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Is mastering needed today? What's the point on this? Dynamics Plugins
Old 18th December 2016
  #31
Gear Maniac
What could an ME provide..
Well I think generally speaking you are right, the old fashioned idea is that the only thing a mastering engineer might add is loudness, cutting frequencies which could potentially even damage a big PA or boost frequencies of they are underrepresented (e.g. bass to thin) and making it sound appropriate at those loudness levels besides all the other finetuning mentioned above.

Many people say that mastering must be clean and not change anything at all.
I don't think this is really what it's about at least for me or maybe this is what it WAS about but what should and probably will change imo.

I believe every good ME has a certain vision of how he / she wants a mix to sound, a vision for how it is supposed to sound, you could call it a signature.
You may find that a lot of ME may use different tools over time, but that signature remains, they will just use different ways to get there.
The real good masters I listened to may not have changed tonality drastically, but they all provide different 'signatures' so to speak.

Also it is about running stuff through fitting outboard gear especially if a mix is done completely ITB, but that's just me, many people will tell you digital mastering is great, too.
In some cases this might be the case, in most other cases I don't hear that happening anytime soon.

If you did all of that stuff yourself and you either are not interested in a special 'signature' overlay so to speak or you only want to make your mix -5 rms you should find an effective chain to achieve that without too much compromise and just slap it on your mixes every time and be happy.
Old 18th December 2016
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
And when you have a perfect mix, what is then mastering suposse to be adding that the mixer not is able to?
This is the problem when people think of mastering as only the stereo buss processing, but not any of the quality control and less exciting technical aspects of mastering involved after the stereo buss processing. Back when I was a mixing engineer dabbling in mastering, I was somewhat guilty of this.

However, after diving into mastering full-time, there are many things to factor in when preparing a master for the myriad of production and distribution formats used these days. The stereo buss processing is not the end of the process. It's just the end of phase 1.

Despite your claims, LOTS of bands and artists are still mastering for EP and album releases. I stay busy week after week doing this. That's great if you're comfortable mastering your own stuff and winning shootouts against bigger mastering engineers. The thing to consider is that without an extremely accurate, quiet, natural, and neutral playback chain, it may be hard to objectively analyze your mastering as well as others. It's like trying to see through a dirty set of glasses. Something may look OK through them but when analyzed under a high resolution precise and accurate microscope, you can see problems. Or maybe you finally replace your dirty old banged up glasses and realize how cloudy your old pair were once you can see more clear and transparently.

I assemble lots of DDP images for a major CD broker because many of their clients' "mastering engineers" do not understand that a bunch of WAV files (sometimes not even 16-bit/44.1k) are not a CD production master. More work needs to be done.

Sometimes the files are well prepared other than not being a DDP, and sometimes I see serious technical issues such as peak levels hitting exactly 0dBFS (with true peaks above 0dBFS), endings of songs not properly faded or chopped off, unintended noises or space before or after songs, clicks and pops etc. The kind of stuff that can go unnoticed in a less than optimal mastering listening environment combined with an engineer that is highly tuned into these things. Does fixing this make the songs better? Not exactly, but it many cases it can give things a more professional feel to fix or do these things properly.

My opinion is that if you're not finishing your master in a mastering focused DAW and just using Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic etc, you're not really doing 100% of the mastering job. The first part can be done in any DAW of course, but to truly create a production and distribution ready master, something capable of sequencing songs with PQ coding/track markers, ISRC codes, quantizing to CD frame etc. is needed to prepare a master in the most accurate way. It's not a master unless it's in a production and distribution ready format IMO.

A few main ones are WaveLab, Samplitude/Sequoia, SADIE, SoundBlade, Pyramix, or more basic tools such as HOFA CD Burn & DDP or Sonoris DDP Creator.

If mastering a single song for digital release only, you can argue that these apps are not needed but anything beyond that is not arguable IMO.

I once wrote an article about what automated mastering services can't do for you, and I think you can apply the same concept to mix engineers that are not familiar with the deep aspects of mastering beyond just what happens on the stereo buss for audio processing:

https://theproaudiofiles.com/what-au...nt-do-for-you/

I also wrote this for all the people that consider themselves mastering engineers but then ask the classic question:
I have all the songs "mastered", but how do a make a master for XXX format:
https://theproaudiofiles.com/mastering-daw/

Last edited by Justin P.; 18th December 2016 at 08:36 PM..
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Old 18th December 2016
  #33
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Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Don't get to understand this. Could you please explain why you laugh?
To judge masters according to their level of loudness is just a very limited approach and do not worse any further discussion for me. Especially when talking such ill numbers which allways fight against the music instead go with the music.
Talking numbers in mastering is like a dick measurement contest, just an ego thing without any musical relevance (and more than boring...).
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Old 18th December 2016
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
To judge masters according to their level of loudness is just a very limited approach and do not worse any further discussion for me. Especially when talking such ill numbers which allways fight against the music instead go with the music.
Talking numbers in mastering is like a dick measurement contest, just an ego thing without any musical relevance (and more than boring...).
According to your words, you must be living in another era, trying to master like the 70's used to do. It would be easier for me to master at -10rms, trust me.
I could tell you LOTS AND LOTS of HITS of today that are around -5rms, even higher. Different thing is you are not able to reach it with a good quality.

Your attitude betrays you. You talk with arrogance. Nobody here talked about dicks and any kind of that stuff. To my point of view, you have not knowledge enough to have that attitude, so you probably would be better by reading, trying to learn, and being more humble.

Here I show you an example of a song I'm making right now, EDM pop. I check the RMS with my braniworx analyzer which you can see at the left of the screen. Only for you to know, I'm comparing it to "Galantis - Runaway", which I guess is not a bad song, and it has the same RMS, around -4.

I hate being rude, but I think you really need it.

I see you have so much to learn.
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Old 18th December 2016
  #35
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Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
cutting frequencies which could potentially even damage a big PA
unless there are some serious (stupidly serious) problems in a track there is no way you can damage a big PA (now that I think about it there is virtually no way to damage a PA by playing a bad sounding track

If there was a way to damage a PA I would have done it, trust me
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Old 18th December 2016
  #36
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If the question included 'for me' then, well, it might well be true. The whole question is based on the assumption that everyone producing music has your level of skill, and the ability to get all their mixes to that standard.

Judging by the mixes I hear every day, they don't.
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Old 18th December 2016
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
If the question included 'for me' then, well, it might well be true. The whole question is based on the assumption that everyone producing music has your level of skill, and the ability to get all their mixes to that standard.

Judging by the mixes I hear every day, they don't.
That's why I one of the questions I made is this: - Is today mastering only a tool for those mixing engineers who are not able to print good enough mixes?
Old 18th December 2016
  #38
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
I'm comparing it to "Galantis - Runaway", which I guess is not a bad song, and it has the same RMS, around -4.

I hate being rude, but I think you really need it.

I see you have so much to learn.
You created a dead brick, congratulations.
The future will hate you for having compromised your audio like that, wait for it.
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Old 18th December 2016
  #39
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odeon-Mastering View Post
unless there are some serious (stupidly serious) problems in a track there is no way you can damage a big PA (now that I think about it there is virtually no way to damage a PA by playing a bad sounding track

If there was a way to damage a PA I would have done it, trust me
Ok they all have limiters built in, but you get the drift.
Let's say it could damage speakers and your listeners ears for what it's worth.

Last edited by BumBataa; 19th December 2016 at 08:43 AM..
Old 19th December 2016
  #40
Mastering your own mixes (especially when you can retweak on the spot) is one thing. Mastering an album from multiple engineers is something completely different
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Old 19th December 2016
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
That's why I one of the questions I made is this: - Is today mastering only a tool for those mixing engineers who are not able to print good enough mixes?
No. For instance, I have some clients that if they wanted they could master their stuff and have a quality record in the end. They have the gear and the knowledge to do so.

But that takes time, a lot of effort and usually some sort of fooling around and time is something most good engineers don't have. On the other side, we mastering engineers only do this for a living and can produce a master with faster turn around times and less fooling around.

So a lot of great recording and mixing engineers could probably do good mastering if they had the time and gear but most of them simply don't want to go through that hassle.
Old 19th December 2016
  #42
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Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
According to your words, you must be living in another era, trying to master like the 70's used to do. It would be easier for me to master at -10rms, trust me.
I could tell you LOTS AND LOTS of HITS of today that are around -5rms, even higher. Different thing is you are not able to reach it with a good quality.

Your attitude betrays you. You talk with arrogance. Nobody here talked about dicks and any kind of that stuff. To my point of view, you have not knowledge enough to have that attitude, so you probably would be better by reading, trying to learn, and being more humble.

Here I show you an example of a song I'm making right now, EDM pop. I check the RMS with my braniworx analyzer which you can see at the left of the screen. Only for you to know, I'm comparing it to "Galantis - Runaway", which I guess is not a bad song, and it has the same RMS, around -4.

I hate being rude, but I think you really need it.

I see you have so much to learn.
And, thank god, I finally found my master.
But Im a bit confused right now; you are talking -(minus) dB, but I always though +(plus) means just even louder.... Maybe you are not that wise as you reclaim here...?
Old 19th December 2016
  #43
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I would like to make a few un-covered points.

Mastering is about making an Album flow as much as it is about adjusting each Mix's sound. The space between tunes, creative 2 Track editing and effects, and other things along those lines. This is where the mixer or songwriter may have better Idea's than a mastering engineer because the music has been thought about much more than is practical for a pro ME because it's the day job.

Also if doing everything your self, there is typically limits of equipment. Say you have one supper good EQ and compressor. They may be used up on the drum or vocal buss when mixing, then you get to use them again when mastering.

The big benefit of a good ME is making adjustments to the product in a better room, with better equipment, and better ears. And you hope by somebody who can make the mix more palatable to the masses.

Supplying the ME with a personal attempt at a master can really help him understand what you are wanting. Many just send the mix's and don't give clear guidance as to what they want.

I read threads here about EQ and compression on the mix buss.......why? Leave that to mastering or adjust the tracks. From tracking I know that trying to fix mis EQ's or compressed track never turns out quite right. The same thing applies to mix's.

I'm no ME, and can't even claim to be a good mixer. I'm a musician and good at tracking. I have created the best products when I tracked other musicians and other people mixed. but most of my volume of experience was with limited tools. In 2001 an O2R just does not compete with a Neve or SSL mixer, outboard eq's and compressors.
Old 19th December 2016
  #44
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I think TS perception is driven by amateur EDM music, "published" by amateur netlabels, one hobbyist talking to another hobbyist.
Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bedroom culture with bedroom quality and has NOTHING to do with mastering.
There is not much to gain from mastering with sausage fattened -4RMS youtube template EDM. The damage has already been done. And can't be undone.

If I'm mistaken, please post a sample of your work here, so we all understand where you are coming from.
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Old 19th December 2016
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
I think TS perception is driven by amateur EDM music, "published" by amateur netlabels, one hobbyist talking to another hobbyist.
Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bedroom culture with bedroom quality and has NOTHING to do with mastering.
There is not much to gain from mastering with sausage fattened -4RMS youtube template EDM. The damage has already been done. And can't be undone.

If I'm mistaken, please post a sample of your work here, so we all understand where you are coming from.
Just listen to Galantis - Runaway. -4rms. I'm afraid nothing to do with amateur, hobbyist or bedroom producers.

I can give u lots of other samples like this.
Old 19th December 2016
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
And, thank god, I finally found my master.
But Im a bit confused right now; you are talking -(minus) dB, but I always though +(plus) means just even louder.... Maybe you are not that wise as you reclaim here...?
After giving you some clear evidences, you keep on with the same attitude....

Regards man.
Old 19th December 2016
  #47
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Till now, except a couple of good and honest answers, all I see is u guys are so defensive, and almost any of you has even tried to give a clear answer to any of the more than reasonable questions I've made.
Old 19th December 2016
  #48
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
I can give u lots of other samples like this.
Why don't you give an example of some of your stuff?

You could list EDM songs with -4 all day long, while another guy may list EDM songs at -8 all day long, so what?
What's the point?
Old 19th December 2016
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Just listen to Galantis - Runaway. -4rms. I'm afraid nothing to do with amateur, hobbyist or bedroom producers.

I can give u lots of other samples like this.
I'm not interested in Top40 EDM posterboys, I'm interested in TS his work, trying to understand why he and his labels find it better.
I can share Garrix and Afrojack tracks, or Deadmau$ tracks all day long, but what have those got to do with pretentious statements in an OP like this one?

The statement is: "My bedroom self mastering is better than pro mastering and so says my label"
All I'm saying is: Show me, let's hear what you are actually talking about. Context is everything in topics like these.
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Old 19th December 2016
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
I'm not interested in Top40 EDM posterboys, I'm interested in TS his work, trying to understand why he and his labels find it better.
I can share Garrix and Afrojack tracks, or Deadmau$ tracks all day long, but what have those got to do with pretentious statements in an OP like this one?

The statement is: "My bedroom self mastering is better than pro mastering and so says my label"
All I'm saying is: Show me, let's hear what you are actually talking about. Context is everything in topics like these.
You read my post? I never said my bedroom master sounds better than pro mastering like that. I gave the reasons why it happened, and guess it is very reasonable. BTW, now you ask so much, I will say one of them was done by you. Your master sounded far lower and less punchier, that's why the label didn't choose it. U should know a&r's like the louder one first. It is sad, but we can't change the world.

I'm not pretentious at all. I'm humble enough to know that I have so much to learn. But probably you guys don't think the same.
Old 19th December 2016
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
Why don't you give an example of some of your stuff?

You could list EDM songs with -4 all day long, while another guy may list EDM songs at -8 all day long, so what?
What's the point?
What's the point?

The point is you guys are so pretentious and arrogant to laugh at everything that is beyond your reach or your understanding, as you've done when you say that any song at -5 is a ****. Simply as that.

And I'm not interested in posting anything. I work 99% as a ghost producer and don't think my clinks like it. Anyway if there's a real interest, I can ask them of course.
Old 19th December 2016
  #52
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When I take Galantis - Runaway from Spotify I get around -13RMS and from Youtube around -14RMS in Audacity, using the Analyze/Contrast on about 10 second chorus section and first normalizing the section. Could there be differencies in measurement methods in this thread?

Last edited by ZooTooK; 19th December 2016 at 01:53 PM..
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Old 19th December 2016
  #53
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Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
You read my post? I never said my bedroom master sounds better than pro mastering like that. I gave the reasons why it happened, and guess it is very reasonable. BTW, now you ask so much, I will say one of them was done by you. Your master sounded far lower and less punchier, that's why the label didn't choose it. U should know a&r's like the louder one first. It is sad, but we can't change the world.

I'm not pretentious at all. I'm humble enough to know that I have so much to learn. But probably you guys don't think the same.
not sure what you're saying? did I ever work on one of your tracks? if so which one? or are you hypothetically speaking? not sure where you want to take this? you say A&R's like bricks better? Also you do understand that you can't measure loudness from a YT 128kbit audiostream?
Old 19th December 2016
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
not sure what you're saying? did I ever work on one of your tracks? if so which one? or are you hypothetically speaking? not sure where you want to take this? you say A&R's like bricks better? Also you do understand that you can't measure loudness from a YT 128kbit audiostream?
Yes, you did. And yes, a&r prefer the louder and punchier. If u don't know yet, sorry for you. I don't want to take this anywhere. U are who is pushing me, just read your messages. I repeat, instead of bs, why don't you try to answer to any of the questions I made? That's the only thing I created this thread for. Who said I measure from Youtube? XD holy ****....
Old 19th December 2016
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZooTooK View Post
When I take Galantis - Runaway from Spotify I get around -13RMS and from Youtube around -14RMS in Audacity, using the Analyze/Contrast on about 10 second chorus section. Could there be differencies in measurement methods in this thread?
Hey. Finally one constructive answer. I always analyse the songs with my brainworx analyser as I posted on the picture before. And do it through cubase.
Old 19th December 2016
  #56
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Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Yes, you did. And yes, a&r prefer the louder and punchier. If u don't know yet, sorry for you. I don't want to take this anywhere. U are who is pushing me, just read your messages. I repeat, instead of bs, why don't you try to answer to any of the questions y made? That the only thing I created this thread for. Who said I measure from Youtube? XD holy ****....
Now, which track was that then? at least share the track so we can discuss what you're saying?
Just to be clear, I always work towards the sweet spot of the track, some tracks have more headroom than others and I always mention that in my comms as well, so we can work from there. Louder is never a problem, but it's always a consession

Now please share the track so we can put this whole topic in perspective.
Old 19th December 2016
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
Now, which track was that then? at least share the track so we can discuss what you're saying?
Just to be clear, I always work towards the sweet spot of the track, some tracks have more headroom than others and I always mention that in my comms as well, so we can work from there. Louder is never a problem, but it's always a consession

Now please share the track so we can put this whole topic in perspective.
I will ask for permission to the client, no problem. But you can check our private messages and you will find. Today the biggest challenge in mixing and mastering is not the sound itself, but being able do do it in a way that permits you to compete in volume with the top40 songs today, and still sounding dynamic and punchy. For me getting a rms of -8 of a mix would be bread and butter, but sadly people will complain that it sounds lower (weaker to their ears) when compared to others.
Old 19th December 2016
  #58
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
What's the point?

The point is you guys are so pretentious and arrogant to laugh at everything that is beyond your reach or your understanding, as you've done when you say that any song at -5 is a ****. Simply as that.
I didn't say that, I can push things to -4 and they still sound good, but they are compromised and we all know. With streaming and digital releases non-dynamic songs will soon be yesterday, you will see.
You do understand that songs at spotify and youtube get dialed down and you just compromise dynamics?

I think you are arrogant for creating a thread with confirmation bias to make everybody tell you just do it yourself.
Also I already did that, you didn't seem to realize..
I said create a chain which works on your music, slap it on your mixes everytime and be happy.
Old 19th December 2016
  #59
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I've got no PM from you in the past 2 years (have no more inbox history from before)
So I've just sent you a PM and we can take that offline, I really want to know what you are referring to.

Loud and punch are subjective though, I don't find the example track above punchy at all, it sounds over limited, having the track less limited and just dialing the volume knob up a notch, would give a much more dynamic sound.

I get your point about people wanting it loud, but I don't see that a lot anymore since 2 or 3 years or so. Most have wisened up by now. Especially if you do Nu disco and Deep House, it's very hip to be as dynamic as possible, think 80'ties loudness
plenty of Beatport releases being really "quiet" nowadays.

and Bumbataa is right, especially on streaming platforms, you're better off working towards the codec sweet spot rather than absolute loudness. As more and more stuff gets normalled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
I will ask for permission to the client, no problem. But you can check our private messages and you will find. Today the biggest challenge in mixing and mastering is not the sound itself, but being able do do it in a way that permits you to compete in volume with the top40 songs today, and still sounding dynamic and punchy. For me getting a rms of -8 of a mix would be bread and butter, but sadly people will complain that it sounds lower (weaker to their ears) when compared to others.
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Old 19th December 2016
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
I didn't say that, I can push things to -4 and they still sound good, but they are compromised and we all know. With streaming and digital releases non-dynamic songs will soon be yesterday, you will see.
You do understand that songs at spotify and youtube get dialed down and you just compromise dynamics?

I think you are arrogant for running into a thread with confirmation bias to make everybody tell you just do it yourself.
Also I already did that, you didn't seem to realize..
I said create a chain which works on your music, slap it on your mixes everytime and be happy.
You are wrong. I'm NOT asking for them to tell me to do it by much self. In fact I'm asking for a solution so I don't have to do! As I said, it becomes too overwhelming to me, and I don't consider myself a mastering engineer at all. In fact I don't even consider my self a mixing ENGINEER. The word engineer is too used today, and only a few could put that behind his name. Not my case. I only do it by what I've been learning through these years.

I wish someone, who had the knowledge, could give some answers to my questions, so I would find the way to leave the mastering process to a mastering engineer which master is good enough for release. That's all!

What you say about streaming, I'm aware of it. I hope the loudness war definitely ends. But you know what, I think the obligation to get high rms allows to distinguish the man from the guys when it comes to mixing. Getting a normal rms good mix is accesible to almost anyone with a minimum of experience of this.
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