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#161323 - 06/02/12 10:03 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: silvertones]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Quote:


Mac,
I think you miss my point. I actually wasn't real clear on what I mean. Of course if you take a single song from a project of a bunch of songs it will have been Mastered.My point is that you don't take say 12 songs Master one ,set it aside. Master #2 and set it aside.Master #3 and set it aside. Mastering is really taking a whole group of songs and making a cohesive sounding project.If you record just one song, take the stereo file and do some hokuss pokus to it I really don't call that Mastering. To me it's just finishing the mix of the one tune.Any good engineer can finish a single song to be release ready. It takes an Engineer that's also an "artist" to Master a group of 12 songs. Just my opinion.




In the pro world, it is done both ways.

If there is just one cut and no others, that one cut is still subjected to Mastering process.

A compilation or "album" is often Mastered such that there are no apparent abrupt changes in volume, amplitude (almost the same thing as Volume but not quite), EQ, etc. but a good a Mastering Engineer can bring out the exact same qualities when confronted with only the single. And should.

This is not a black art, it is a technology.


--Mac
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#161324 - 06/02/12 10:51 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: Mac]
rockstar_not Offline
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Posts: 7455
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
OK,

I'm going to pretend that there isn't an argument about what mastering means and whether or not there are professionals who do or do not know what they are doing, and whether or not this is a black art.

I can tell you that there are methods which can take what you have now, run it through a preset called 'country rock', and doggone it if it doesn't make it sound more like what a proper country rock tune on the radio sounds like.

rharv pointed to one of the plugins that have presets like this, Ozone. In Tracktion (for those of you that purchased it at $19 last year, there is the Final Mix plugin which functions very similarly). http://www.mackie.com/products/tracktion2/mackie.html

The final mix plugin has the following for a signal chain - all inside this one plugin:

6 band parametric EQ, for pre-dynamics shaping
3 band dynamics processor
6 band parametric eq, for post-dynamics shaping
limiter; with lots of controls of knee points, etc.

Now, with that kind of signal chain, there are infinite combinations of parameters. However, the good thing is that it comes bundled with about 100 presets, some aimed at final 2 track treatment, some aimed at individual track treatment.

You can indeed cheat significantly with this plugin, or with Ozone - which rharv pointed to farther above in the thread.

The presets are outstanding. You may need to tweak them a bit, but while this sounds like copping out, indeed spending a few minutes auditioning presets that seem to fit your desired outcome can lead to amazing results that would take hours and days to construct on your own.

All of this is coming from the mindset of treating a final 2-track mixdown for some extra special sauce that you were unable to achieve through traditional mix exercises.

I know that the best way to go about this is through proper mixing and individual track technique - please let's not go preaching about that.

To the OP: To demonstrate, I will do this for free for you. Send me a PM with a link to a high bit rate .mp3 of the file; at least 192kbps. Send me some links to the type of song you want your track to sound like. Then I'll fiddle around putting it through some of the presets in Final Mix, and send you back the links of 192 kbps .mp3 files. I'm not going to spend more than 20 minutes on it. Most of that time will be spent rendering the output audio files.

There will be one or two of the links that are likely going to be improvements to your ears.

When that Tracktion 3 deal went down for $19 last year, it was worth it alone just for the FinalMix plugin. Mackie made it so that it will only work native in Tracktion - it's really too bad, because they could be bankrolling quite alot of money for sales of that plugin alone.

-Scott

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#161325 - 06/02/12 01:00 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: rockstar_not]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11450
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Another all-in-one mastering tool that is relatively inexpensive is EZMix2

All though this is thought of as a mixing tool it also has some pretty good mastering presets that you may find fits your needs.
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#161326 - 06/02/12 01:24 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: MarioD]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
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Final Mix is cool, especially being a free 'thrown in' type effect, but you have to transfer the work to Traktion.

Ozone works in most DAWS (including PGMusic) and has:

8 band Paragraphic EQ
4 band Multiband Dynamics (including 6 band mid/side option)
4 band Harmonic Exciter
Mastering Reverb
Loudness Maximizer
Multiband Stereo Imaging
Dithering
tons of presets
.. and the OP already has it.

He needs to spend some time with it, or have someone else do it. Either one could be a good choice.
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#161327 - 06/02/12 02:30 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: rharv]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11450
Loc: Hamlin NY
Quote:

Final Mix is cool, especially being a free 'thrown in' type effect, but you have to transfer the work to Traktion.

Ozone works in most DAWS (including PGMusic) and has:

8 band Paragraphic EQ
4 band Multiband Dynamics (including 6 band mid/side option)
4 band Harmonic Exciter
Mastering Reverb
Loudness Maximizer
Multiband Stereo Imaging
Dithering
tons of presets
.. and the OP already has it.

He needs to spend some time with it, or have someone else do it. Either one could be a good choice.




Hi Bob, I missed the part where he said he already owns Ozone. As you correctly stated he has everything he needs right now.
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#161328 - 06/02/12 06:24 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: MarioD]
Cerio Offline
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Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 792
Loc: Spain
Izotope has a very informative document that is one of the best introductory text about mastering that I've found. It's free and very useful even if you don't own Ozone:


Mastering with Ozone:
http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/ozone/support.asp#guides

Here's what they say about presets:

"The difficult part of mastering (and trying to create a guide like this) is that every effect, setting, and parameter is entirely dependent on the content of the mix, the genre, the desired result, etc. With this in mind, we don’t believe in products that fool you into thinking you can just select the “Hot Pop Master!” preset and you’re done."

They designed the preset system just as start point that some users can find useful (and I suppose that there are also some marketing considerations behind that).

I think the same could be said about other mastering suites, as T-racks.

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#161329 - 06/02/12 06:39 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: Cerio]
musiclover Offline
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Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 1530
Loc: Ireland
Thanks very much for all replies and for the offer MarioD. Going to give ozone a shot to see how it comes out, and read the manual as pointed out by Rharv.

Still messing around with this little song of mine at the mixdown stage. Will post it in user showcase when I think it sounds reasonable, just a sinmple little country tune.

Thanks for all advice I really appreciate it.

Musiclover
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#161330 - 06/03/12 12:07 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: musiclover]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2387
Loc: Sacramento, California
Actually, there is software that tries to do exactly that. The concept is called "spectral balancing."

If you use an FFT graph (such as SPAN), you can see what sort of balance curve that an mastering engineer would be aiming for. You can then use a multi-band EQ to target your own music to match a similar curve.

There are a number of programs that will attempt to automate this for you. You can either select a reference curve from the library, or have the software build a reference curve for you from a song.

Here are some examples of reference EQ curves for various styles.

One of the first programs that claims to be able to do this is Har-Bal. You can find an on-line tutorial program explaining the process here.

Voxengo's CurveEQ also claims to do the same thing.

I can't say how well either of them work. I've never tried Har-Val, and I can't figure out how CurveEQ is supposed to work...

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#161331 - 06/03/12 12:14 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: dcuny]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7455
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Missed that the OP has Ozone. I also missed that his monitor speakers are BEHIND his display monitor.

Fix that first. Report back here after that is done.

@Dcuny,

SPAN won't let you do an entire song, just the most recent x seconds. HARBAL is designed to analyze the whole song at one swipe. However, looking at the spectrum only lets you see what is going on from an EQ standpoint - doesn't do anything to help with the dynamics processing. It is a tool, but not enough to go where the OP seems to want to go.

-Scott

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#161332 - 06/03/12 12:31 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: rockstar_not]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2387
Loc: Sacramento, California
Thanks for the information on those tools.

Quote:

However, looking at the spectrum only lets you see what is going on from an EQ standpoint




Since the OP asked about mastering "as regards eq or other things" I figured these tools were in the ballpark. Obviously, mastering is a lot more than that.
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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#161333 - 06/03/12 08:52 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Mastering question. [Re: dcuny]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 676
Loc: Fairfax, VA
I have the previous version of Har-Bal (an update was released a few months ago) and it's an excellent home mastering solution. Not only is it easy to use, it does exactly what the OP wants to do. You can load a professionally mastered song and either match it or use it as a reference to get an idea of how to balance your songs. It also has dynamics processing (now) and even loudness matching, which helps with multiple tracks with varying volumes. With that and Ozone, you could do a whole lot of mastering and save the bucks.

IMO, while it's certainly not the best idea to master your own tracks, it's a rediculous waste of money to pay someone if you're a home hobbyist and not planning some kind of pro career. Since you have the tools, why not give it a try? I think it's half the fun. Just make sure you take a few weeks off from the mixing stage to start mastering.

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