The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mastering With AirWindows Plugins: Techniques/Tips Equalizer Plugins
Old 4th October 2018
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I respect Chris and have followed his work with interest for over a decade. I kinda wish that he would just focus on a handful of his best algorithms and take them "all the way" to ironed-out, beta tested, functionally GUI'd plugins. My experience has been that some of his algorithms sound really good with a little bit of weirdness on the fringe that makes them unusable for mastering.

Acceleration is the only one that has found any use in my chain. I would happily pay a decent sum for this if the sound was ironed out and some increased tunability was included. I just think Airwindows could be so much more...
I respect that statement. I've been trying out many things and in several cases gone back to my usual go-to plugins, either because of the graphical interface issue or other various reasons.

The one main thing that I find necessary to point out, and I am sure you are aware, is that many of his plugins are open source. Therefore, any VST creator can use the algorithms to make plugins that are more finely tuned towards what they want. I am sure that will happen, in the years to come. And, Chris will entertain many requests that he has piled up, eventually. For now, his list of "to do" is so long that years of work are already laid in front of him. Hopefully, he stays healthy. I do wonder why he doesn't add Hz values to his EQ plugins, but like Herme said, its probably for a good reason.

I suppose that you and hermetech mostly correct, in that most of his plugins aren't even built for mastering, let alone being used by mastering engineers. I do find that some of the tools, in their mathematical simplicity and lack of graphical interfaces, can end up with a higher quality sound than some alternatives. But, when it comes to dialing in specific things like EQ, its pretty much a no-go... even for Hermepass (for me, all though I haven't really given it a full chance). I'll check the video on it again, and if he convinces me that its more smooth than something like Waves H-EQ (for high passing) then I'll give it a try... but it may take some experiments to find a perfect value for smoothly cutting extreme lows.

I suppose I just wish that more mastering engineers would give the tools more chances, and try things that are extremely "out of the box" thinking. Perhaps, GearSlutz is more in the area of engineers/musicians who think more traditionally, as compared to some other forums which I will not mention. Thats not a strike against gearslutz, but I do wish that more engineers (in general) would push themselves towards being more open minded about trying new, wild and crazy methods that don't make sense; too many of us stick to "what works," because we have to manage our time appropriately enough to make a decent living.
Old 5th October 2018
  #32
Gear Maniac
 

Verified Member
I'm sure the "safe" methods are ones that you know work. The only way to find those is to experiment and try. Once you have it though, only reason to move won is if you need to find some way to improve.

The airwindows plugins are cool. I'm no mastering engineer - just learnt what I saw in mastering studios on my own mixes and any where a client really doesnt have a budget or desire to go of and master something separately.

Having said all that - I wouldn't normally consider using them. I tend to test the popular plugins that are recommended to me by other mixing engineers/mastering engineers, or use plugins that may emulate gear I am familiar with. Because of this I tend to find going to a non GUI plugin pretty boring. I respect the work that must go into the Airwindows plugins, however I like the inspiration as well from a reasonable GUI.
Old 25th October 2018
  #33
Gear Maniac
 

I've definitely had Airwindows creep over the last two years, I'd say at least 3/4 of the plugins I use in any given mix these days are Airwindows (and I wish I could afford to give Chris more than the $50/year I'm pledging now because he really deserves it).

My current master buss chain (not including metering plugins) is now 100% Airwindows:


Pop
Buttercomp 2
Spiral
[metering stuff]
ClipOnly (for safety, but I never have to push it hard enough to clip anymore, between what Spiral does and switching to K-14 monitoring)
Ditherbox (almost always NJAD but occasionally Naturalize)


The trick with using Pop on the master buss is that I start with it bypassed. I'll have Buttercomp set somewhere between 50% and 75% with the output level and wet/dry at their defaults and start the mix that way, bringing in one track at a time. Once I have the important stuff up and balanced pretty well, I'll turn on Pop with the output set to .5 (which gives me roughly unity) then turn up the intensity until it starts to audibly distort and sputter, then back it off until just before that point and turn the wet/dry down to something around 0.. After that I finish the mix, and then as a last check I turn the wet/dry back up to 1, fine tune the intensity so that it's just shy of sputtering or distorting, set the wet/dry again by ear (almost always ends up between 0.08 and 0.12) and MAYBE tweak the mix a little more to account for any changes, but that isn't really necessary. Throughout the process I'll fine tune the compression level on Buttercomp by ear, and if I find the mix sounds god but it a little too hot or a little too quiet, I'll use Buttercom's output trim to fine tune it going in to Spiral, so that it sits around the optimal K-14 level (I don't have to do that with new mixes but I've been remixing some old stuff and sometimes that ends up coming out a bit lower than I'd like because of the way I was arranging back then).

Occasionally I'll use Toneboosters SlickEQ M at some point in the chain but that's unusual.

That plus mixing through PurestConsole is getting me my favorite ITB sound so far, and I've also found myself using a lot less processing on individual tracks, they just kind of naturally sit together (if the sources sound right) like pulling up the faders on an analog board if the tracks have been recorded with the final mix in mind, and most of the plugins I use after that are more for creative/sound design purposes if I need anything like that.

Switching to calibrated monitoring is part of that since it makes it easier to build the rough mix as I record, using the actual levels and arrangement to get everything more or less balanced (I've always tried to record with the goal of being able to pull all the faders up to unity and have the mix mostly done), but even on older mixes where my monitoring wasn't consistent and tracks need a bit more adjustment are coming out a lot better just by swappingout other stuff I was using (won't name names but there were some pretty highly regarded plugins in there)

At this point the only non-Airwindows plugins that tend to find their way into every mix are the Valhalla reverbs, TDR Nova GE and PSP e27. I use other stuff but far less often than I used to.
Old 25th October 2018
  #34
Gear Guru
Great post above! Nice to hear about how someone is actually using the plug ins. One question, what kind of music? Important for context!
Old 26th October 2018
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Great post above! Nice to hear about how someone is actually using the plug ins. One question, what kind of music? Important for context!
Mixture of guitars (mostly electric) and analog and digital synthesizers, some recorded direct and some recorded through a variety of small amps, occasionally with live percussion (dholak and doumbeck mostly). Occasionally summed ITB out to 1/4" tape but usually not these days. Little or no sequencing most of the time, 1-4 musicians, usually 2. Mostly hardware, mixed ITB but insert effects on individual tracks are usually done in hardware. But I've also used the same chain recently on a primarily acoustic track I did as work for hire a couple years ago and wanted to update, that was acoustic guitar, plucked cello, woodblock, brushed snare, Hammond Auto-Vari 64 drum machine and a Juno 6.


As far as genre, I don't know, genres are where you file the records in a shop they aren't something that really enters much into actually making music. I guess at its best it's kind of aiming to be like a collaboration between Ash Ra Tempel, Terry Riley and Hawkwind using the sound palettes of Legowelt, Terry R. Brooks, Goblin, Sun City Girls and just a tiny bit of Egyptian Lover.

EDIT: not trying to be flip about genre, it's just something that I pay almost no attention to when I'm making or listening to music, the I really find it meaning much are all about the business side of music not the actual music side (that's why you've seen an explosion of microgenres concurrent with cataloging and distribution becoming more granular and automated; I had the distinct misfortune to work behind the scenes on that side of things for nearly a decade and I can't say much because of NDAs but believe me, it has very little to do with actual music). I'm not trying to say that broad categories like "jazz" or "metal" or "bhangra" don't have any meaning at all, just that on an individual level the meaning kind of breaks down. Genre emerges from practice, just like theory emerges from practice.

EDIT AGAIN: I don't use it on the master buss, but I just wanted to mention Capacitor here, because I use it just about everywhere else, especially in the first position on aux sends. It's quite possibly the most natural sounding HP/LP filtering I've ever heard, which is funny since it technically has that little notch that would usually be considered a bug, that Chris talks about in the video. I try to do all of my highpassing on individual tracks, though, and virtually never put any kind of highpass on a master buss (unless you count the occasional elliptical EQ, usually the one in SlickEQ M, but even that's rare).

Last edited by TMOQuantity; 26th October 2018 at 04:27 PM.. Reason: Pomposity.
Old 26th October 2018
  #36
Gear Guru
Genre to me, means if you're mixing Rap and EDM, that may not translate so well to acoustic folk ballads, or pure jazz.....
Old 26th October 2018
  #37
Gear Maniac
 

I guess to me the thing is that none of those terms really mean that much in the context of a specific piece of music, even though they're (sometimes) useful ways to think about the larger context of a particular piece of music. But to me, concepts like genre are more meaningful in the context of musicology or marketing than the actual practice of making music.


But I don't really want to derail the thread with this stuff.
Old 26th October 2018
  #38
Gear Maniac
 

I guess to me the thing is that none of those terms really mean that much in the context of a specific piece of music, even though they're (sometimes) useful ways to think about the larger context of a particular piece of music. But to me, concepts like genre are more meaningful in the context of musicology or marketing than the actual practice of making music.


But I don't really want to derail the thread with this stuff.
Old 26th October 2018
  #39
Gear Guru
Music is a huge topic. If someone is doing pop music or baroque organ, you need some sort of triage........ both are organ music...... has nothing to do with marketing, just some sort of context. Bluegrass ain't hip hop......
Old 6th November 2018
  #40
Gear Maniac
 

Verified Member
Seems like a fun discussion cos I LOVE airwindows plugins.

I use them in purely digitally mastering electronically produced music, so anything sample and synth based. But that's only cos that's what I've worked with so far, not because I can't work with other genres... I just haven't had the opportunities yet.

So what I enjoy is Spiral2 as my initial clipper into Newfangled Audio's Saturate Spectral Clipper. Love the Presence control.

Acceleration in MS setup [Metaplugin] is brilliant, beautiful sound. Usually set at less than .075. Usually don't use mix either but if I do it's generally between .7 - .975 mix.

Buttercomp2 MS, often with the same mix for both channels but with

Pop MS. Either less than .075 or cranked up to .270-.375 with very low mix less than .075

NJAD is great, not always the dither I use though.

Hermepass is pretty much the only HP filter I use in mastering because it's simple and clean and can be tuned quite easily to the source. I guess what I've found with all these AW plugins is that I find my own 'preset' numbers that I remember and then user over and over again. Almost always start with and end up at .7/.72/.75 as the filter slope and set between 0 and .070 on the frequency dial.

Aura is very nice for bringing out detail in the top end, usually set less than .120 sometimes up to .175 but most often less than .070.

Hermetrim is a must as the first gain plugin which I use to tune the entire chain of effects to find the right focus point, or space, for the track. And to tune the perfect balance of the Side channel.

Wider is amazing for width it brings, it also features in a special modular plugin setup for bringing out spectral detail I made in Metaplugin.

Purestdrive is great for applying a tiny bit of density and glue to the master.

Speaking of density, Density2 is great, I just boost the level a bit to push the master just a bit more in a nice and transparent way.

Basically, although they miss the standard values I don't really find them to be standard tools and they exist within their own sphere. I've found my own system of working with them quickly and efficiently and I never feel the need to transfer or compare settings with other plugins. I've also discovered a workflow which enables me to use particular set numbers, one of which will always work.

I love them, they're essential to my mastering chains

Old 26th November 2018
  #41
I've had a few days to dedicate towards re-configuring my mastering chain, and most of that time went into becoming familiar with various options that focus on Airwindows plugins.

When I get some time to list specifically how I use some things on a consistent basis, I will try to do so.

The main reason why I wanted to switch as many things to Airwindows as I possibly could is because I have a limited amount of CPU power. What I didn't expect was for most of the things that I tried out to be fairly easily configured in ways that made everything sound better than it would if I was using these really beautiful, feature rich plugins that seem to be leading the market these days. I expect a few that were winners for me, based on me being a fairly experienced user of plugins from Ozone, Fabfilter, DMG Audio, PSP, Voxengo, Slate, Waves, Nugen Brainworx, and so on (does the list even end??).

Firstly, I'll say this:

BassKit is going in channels & buss's during mixing and in my mastering chain for every track, always, for ever and ever, until the end of time; and then after the world of VST plugins users finally discover Chris, and Airwindows tools taking over the market goes viral in ways that cause large plugins companies to go out of business, and we cease to exist while the universe implodes upon its self... well, it'll still go on every track... and I will only bypass it to make quick comparisons.

Accelerator also meets this standard of "wow, it makes it sound better, every time, with very little effort."

NJADither is also on the list of "its on my mastering chain, every time."

ButterComp2 has become my 4th favorite, as far as things that are to be used on the mastering buss. I litterally stopped using compressors in 99% if my mastering jobs... and only would use it if nothing else could solve the issue that I'm considering using compression for. I tried all of the glue types of compressors, 2 years ago; and I tried many advanced systems of setting them up... at that time, I was always thinking that more parameters means more configurable, and higher quality. Boy, was I wrong! This thing: slap it on, crank a knob up... and back down a little bit; and you're done, unless you want to try another knob twist or 2, but its literally dialed in within 20 seconds, and then adjusted again after the rest of the chain is nearing completion. Everybody has been wanting that magical tool that "glues," well I gotta say... this blows other glues out of the 5 year-old's hands and never lets them devour it again!

ToTape, FromTape, and UnBox have found their way into the category of "wow, that sounds way better than the other 100 tape (emulation) plugins. I really wanted to love spiral2, and it might work in mastering some material (at low settings); but what UnBox did with it was spot on. These are just the few that I'll mention now, and I'll point out that the list has grown very quickly.

ADClip7 immediately became my go-to clipper, once I tried it. This was shortly after I had switched from Kazrog KClip 3 Pro to the updated StandardCLIP. StandardCLIP is good, and I would consider using it and comparing it to the Airwindows clippers; but since I already need the CPU for other processing, there is really no reason. But, I will do a clipper shootout test, at some point.

More recently, I found that OneCornerClip is pretty much a must, any time that I am going to use clipping on the mastering work. I find that one ADClip7 hitting a max of -0.2 of clips, followed by a OCC doing -0.5ish to -0.4ish, and have those doing usually a total of 0.2 to 0.4... before my first limiter (which is fast and doesn't do much limiting), and then follow that by another pair of ADClip7/OCC, or sometimes NC-17 or a Sonnox Oxford Inflator goes here, and possibly replaces the 2nd ADClip7 or OCC. This second stage of clipping is more reasonably clean sounding and controllable, since there is a fast limiter that sharpenates the transients before them. Then, I follow that with either an Ozone Maximizer set to slow, or a DMG Limitless.

I am going to spend more time learning about his other clippers, and I also have a few "big ideas" that I am hoping he considers & builds his own ideas based on some of the things I ask for.

Then, I find a tool like Pop, and I turn it on... and, now I can't hear anything in my left ear and both of my sub woofers are blown. Just kidding... but if you're just discovering Airwindows for the first time and you're finding that things are replacing your standardized chain of Ozone plugins... well, I'll just say: be careful!

Chris made me realize that the digital audio processing world should not try so hard to imitate the math and processes that go on within the awesome analog world that we're all so familiar with. Instead, digital should take advantage of the fact that it has certain aspects of it which remove many limitations that the analog processing world pulled us down to. One unique algorithm that just does one thing, in a way that is doing nothing like what we're used to... these are the things that push reality of digital's processing capabilities far beyond the limitations of what analog forces us into. Digital audio processing has tried for so long to "match the quality" that we get from analog circuitry... we all need to calm down, and realize that there is a new hipster in town... DIGITAL PROCESSING IS ALREADY WAY BETTER THAN ANALOG!

*EDIT* By the way, for those of you who think that Chris makes stuff that isn't for mastering, check out one of his older pages:

mastering | Airwindows

His mastering-quality types of plugins has expanded quite a bit since 2015, even though he focuses more on the crazy stuff (and its quite ironic that usually those crazy ideas end up being developed until they turn into things like ButterComp2 and DeEss... and NJADither.
Old 26th November 2018
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
That seems like a helluva lot of non-linear digital processing to be using on every track, buss, and master. Would be interested in hearing some before and after examples.
Old 27th November 2018
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
That seems like a helluva lot of non-linear digital processing to be using on every track, buss, and master. Would be interested in hearing some before and after examples.
I apologize -- I had meant to point out that 3 of them are going on every mastering chain. Those 3 are BassKit, Accelerator, and NJAD. The others are ones that I found to work in instances in which they are beneficial for the material. I do admit, I try to push my harmonics adding effects way too much to achieve the maximum amount of coloring, shaping, tonality, brightness, harshness, muddiness, push/pull types of things... to push to the point of "any more processing and this is going to be bad." However, in most cases, I push it to that wall, and then dial things back so much that the effected signal is so close to the clean, that in plenty of cases, you can barely tell if its there or not. Usually, my ears tell me that (when wet 100%), there is a point of pushing the effect, where it becomes bad... and then lowering it until I determine that it no longer worse than the clean signal, and then down a bit farther than that... that is the setting that I often want to leave it at, and in many cases I do. But, other times I will recall my goal of using more than 5 harmonic or non-harmonic tools that I will call "colorators."

Sometimes, I decide to be more sensible, and remember the fact hat unnecessary processing adds up, and easily begins to cause damage to the audio. So, I'll often spend plenty of time over-doing things... and then later on, I will bring every thing out, 1 at a time... and bring em in and out in different orders, so that I can root out any misbehaving units. Heck, less processing means preserving quality, and less time spent... so just dial the saturation knob to 1, set the sonnox oxford within 90 to 180 seconds, and then quickly decide if it needs tape/tube/other, and if it does, broadband or on one selected band? Lately, I've been doing no MB processing with colorators (if I need to, Ozone Exciter is there).

harmonics/other saturation/harmonic excitement/other additive-harmonics-ways of processing has recently become a system where I will use 3-5 effects, set to 1-13% wet, where as my older system (or if 3-5 of them don't work as well, I will try out using just 1 or 2 of them and bring them up to a higher % wet). I stopped using Ozone Exciter, a few months ago, because it is very hard to perfectly dial in; and because I was already unable to get things done in 1 rendering. I recently switched from Ableton to REAPER, and I am now finally able to get most masterings done in 1 rendering. Some times I will have to render before the final transparent limiter (because that last limiter sometime causes my CPU to get pushed to the point of audio drop-outs)... and then go back & slap that limiter to the original project, and render.

The chain that I came up with, on this track that I am experimenting, is a chain that you would definitely call rediclous. Its definitely too much, because I have had several instances in which I had things dialed in to be "ALMOST perfect," but never has it been "that takes the cake."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Great post above! Nice to hear about how someone is actually using the plug ins. One question, what kind of music? Important for context!
I haven't been applying them to my own music, yet. I do digital mastering work as a self-employed mastering engineer. I found one particular track from a client, in which I decided to try to do a mastering which adds as much flavoring/coloring as possible... pushed to the point of, if it was anymore then it would be horrible... but since its not passed the wall, then its stuck on the wall very beautifully. Most of the time, I add very small amounts of color; but this is working out very well for me to learn his plugins.

I've been learning 1 airwindows plugin at a time, and trying combinations there of, on the master buss. Ones that are 100% obvious about being mixing tools have still been added to the master buss and I've tried to come up with creative ways to use them in a mastering chain, if at all possible. At one point, I was adding stuff to the processing of one audio file (on the track channel and on the master bus), including channels, desks, busses and consoles. These are things that are built for the purpose of mixing, because without the buss and console summing stages, the desired effect is not acheived. I was even adding them in ordered series that don't make any sense at all. At one point, some crayzy ordering of this type of "don't do this" chain actually sounded really good... but some how I accidentally saved over it.

One thing that I will say, as a criticism (but Chris knows this) is that the learning curve is such that sometimes his text descriptions don't provide what I feel to be a solid & easy format for learning plugins very quickly. I have found myself re-watching some of the youtube videos, several times (I even had to re-watch ToTape, after not using it for a few weeks; and its one that I've relearned at least twice). Thats not all his system's fault, its mostly all about my memory issues. However, it is also hard to figure out if some of the old experimental plugins' sections of code have been re-used for various newer plugins that are named differently.

Solid manuals with descriptions for each parameter of each effect would be very helpful help. And, I am not making any promises, but I have been trying to re-type my own descriptive body of text for them. If I do end up with a solid chunk of text that is helpful and organized, then I will share it with the public.
At one point, I had a large body of text built up, and some how Windows removed it from my computer (windows update for the win)! Oh, this is probably the points where I should go ahead and bring up that discovering Chris has caused me to become obsessed about the FOSS community, and I started a subreddit that is aimed towards bringing ideas to the FOSS plugins developers, bringing the developers together as a cooperative type of work flow towards a better future, and bringing ideas from the public, to developers like Chris J (and hopefully causing their Inboxes to have a few less emails at the end of the day)! It is just starting out, but we're trying to form lists of free plugins (there is already links to Gearslutz and that other *ahem* forum that we never talk about over here.

So far, I am really surprised as to how many of the plugins work very well on a master buss.

----------
My own music is already extremely strange, and has been strange for many years before I discovered airwindows. I've always been an fx processing guy; and I have always done experimental audio recordings & mixing techniques. It is fairly difficult to categorize my music, because it varies quite a bit. If I had to put it into genre types, I would say: experimental noise, ranging from field recordings, to beat oriented & sample based music, to straight up hash noise.

Its been a long time since I focused on a serious level of mixing (more than 2 years now, discounting one large collaborative track that has been "in production" for more than a year [meaning I am waiting on certain people to add their parts]). I am the leader of a collaborative group called Pixelgasm. Mostly, we share stems and build mixes; but we have also played shows in Las Vegas (where the 3 of us founding members are from).

Its been a long time coming, though, as I have been wanting to configure Patchworks and MB-7's with saved banks and build them inside of each other, with layers and layers that have the possibility to juts keep on going until my CPU maxes out... and, that point in which my CPU maxes out is where I press the record button and then figure out how to do post processing & mixing to that!

I was going to wait until I got a power house computer, but now that I have AirWindows at my finger tips... I could have built this on a windows 98 machine (well actually Patchworks and mb-7'S do eat up a lot of CPU... and so I'll try out competitors' similar plugins for his hosting of airwndows stuff in various way of parallel and multiband control! Just in case you're interested, here are the ones I have heard about:
audiovitamin contra
1) DDMF metaplugin
2) Chainer
Plogue Bidule

Out of those, I hear that Bidule and Chainer might be better than Patchwork, for some reasons (but Patchwork also has fome features or qualities that they lack, if I remember correctly). It is quite often that my personal solo music project is aimed towards "being so bad that its good," (or funny). The Pixelgam stuff is still having experimental elements, but I try to bring it down to the "commercially acceptible" sound standards.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #44
I included details about this in my latest reply within this thread:

Best Harmonics Generating Tools Of Various Types For Mastering

So, call me whatever names you like... and definitely LOL, but this combo sounds friggin great:


First clipper, 0.1 to 0.3 dB of GR... ADClip7 is my first choice

First ozone limiter, very fast character (haven't tried faster than 0.5 yet), usually IRC IV Modern, but sometimes classic or transient... 0.1 to 0.5 dB of GR.

Second (usually final) clipper, 0.1 to 1.2 dB of GR, OneCornerClip is my first choice

*if needed for loudness wars and further shaping* -- third clipper, ADClip7 is 1st choice and NC-17 is an alternative, 0.1 to 0.8 dB of clipping... can go after the next step, which is:

Second limiter... DMG Limitless (2 clippers in 1, customized transparent settings), clipper on this is always off... 0.5 to 3.5 dB of GR... usually 0.8

Last limiter, Ozone Maximizer... slow character (as slow as possible, dial threshold to 1 to 3 and then make it faster until it no longer distorts; and then dial the threshold back to -0.1 to -0.5) -- this helps to make each band sound clear & kind of separated; but most importantly, it pushes the bass through in a certain way in which... if you heard it several times, then if you hear a song with this tool on it... then you know what it is & nothing else (in my experience) sounds like it.

Also, Spiral2 is sometimes added to my above chain, usually as the first clipper & before ADClip7 (sounds nice after ButterComp2). I consider Sprail2 to be more of a "saturation device" type, but thats just my opinion (and I need to re-watch the video about it). I think that it is more about shaping tonal quality and less about being a "loudness tool."

I've tried using a clipper after my last limiter, but I prefer this system and it seems that with a limiter being last, true peaks are handled better (at least, with the clippers that I have chosen).

For a quick tool to use on master buss, for rendering mixes before sending to a mastering engineer (of even to quickly get things to Youtube or other loudness levels), I recommend AirWindows Righteous4.

Also, in case y'all are doubting that my choices of clippers is awesome, keep in mind that I used KClip Pro for years, and I have a decent amount of mileage on the good ol' StandardCLIP (thought to be the industry leader in digital clippers plugins?). If my choices pf clippers above aren't sounding super awesome, and if I have the CPU to spare, then I'll still try out StandardCLIP. I have yet to render with StandardCLIP at high over-sampling, and A/B test it against one or more AirWindows clippers... but I challenge anybody to prove that StandardCLIP sounds superior (even with the huge amount of CPU hogging of over-sampling going on).

However, also keep in mind that I do not have my hands on the Weiss DS1-MK3 by Softube; and it is the one that is probably the best, judging by what I have read. Ozone 7 and 8, and DMG Limitless will always have their uses, however... the Weiss one probably is superior in most cases, but possibly if combined with others... *IMHO* 4 limiters can be better than 2, in many cases... but I do understand that, in my own noobish/lamens' wording, "if more math happens," then "more BITs are lost or changed from 1 to 0."

I have yet to A/B the above system against either just 1 Limitless or just 2 Ozone Maximizers. If I want more transparency, I'll use just Limitless, or I'll do less GR with the Ozone Maximizers and/or ADClip7's/NC-17.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V4nger View Post
Seems like a fun discussion cos I LOVE airwindows plugins.

I use them in purely digitally mastering electronically produced music, so anything sample and synth based. But that's only cos that's what I've worked with so far, not because I can't work with other genres... I just haven't had the opportunities yet.

So what I enjoy is Spiral2 as my initial clipper into Newfangled Audio's Saturate Spectral Clipper. Love the Presence control.

Acceleration in MS setup [Metaplugin] is brilliant, beautiful sound. Usually set at less than .075. Usually don't use mix either but if I do it's generally between .7 - .975 mix.

Buttercomp2 MS, often with the same mix for both channels but with

Pop MS. Either less than .075 or cranked up to .270-.375 with very low mix less than .075

NJAD is great, not always the dither I use though.

Hermepass is pretty much the only HP filter I use in mastering because it's simple and clean and can be tuned quite easily to the source. I guess what I've found with all these AW plugins is that I find my own 'preset' numbers that I remember and then user over and over again. Almost always start with and end up at .7/.72/.75 as the filter slope and set between 0 and .070 on the frequency dial.

Aura is very nice for bringing out detail in the top end, usually set less than .120 sometimes up to .175 but most often less than .070.

Hermetrim is a must as the first gain plugin which I use to tune the entire chain of effects to find the right focus point, or space, for the track. And to tune the perfect balance of the Side channel.

Wider is amazing for width it brings, it also features in a special modular plugin setup for bringing out spectral detail I made in Metaplugin.

Purestdrive is great for applying a tiny bit of density and glue to the master.

Speaking of density, Density2 is great, I just boost the level a bit to push the master just a bit more in a nice and transparent way.

Basically, although they miss the standard values I don't really find them to be standard tools and they exist within their own sphere. I've found my own system of working with them quickly and efficiently and I never feel the need to transfer or compare settings with other plugins. I've also discovered a workflow which enables me to use particular set numbers, one of which will always work.

I love them, they're essential to my mastering chains

Love this feedback. Acceleration goes in all of my mastering chains, unless ToVinyl5, Groovewear, or CrunchyGrooveWear are handling the highs well enough (not 100% sure if acceleration is built intoToVinyl5, but its H Limit I believe is the same *could be wrong, bad memory*).

BassKit now goes in every mastering chain, every time.

BitShiftGain is useful if clients send mixes that aren't at -3 or -6 dBTP (I'll ask for re-render, but in many cases its not possible or they think they're losing something). So, even if their DAW reads -0.1 and they're hitting +3.5 dBTP... it still works out in some cases.

I have not tried HermeTrim, but I will. EveryTrim is another one that I must look into.

I wonder how NJAD compares to Ozone's MBIT+ dither. I use NJAD, unless further processing is desired for DJ'ing /w effects or post-production. The new DitherMeTimbers is going to be useful for certain material.

I haven't successfully tried out Density (in the last 2 months or so).

His HighPass and LowPass are useful, when needed. I think that I recall him saying that they are "not actually EQ."

It was either Wider, Distance2, or StereoFX (I don't recall) that I was impressed with, in the past... because it doesn't just shape the mids & sides, but brings them to the "front," or "back." I usually try to preserve the client's side shaping, and I've used Ozone Stereo Imager and Mid-Side static EQ in the past. I also use Kush Clariphonic MKII, in mid-side mode (additive, very musical sounding... better than Maag EQ4 for the 38-40 kHz boost of 0.5 to 1 dB... its weird how boosting a bunch of BITs that are 0 some how makes tracks come alive, maybe 50% of the time).

Aura + Acceleration sounds like a go to... to bring out detail, and then tame it so that highs aren't harsh.

ToTape5, ToVinyl4, Spiral2, FromTape, UnBox, and others have all been great for mastering stuff. Haven't gotten great results with SingleEndedTriode, but if I study it again, it might work on something.

I don't understand your mid-side system with ButterComp2 and Pop. Could you explain that differently?

Check out ClipShifter. I will check out Newfangled Audio's Saturate Spectral Clipper.

ButterComp2 is the best glue compressor that I have ever heard, period. And, I've used MANY of the ones that are considered to be in the top lists. I have not used many hardware compressors, but I have heard many of them... and BC2 (IMHO) can actually sound better than hardware stuff... different, but better (IMHO, probably on most tracks). Honestly (and again, IMHO), NO other software compressor, MB or broadband, of any type, from any company, even comes close to it. Not even close... Waves, Ozone, FabFilter, Brainworx, Softube, Voxengo, Plugin Alliance, Slate... name it, and chances are, I've tried it for many hours. Not. Even. Close.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #45
Gear Maniac
 

Not mastering per se, but these days by master buss is almost always

Software:
Pop (set around 0.8-1.2 on the wet/dry, so it's barely audible, and not even turned on until the mix is almost done)
Buttercomp 2
DitherMeTimbers
ClipOnly
ReaInsert

Hardware (like Pop, I get the mix mostly there without the hardware chain, then fire it up and get the last details of the mix sorted):
Depending on my mood a GSSL or (don't laugh) Behringer MDX-2100 for a bit more glue compression, just barely touching the gain reduction meters, into an Otari MX5050MKIV with some old Quantegy 456 at 7.15ips monitoring from tape, with ReaInsert's latency compensation set to include the delay of the tape machine, so I can actually smoothly A/B between ITB and hardware, although it introduces about 30,000 samples of delay so any changes upstream in the mix take around 1/3 of a second to actually reach the monitors - one of the reasons I do most of the mixing without the hardware chain, or at least without the tape part of it - head wear is the other reason).

back to software for level matching the hardware insert to the ITB mix, and a final pass of NJAD. Once the mix is done I actually print the tape returns to a new track and then open that file in a new project, use PurestGain to set its level according to the level matching I did when I was monitoring during mixing, fine tune that, and print a final file with NJAD and ClipOnly if it's needed (it rarely is, since I'm mixing to K-14 so once the mix has hit the hardware chain I can usually get a good level with a reasonable dynamic range without peaking higher than -2 dBFS or, usually lower. Tape is amazing for taming transients musically, definitely worth the trouble i you can find a good price on a decent machine (the Otari is nothing amazing but it's solid and sounds decent and only cost $20 back when nobody liked tape)

Anyway, the analog portion of the chain is basically replacing Spiral and while it DOES sound better it's really only a small improvement, Spiral came pretty close.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMOQuantity View Post
Not mastering per se, but these days by master buss is almost always

Software:
Pop (set around 0.8-1.2 on the wet/dry, so it's barely audible, and not even turned on until the mix is almost done)
Buttercomp 2
DitherMeTimbers
ClipOnly
ReaInsert

Hardware (like Pop, I get the mix mostly there without the hardware chain, then fire it up and get the last details of the mix sorted):
Depending on my mood a GSSL or (don't laugh) Behringer MDX-2100 for a bit more glue compression, just barely touching the gain reduction meters, into an Otari MX5050MKIV with some old Quantegy 456 at 7.15ips monitoring from tape, with ReaInsert's latency compensation set to include the delay of the tape machine, so I can actually smoothly A/B between ITB and hardware, although it introduces about 30,000 samples of delay so any changes upstream in the mix take around 1/3 of a second to actually reach the monitors - one of the reasons I do most of the mixing without the hardware chain, or at least without the tape part of it - head wear is the other reason).

back to software for level matching the hardware insert to the ITB mix, and a final pass of NJAD. Once the mix is done I actually print the tape returns to a new track and then open that file in a new project, use PurestGain to set its level according to the level matching I did when I was monitoring during mixing, fine tune that, and print a final file with NJAD and ClipOnly if it's needed (it rarely is, since I'm mixing to K-14 so once the mix has hit the hardware chain I can usually get a good level with a reasonable dynamic range without peaking higher than -2 dBFS or, usually lower. Tape is amazing for taming transients musically, definitely worth the trouble i you can find a good price on a decent machine (the Otari is nothing amazing but it's solid and sounds decent and only cost $20 back when nobody liked tape)

Anyway, the analog portion of the chain is basically replacing Spiral and while it DOES sound better it's really only a small improvement, Spiral came pretty close.
Have you tried out Righteous4? If so, what is your opinion?

I will definitely check out Pop. I tried ClipOnly, but couldn't figure out WTH was going on, since I could turn no knobs!!! Me = in love with knobs... gay love.

I'll look into ReaInsert as well.

Its been a long time since I have done any serious mixing work (other than one ongoing collaborative project that might not get done).

Wow, Behringer compressor! And, I thought my post about 2 loudness clippers, 1 tonal shaping clipper, sonnox inflator, and 4 limiters was ridiculous? Just kidding... I've used Behringer mixers, but I have no knowledge on how the compressors sound. I've gotten use out of other various Behringer stuff too, and some other cheap(ish) brands of hardware units of various fx types.

If you want to hear something really funny... here you go:

My music career started when a friend handed me a microphone, running through 2 pedals (EHX micro synth and boss dd-2 I think). I ended up spending a chunk of my savings on guitar fx pedals... over 80 of them, in fact. The punch line is... that... I don't play guitar Seriously. And, I never had intentions of playing guitar. It wasn't until afterwards, that I learned that most of them only process audio that is "within the guitar signal range," meaning not the bass or highs parts of whatever I decided to run into them... hahaha!!!! If I could go back, it would be eurorack stuff, 4mscompany noise rack units, etc. Luckily, my moogerfoogers are set up to be what I call "an analog modular synth without the keys," so at least something worked out. I have a bunch of crazy branded fuz/distortion/glitching/feedback looping types of pedals... and those are fun, but they pretty much do one thing to any signal: destroy.

I think that, when I discovered dblueglitch, and then sugar bytes & newer illformed stuff... that was really the turning point in which my interest became more about the computer than it was about looking at all the pretty gear and turning a knob or two while the machines play themseles.

Side note:

Have you tried out some experimental types of things, such as combining uLaw, PowerSag, DCVoltage, Hard Vacuum, and DeRez (or other "weird" ones)?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxnscratch View Post
I feel the same way than Smoothtone and Hermetech.
Having "random" values is good for creativity but during mastering you need to react to your sensation and be efficient at it.

Also sometimes you can be building a "processor" using different plugins and needing tosearch for value could again be hurtfull for freshness perspective.
I don't disagree. Definitely, managing your time while doing mastering is important. I tried to divide my time and to both creative explorations and getting stuff done quickly you have to be somewhat efficient.

Most of the time, when I try out things that would not make sense if they works, they don't work. AirWindows uLaw kind of changed everything, because now everything can be altered and some strange way and interact with other contained plugins in order to change each other's characteristics and behavior. I noticed that things that used to be so subtle that we could not hear the difference, but we agreed was usually or always useful... such as accelerator, RawGlitter, RawTimber, etc... that end up being the new combinations for acheiving the mayonnaise-hawt-sauce-with-hidden-crack-ingredients that we either are hooked on, or we haven't tried yet. The majority of old school, and even newer school established sound engineers stick to the book because it is what they know, and they know it works. This is the easy way, and it is not always the best way. Luckily, we have the web platforms, so that experimentalists can share ideas... and those engineers who are too set in their ways to evolve, as technology allows more possibilities... well, they might make enough in the next 10 years to plan on retiring early, but they will have to retire in five because they are getting surpassed... and then it's time to get a job at the grocery store.

I know that I'm a weirdo, and if I was able to just stick to my system, I would be more successful in the immediate future. But, I am lucky enough to have time on my hands, so I am hoping to get lucky. The only thing is, I very often share my techniques online, so if any of them end up becoming superior to the old school systemology, then anybody can copy any newer successful processing combo's. That's not to suggest that I feel like I have discovered experimental methodology that is better than the old school, well-known way to do things... but it might be on its way towards that. I spend a lot of time reading about what other people are doing, as well... So if I do share methods that end up being used by other engineers, and I am extremely happy.

A lot of the time, I'm trying things out on my master buss... but most of the things that I discover might be useful in mixing and destruction, at some point. It's nice, though, when you finally do find one thing that is not just useful in one scenario but easily reusable for the mastering system.

The world of digital audio processing is definitely evolving. It's got a lot more possibilities and analog, due to not being restricted by the laws or behaviors of physics, that our beloved analog processors offer. We'll always love those old tube, tape and vinyl sound, and probably most of us well dislike anything new, coming from what digital will turn be turning into.

End rant.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #48
Gear Maniac
 

Probably 95% of the professional work I do is bog standard freelance stuff, editing and mastering recordings of speeches, audiobooks, things like that. It's not a living but it's enough extra income to be able to slowly but steadily build up my home studio. Occasionally I'll mix or master a track for someone, but most of the music production I do is either my own stuff or collaborations with other people. Largely by choice, because even though I'd be happy to do paid work on my own terms I realized long ago that working in the typical production pipeline was not for me - I only really want to work on projects that I'm personally excited about, whether they're my own or someone else's, and after getting my degree and a couple of years of intermittent freelance and hanging around studios and stuff in my mid 20s I was pretty done with that - the realities of what it takes to make that a career were just sucking the joy out of the actual work for me, to the point where for a few years I stopped recording altogether and just focused on playing as much live music as I could. These days I make most of my money as a part time librarian, the rest of it recording, editing and mastering lectures around town, and keep as much free time available for music as I can without having to worry about making or producing music being what stands between me and starving.

Point being, take anything I say with a grain or three of salt, because a lot of the stuff I do in mixing is 100% not "pro."

I haven't messed with uLaw as much as I'd like to yet, but if you use Reaper check out the analog delay emulation I patched together with a few Airwindows and Reaper stock plugins and uLaw the other day. I'm away fro home so I've only been able to test it on headphones with some wretched old recordings of acoustic guitar made on a Zoom h5 (stuff where I came up with an idea and just recorded it quickly so I'd remember it, with no attention to actually making it sound good) but so far I really like the sound of it.
Old 1 week ago
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMOQuantity View Post
Probably 95% of the professional work I do is bog standard freelance stuff, editing and mastering recordings of speeches, audiobooks, things like that. It's not a living but it's enough extra income to be able to slowly but steadily build up my home studio. Occasionally I'll mix or master a track for someone, but most of the music production I do is either my own stuff or collaborations with other people. Largely by choice, because even though I'd be happy to do paid work on my own terms I realized long ago that working in the typical production pipeline was not for me - I only really want to work on projects that I'm personally excited about, whether they're my own or someone else's, and after getting my degree and a couple of years of intermittent freelance and hanging around studios and stuff in my mid 20s I was pretty done with that - the realities of what it takes to make that a career were just sucking the joy out of the actual work for me, to the point where for a few years I stopped recording altogether and just focused on playing as much live music as I could. These days I make most of my money as a part time librarian, the rest of it recording, editing and mastering lectures around town, and keep as much free time available for music as I can without having to worry about making or producing music being what stands between me and starving.

Point being, take anything I say with a grain or three of salt, because a lot of the stuff I do in mixing is 100% not "pro."

I haven't messed with uLaw as much as I'd like to yet, but if you use Reaper check out the analog delay emulation I patched together with a few Airwindows and Reaper stock plugins and uLaw the other day. I'm away fro home so I've only been able to test it on headphones with some wretched old recordings of acoustic guitar made on a Zoom h5 (stuff where I came up with an idea and just recorded it quickly so I'd remember it, with no attention to actually making it sound good) but so far I really like the sound of it.
Thats all good stuff. I find that the freelance and experimenters have just as much useful info as the pro's who kind of stick to what they know works. I am a bit of both, if self-taught can be considered pro. I just know that my mastering work has exceeded what my 2 pro-engineer friends could do in 2012, but that is largely due to technological advances and not as much due to my own experimenting or reading on forums.

I have a collab group for online music collabs, called Pixelgasm, if you are at all interested in that sort of thing.

uLaw with RawGlitters and RawTimbers does some nice stuff, for anybody wanting to experiment with mastering tools. Try them without uLaw, and with, and compare. Wet % is necessary, which REAPER makes easy.
Old 1 week ago
  #50
ULaw with RawGlitters and RawTimbers (2-4 of them with wet % adjusted in Reaper) has made in my favorites list. I'll try them with uLaws stacked inside each other.

Very impressed with Pop.

Energy > acceleration > highpass/hermepass > lowpass/capacitor/average/Slew2 > BassKit > maybe maxxbass, air... is a go-to.

I've got more updates coming, just got back to my PC and windows restarted/updated and didn't save 2 days of notes.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump