Building a Master Chain
Old 4th March 2012
  #1
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Building a Master Chain

Hi all. I'll keep this short: I'm looking to build a basic analog mastering chain to master mainly hard rock music. My path would start with EQ then compression then brick wall limiting. Could you give me your opinion on what might be the best 3 processor setup based on the following tools I've been researching?

(I definitely want some color.)

EQ:
Manley Massive Passive MV
Maselec MEA-2

Compression/Limiting:
Tube Tech SMC 2BM
Maselec MLA-3
Manley Vari-Mu MV
Maselec MLA-2

By hard rock I mean earlier Scorpoins, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, etc. I really like anything touched by the great George Marino at Sterling Sound.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Old 4th March 2012
  #2
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The processors you choose to use should depend on how the mixes sound, but that being said...

Others to consider:

SSL G-series compressor (or clone)
API 2500
Chandler LTD-2 (pair)
Manley Vari-Mu
Great River MAQ-2NV
API 5500


The Maselec gear is generally known for having very little color on it's own so you might reconsider those units.

If you're trying to find the "ultimate 3-processor chain" you'll need to go through a lot a gear until you find it.

Good luck with your search.
Old 4th March 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazmar View Post
By hard rock I mean earlier Scorpoins, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, etc. I really like anything touched by the great George Marino at Sterling Sound.
Which units on your list are used in his room?


DC
Old 4th March 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
Which units on your list are used in his room?
DC
All of them.
Old 4th March 2012
  #5
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It will always depend on the mix, you can't really tell ahead of time. But for the kind of music you're talking about, I would definitely compare the API (more colored) or Cranesong STC-8 (more transparent) to the TubeTech and Vari-MU just to see which style of compressor suits your tastes the best.

Then again, you'll probably have a mix come in where you wish you had the *other* one...

Cheers,
Thor
Old 5th March 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazmar View Post
Hi all. I'll keep this short: I'm looking to build a basic analog mastering chain to master mainly hard rock music. My path would start with EQ then compression then brick wall limiting. Could you give me your opinion on what might be the best 3 processor setup based on the following tools I've been researching?

(I definitely want some color.)

EQ:
Manley Massive Passive MV
Maselec MEA-2

Compression/Limiting:
Tube Tech SMC 2BM
Maselec MLA-3
Manley Vari-Mu MV
Maselec MLA-2

By hard rock I mean earlier Scorpoins, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, etc. I really like anything touched by the great George Marino at Sterling Sound.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
If I could only have 3 units off your list, I would pick:

1) Manley Massive Passive MV (an eq with colour)

You will also need a transparent eq, like the Maselec MEA-2, but you could use a good plug-in for this if you can't afford a transparent outboard eq. My choice would be the Massenberg Design Works eq but I'm sure there are other good ones.

2) Manley Vari-Mu MV (definitely get the Hi-Pass option and, if you can afford it, the T-Bar mod)

3) one of the Tube Tech SMC 2BM or Maselec MLA-3, probably the latter, judging by reviews of the mastering engineers on this site and others.

BTW, I have all the above gear (in my list) except for the Maselec MLA-3 and once day, will get around to trying it. I use my TC 6000 or Tube Tech SMC 2BM for multi-banding, when needed, which is not too often.

I master just about every style under the sun with relatively the same mastering gear (obviously not all in use for every track) so I am not really a believer that certain gear suits certain styles. I do agree, however, that not every unit in one's arsenal suits every mix!

Of course, if you don't have good DA/AD converters, you have to get them first!
Old 5th March 2012
  #7
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Thanks for some really great replies here. I really appreciate it. Andy...wow! Bang!!
Old 5th March 2012
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
Which units on your list are used in his room?


DC
Nothing on the list....
Old 5th March 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Nothing on the list....
All, or nothing at all?

Either way, trying to copy a rooms gear is hardly much help if you don't have the engineer. Or the same mixes.

DC
Old 5th March 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Nothing on the list....
Then you've answered your own question. Thanks.
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