Pre-mastering questions
goldphinga
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#1
7th February 2006
Old 7th February 2006
  #1
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Pre-mastering questions

A few questions!

-Should i leave the waves L1 on the logicpro master output b4 bouncing to send to mastering or just take it off altogether? Im inclined to do this and just use a volume plugin to boost the overall level up slightly of tracks that are a little low. Im not keen on limiting my mixes.Any thoughts?
(Im gonna burn L1 mixes anyway for manager/label to listen to for the time being, but my instincts are saying take the damn thing off as its not doing anything for the sound).

-how much head room should i be leaving on the master output for the mastering engineer to work with? Ive heard -6 is about right.

-how do you guys feel about the benefits/downsides to mixing down to DAT.

Please let me know any thoughts you have.Thanks Slutz!

Dan
#2
7th February 2006
Old 7th February 2006
  #2
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Anymore, I do two mixes: one with an L3 limiter for me to listen to on CDs (before it's mastered), and another without any limter or plugins on the master fader, that I can send to mastering . I make that one 48k, 24 bit so can send it to mastering and have them do the dithering and limiting there. Check out Brian Lucey's website.. he's got some good points on how to mix for mastering.
#3
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
  #3
No limiters for sure... No reason to increase volume "after the fact" either. Stay in 24-bit, keep your peaks above... Hell, in 24-bit, keep them above -30dBFS.

Okay, that's going a little overboard, but there is SOOOO much headroom, it's almost a shame not to take advantage of it.

Peaks at -6? Fine. -10? Fine. -15? Fine.

DAT? Assuming it's 16-bit DAT, I'd go with 24-bit PCM files unless there's some particular reason that you need to go to the DAT machine...
#4
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldphinga
(edited into 4 points for brevity)
-Should i leave the waves L1 on

(Im gonna burn L1 mixes anyway for manager/label to listen to.

-how much head room should i be leaving on the master output for the mastering engineer to work with? Ive heard -6 is about right.

-how do you guys feel about the benefits/downsides to mixing down to DAT.
Definitely take the L1 off before sending to mastering. Don't worry about adding level or evening out levels between tracks before mastering.

A limited reference copy (labeled "NFP - Not For Production" so it doesn't accidentally end up as a mastering or replication source later) for managers etc. to listen to is often a good idea as they don't understand technically why it isn't as loud as a mastered CD. However, don't push it too far or they'll expect the mastered version to be just as loud or louder, even if it crushes the life out of your music and causes plain-as-day distortion. Don't paint yourself into a corner.

How much room to leave? Just leave some. It doesn't have to be 6 (-6dB FS), and doesn't have to be a set amount, identical for every track. Just leave some kind of space. 2 or 3 is even enough. Don't worry about pushing your levels to the top. 6 is good too if that makes everybody comfortable. 9 is more than necessary, but if you're using a decent 24-bit A/D, it probably won't hurt you either. My point is that you have some leeway. Just be reasonable and don't clip it.

DAT is dead and should stay that way. Machines are getting old and not being maintained, tape stocks are harder to come by and less reliable (I have several boxes of Apogee DATs if anybody wants to give me anything for them... Lunch? A kind word perhaps?), the format is not very robust, tapes prone to damage, errors, deterioration, tracking problems among various machines, and it is only 16 bit. There's no reason to mix to DAT anymore when 24-bit aif or wav files on a data CDR are so easy to provide.
#5
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo
Definitely take the L1 off before sending to mastering. Don't worry about adding level or evening out levels between tracks before mastering.

A limited reference copy (labeled "NFP - Not For Production" so it doesn't accidentally end up as a mastering or replication source later) for managers etc. to listen to is often a good idea as they don't understand technically why it isn't as loud as a mastered CD. However, don't push it too far or they'll expect the mastered version to be just as loud or louder, even if it crushes the life out of your music and causes plain-as-day distortion. Don't paint yourself into a corner.
Yep!

From experience, some worrying signs to watch out for when you call a UK mastering houses

"Whats wrong with bring in a 16 bit DAT?" - means - I havent updated my gear and cant cope with the latest high sample rates tutt

"16 bit or 24 bit - it doesnt matter" - means - I am lazy, dont take pride in my job and cant be bothered to educate my clients on what's best to bring in.

"we cant accept 96k 24 bit data files" - means - not upto date facility (could still be good though)

(studio manager) "No you cant bring your 96k recorder, the mastering engineers dont allow people to bring in equipment" - means - crabby, foul tempered mastering house, without the latest gear, (not interested in it either) with head buried in sand - TO BE AVOIDED!
goldphinga
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#6
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
  #6
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Thanks Jules, that info is spot on. There are always hidden meanings behind those clever sounding phrases!

I took the L1 off all my mixes today, and they sound so much better without. Cant quite put my finger on it but its like night and day. I wasn't even limiting by more than -2db and I wasnt aware just how much it was destroying the sound. I am really looking forward to getting the album mastered properly. Now ive just gotta find that spare £1000 from somewhere!

Anyone want to buy my dat machine?

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