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Mr.Noobyman
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#1
27th February 2009
Old 27th February 2009
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Mastering my own music...

I know you're not supposed to, but I may have no other choice. I'm gonna be using a friend's project studio, and he has a whole slew of Waves plugins, yet he doesn't do any mastering. He said I could have my way with it.

I understand I need to do some peak limiting, compression, eq... yada yada. What about the process of placing markers, inserting a master track log, etc?

I know you guys probably don't like newbies like me asking dumb questions, but if you don't have anything else to do, please help. Thanks.
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27th February 2009
Old 27th February 2009
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It's not even an issue of 'newbies asking dumb questions', it's the fact that you basically are asking 'how do I be a mastering engineer'. It's just too big a question to answer in a forum post.

If you need a crash course in mastering, Bob Katz' book "Mastering Audio" is a good start. If you need it done faster than you can read a substantial book, then you really should not be trying to do this yourself. You can learn mastering, but it takes a lot of work and practice and you aren't going to get good at it in a week.

You've bitten off quite a lot of work for yourself, best of luck with the chewing.

(seriously, good luck. I hope you love your album when you finish it.)
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#3
27th February 2009
Old 27th February 2009
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I am in no way competent at mastering but I have to in some cases. I've found many tips in the izotope ozone manual that are fantastic. I'd suggest downloading this free manual for some tips on what you should be doing in the mastering stage.
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27th February 2009
Old 27th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n8tron View Post
I am in no way competent at mastering but I have to in some cases. I've found many tips in the izotope ozone manual that are fantastic. I'd suggest downloading this free manual for some tips on what you should be doing in the mastering stage.

Could I politely suggest replacing the words 'should be' with 'could be' or 'might find yourself' in that last bit? Not trying to be a pain, just pointing out that you 'shouldn't should be doing' anything, if you get what I mean
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27th February 2009
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28th February 2009
Old 28th February 2009
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If you have now choice than absorb yourself into mastering as much as you can. Do some reading, buy a DVD or two.
I liked the one Steinberg has about mastering in wavlab.

You can do it man, especially if you have no choice but to.
Just take it nice and easy and don't try to exagerate what you've allready done.

ME's are boss IMO, and your not going to get the relsults of someone that has mastered hundreds/thousands of cds.
If theres no budget give it a shot yourself.
Thomas W. Bethe
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28th February 2009
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I always chuckle when I read things like "I have to do my own mastering" or "I want to learn to be a mastering engineer by Tuesday" or "tell me everything you know about mastering so I can do it myself"

I don't know what your day job is but whatever it is it took you some time to learn to do it correctly. The same goes for mastering.

If someone is holding a gun to your head saying "you have to do your own mastering" I can understand but if that is not the case then think about what you are asking for in your post. You obviously are interested but trying to learn something under pressure to perform is not good for sex or for learning to be a mastering engineer.

Get Bob Katz's book. Read it cover to cover, start really listening to music and if you are going to do some mastering then find somewhere to do it that has good acoustics, a good speaker system and take along some music that you are very familiar with and learn the room. Then you can start listening to what it is that you want to do with your music. It takes experience and time to become any good. Trying to do this quickly is going to be a lesson in futility.

Best of luck and if you really have a looming time limit maybe this is the time to seek out someone on this web board to do the mastering for you this time and if possible you should try and attend the session.

Best of luck!
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28th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
trying to learn something under pressure to perform is not good for sex or for learning to be a mastering engineer.
Learning to be a mastering engineer is no good for sex either... but I suppose that's another thread
#9
28th February 2009
Old 28th February 2009
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Give er hell...get on the net and check out those online mags like EQ and SOS....get Bob Katz's book and get Bobby OWsinski's book....see what you can do with a little comp...a little limiter and some gentle EQ a BIT OF stereo spread.....it seems that many in this forum often forget that at one time they also decided to take the plunge into mastering with little to no expertise......if you make the master better than the mix you have some success, if not keep working at it!always listen to the best mix/masters in your genre...and listen in 3-4 envirinments...car stereo, studio, boom box,apple ear buds and finer quality headphones.....but really try to understand your primanry listening speakers.....you need to know which of your environements is the bottom line...the right and wrong if you will! have fun!
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1st March 2009
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1st March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Noobyman View Post
I know you're not supposed to, but I may have no other choice.....
You DO have another choice. Have someone else with more experience master it for you. If you are short on funds, no need to hire a $300/hour mastering engineer, there are a LOT of guys out there that can do a little bit better than someone with zero experience, for cheap.

Or better yet, maybe just don't "master it" at all. I've heard PLENTY of mastering jobs that were much worse than the original source pre-mastered.

The thing that you may not be understanding here, mastering is all about having your mixes assessed and fine-tuned by an experienced "outside" unbiased engineer in a neutral and very high quality listening environment. Mastering is NOT about taking one's own mixes and just slapping on "formula" eq / compression / limiting settings. There is no "formula", and if you think there is, then you're not approaching it properly and will likely do more harm than good.

And if you really MUST attempt to do this yourself, all I can say is, LESS IS MORE. Use as little processing as humanly possible. Be subtle, be gentle, just keep thinking, "less is more, less is more, less is more...". It is often too tempting for the "noobie" to over-process. Don't fall into that trap.

If the mixes really "need" a ton of heavy surgical "mastering", well then the whole thing is never gonna sound good anyway and thus none of this matters.

Best of luck in any case. Try to seek help if you can.
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1st March 2009
Old 1st March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Noobyman View Post
I know you're not supposed to, but I may have no other choice. I'm gonna be using a friend's project studio, and he has a whole slew of Waves plugins, yet he doesn't do any mastering. He said I could have my way with it.

I understand I need to do some peak limiting, compression, eq... yada yada. What about the process of placing markers, inserting a master track log, etc?

I know you guys probably don't like newbies like me asking dumb questions, but if you don't have anything else to do, please help. Thanks.
dude, don't worry if your friend has the Waves L1, L2 or L3, then you'll be fine. Just strap it across the mix (minimum 2.5 db on the quiet parts, no limit on the limiting of the loud parts), and you'll get a pro result that's competitive with commercial CDs. Trust me, I used to send my things to mastering, but since I've discovered how easy it is, I do it myself and use the saved money for new gear. All these anal types here in the mastering forum are going to kill me for saying it, but it's the truth!

Happy mastering, and don't listen to all the BS on this forum.

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1st March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarhus Lydstudie View Post

...but since I've discovered how easy it is, I do it myself...


Do what you like, the quality of the work will be reflected in the end result. If you CARE about the end result, think twice.

I've skimped with mixing / mastering in the distant past and I severely regret it now. I may have been years ahead with my music career at this point IF I had only put a little more effort into making sure my early productions had been done correctly. I had also resisted seeking outside help back then... it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. Live and learn.

How much time do YOU want to waste? In the music business, a production is either shit or it isn't, there is no middle ground. Roll the dice and take your chances... or spend a few bucks and make sure it's done right. It's your time, your career... how important is it to you?

Have fun!
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1st March 2009
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I say go for it

... and don't be shy with that limiter, boy!
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1st March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarhus Lydstudie View Post

...and don't be shy with that limiter, boy!...
LOL!!!!

Ooops, I stepped in it... ya got me!

Good one.

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1st March 2009
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Adam Dempsey
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1st March 2009
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Quote:
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Happy mastering, and don't listen to all the BS on this forum.
If only that's all it was.
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1st March 2009
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you do know I was joking, right?
Adam Dempsey
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1st March 2009
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To be honest, no. That's what's scary...
Quote:
All these anal types here in the mastering forum are going to kill me for saying it, but it's the truth!
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1st March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
Learning to be a mastering engineer is no good for sex either... but I suppose that's another thread
Also, sex without ear plugs can be a serious thread to your potential mastering career!

Be safe! Keep an SPL meter handy at all times.
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1st March 2009
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LOL!

Safe sex for mastering engineers - always wear earplugs, or you may get an SPLTD.
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2nd March 2009
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I've recently got to have a go with a set of Waves plugs too. The results have been really great to my ears.

I usually have the DigitalPhishfones Endorphin compressor on the 2buss, just to add a little more punch. I followed this with the Waves L3 and hey-presto! Punchy and sufficiently loud without too much messing.

Obviously, there is much more to it than this, but it's a start.

The waves plugs have helped massively in other areas too, but I guess that's for another thread....

Jim
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#23
2nd March 2009
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I was always the one asking about Bedroom Mastering tips...........

Now I just spend many more hours getting individual elements right in my mixes.
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2nd March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
I was always the one asking about Bedroom Mastering tips...........

Now I just spend many more hours getting individual elements right in my mixes.
Get it right there, and all you'll need in a mastering stage is 1-2 dbfs of limiting. Why compress and EQ over what you already balanced in the mix? You're in the same damn room LOL with the same ears...

If you're looking for the best quality you obviously will need to hire a pair of ears and a great room. If you just want level, you need to strike a balance in the mix that lends itself to additional level later without clipping.
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2nd March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Or better yet, maybe just don't "master it" at all. I've heard PLENTY of mastering jobs that were much worse than the original source pre-mastered.
Sure, but this is at best misguided advice.

If you look around you can find decent prices from good mastering engineers that won't break the bank. Just make sure to pick someone with a bit of a track record.
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