that the mastering engineer will bring them down. He simply cant. You provide the master (1 audio file) and he works on that, no chance he can mess with instrument balances.
 

richie_stix

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#13
mastering will not fix problems in mixdown. It is only meant to lift your tune up to par with commercial tunes in terms of loudness and tone. You can't really leave your hihats loud and hope that the mastering engineer will bring them down. He simply cant. You provide the master (1 audio file) and he works on that, no chance he can mess with instrument balances.
i see your point, but i think you are missing mine? the place that I'm talking about doinf my mastering does each track... so all the hat elements would be on their own individual tracks, these would then be mastered and then put together... thus meaning mr engineer can adjust volumes in the mixdown?

plus, it's not like I'm leaving them up because i'm lazy, I'm saying what if the equipment i'm monitoring on combined with the acoustic properties of the room inadvertantly leave them a little high?
 

TongueFlap

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#14
i see your point, but i think you are missing mine? the place that I'm talking about doinf my mastering does each track... so all the hat elements would be on their own individual tracks, these would then be mastered and then put together... thus meaning mr engineer can adjust volumes in the mixdown?

plus, it's not like I'm leaving them up because i'm lazy, I'm saying what if the equipment i'm monitoring on combined with the acoustic properties of the room inadvertantly leave them a little high?
mate, your gettin urself confused.

The mix down engineer is different from a mastering engineer.
If you a mixdown engineer, you will have al the consolodated 'bounced' tracks to 'mix down' - You are doing this role at the moment. so your mix must be perfect/finished before it is sent off.

Once you are satisfied with your mix, you bounce the WHOLE track into one WAV. Meaning it can not be altered.

It then gets sent to a mastering engineer, who only has access to your WAV -They can not alter anything (eg drum, bass, strings etc) other than your final bounce.

They will then run your mix through a mixing desk, something like an SSL etc. This mix will then be routed through some compressors - EQ's etc etc, to get the best out of it. they may boost/cut frequencies. Once the Mix has been adjusted it will then be rebounced into a new channel. This will then be your Mastered track.

Hope this helps.
 
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richie_stix

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#15
cheers tongue-flap... it would appear that the 'engineers' i have been talking to do both then, as they asked for each individual track! i therfore assumed that all mastering engineers did the mixdown and mastering...

assumption hey, the mother of all fuck ups!

but, would it not be worth getting a mixdown engineer on the case too then if mixing down is a problem for a lot of bedroom producers?
 

motion audio

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#16
It then gets sent to a mastering engineer, who only has access to your WAV -They can not alter anything (eg drum, bass, strings etc) other than your final bounce.
Thats not stricly true, some mastering places will ask for a few different comped tracks, maybe not all seperate like it is for mixing down, but say, drums seperate from bass and leads, vocals seperate again, as this will mean that they can treat it more acurately.

As for mastering and mixing down being seperate processes though, completely true. A mastering engineers job is not to sort out levels and a good mix itself, its to make final touches that will make the overall mix sound good and on all systems, and be of a decent final level. In the case of an ep/album being mastered, it'll be their task to make sure each track has the same sort of balance and sound, so when theyre played one after another it'll sound like a constant album rather than different sounding songs plonked on a disk.
 

TongueFlap

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#17
cheers tongue-flap... it would appear that the 'engineers' i have been talking to do both then, as they asked for each individual track! i therfore assumed that all mastering engineers did the mixdown and mastering...

assumption hey, the mother of all fuck ups!

but, would it not be worth getting a mixdown engineer on the case too then if mixing down is a problem for a lot of bedroom producers?
yeh you could.
In this case you would provide the mix engineer with your stems (indivual bounced tracks) - He will then mix the tune for you. This would solve your bedroom mix problem. Obv it is difficult without good monitors and mixing is harder than it first seems. It is good practise to learn to mix tho, get to know your monitors. I think high contrasts earlier mixes were done on some crappy speakers, He would of just kept at it. A good way to test your mixes is to play them in the car. And also reference them to over tunes. Say you like Subfocus bass but like a london elek leads.. compare both of these to your mixes. :)
 

TongueFlap

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#18
Thats not stricly true, some mastering places will ask for a few different comped tracks, maybe not all seperate like it is for mixing down, but say, drums seperate from bass and leads, vocals seperate again, as this will mean that they can treat it more acurately.
QUOTE]

this is also true, but it doesnt happen very often and especially in DnB.
 

richie_stix

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#19
yeh you could.
In this case you would provide the mix engineer with your stems (indivual bounced tracks) - He will then mix the tune for you. This would solve your bedroom mix problem. Obv it is difficult without good monitors and mixing is harder than it first seems. It is good practise to learn to mix tho, get to know your monitors. I think high contrasts earlier mixes were done on some crappy speakers, He would of just kept at it. A good way to test your mixes is to play them in the car. And also reference them to over tunes. Say you like Subfocus bass but like a london elek leads.. compare both of these to your mixes. :)
bang on the money there mr flap!

a) always listen to my tracks in my car on the way to work... seems where i find most of the issues (especially overly harsh or loud sounds), then on headphones at work and on my home hifi when the missis is out! Don't have monitors, though i do have 'monitoring headphones' but the nearfield environment can be missleading for sure!

b) high contrast made some of his rinsin original tracks on computer speakers from the 90s....

does prove a shoddy worksman blames his tools!
 

motion audio

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#20
A good way to test your mixes is to play them in the car. And also reference them to over tunes. Say you like Subfocus bass but like a london elek leads.. compare both of these to your mixes. :)
Really good way to do things, when I was doing my work experience at a local studio thats fully kitted out and acousticly treated, the engineer there was still using the same technique, burning a cd of the mixdown and playing it on every system he could set his eyes on, making a change if needed (although he didnt really need to make any, mixdown was nice!) I dont think theres ever a point where this isnt helpful.
 
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