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#21890 05/01/09 06:49 PM
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So, what kind of mastering software does anybody use?

And why that particular software?

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If you know the technicals, you could even use Powertracks or Realband for digital mastering. Or any of the Audio Editing Suites available, even the free ones.

But if you are technically challenged, it can be a good shortcut for you to use one of the dedicated Mastering programs instead. Those will often give you a simpler set of controls and presets that aid in doing the right thing in the first place, can eliminate a long learning curve and a lot of trial and error.

Check out Ozone or T-Racks, two that I've heard great results from. Of course, as with any tool, there is a point where the results obtained depend on the user and all, but it will likely be far easier to accomplish for the person who finds that they are more artist than engineer.

-- And it is a very good idea to cover this phase of production.


--Mac

Mac #21892 05/16/09 07:40 AM
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Quote:

If you know the technicals, you could even use Powertracks or Realband for digital mastering. Or any of the Audio Editing Suites available, even the free ones.

But if you are technically challenged, it can be a good shortcut for you to use one of the dedicated Mastering programs instead. Those will often give you a simpler set of controls and presets that aid in doing the right thing in the first place, can eliminate a long learning curve and a lot of trial and error.

Check out Ozone or T-Racks, two that I've heard great results from. Of course, as with any tool, there is a point where the results obtained depend on the user and all, but it will likely be far easier to accomplish for the person who finds that they are more artist than engineer.

-- And it is a very good idea to cover this phase of production.


--Mac




Mac (or anyone else who cares to reply)


Can you offer any pointers on mastering a song within the RB environment?
I wouldn't say I'm technically challenged, but I am certainly "time & money challenged" As a hobbyist, I have no compelling need to make perfect recordings... it is possible that with a little guidance on what to do and how to do it, RB or Sonar could provide tools to get my music "good enough" for my simple needs.

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Pat, what you ask is like asking for someone to tell you how to master playing an instrument like the guitar but please put it into a few paragraphs.

What I mean by the above is that what I do when Mastering represents the culmination of having learned and dealt with Physics, Electronics, Music, The Physics of Music, Technology as in equipments or plugins that are designed to emulate hard equipments, plus a deep knowledge of the science known as Mastering. Add about 30 years of hands on experience to the fray, too.

For example, I want to rather simply inform you that you need to use an EQ that features a 6dB per octave rolloff when Mastering, that OdBFS is the absolute limit in pcm digital sound and that it is a good idea to leave about a half dB of headroom below that level just in case, that use of the Mastering Compressor should be governed by both what you see in the graphic wave views as well as on the meters but never ever let that get in the way of what you hear. Speaking of what you hear, that is something that takes time also, good reference system that is the same exact system that you will be using to Master as well as lots, and I mean LOTS of "reference listening" to recordings well Mastered by pros until you get to the point where you can simply listen to a playback and know what frequency areas have problems, what causes those problems and most importantly, which of the available tools would be best to use to attempt to solve the specific problem.

I do not know how to hand out shortcuts on this subject, other than to recommend that you obtain one of the software Mastering Suite programs that do indeed cut those corners quite a bit and offer some defaults and even one-button solutions. T-Racks, Ozone, etc. Even then it is unrealistic to expect that the results obtained would be commiserate with what a seasoned Mastering Engineer might yield, but the results you get should be a far cry better than leaving your mixed down files in the raw.

It grinds down to spending time or spending money. Sometimes both.

There is also the old adage that you shouldn't attempt to Master your own projects. There are some very good reasons for that one, but in today's home studio environment there are also some very good reasons to break that mold.


--Mac

Mac #21894 05/16/09 02:15 PM
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If you were going to master,no pun intended, one tool it would be the multiband compressor.Unfortunatly I haven't found any free ones. I purchase Sonic Foundry XFX 2 Mastering suite many moons ago. Has all of the nice dynamic effects you'd need. Now only $34.00
http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/xfx2


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Mac #21895 05/16/09 08:13 PM
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Quote:

Pat, what you ask is like asking for someone to tell you how to master playing an instrument like the guitar but please put it into a few paragraphs.

--Mac




Yes, I guess it is.
;-)

Thanks for the observations. They give me some research keywords for followup.

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I ve had really great results with isotope ozone. I think it is around $200usd. But like Mac says the controls are easy and straightforward with a lot of great presets you can just call up and use with very little or no tweaking. Another great thing about it is it is like 4 or 5 effects in one that you can use separately as well on different tracks. I used to just use the effects that came with ptw (which are good effects) but once I tried ozone I was hooked


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+1 for Isotope Ozone... I know a few guys who use it for mastering, with fantastic results.

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I master inside the software (any software that has the tools) using a spectrum analyzer, a compressor, a good EQ with rolloff as mac said, and a solid Master limiter in the last slot.

1. i use the spectrum analyzer to find out of line frequencies, and the the Eq to massage them properly

2. use the compressor to slightly and ever so gently tweak the tracks that i feel need it.

3. And the master limiter to control the output to my Sound card.

This is Waaaay over simplified, but with a lot of work you can get decent results. I still have years of work to do, but it is coming along as I go.


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Quote:

If you were going to master,no pun intended, one tool it would be the multiband compressor.Unfortunatly I haven't found any free ones.




Broadcast from J. Breebaart is a heavy handed 3 band compressor, spatial processor, & brickwall limiter that will slam anything and make it "radio ready" in a lot of folks minds....


The ReaPlugs VST FX Suite has a multi-band comp, along with all the other plugs you could need to master at home......with time & effort.

They are pretty easy on the CPU, and the price is right......

Hope this helps!


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Another freebie mutliband compressor is Triplecomp (actually has a nag screen but works well in free version inside PGMusic products). The author actually took the time to fix a couple issues that had previously existed when used in PT.
Yet another nice free one is Grancomp3 (I think that is correct name)
http://www.kvraudio.com/get/1047.html

I also like Ozone4, and think it is well worth the money. I think its over $300 though, not the 200 mentioned above. It has great presets for the beginner to start from, and contains many FX all in one module; more than you could otherwise get in the four slots available in the RB final output.
It also contains a great dithering setup, which is a whole 'nother discussion..

RobH gave a nice simple explanation for getting started.

I set this site up to help people get their music ready for mastering, which is an important step-
http://musicmastering.org
There are a few mastering tips in there.


I've had a couple other mastering engineers contribute articles and am still looking for more to pitch in.

Thanks for the link to reaplugs, jscpro40, I've heard good things about those.

Last edited by rharv; 04/24/10 05:55 AM.

Make your sound your own!
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rharv #21901 04/25/10 02:16 PM
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I had to do a DIY mastering job and I used Har-Bal (a standalone eq tool) for the EQing part. I was very happy with how it worked and how it sounded. It's a standalone tool that lets you analyze the audio spectrum of your file and make changes to balance it out. You can also load up a reference to help you shape the sound. While it has a built in limiter, I only used it for the EQ. The rest was done in Sonar with a compressor and a limiter. I won't claim to be any sort of expert, but the results were amazing to me. The songs clearly sounded better.

Of course, Har-Bal is just a tool and not a miracle product. While it is thought of (and is) a visual tool, you still have to have flat monitors and good ears to decide on the final product. Just because you can match the eq of your song to another song doesn't mean it's going to sound just right. One nice feature is it can play back the file and toggle between a reference and the file you're working on to hear the similarities/differences. Anyway, I think it's worth checking out and it's just under $100.

DanL #21902 04/28/10 11:11 AM
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A very nice free spectrum analyzer. http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/ Place this on the master buss with a multiband Eq after it and then look for frequencies that are too high and use the EQ to bring them in line. http://www.voxengo.com/product/overtonegeq/


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rharv #21903 04/28/10 12:33 PM
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Quote:

Thanks for the link to reaplugs, jscpro40, I've heard good things about those.




Your very Welcome rharv!


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Shhh!
That overtone EQ is suppose to be kept a secret.


Whatever you do, don't let anyone know how well it works in the AUX slots as an enhancer.. using the Stereo Sheen preset.
Please don't tell everybody that!


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rharv #21905 04/29/10 12:44 PM
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Don't forget Ray's RealBand tutorial.

http://rsthigpen.com/free/

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This is one area that Realband doesn't come loaded with pre-formated studios. I go through REason and cakewalk and try to recreate some of their setups in Realband. It assumes you have a grab bag of effects. Which become a studio. But For a musical education Biab and RealTracks can't be beat

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