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How do Mastering Engineers add this appealing GLOSS, POLISH and SHEEN to mixes ??
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Andreas Baldomr
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26th June 2013
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How do Mastering Engineers add this appealing GLOSS, POLISH and SHEEN to mixes ??

Hi Guys I notice that a lot of modern chart tracks have this sort of gloss, polish and sheen over the sound. It is not brightness I am talking about, but it sound/looks like polished gloss paper.

Would you mind sharing how you guys achieve this ? I mean what processes, and what causes this sound and what tools can be used to achieve this ?

Thank you so much in advance!
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Chris Bauer
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Sounds to me like you need the Howie Weinberg Mastering Processor:

http://youtu.be/kC1xnDsloBk

Then again, a lot of that "polished gloss paper" will be due to the mix. So maybe you would be better off with the Dave Pensado Mix Advisor plug-in:

http://youtu.be/oeXTTOQ7OSo
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Thor
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Like Chris says, a lot is in the mix.

I'd say the rest is really up to experience. There is no magic box or plugin that will do it for you, it's about working with what's there and bringing out all that goodness. Tools needed will vary depending on the mix itself.

Sorry, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Cheers,
Thor
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Andreas Baldomr
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26th June 2013
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Originally Posted by Thor View Post
Like Chris says, a lot is in the mix.

I'd say the rest is really up to experience. There is no magic box or plugin that will do it for you, it's about working with what's there and bringing out all that goodness. Tools needed will vary depending on the mix itself.

Sorry, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Cheers,
Thor
No no I understand that it might not be simple or just a plugin which would solve it all but how to bring out the sheen ? Is it an eq thing ? creating space thing ? parallel compression thing ?

Some guy talked about this in SOS : "One popular mastering technique is to apply an overall boost of just one or two dBs at around 15kHz with a wide bandwidth setting. This is what people mean when they talk about 'air EQ', 'sheen' or 'gloss'. With a nice equaliser this boost will lift out high-end detail while at the same time pulling the vocals forward, but it shouldn't make the sound harsh or toppy. "


I am humbly asking the guidance of professionals here, to at least point the way, if you don't mind.
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Well, that's one way to add (really, more to bring out the existing "sheen"). That said, some EQ's are wonderful at that, some aren't. Some transformers accentuate it in a positive manner, some don't.

As mentioned -- No "one size fits all" there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
"One popular mastering technique is to apply an overall boost of just one or two dBs at around 15kHz with a wide bandwidth setting. This is what people mean when they talk about 'air EQ', 'sheen' or 'gloss'.
But that's only if an otherwise well balanced mix needs more air. If a mix is out of balance with some things too bright and other things too dull it can be tempting to want to add more top to bring out the hidden detail of the dull mix elements. But if you do that the whole mix can get brittle.

Air is not always the answer to fixing a dull mix. Sometimes it's better to take something away to reveal the shine under the sizzle.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
Some guy talked about this in SOS : "One popular mastering technique is to apply an overall boost of just one or two dBs at around 15kHz with a wide bandwidth setting. This is what people mean when they talk about 'air EQ', 'sheen' or 'gloss'.
Careful, I wouldn't just do this every time. For one example, I do this all the time while mixing (sometimes on one or more groups, sometimes on the main buss) for the very reason that it can put a nice sheen on there. So if you were mastering one of my mixes, that part is already done! You wouldn't want to do it a second time. It would get ugly.
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i just couldn't help myself...

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Originally Posted by Chris Bauer View Post
Sounds to me like you need the Howie Weinberg Mastering Processor:

Slate Digital - The Most Amazing Audio Plugin Ever Made - YouTube

Then again, a lot of that "polished gloss paper" will be due to the mix. So maybe you would be better off with the Dave Pensado Mix Advisor plug-in:

Slate Digital Presents: The DAVE PENSADO MIX ADVISOR Plugin - YouTube
this is the funniest stuff I've seen all year!! i see I'm a little late though. haha!

ok, to the OP: this is the third thread you've posted asking essentially the same question; "How can I learn a skill in 5 minutes, that you guy's have spent a decade or more developing?"

You've gotten responses from 4 of the best mastering engineers active on this forum, all telling you the same thing....there is no "one-knob" solution, and it is mostly in the mix.

so I'm curious, after your 3rd thread on the subject, will you now accept the answers you've been given? Or will you be starting another thread sometime soon?
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i think it's all about speakers you use for mixing. few years ago i had adam s3a for tests for couple of days. i mixed on them couple of tracks and somehow those mixes sounded polished clean without any harshness. their tweeters just made me boost right frequencies and cut the wrong frequencies. the problem was i couldn't really mix low end on them and i decided against buying them. i tried many different speakers but none gave my mixes shine like from adam s3a. anyway i mostly do club music so i prefer tight low end over beautiful high end.
so i guess it's all about right decisions during mixing process.
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Originally Posted by jackbraglia View Post
this is the funniest stuff I've seen all year!! i see I'm a little late though. haha!

ok, to the OP: this is the third thread you've posted asking essentially the same question; "How can I learn a skill in 5 minutes, that you guy's have spent a decade or more developing?"

You've gotten responses from 4 of the best mastering engineers active on this forum, all telling you the same thing....there is no "one-knob" solution, and it is mostly in the mix.

so I'm curious, after your 3rd thread on the subject, will you now accept the answers you've been given? Or will you be starting another thread sometime soon?
If you don't like me or my threads and you feel like you are a superstar who can look down on people cause your skills are so amazing and u've been working with the best artists ever, would you mind just ignoring me ? thank you very very much.
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Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
If you don't like me or my threads and you feel like you are a superstar who can look down on people cause your skills are so amazing and u've been working with the best artists ever, would you mind just ignoring me ? thank you very very much.
you're missing the point man...

but you missed the point on the other 2 threads, so i guess i'm not surprised. normally i try to stay as professional as possible on these forums, but I'm just soooo compelled to troll the shit out of your threads. Now I'm no superstar, I'm still relatively new at this myself. only just now hitting the 2 year mark. you just have to realize that mastering isn't something you can pick up in a few minutes. I am not "looking down" on you, its just boggling my mind how you can ask the same question in 3 different ways, get the same answers from many working professionals, and continue to think that there is some "secret mastering technique" we are all hiding from you. It takes lots and lots of practice, mastering hundreds of tracks before you will really feel confident in your skills. to put it simply, its a long road and you are looking for shortcuts.
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Andreas Baldomr
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Originally Posted by jackbraglia View Post
you're missing the point man...

but you missed the point on the other 2 threads, so i guess i'm not surprised. normally i try to stay as professional as possible on these forums, but I'm just soooo compelled to troll the shit out of your threads. Now I'm no superstar, I'm still relatively new at this myself. only just now hitting the 2 year mark. you just have to realize that mastering isn't something you can pick up in a few minutes. I am not "looking down" on you, its just boggling my mind how you can ask the same question in 3 different ways, get the same answers from many working professionals, and continue to think that there is some "secret mastering technique" we are all hiding from you. It takes lots and lots of practice, mastering hundreds of tracks before you will really feel confident in your skills. to put it simply, its a long road and you are looking for shortcuts.
Looking for shortcuts is "your perception of things", I know this is not some 1 plugin that's gonna make my mixes sound great. I know that there's a lot lot lot of hard work behind getting a superb mix and a lot of talent to master it.

I am here exposing myself asking maybe stupid questions and taking the risk of being bashed, cause I am experimenting hard, reading stuff all over the net and really wanting to be slapped and being pointed in the right direction.

I didn't mind being bashed on the other threads cause I learned from it, even if it was only 1 thing(obviously it was more), but it's better than nothing, and I am very grateful for generous people on here who don't mind sharing their expertise. All those wise words and some " constructive slaps" are useful, at least to me.
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heavy downward compression followed by heavy upward expansion.
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Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I am here exposing myself asking maybe stupid questions and taking the risk of being bashed, cause I am experimenting hard, reading stuff all over the net and really wanting to be slapped and being pointed in the right direction.
There are a number of great books available. check amazon. you'll learn a lot more about mastering from these than you will asking questions one at a time on here. additionally, just about every topic has been covered in depth on this forum. i would try digging a little deeper

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Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I didn't mind being bashed on the other threads cause I learned from it, even if it was only 1 thing(obviously it was more), but it's better than nothing, and I am very grateful for generous people on here who don't mind sharing their expertise. All those wise words and some " constructive slaps" are useful, at least to me.
ok i understand where you're coming from. i'll try to keep the comments more constructive from now on
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OP. You are sort of missing the point. You aren't going to learn how to master on here. And people will continue to pick on you for asking these sorts of questions. Don't take it personally. But you're not going to learn how to score like Messi by asking him. Mastering is a skill. It takes time and practice. And the funny thing is that the primary skill is guess what?? Listening! The way to learn how to master is to take mixes, generally not your own, and listen to them and note what you think may need to be addressed to make it an even better mix. Then learn the tools that work the best for fixing different types of problems. Now to do all of this, you do need some basic infrastructure and tools. Infrastructure in the way of monitoring and room. Tools in the way of sonic enhancement tools either outboard or itb. Then EXPERIMENT. Coming here to ask how to get sheen will get you no where. I remember once someone sent me something that I thought had too much sheen. I 'fixed' it. He called back and said, "where the f_cks my sheen"?!?! I said let me fix it. Guess what I did. I simply left the top end alone and enhanced his overall level a bit. Sent it to him and he thought I had done something wonderful that further enhanced his sheen. He loved it. I told him I had a special processor for sheen. Guess what it was? My ears and my brain. So dude, its cool to come here to gain knowledge. But do it more by reading what's already here (or grab a book like braglia suggested), by building your proper infrastructure and tools, and by experimenting. Not telling you not to come back or to discourage you. But asking these types of questions will get you smashed every time.
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very well said slug. hopefully all this will help
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Originally Posted by jackbraglia View Post
i'll try to keep the comments more constructive from now on
Hi Jack,

That's a good move. Just wanted to add to the constructive criticism thing and say that if we're taking length of time as an indicator of professionalism, then your 2 years is 6 times less than mine, even though I felt you were belittling me in that other thread for adding information you found irrelevent. This OP didnt deserve to be made fun of either, he's just learning like you or I did. No hard feelings but perhaps if you take a bit more time to judge someone you might find you can learn something from them yourself. (I am still learning new things about mastering after 12 years).

Cheers
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Hi Jack,

That's a good move. Just wanted to add to the constructive criticism thing and say that if we're taking length of time as an indicator of professionalism, then your 2 years is 6 times less than mine, even though I felt you were belittling me in that other thread for adding information you found irrelevent. This OP didnt deserve to be made fun of either, he's just learning like you or I did. No hard feelings but perhaps if you take a bit more time to judge someone you might find you can learn something from them yourself. (I am still learning new things about mastering after 12 years).

Cheers
you feel belittled? you're kidding right? you do realize that the facepalm was directed at the "noobs" who could misinterpret the info. go back and read it....Does zipping affect wav files?

you also accused me of saying "you're the guy who thinks files sound worse after zipping". Please show me where I said this...

and lastly, what does our mastering experience have anything to do with this? we were talking about zip files...
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oh boy...
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The answer is simple. Get an internship at the biggest mastering house you can get into. Learn how everybody likes their coffee and when they like it. Close mouth. Observe. Do this for many years and experiment on your gear or wherever you can every time you learn something.

Watched a crew of four guys cut down a 100+ foot cottonwood tree today. Asked a couple questions and aquired some knowlegde. I would have to spend some real time with those guys to learn the subtle art and physics though. I think that's a good analogy.

Cheers!

Sent from my SCH-I405
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you do realize that the facepalm was directed at the "noobs" who could misinterpret the info.
Well we shouldnt really talk about this here but ok, I didn't realize that. It sounded like it was to me for adding info you thought was irrelevent. But I took it wrong, so no worries about that.

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you also accused me of saying "you're the guy who thinks files sound worse after zipping". Please show me where I said this...
I just got the feeling you and at least one other were making fun of me and others after I showed that zip files COULD have problems, and then various jokes were made along the lines of 'zip files add warmth' or whatever.
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I just got the feeling you and at least one other were making fun of me and others after I showed that zip files COULD have problems, and then various jokes were made along the lines of 'zip files add warmth' or whatever.
I can tell you for sure that none of us were poking fun at you. We were making fun of the noobs! There seems to be this phenomenon here on GS where noobs will read things and get crazy ideas, and then start posting in various other places making wild claims that they "picked up" here. (Hence the jokes about "printing to floppy disks for that vintage feel" and so on). People will read certain statements and think that because so-and-so from such-and-such studio said it, it must be a fact. so that's what people were poking fun at, certainly not you.

so now that we got all that straightened out, lets all be friends!!
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Originally Posted by jackbraglia View Post
You've gotten responses from 4 of the best mastering engineers active on this forum, all telling you the same thing....
Is this based on the quality of their work or forum participation?
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Is this based on the quality of their work or forum participation?
hahaha well if there was a list, you'd surely be on it!

no but seriously,its mostly based on the wise words I've read on this forum (and others) over the years
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Literally kind of a redicous question that has no answer. But If I wanted to put a "gloss " on a master id reach for my clariphonic eq.
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Originally Posted by kraus View Post
The answer is simple. Get an internship at the biggest mastering house you can get into. Learn how everybody likes their coffee and when they like it. Close mouth. Observe. Do this for many years and experiment on your gear or wherever you can every time you learn something.
...this is route I am on and it has benefited me greatly in the 2 years I have been an a world class mastering studio here in Toronto Canada. Also I see it's been said before and in many other threads but the mix is so important. Mastering is not a magic bullet as I think of it like icing on a cake that can sweeten a well made cake.
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The answer is simple. Get an internship at the biggest mastering house you can get into. Learn how everybody likes their coffee and when they like it. Close mouth. Observe. Do this for many years and experiment on your gear or wherever you can every time you learn something.

Watched a crew of four guys cut down a 100+ foot cottonwood tree today. Asked a couple questions and aquired some knowlegde. I would have to spend some real time with those guys to learn the subtle art and physics though. I think that's a good analogy.

Cheers!

Sent from my SCH-I405
My friend this is exactly what I would love to do after spending 2 years at SAE, I understood that I still knew nothing much, apart from base knowledge and false rules that the top engineers seem to break all the time.

The other problem is there are thousands of people like me who would like to have internships and even to shut up and serve coffee, but even the coffee free jobs are inexistant.

Last solution was to practice, learn how to recreate things that I like in mixes, and then ask questions here ... which works, in the sense that in every thread I created, I learned at least 1 amazing thing, and I also got a lot of constructive slaps to point me in the right direction. Which is helpful after all!
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Originally Posted by paintitblack View Post
Literally kind of a redicous question that has no answer. But If I wanted to put a "gloss " on a master id reach for my clariphonic eq.
Thank you so much for the EQ tip, gonna look into it right away! But does this glossy sound come only from the hardware ? Or can one get if from the plugin too ?

Thank you
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