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Mastering plugins during composition, y/n?
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sinelanguage
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#1
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Mastering plugins during composition, y/n?

I'm not sure if I'm going to word this right.
When I'm composing a track; or an idea, or even making loops for source material for later; I find myself reaching for things like the Waves L316 Maximizer on the master; as part of the composition or overall sound design of the track; as opposed to mixing my sounds and getting the mix as close as I can to the results that the Waves L316 gives it; without slapping it on the master channel.

My confusion is; when I'm writing tracks; because I write in the techno / IDM genre, the sound design and overall timbre of each sound; are the bread and butter of the composition. And sometimes those timbres or certain nuances only exist because a piece of post processing gear is the only thing creating that nuance as a result of whats going into it. And those nuances can sometimes be a whole new rhythm track or bassline, or create the bounce and overall feel of the track, and without those things, the ideas that you liked about those nuances are gone.

SO: In a long winded way; I'm asking, do you mainly compose your tracks as much as possible without all the mastering plugins on the end during the ideas period; or do you consider using those plugins part of crafting your ideas because of those nuances and overall polished sounds that they create. And should I be trying to get those results without mastering plugins on the end, and try to get my mix to sound as polished as possible before I apply something like Waves L316. I use it very lightly, but it still just makes everything sound amazing IMHO.

If you want to hear an example of my stuff, a very outdated and disorganized soundcloud account is available;
https://soundcloud.com/sinelanguage/gentle-path-1

Thanks for reading.
Adam
#2
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinelanguage View Post
I'm not sure if I'm going to word this right.
When I'm composing a track; or an idea, or even making loops for source material for later; I find myself reaching for things like the Waves L316 Maximizer on the master; as part of the composition or overall sound design of the track; as opposed to mixing my sounds and getting the mix as close as I can to the results that the Waves L316 gives it; without slapping it on the master channel.

My confusion is; when I'm writing tracks; because I write in the techno / IDM genre, the sound design and overall timbre of each sound; are the bread and butter of the composition. And sometimes those timbres or certain nuances only exist because a piece of post processing gear is the only thing creating that nuance as a result of whats going into it. And those nuances can sometimes be a whole new rhythm track or bassline, or create the bounce and overall feel of the track, and without those things, the ideas that you liked about those nuances are gone.

SO: In a long winded way; I'm asking, do you mainly compose your tracks as much as possible without all the mastering plugins on the end during the ideas period; or do you consider using those plugins part of crafting your ideas because of those nuances and overall polished sounds that they create. And should I be trying to get those results without mastering plugins on the end, and try to get my mix to sound as polished as possible before I apply something like Waves L316. I use it very lightly, but it still just makes everything sound amazing IMHO.

If you want to hear an example of my stuff, a very outdated and disorganized soundcloud account is available;
https://soundcloud.com/sinelanguage/gentle-path-1

Thanks for reading.
Adam

personally i like to mix into a mid/side setup, more mid than side, no comp finally just a limiter,
#3
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinelanguage View Post
I'm asking, do you mainly compose your tracks as much as possible without all the mastering plugins on the end during the ideas period
Composition = music

So yeah, mastering plugs don't show up until I'm done mixing. Often I'll change sounds along the way anyway. Any bass patch, any string patch, any lead patch, etc. will do while I'm writing.

I think too many people get mired in the sound design and end up with great sounds and no music
#4
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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i applaud you for spending $900 on something that your not even sure you need or know how to use.

That takes balls. That alone should be enough to make it.
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#5
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinelanguage View Post
I'm not sure if I'm going to word this right.
I am however sure that you could've chosen a better title for your topic, because this one helps no-one.

Quote:
SO: In a long winded way; I'm asking, do you mainly compose your tracks as much as possible without all the mastering plugins on the end during the ideas period; or do you consider using those plugins part of crafting your ideas because of those nuances and overall polished sounds that they create.
Both approaches have merit; it's just that with the plugin sauce already applied you may find yourself going back continuously to tweak the plugins as well. This can (but does not have to) get in the way of composition/structuring.

Quote:
And should I be trying to get those results without mastering plugins on the end, and try to get my mix to sound as polished as possible before I apply something like Waves L316.
Try both approaches.

Quote:
I use it very lightly, but it still just makes everything sound amazing IMHO.
There are loads of devices - coveted hardware - that have the effect of making things sound more amazing, and they are/can/will be applied to everything.

The only question you have to ask yourself is when throwing it on yet something else ruins the total amazingness.

Nobody - and I repeat - nobody is going to comb over your project files to give you bad marks for using this or that while you should've kept the recipe basic and pure. You can see them as crutches, but nobody but you will give a flying hoot about it, because it's the end result that counts.
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#6
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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title adjusted

IMO anyone can use anything they want, but just remember that the process of producing - composing is differerent from the purely technical stage of mastering.
that's why it's usual that you'd have someone else do that, the mastering guy is looking at the tracks in a different way, with different ideas and experience.

so if you focus on making a cool track, that sounds great (like you want) then you don't need that limiter on the masterbus. you can make it sound awesome without it. there are no rules, but throwing everything into a compressor at the final stage (during production!) IMO is a bit like cheating on yourself. the compressor makes a difference (for the better) because the mix wasn't perfect yet! the Maximiser is doing the work for you, but in a way that's covering up imperfections. because many many ppl. use plugins like that (Izotope is a favorite of many) tracks will start to sound the same (hard, loud, with the same "color"). that's my personal experience so please take that as that.
also, if a track is perfect, the mastering guy doesn't have to do much, or anything at all.

yes, there's a couple of machines that will make a positive impact on almost any track. they bring sounds more into focus, they "beautify" the mids and high end and tighten up the lows. there's some "magic" stuff out there. they're not cheap, though now and again bargains can be had, if you know what you're looking for, keep a sharp eye on the vintage and secondhand market, and are a little more adventurous, than trying to copy "producer x" technique and tools 100% (because EVERYONE and their mother in law is doing that, and this "fashion-following" is partly responsible for high prices on some machines)
that's the cool thing about this job. anyone with good ears and a plan can put a good setup together.
some money and luck does help
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#7
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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I'm a mastering engineer, I do a lot of electronic music and I get this question quite a bit. IME there is no such thing as a "mastering plugin", just plugins used in a way that a mastering engineer would use them so don't get hung up on what tools you should or shouldn't be using. Like you say, some tools can make or break a track, especially in EDM.

What I will say is try not to push any eq or dynamics tool too hard on the master channel. This can really **** up your track by giving you a false mixing environment and make it very hard for a mastering engineer to do their job. If you're having to apply extreme settings on the master channel there's something wrong elsewhere.

General master channel advice: gentle eq or compression for character if you want, but avoid limiters and heavy handed effects.

If you'd like more specific advice PM me, I'd be more than happy to help.

www.loadedaudio.com
#8
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enossified View Post
Composition = music

So yeah, mastering plugs don't show up until I'm done mixing. Often I'll change sounds along the way anyway. Any bass patch, any string patch, any lead patch, etc. will do while I'm writing.

I think too many people get mired in the sound design and end up with great sounds and no music
this!
sinelanguage
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Thank you for the title tweak and advice/opinions everyone.
If you're looking at my soundcloud: yes the profile pic is myself getting Alan Wilder's autograph on my DSi Mopho .
#10
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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What about the latency incurred by these multi-band compressors? That makes them a no-go for me when I'm composing, unless they're on a non-master bus which is delay-compensated, which I almost never do.
#11
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Try to get each instrument sounding exactly how you want it, before it gets sent to the master channel. You like the way the L3 rounds the snare? Put it on the snare only. Thus you aren't forcing everything else to get changed by it. Mastering is meant to be applied to a full stereo mix--it isn't for timbral changes to specific instruments.
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