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What is safe on the Master bus?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
What is safe on the Master bus?

Bit of a broad title but something I've been wondering about for a while.

Years ago I was told, as a producer and not a mastering engineer, that I should leave the master bus alone, where possible. However, often when messing around with semi-complete projects in Logic I add a light bit of compression to the master, some EQ, light distortion etc. and the results are often great (to my ear).

Will doing the above cause major problems for mastering engineers working on my tracks? Are mastering engineers constantly plagued by people causing irrepairable damage pre-master?

Are there safe compressor settings that can allow me to add a bit of global colour, without hindering the engineers work later?

Thanks,
Charlie.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
The only thing that is irreparable in my opinion is peak-limiting, or letting the peaks hit/clip 0dB on a mix before mastering.

Anything else, if you like the sound, keep it on.

When in doubt, send a version with and without your master buss stuff and communicate your goals with the mastering engineer. Sometimes they have the tools to do it with more precision, or more importantly, sometimes certain things are best applied near the end of the mastering process after other things are corrected first.

In other words, mastering engineers sometimes add saturation and character related processing, and will eventually add limiting and destroy the peaks/transients to some degree, but usually AT THE END of the processing chain, not at the start.

Starting from something that is already peak-limited or has compromised peaks can limit (pun intended) what can be achieved in mastering.

More here:
https://theproaudiofiles.com/6-db-he...yth-explained/
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
The only thing that is irreparable in my opinion is peak-limiting, or letting the peaks hit/clip 0dB on a mix before mastering.

Anything else, if you like the sound, keep it on.
That's great, thank you.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Hippocratic Mastering's Avatar
The key thing is whether you mixed into the processing, reacting to the changes it made to your music, or just slapped something on at the end. If the former, keep it in (except, most of the time, brickwall limiting, imo); if the latter, remove it.

If you do take anything off it’s always helpful to also include a version with all the processing.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I want the mixes you love and feel excited about.

Anything done for aesthetic reasons is usually fine IME, even a bit of limiting. Just don't overdo it and don't do anything purely for the sake of loudness. There's much less you can do with a cake when it's already baked.

Once you establish a good open dialogue with a ME you should get a sense of whether you might be overdoing it.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I want the mixes you love and feel excited about.

Anything done for aesthetic reasons is usually fine IME, even a bit of limiting. Just don't overdo it and don't do anything purely for the sake of loudness. There's much less you can do with a cake when it's already baked.

Once you establish a good open dialogue with a ME you should get a sense of whether you might be overdoing it.
This really encourages me to start being a little bit more experimental on the master, thank you. I've recently been more and more drawn to how easily the whole track can change based on small changes made there.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
The key thing is whether you mixed into the processing, reacting to the changes it made to your music, or just slapped something on at the end. If the former, keep it in (except, most of the time, brickwall limiting, imo); if the latter, remove it.

If you do take anything off it’s always helpful to also include a version with all the processing.
Thanks. That seems like a sensible way to go about it.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Conundra's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I would advise to decide what in your mix you want "glued", and what you want to jump out of the speakers with plenty of separation. It might be better to send your entire mix to two buses and do the glueing on one and let the rest shine on through.

Personally the only thing I keep on my master channel when mixing are analysers
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I don't mix an awful lot anymore, but when I do, I almost always have a compressor on the main buss before I even start. A dB or two can do wonders.

The only thing I'd submit is that it should be something "early on" -- I see people slap [whatever] on the buss and it makes a change and "Whoo! Everything is better!" when it's really just different or louder or more hyped. What's on your main is going to affect everything you do. Make that decision before you're invested.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retouch View Post
Bit of a broad title but something I've been wondering about for a while.

Years ago I was told, as a producer and not a mastering engineer, that I should leave the master bus alone, where possible. However, often when messing around with semi-complete projects in Logic I add a light bit of compression to the master, some EQ, light distortion etc. and the results are often great (to my ear).

Will doing the above cause major problems for mastering engineers working on my tracks? Are mastering engineers constantly plagued by people causing irrepairable damage pre-master?

Are there safe compressor settings that can allow me to add a bit of global colour, without hindering the engineers work later?

Thanks,
Charlie.
Hey Charlie, i’d say a bit of compression on the masterbus is just fine!

do whatever you need to do to get the Mix sounding goood.

the main “Don’ts” are:

don’t Squash it, don’t Clip it, and leave a touch of headroom.

and don’t “dither” it to 16-bit, or change the Sample Rate.

After you’re happy with the sound of the Mix:

DropBox or WeTransfer the 24-bit or 32-bit Stereo Wave Mixes to your Mastering engineer, with the Sequence, Titles, ISRC & other metadata, along wih any other notes & questions you might have.

Then after a few hours or days, you should recieve mastered files from the Mastering Engineer for your reference and approval.

after approval & payment, you’ll get the Masters via online delivery.

Cheers, JT
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Thanks guys, this is all really helpful.

Luckily I am not into overly compressed mixes, so I wouldn't have any urge to smash or clip the master. I would love to move towards learning to master my own material at some point down the line but with a Matrixbrute sat on my desk, that's unlinkely to happen in the near future

Thanks again,
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retouch View Post
I would love to move towards learning to master my own material at some point down the line
I've always considered a big part of a mastering engineers job the ability to bring a fresh perspective to a project much in the way a copy editor does for writers. Not suggesting you shouldn't learn, but even as an artist and mastering engineer myself, I never master my own material. That said, I've come across a few people out there who excel at both so....
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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dcwave's Avatar
 

I'm not an Mastering Engineer (And don't try to be) my master buss is always the following: EQ with a filter set at 35hz > Puigtech > Townhouse or PIE compressor. Every mix starts with that. One to roll off any sub, one to add a bit of mojo and one to catch 1-2dB to glue things. I've used at least one person on this thread to master some songs and he didn't have any issues (other than to say my mix was a touch too produced sounding for the genre--which was good feedback).
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Just do whatever makes it sound good when you take it around to different listening environments! A mix isn't "done" until you really like it everywhere.
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