Mixdown for Mastering Tips (PDF)
Old 7th September 2009
  #1
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Mixdown for Mastering Tips (PDF)

I wrote a comprehensive guide called Mixdown for Mastering.

It's not a mastering or mixing guide as such, though it does contain a few mixing tips.

This guide will help you get a technically perfect mixdown. It will make your mastering engineer very happy - and provide you with an even better final result.

Mixdown for Mastering
Mastering FAQ | Download Mixdown Tips PDF

Download the 12-page PDF on the left side of the screen.

Headlines
· Plug-ins on the Master Output
· Headroom
· Tips for Mixing - From a Mastering Point of View
· Alternative Versions
· Start/End
· Fades
· File Format
· Stereo Format
· Bit Resolution
· Sample Rate
· Dithering and Noise Shaping
· Normalizing
· Realtime or Offline Bouncing
· Listen to Your Mixdown
· Common Problems and Solutions
· Sending Files over the Internet
· Delivering Files on a CD
· Projects With More Than One Song
· Song Order and Other Notes
· Red Book Master CD or DDP
· ISRC
. MP3
· Gracenote Database
· CD-Text
· UPC/EAN
· Evaluating Your Master
· Loudness Potential
· Important Information About the Sound in iTunes
Quote
2
Old 8th September 2009
  #2
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miro's Avatar
 

very interesting! thumbsup
Old 8th September 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
Old 8th September 2009
  #4
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Nice work! I like your website as well.
Old 8th September 2009
  #5
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Helpful data and a nice promo action for your service. Thanks.
Old 8th September 2009
  #6
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinksdingo View Post
Helpful data and a nice promo action for your service. Thanks.
Lagerfeldt's got a very helpful document.

Here are some other helpful tips for mixing engineers from the mastering engineer's point of view:

Mastering Engineers Discuss Compression and Mixing

and

Mastering Engineers Discuss Dynamics in Mixing

Another excellent resource:

at TC Electronic, an excellent tech library at

Tech library

which includes my little downloadable booklet: "Secrets of the Mastering Engineer"

and don't forget there's a 334 page book on the subject...
Old 8th September 2009
  #7
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Old 8th September 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Lagerfeldt's got a very helpful document. [...]

and don't forget there's a 334 page book on the subject...
Thank you guys.

I can warmly recommend reading Mastering Audio - The Art And The Science, whether you're a mixing engineer or mastering engineer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
Here is some good info for mix engineers about understanding headroom issues in the digital domain:

0 dbfs (full scale) and how it relates to 0 dbvu (volume units)

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-...log-mixes.html
Except the title and some of the contents are somewhat misleading. It has far more to do with the way analog imparts color in the shape of (harmonic) distortion, subjectively pleasant phase changes, natural compression, etc. - and that digital does not. As long as you're not pushing your converter, overloading or causing inter-sample peaks, you are in the safe area.
Old 8th September 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Except the title and some of the contents are somewhat misleading. It has far more to do with the way analog imparts color in the shape of (harmonic) distortion, subjectively pleasant phase changes, natural compression, etc. - and that digital does not.
The thread doesn't get into "that" at all.

It's about proper "gain staging" a mix in the digital world with some excellent post by Paul Frindle and Skip Burrows.
Old 8th September 2009
  #10
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masterizer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
The thread doesn't get into "that" at all.

It's about proper "gain staging" a mix in the digital world with some excellent post by Paul Frindle and Skip Burrows.
If only more itb mixers would learn that....
Old 8th September 2009
  #11
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The Pressman's Avatar
Cheers for that, lotsa good info.
Nice website too.
thumbsupthumbsup
Old 8th September 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
The thread doesn't get into "that" at all.
I think the title and last sentence of the first post does just that, if only a bit ;-) I'm saying there's no magic bullet, and even if there was, this wouldn't be where to look first. The rest of the post is great. But I digress.
Old 8th September 2009
  #13
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Good job Holger.
complete with the pitfalls of i-Tunes

It's going to be quiet on GS


btw: Your website looks great
Old 8th September 2009
  #14
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nice one .. but you skipped cd-text info ... or I just missed that one ..
Old 8th September 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeandSound View Post
I just had a quick look, useful for some people.

I would review it though , I can think of numerous vocals I have recorded that would sound pretty dire if I HPF'd them at 80Hz (never mind higher). You would be better editing the pops out if they were recorded in the first place and as it's aimed at mixers you would be best to advise this instead.
YMMV, but I find that low cutting vocals around 80 Hz is good advice. In fact a lot of vocals in pop music are cut at that point or higher using a 12 dB/Oct HPF. If you get dire results by low cutting a vocal at 80 Hz, I don't know what's causing that, except maybe you're recording Barry White. ;-) But each to his own, and you should always use your ears first and foremost.

Quote:
I can also think of many dance genre's where you would want plenty of 40Hz unless you want some of your bass notes missing that is.
Certainly. I did not write anything to the contrary. What I actually wrote was:

Loud or unnecessary sub frequencies (below 40 Hz) in individual tracks can cause problems with the sound quality and the final volume of the master. Make sure you low cut all tracks that do not contain meaningful sound in the sub frequencies. For instance, a vocal can be cut at 80 Hz or higher to avoid pops or rumble. Do not cut the entire mix though as this could lead to a thin sounding mix if you are not careful.

Quote:
I take it you don't master classical music either.
Your premise is wrong, as mentioned. The bulk of my mastering jobs is dance music, hip-hop and pop music. You can see some of my customers here, no classical music except for video games though:
References | Credits, Testimonials, Demos

Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
nice one .. but you skipped cd-text info ... or I just missed that one ..
Good idea, I will include a small section about CD-Text. Any suggestions?
Old 8th September 2009
  #16
Gear Head
 

'Sound quality will not be affected when you lower the fader. With 24 bits you can go as low as -48 dBFS and still have full CD quality (16 bit).' (page 2)

I read many things about this point. Some, like you, tell that with 24 bits you can go low to -48 dBFS, others tell that after -20 dBFS, you start to loose something.
So if you mix through an analog console into daw it's better (for big changements) to move the console fader than digital fader.

What do you think?
Old 8th September 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I wrote a comprehensive guide called Mixdown for Mastering.

It's not a mastering or mixing guide as such, though it does contain a few mixing tips.

This guide will help you get a technical perfect mixdown. It will make your mastering engineer very happy - and provide you with an even better final result.

Mixdown for Mastering
Mastering FAQ | Download Mixdown Tips PDF

Download the 11-page PDF on the left side of the screen.

Headlines
· Plug-ins on the Master Output
· Headroom
· Tips for Mixing - From a Mastering Point of View
· Alternative Versions
· Start/End
· Fades
· File Format
· Stereo Format
· Bit Resolution
· Sample Rate
· Dithering and Noise Shaping
· Normalizing
· Realtime or Offline Bouncing
· Listen to Your Mixdown
· Common Problems and Solutions
· Sending Files over the Internet
· Delivering Files on a CD
· Projects With More Than One Song
· Song Order and Other Notes
· Red Book Master CD or DDP
· ISRC
· Gracenote Database
· Evaluating Your Master
· Loudness Potential
· Important Information About the Sound in iTunes
One of the most important things that I've found with regards to how mixes went down, is weather or not they were summed in the analog domain!

Obviously, most small time mixes nowadays, have been summed in the box and it really is ruining today's music, in my opinion!

Occasionally, I'll get a mix that is still sounding good when pushed to much higher RMS levels than normal and when this happens, I'll always do my very best to find out exactly how it went down.

The answer has always turned out to be that either a desk or some kind of summing mixer was used when putting the mix down!

For me this has been 100% conclusive!

On the occasions that I do have the pleasure to work on these analog summed mixes, even some of them not actually being great mixes, the massive sonic potential of my existing mastering rig really shines.

I actually have the luxury to say "It even sounds good at 7db RMS but I'm still gonna back it off to around 9 or 10db because that's just loudness for loudness sake!"

I really love to be able to do that!
To know that I'm not working on the threshold of distortion and I can just go for all out sound quality!

I'm actually thinking of getting a Neve 8816 and a second orpheus so that I can master straight from 8 buss, analog summed, mix or stem session playback!
Some of these guy's mixes are fundamentally great and are simply being let down by ITB summing!
Old 8th September 2009
  #18
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leftright's Avatar
 

Nice one Holger thanks !!
Old 8th September 2009
  #19
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Hi Holger,

UPC/EAN codes ???

Old 8th September 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
Hi Holger,

UPC/EAN codes ???

Ah, how could I miss it. So a few words on CD-Text + UPC/EAN. to be included soon.

@Table of Tone: I completely agree, analog processing generally adds a lot to the mix. Correct digital summing doesn't detract anything, it just doesn't add anything either.
Old 8th September 2009
  #21
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Again, I think you're reading too much into it. I'm phrasing it "you can low cut" not "you should low cut". I think that's understandable for most people, i.e. it's an example - not a general rule you need to follow.

Of course I could fill my guides with disclaimer after disclaimer, but that wouldn't be very readable. ;-)
Old 8th September 2009
  #22
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Now I will go write a couple of sections on CD-Text and UPC/EAN.
Old 8th September 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post


Now I will go write a couple of sections on CD-Text and UPC/EAN.
Great website!
Your studio does look really nice!
I hope you have a good cleaner!
Old 8th September 2009
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeandSound View Post
I am open that it might be splitting hairs, but thats what we do right?
Reminds me of this Monty Python :-)
YouTube - Argument Clinic
Old 8th September 2009
  #25
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Hey Holger!

I notice that you charge extra for red book CD masters.
Is that price based on a set number of tracks?
Do you do a set album rate?
Old 8th September 2009
  #26
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There's no extra charge for a Red Book master.

I charge a price per track for the pre-mastering audio treatment, and I charge a fixed price for assembling the Red Book master. This includes spacing, codes, etc. and the physical CD.

BTW, a section on CD-Text and UPC/EAN has been added to the PDF as suggested by Wim from Inline Mastering.
Old 9th September 2009
  #27
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Very nice!

You mentioned that SD2 files are not suited for mixing and mastering. In my case, until recently, I used to receive lots of SD2 files from guys working with MAC PT TDM systems.

Also, I agree with you that multiple mono files might be a p.it.a but it is what PT does to every stereo file we import, right?

So are we 100% safe that an stereo interleaved file turned into split/multiple mono has the same audio quality ? I always export/ bounce 48k 24 files as multiple mono 44k 24 to a session for last stage SRC to 44k 16.

Thanks!
Old 9th September 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alécio Costa View Post
You mentioned that SD2 files are not suited for mixing and mastering.
I did not mention mixing. I mentioned that SD2 files are noit suited for the mastering workflow, since we prefer interleaved stereo.

Quote:
Also, I agree with you that multiple mono files might be a p.it.a but it is what PT does to every stereo file we import, right?
PT can export the mix in interleaved stereo, so there's no reason to deliver split files to the mastering engineer.

Quote:
So are we 100% safe that an stereo interleaved file turned into split/multiple mono has the same audio quality ? I always export/ bounce 48k 24 files as multiple mono 44k 24 to a session for last stage SRC to 44k 16.
There's no difference in sound between split stereo and interleaved stereo. However, as a mastering engineer, if you plan on doing sample rate conversion at the beginning of the project make sure you convert split stereo into interleaved stereo first.
Old 9th September 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I did not mention mixing. I mentioned that SD2 files are noit suited for the mastering workflow, since we prefer interleaved stereo.


PT can export the mix in interleaved stereo, so there's no reason to deliver split files to the mastering engineer.


There's no difference in sound between split stereo and interleaved stereo. However, as a mastering engineer, if you plan on doing sample rate conversion at the beginning of the project make sure you convert split stereo into interleaved stereo first.
Why would you use SRC on the actual mixes?

Surely you would want to process the mixes at their original SR and then either use SRC after capture, before dither (one system) or capture at the target SR (two systems).
Old 9th September 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Table Of Tone View Post
Why would you use SRC on the actual mixes?

Surely you would want to process the mixes at their original SR and then either use SRC after capture, before dither (one system) or capture at the target SR (two systems).
I wasn't drawing any conclusions or implying that you should do SRC first.

I mentioned that if you for some reason want or need to do SRC before processing (upsampling as SafeandSound mentioned, or down), then make sure you convert to interleaved first instead of SRC'ing on two individual mono files.
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