I'll take a swing at these, if you guys don't mind...
| Originally posted by Pete Weaver |
1. Mastering engineers are always pounding the pulpit telling us
to never use compression nor eq on the over-all mix . . . but to
let the mastering engineers handle stuff like that.
But you mentioned you like to use Analog Channel 1 and maybe
DUY Wide on your Master Fader. Do you ever compress your
final mix prior to the mastering house? How about EQ?
Or do you let the mastering engineer do all of that?
This whole concept of leaving buss compression off the mix was started by a few 'over-the-top' mastering engineers who think they should have more creative control over your mix than you do. They should be mix engineers. Mix buss compression can and almost always does radically
change the inter-song relationships of the instrumentation and vox. It needs to be done at the mix stage if you want it. We can add more later if desired, but if there is none (and it is needed) - your track will sound really different as soon as you step into mastering...
Our job in mastering is to take your prioject and make it translate well from system to system and to insure cohesiveness from track to track...
Now that's not to say that mastering engineers aren't called on to add to the project (or even radically change it sometimes). We're hired by you
the client to do your bidding. But relying on mastering to do things that really ought to be addressed in mixing isn't generally a good idea.
| 2. How hot do you set your Master Fader level when your ready |
to send the mix off for mastering? Do you leave them plenty of room
below 0dbfs and let them make it "hot"? Do you crank it as much
as possible? Do you use any brickwall limiter plugins? L1 or L2 ?
If so how hard do you hit them? Do the mastering engineers give you flack for this?
Set your levels so there is no clipping and you'll be fine. If you're working in a 24 bit environment, you must realize that your program can peak
at -24dbfs and you'll still be utilizing 20 bits of data! Don't worry about getting it loud.
Leave limiters (L1 and L2) off the mix buss. They are different from compression, and post dig limiting EQ is usually pretty nasty sounding (especailly up top).
| 3. Do you dither the mix down to 16 bits or do you let the mastering engineer handle all dithering? |
Might as well leave it to mastering. We'll typically have more 'flavors' of dither to choose from, and although noise floors aren't typically problematic in modern recordings, there's no point in cutting down your wordlength until necessary...
| 4. Do you send the mastering house a hard drive with a Pro Tools |
session on it containing the mixed song at 24 bits? OR do you mix
to analog tape?
From my perspective, it's your choice. The simplest answer is send the highest resolution format you can.