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Mastering Plugins Evaluation
Old 8th February 2007
  #1
Mastering Plugins Evaluation

Hello.
A website launched, that will try to evaluate popular mastering plugins and identify the best sounding ones via subjective and objective testing.
You can download the unmastered source track and master it your way, following some basic rules, then upload it back to the website. Over the next few months the final statistic evaluation will be possible! Everyone is able to add comments via the blog!
Hope you love the idea! Get Involved!

For more info please visit the website:
http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/Epidauros/

Regards
Antonis
Old 10th February 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
DanGo's Avatar
 

Hi Antonis,

A brave and important project you're embarking on here. I visited your site, but the mastering tools that I'm using aren't there, so unless you're willing to expand the list of contenders, I believe I'll have to pass.

I've been using Wave Art's plug-ins for mastering. Sometimes in combination with the TC Electronic Finalizer (hardware non 96k version). I tend to like the Wave Arts, though Roger Nichols's plug ins for mastering are also quite intriguing--I've only demoed them.

Best,

Dan Goldberg
http://www.applesandorangesmusic.com
Old 10th February 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
marchhare's Avatar
 

I love this idea.
Old 10th February 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

you should utilize lightningmp3.com instead of the entire yousendit process
Old 13th February 2007
  #5
Mastering Plugin Evaluation Reply

Hi all!

Thanx for your comments!

treymonfauntre, there is an official blog on the website and engineers can upload their track and this is the official procedure. i suggested a way to send me the uncompressed file (anybody can choose different way).

DanGo, wavearts had good plugins but i have to stay close to the popular ones because i need a decent statistic sample. If you really wanna participate you can download a demo from waves, ik multimedia or izotope and make a master!

Regards
Antonis
Old 13th February 2007
  #6
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
I think you're missing a vendor- particularly if your stated goal is 'to make the track as hot as possible using any means necessary'.

That would be me. I write AU plugins, many of which originated as proprietary mastering software. They're for sale- see for yourself.

http://store.kagi.com/cgi-bin/store....D=6FEGJ_LIVE&&

When the competing plugins can go as hot as this without falling apart, let me know.

http://www.airwindows.com/m/Airwindows_Epidauros.mp3

Until then it'll be fairly straightforward for any ambitious person to go:
Highpass-Pressure-Peak Limiter-Air-Drive-Contingent Dither-RMSBuddy
...and beat the usual suspects. If you want less punishingly loud, and more warmth, texture and dynamics, just don't push to -4dbFS. Since you said it had to be literally as loud as possible I figured that was clear instruction enough...

I would also note that Airwindows AU plug users can comply with your one-vendor requirement easily, using EQ, compression, limiting, distortion, high-performance wordlength reduction, and even level monitoring entirely from Airwindows products- no one of which costs more than $60.

Perhaps even if you insist on featuring heavy mastering hitters like T-Racks and won't include the Airwindows line, the example I am providing can serve as a wake-up call. Waves doesn't own the domain of excessive loudness anymore

Cheers
Old 13th February 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
DanGo's Avatar
 

Antonis,

I understand getting a decent statistical sample. Too bad, though, because I've found that WaveArts does make a great bunch of products and the best thing about them after their sonic quality is that they don't use up a lot of processing resources. (I frequently use a large number of instances of TrackPlug in my mix sessions--not to mention several of WaveArts's reverbs--and even though I'm using a Digi002 rack w/a Mac G5 Quad and only RTAS plugins, so it's all native processing, I've never had a crash or slow-down even with 24 tracks running.)

I think I'll pass on downloading Waves demos since I dislike their stuff and find their demos more complicated than most to un-install. That said, if I have time, I might check out one of their competitors' demos...

Good luck w/the testing. Looking forward to the results.

Best,

Dan Goldberg
Old 26th February 2007
  #8
Limiters Exposed

Hello. I have uploaded some interesting test results from Limiter Plugins.
Hope they are helpful for your mastering choices!

http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/iW...20Exposed.html

Regards
A.K.
Old 26th February 2007
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treymonfauntre View Post
you should utilize lightningmp3.com instead of the entire yousendit process
hi!

yes, indeed a nice Idea!!!

but please, can`t we use a lossles format ? we should take the time to care about it even it is longer to upload the files, but I thought this will be a professional comparison.

thanks

chester
Old 26th February 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

yeah i thought about mentioning something like flac too.. but i doubt many people will bother wanting to get that
Old 27th February 2007
  #11
Justification

You are absolutely correct on the fact that we could use lossles algorithms!

However, I will apply statistics that will eliminate the fact that the track will be mastered by different engineers. The fact that they use lossy compression it is ok as long as they are identical on the format parameters. I am looking for differences and not similarities and i will mathimaticaly exclude similarities that the audio compression algorithm will generate! Sad but true, mp3 algorithms are "cleanest" than most mastering limiters out there (check some early test results on the website)...

In fact these "real life limitations" will help us to say that the best plugin bundle is "engineer independent" and "compression algorithm independent" (we all want our tracks to sound good on iTunes and AC-3).

Moreover, you can send me the uncompressed 16bit/44.1KHz to keep it as a reference for future usage and to crosscheck the results!

Regards
Antonis
Old 7th March 2007
  #12
Mastering PLugin Evaluation

Hello again!

T-Racks was added to my test results!
UAD Precision Limiter is on the way...
*Limiters Exposed


Regards
Antonis
Old 7th March 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Ruudman's Avatar
 

What's with the password protection, Antonis?
I can't enter the site....

ruudman
Old 8th March 2007
  #14
Mastering Plugin Evaluation

Hello.

Its back again...some graph changes and some numbers added!

Regards
Antonis
Old 14th March 2007
  #15
Mastering Plugin Evaluation

Hello.

I have expanded the project with a blog in which you have the opportunity to upload the mastered track using any combination of plugins or any analogue equipment you use on a daily basis. Please specify the routing path and the devices you used for the mastering!

This will give to other people, the opportunity to appreciate the tools you suggest in conjunction with your mastering skills.


Best Regards
Antonis

http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/Epidauros/
Old 12th April 2007
  #16
Mastering Plugins Evaluation

Hi.

I upload a track sample of limiters:
MD3 Bw.L1 / MD4 Bw.L2 / L2 / L3 Multi / LogicPro7 Adaptive / Ozone3 / TRacks CL / TRacks MBL / L3 Ultra. They all attenuating around -3 dB**.

**
-14.5 dB Total Power, ±3dB
-12.4 dB RMS, ±0.3dB on Waves PAZ
Mp3 320KBPS CRB

The "TEST track" is also available for people that have hardware limiters and have the kindness to contribute a sample.

http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/Epidauros/

Regards
Antonis
Old 12th April 2007
  #17
Gear Head
 
devonw's Avatar
 

My typical "chain" of plugins :

L3 Multimaximizer : -4/-5 db Thresh, -1db From Ceiling
L3 Ultramaximizer : -1/-2 db Thresh, -.1/-.2 db From Ceiling
Inflator : 50-100% Drive, 0 Curve, Output at 0 if I want it loud.

From time to time I use the RND plugs, and Massey's Limiter which isn't super mastering quality.

I think the L3 squashes a ton and the Inflator adds sometime good sometimes bad harmonic distortion.

My 2 cents.
Old 25th April 2007
  #18
Mastering Plugin Evaluation

Mastering Engineers and Mastering Studios can send us their links along with their mastered track (Beyond The Rules Masters *check the blog) and we can link their track to their official website or email. This way we can build a mastering database. Every 6 Months Engineers can send a re-master to replace the old one.

Regards
Antonis
http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/Epidauros/
Old 25th April 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
DeeDrive's Avatar
 

wouldn't this end up being more of a test of mastering skills than a way to evaluate mastering plug ins? I mean, if every mastering engineer used the same software, there would still be dramatically different results.
Old 25th April 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 
GuitarRuss's Avatar
 

Great idea! I read your Limiters exposed and have to say it confirmed my opinion that the limiter in Ozone is much nicer sounding than L2 especially for acoustic music because less distortion. It would be great to see the results with other contenders. I will look forward to seeing the results in the future.
Old 25th April 2007
  #21
Dear DeeDrive, there is a section in the blog, for mastering engineers that would like to make a master to epidauros track without the limitations on tools they will use. I do not perceive that as a test on mastering skills. It is an active community that helps engineers to demonstrate their tools and their techniques. It will also help the new generation of audio professionals to create a reference point on how different things sound like !! "Beyond the Rules mastering" is a quite flexible concept.

On the other hand, the mastering plugin evaluation will continue. It is a very slow process because a large sample of masters that follow the epidauros "rules" is needed in order to extract a safe conclusion. Meanwhile it is equally important that epidauros project is a place that engineers are able to exchange "real-life" knowledge.

Regards
Antonis
http://web.mac.com/antoniskaralis/Epidauros/

p.s.. thanx everybody for their enthusiasm. I hope you enjoy the project as much as i do.
Old 11th September 2010
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanGo View Post
Hi Antonis,

A brave and important project you're embarking on here. I visited your site, but the mastering tools that I'm using aren't there, so unless you're willing to expand the list of contenders, I believe I'll have to pass.

I've been using Wave Art's plug-ins for mastering. Sometimes in combination with the TC Electronic Finalizer (hardware non 96k version). I tend to like the Wave Arts, though Roger Nichols's plug ins for mastering are also quite intriguing--I've only demoed them.

Best,

Dan Goldberg
Apples & Oranges Music - Production Music Company
Dear Dan Goldberg
The name is Ed im newbie for mastering stuff..anyway you mention that you re using TC Fin...well ill have have too i just bought TC Fin Plus im still discover which are good combination plugin with TC Fin, ill moslty combine EQ with Liquid MIx and HI sonic in Hi freq using SPL Vitalizer.. but i still didn't much satisfy enough with that. and i believe if i combine the right way i can do more than that....well will you give some advice bout the cool mastering chains combine with TC Finalizer....

Tx MAte

regard
ed
Old 12th September 2010
  #23
Quote:
wouldn't this end up being more of a test of mastering skills than a way to evaluate mastering plug ins?
I agree. You can give a anyone the best mastering tools in the world, and if they do not know what there doing, the master will reflect that.

You can give a well experienced mastering engineer average mastering plugins and he can make a master piece form them. Its not your tools, its how you use them. Or thats what she said!!!!
Cj
Old 12th September 2010
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
heybub419's Avatar
Antonis,

I just have to say that I love what you're doing here! I just read the "Limiters Exposed" page. It's nice to get real, objective data on these plugins...thank you!
Old 27th October 2010
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by heybub419 View Post
Antonis,

I just have to say that I love what you're doing here! I just read the "Limiters Exposed" page. It's nice to get real, objective data on these plugins...thank you!

Thank you friend. I have 'ended' the test long ago but the data is up on the server and if someone want to compare a limiter to another... can get the .wav file and have a quick test that will help him have an objective opinion about his limiter.

Track 1: Epidauros
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