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Mixing & Mastering Electronic Music
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Aluko
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#1
14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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Mixing & Mastering Electronic Music

Hi guys I'm new to the forum, I've been producing electronic music for almost a year now and I would like to take my sound to the next level. Right now I am using FL Studio 10 and I produce through a mastering chain in this order. SSL Comp - Sonitus EQ - SSL Comp - PSP Vintage Warmer - Waves L2 limiter. I read that this is the same chain some of the very big producers use, but I feel as if my music is missing something to get it to that next level and start getting bites from labels. Here is a link to my tracks
Thank you for all of the tips in advance guys!

Last edited by toolskid; 15th July 2012 at 09:00 AM.. Reason: don't spam links to your music here - post in the appropriate forum if you wish to show what you do
#2
14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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You need to add one more comp to your mastering chain, then you'll get signed.
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14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieLovesYou View Post
You need to add one more comp to your mastering chain, then you'll get signed.
That's just sarcastic and rude...

you need to put sausage fattner on everything, side chain everything and use the first preset in Ozone 5.
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14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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If you want to master yourself and get decent results in all honesty, it's going to take years and a understanding of the process.

Pseudo mastering sounds like what you're talking about. I'm fine with mixing into a comp like The Glue and a limiter like sonnox or fabfilter. Sometimes I might use a pultec style comp first in the chain depending on the mix(usually the pultec is more a rock thing for me, but anything can go)

I'm not a big fan of using so much on the 2 buss. I usually can accomplish the mojo factor in the actual mix. I usually just use the home mastering type style to bring it up to level and kiss the compressor at 1 or 2 db. No home style 2 buss mastering is really going to make a track better all of a sudden or add that something. I hate hearing that and know it's cliche, but in this situation it is true that it starts at the mix.

If you are confident in your tracks, look at sending your songs off to a real Mastering Engineer. If you are that confident that you would get signed and have a chance, you shouldn't even be risking doing it yourself! I wouldn't, it would be far too important to me.

In the mean time a good eq like dmg or fabfilter, a compressor and a limiter should be fine. You don't need multiband comps and 3 compressors on your 2 buss. if you want to strap on distortion plugs or mojo plugs I'd personally just do some parallel mixing on some elements.

The only thing that has made me smile at mastering as far as adding something, is a real SSL comp or a real API 2500
#5
14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluko View Post
I produce through a mastering chain in this order. SSL Comp - Sonitus EQ - SSL Comp - PSP Vintage Warmer - Waves L2 limiter.
You should bypass all this crap while mixing in order to really take your mix under control.
Do only some "mastering" when your mix is perfect.
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#6
15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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Hi mate... I say that u might do best to remove end processing for a while...

The truth is that your mix should sound really really good before the mastering process, so your tunes shouldn't be lacking in much at all without any end processing -- most labels will do mastering for u... Although it may seem food to get tour tracks cranking and loud to send them out, the people running the labels hear A LOT of "unmastered" music, because that's the form they receive music in when they sign a track. Therefore it's fine / better to send them an unmastered mix (and tell them that it has no end processing) because then they'll be like: "hey - that's a good mix... This person is a good producer - sign the track, get it mastered and we're done!"...

At the most, you may want to squeeze a few dB off with a limiter - but only if it makes you feel better :-)

Mastering is tricky and complex - there's no easy fix, and I'd say that if u want to sign tracks to labels, then just forget about it for a while - it's a skill u don't HAVE to have... Concentrate on mixing and learning how to create a dynamic yet controlled mix...

I don't worry about end processing too much - sometimes I do a little A / B comparison during mixing, but at end end of the day my mixes go out with end processing off - although this just my opinion, I get my tracks signed on some nice labels too, so guess it works :-)
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15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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For a fair amount of electronic music, the mix is mastered by the artist. This is not traditional and fraught with potential problems, but some artists manage it quite well.

Remember, there's no rules, only results. However, there are well-established practices which many people have found provide them with good results.

One of these practices is to improve a mix until it is sounding as good as you want it to, applying nothing or very little to the master channel, and have it mastered by a pro mastering engineer.

The reason for this is simple - trying to improve the overall mixed sound often provides a gloss over problems which are inherently in the mix - essentially it means the correcting is happening in the wrong order. This "gloss" might improve the sound somewhat, but it often subtly detracts elsewhere.

For example, having crisp sizzling high hats might be nice, but using a plugin on the overall mix to achieve this might make other voices harsh and brittle. You'd be better off getting your high hats crisp and sizzling (if that's what you want), without affecting everything in the mix automatically. In other words, fixing a problem in the mix eliminates the requirement apply something to the overall mix.

Then, once the mix is complete and sounding great, mastering is the final touch. So mixing clean (without a set of mastering plugins on your master channel) is a well-proven technique, while having a bunch of compressors and limiters on the master active during mixing is not traditional.


But most importantly, mastering is (traditionally) done by another set of ears - someone else - just delicately, subtly altering the overall sound, by a person whose expertise is knowing how to make a tune work well in a variety of different playback scenarios.

Getting a tune loud-sounding, punchy, clear, detailed, possessing a nice sheen and being mixed well - these are all things which are (ideally) completed in arrangement, tracking and mixing.
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15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluko View Post
I produce through a mastering chain in this order. SSL Comp - Sonitus EQ - SSL Comp - PSP Vintage Warmer - Waves L2 limiter.
I'd suggest to learn basic definitions about audio engineering - what is mixing and mastering. I don't know where those definitions should be put to be finally understood once and for all.

That's not a 'mastering chain' - that's a processing chain that's totally 'blind' on context. The fact 'big name producers' are using it is of no value in your case nor it'll give you 'that sound' you hear from their songs.

Music that's 'missing something' won't benefit from stacking a chain of plugs in prescribed order. Focus on choosing the right sounds, arrangement, etc - everything that's about producing..
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15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluko View Post
I produce through a mastering chain in this order. SSL Comp - Sonitus EQ - SSL Comp - PSP Vintage Warmer - Waves L2 limiter. I read that this is the same chain some of the very big producers use,
Huh, where did you read that? So you got the mastering ready and set and all you got to do is create a track after that?!! How do you master something that doesn't exist? What you probably read is mixing through a comp. The waves ssl bus comp can't take more than 2db of gain reduction without nasty artifacts that's why some may use it this way in series in the end, i don't use it at all.

Don't just copy things you read , first learn to mix and use compressors where you need them in tracks/busses and then worry about your mastering chain and loudness.
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Aluko
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16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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Hey thanks for the replies guys. Although some of the responses here are a bit condescending hahaha. I'm not an idiot, I've read plenty about mixing and mastering. I know what each plugin does. I was just wondering what everyone elses takes were and if I personally was doing something wrong! I will go for a more minimal setup initially with my mastering/processing chain and keep practicing.

Thanks everyone!
#12
16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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I had pretty good result so far with this:

Vertigo vsc-2 (comp, 1-2 db))
EMI TG12412 (EQ)
Waves Eddie Kramer (Tape Emu)
Slate digital fg-x (limit + dither)
#13
16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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You can't expect to get to the level you want to get for mixing in just a year. And trying to master only makes sense when you are able to create more than decent mixes. Besides your claim of knowing what you're doing makes no sense because otherwise you'd be able to get to the level you aspire. That will take more time and hard work.
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16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
sounds like you need to read my production guide LOL

All I do for mastering is put a 24db high pass filter (like PSP MasterQ, FabFilter Pro-L, DMG Audio EQuality, etc.)
Did you mean Fabfilter Pro-Q? I don't thing Pro-L has a high filter there as it's a limiter not an EQ plug-in. The Pro-Q on the other hand has one.
Also 10-20Hz although being a good place to start with sometimes is not enough. Often you may need to set it higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluko View Post
Although some of the responses here are a bit condescending hahaha. I'm not an idiot, I've read plenty about mixing and mastering. I know what each plugin does.
Although I didn't critisize your mixing skills because constructive opinions are better and because I prefer to hear before saying anything. What people mostly told you was that you may know all the theory behind mixing and even mastering but specially mastering takes years for your hears to be trained to hear subtleties that might seem nothing to you but may be really important for the final result. You should also have a good sounding room as well as top of the notch speakers and audio interface. Wish you good luck though. We all started somewhere.
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16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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One thing to keep in mind is that mastering is not necessarily about imparting a certain sound to the mix, it's about translation.

I also recommend defaulting to a minimum of processing on the master bus. The one exception to this is if you like to mix into a compressor- fair enough, this is a good technique, and the results will likely be different than if you put the compressor on after the mix is finished. You might want to check the mix at points with a brickwall limiter, just to see what it will sound like.

With the Waves SSL and most other plugin comps I agree that a couple db of compression is probably as much as you want to use. The more plugins you stack in the mix, the smaller and less distinct it will generally sound. This also can be true of too much analog processing. So be careful. You definitely don't want to default to a chain that other people use, because their working styles are going to be different.

Arrangement, sounds, and mix, those are the things to focus on. I think the song itself is what people will latch onto or not, the mixing and mastering needs to get the message across without getting in the way is all.
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16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
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the moderator took down the link to my music but just type in aluko soundcloud on google and you can listen and give me any advice you want
#17
17th July 2012
Old 17th July 2012
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hire a pro!
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17th July 2012
Old 17th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that mastering is not necessarily about imparting a certain sound to the mix, it's about translation.

I also recommend defaulting to a minimum of processing on the master bus. The one exception to this is if you like to mix into a compressor- fair enough, this is a good technique, and the results will likely be different than if you put the compressor on after the mix is finished. You might want to check the mix at points with a brickwall limiter, just to see what it will sound like.

With the Waves SSL and most other plugin comps I agree that a couple db of compression is probably as much as you want to use. The more plugins you stack in the mix, the smaller and less distinct it will generally sound. This also can be true of too much analog processing. So be careful. You definitely don't want to default to a chain that other people use, because their working styles are going to be different.

Arrangement, sounds, and mix, those are the things to focus on. I think the song itself is what people will latch onto or not, the mixing and mastering needs to get the message across without getting in the way is all.
this is so so true!
#19
17th July 2012
Old 17th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phas3d View Post
Did you mean Fabfilter Pro-Q? I don't thing Pro-L has a high filter there as it's a limiter not an EQ plug-in. The Pro-Q on the other hand has one.

yeah I mean Pro-Q, my b
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