Mastering Signal Chains
DanDaMan
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#1
23rd March 2010
Old 23rd March 2010
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Mastering Signal Chains

I'm a relatively new engineer to the scene (I've only been doing it for about 2 years now, so forgive my noobishness) but i'm just interested to know what signal chain you pro's use as I'm very interested in becoming a pro mastering engineer myself (eventually!!).
#2
23rd March 2010
Old 23rd March 2010
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there is no mastering chain
The chain that works is the chains that's needed. You may use 1 comp or 4 comps, 1 eq or 4 eq depending on the material and what is needed.
The only rulme I guess everybody will agree upon is the less processing the better
#3
23rd March 2010
Old 23rd March 2010
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Hello

Mine is :

DAW playback / EQ (linear phase most) => DA => Analog processing (EQ/COMP) => AD => Digital Processing => back to DAW

Actually this is the Mastering Chain I have, but of course I only use what's needed. You don't want to use some processing if the Audio material don't need it.

Hope that can help

Adrien.
MASSIVE Master
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24th March 2010
Old 24th March 2010
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I'd just start clicking away at sig files...
DanDaMan
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the unik View Post
Hello

Mine is :

DAW playback / EQ (linear phase most) => DA => Analog processing (EQ/COMP) => AD => Digital Processing => back to DAW

Actually this is the Mastering Chain I have, but of course I only use what's needed. You don't want to use some processing if the Audio material don't need it.

Hope that can help

Adrien.
When you use your Linear Phase EQ, what are you using that for?? Are you using both linear phase eq AND Analog eq or are you using one or the other?? And what do you use for digital processing, apart from (just a guess here), digital brickwall limiters?
#6
3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasteringDan View Post
I'm a relatively new engineer to the scene (I've only been doing it for about 2 years now, so forgive my noobishness) but i'm just interested to know what signal chain you pro's use as I'm very interested in becoming a pro mastering engineer myself (eventually!!).
sorry, but asking what to use a LP EQ for makes me question why you call yourself an "engineer" or "MasteringDan".

I'd say read this: Mastering Audio Book

It's worth it!

#7
3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studioland View Post
there is no mastering chain
The chain that works is the chains that's needed. You may use 1 comp or 4 comps, 1 eq or 4 eq depending on the material and what is needed.
The only rulme I guess everybody will agree upon is the less processing the better
+1
Dan, I can tell what the things that I use for mastering, if that helps, but all masterign chains will be differnt as all songs and genre's are different.

Mine are (not in any order)
Hardware:
LA-3A Dual opt compressor
Manley Vari Tube comp/limiter
Manley Pultec
TC-96 Finalizer
Rupert Never portico stereo filed editor
Software:
Waves X and Z noise
Waves Q10
Waves Linear Phase EQ and Multiband Comp
Waves L2 Ultr
Waves L3 16 Miltimax

These are my main ones that I use more often
DanDaMan
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miro View Post
sorry, but asking what to use a LP EQ for makes me question why you call yourself an "engineer" or "MasteringDan".

I'd say read this: Mastering Audio Book

It's worth it!


I know when to use a LP EQ, it's just I wasn't sure whether he was using both LP and Analog at the same time or whether he uses either/or. And I've already read that book, and I agree, it is a great book.
DanDaMan
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
+1
Dan, I can tell what the things that I use for mastering, if that helps, but all masterign chains will be differnt as all songs and genre's are different.

Mine are (not in any order)
Hardware:
LA-3A Dual opt compressor
Manley Vari Tube comp/limiter
Manley Pultec
TC-96 Finalizer
Rupert Never portico stereo filed editor
Software:
Waves X and Z noise
Waves Q10
Waves Linear Phase EQ and Multiband Comp
Waves L2 Ultr
Waves L3 16 Miltimax

These are my main ones that I use more often
I'm very impressed with the gear you got But I never expected to find an LA 3A in a mastering setup. I may try that myself, thanks for the inspiration :D
Cellotron
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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fwiw - I have mine listed at TSM Mastering Equipment
Some of the analog processors I use have had slight modifications done to them so that they work more to my liking.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
#11
3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
But I never expected to find an LA 3A in a mastering setup.
The LA 3A really shines in Metal and Rock genre's. I know its meant for tracking guitars /instruments and thats what I originally bought it for, but on a whim (or boredom) I tried it on an entire mix and I really like it.
Cj
Bob Olhsson
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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LA3as were pretty common mastering tools in the early '70s. There are a few modifications (including gain structure) that turn them into seriously good, relatively uncolored opto-compressors.
Table Of Tone
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3rd July 2010
Old 3rd July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studioland View Post
The only rulme I guess everybody will agree upon is the less processing the better
You got that right!

I won a shootout for an album, against a big name mastering house, just the other day, using only a Bedini BASE and an MLA-3 in the analogue chain with no plugs.

If the mix sounds good anyway?
Don't step all over it!
#14
4th July 2010
Old 4th July 2010
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I hear you. When I was starting with this I also though the chain was important but now I sorta think that you should train yourself on judging to setup that chain on the fly depending the song you're working on. I don't think you'll ever be able to go through all possible variations in a lifetime (given you have a nice collection of tools) so there is plenty of time to learn.
Jerry Tubb
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4th July 2010
Old 4th July 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDaMan View Post
I'm a relatively new engineer to the scene (I've only been doing it for about 2 years now, so forgive my noobishness) but i'm just interested to know what signal chain you pro's use as I'm very interested in becoming a pro mastering engineer myself (eventually!!).
I would think that spending a few pounds to enlist the services of a real mastering engineer in an attended session would be worth your time. Could be a valuable learning experience, well beyond the price of admission. Think of the interactive realtime feedback you'd get, and as a bonus, you will have helped a real pro buy a few squares.

JT
Adam Dempsey
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4th July 2010
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I think most of us have websites with gear lists. Here it's largely a custom analogue path, but what counts is that a signal path is only as good as the weakest link (ie don't have a weak link), plus the experience to hear what's needed before anything is applied, keeping in context of the project as a whole, client communication, and in starting every project afresh.
DanDaMan
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4th July 2010
Old 4th July 2010
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Thanks for the advice Jerry
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