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Software Mastering kills depth!
Old 19th August 2019
Gear Addict
Kayo's Avatar

Software Mastering kills depth!

Hi all,

So, I ain't new to the game of audio... but, I have to say, Mastering in just Software doesn't cut it at all.

For example, I thought the new Ozone was great until I compared it to what hardware did to the same piece of music.

Same with many, many native plugins etc.. still no joy, no matter how fan-dangle they claim to be.

The only plugs or software that even comes close to respectability in my humble opinion is UAD and TC 6000. When I use these, I'm somewhat satisfied.

But, the combination of Software and Hardware (plugins wise) is the best!
Some EQ and De-esser actions and many other angles are best performed by plugs and the combination beats just hardware.

Saying that the void of any good mastering grade hardware just ....meh. Simply disappointing. Software (plugs) just flatten the sound and it loses all dimensional personality. No matter how good or fat, you can clearly perceive a photograph of the original.

Thus, I sense Voltage is King

Do you guys feel the same?


Last edited by Kayo; 19th August 2019 at 11:22 PM..
Old 19th August 2019
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by Kayo View Post
Do you guys feel the same?
Old 20th August 2019
Lives for gear
polybonk's Avatar
I always run a parallel Digital mastering chain that I shoot out against.
It tends to keep the 3D intact. I highly recommend the CEDAR Adaptive limiter.

If its a really well mixed track with plenty of dynamics then usually nothing beats my outboard.
Things like the Elysia Alpha, Fairman TMC, SPL PQ, etc are untouched.
Also, bands that want color and vibe, the vintage gear I have, or the Culture Vulture or Anamod ATS 1 etc being fed by the JCF Latte can be absolutely what the client is after.

However, if I get something in that is compromised by already being limited or clipped, or even really perfect sounding stuff that needs absolute transparency, then well-chosen digital will often win here. It's very obvious when it does.

Totally depends on the music and the client's vision.
Old 20th August 2019
Lives for gear
Conundra's Avatar

These type of posts are killing my enthusiasm for GS.
Old 20th August 2019
Lives for gear
SmoothTone's Avatar

Polybonk nailed it.

IME choice of loudenator and how it's set up can have a huge bearing on whether depth is kept or lost.

Good mixes love the analogue gear. And it loves them back! Troubled mixes need digital tools to pull them into shape. And for absolute transparency digital is very often the best choice.

Originally Posted by polybonk View Post
Totally depends on the music and the client's vision.
Old 20th August 2019
I don't think it's a coincidence that those who lionise analogue hardware also tend to raise UAD and/or digital hardware above "native" plugins. It's all part of the same attitude: buying physical things is good.

I love my analogue equipment but no serious professional mastering engineer is ever going to unequivocally agree with the OPs point.
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