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What to cut? Or do you?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
What to cut? Or do you?

Hey guys. Mastering question.

When mastering? Do you cut some of the hi’s? And if so, how much?

I was always getting this “hi piercing” sound on my mixes. Then, just messing around in Ozone, I noticed that when I would cut/roll off some hi-end, it made the mix less harsh, more quiet (as in less “airy”) and more like commercial recordings where the mix itself isn’t airy and brittle sounding.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Ughhh… Try to fix some stuff a few steps back instead of tools like Ozone. I am not hater but I really don't like this so-called AI and machine learning tools. What AI? What machine learning. It's fixed and final tool you get. If you have good ears I am sure you'll make it better by using them. And a lot of practice.

People nowadays think (not necesseraily you, sorry, just saying) that tool "out-of-the-box-mastering-assistance" is what they need. I don't want to say here that I Zotope is not doing code for a long time. Or they're no good. No! Just don't like that one-stop-shop plugins. That's that! Sorry iZotope. I have some of their tools but I don't use them at all.

To your question: if you ask here and you don't know what you should do then I'd say there's something wrong with that picture! Not mean to disrespect or anything. Ears and practice and you should know man. You should know.

Go for it man! Best of luck!

Krešo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
As always, it depends on the nature of the problem and the most transparent or musical way to correct it.

Mostly I'm targeting specific frequencies that are poking out with narrow cuts or a dynamic tool. Esses, cymbal resonances, vocal glare, etc. Anything that's distracting or overpowering.

I occasionally cut the high end with a broader bell, shelf or LPF if the harshness is more generalised or the overall tonal balance is out. Just enough to make it sound more pleasant without killing the airiness or openness, allowing the attention to focus on the important things in the arrangement.

It's easy to overdo these things as you can oversensitise to them quickly when focusing on them. So it's important to zoom out and check the overall picture.

If you're consistently getting a piercing sound in your mixes, I'd be interested in trying to identify the cause. Starting from the sources - instruments, mics, preamps, converters - and working through the mix - gain staging, fx, overcrowding, etc. It could be lots of little things contributing to this overall colour and addressing them earlier will get the best result.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
To your question: if you ask here and you don't know what you should do then I'd say there's something wrong with that picture! Not mean to disrespect or anything. Ears and practice and you should know man. You should know.

Go for it man! Best of luck!

Krešo[/QUOTE]

1st. Well sounds like you have a personal issue with iZotope. That’s between you and them. I use it for one thing and one thing only. I don’t like plug-ins so I don’t even use it that way. I export the file and then IMPORT it into iZotope Ozone for mastering.

2nd. This is a forum. It’s for asking questions and getting advice as well. If everyone here knew what they was doing? We all wouldn’t be here. This platform would be non existent and we would all be multimillionaires somewhere in our big mansions or on our yachts somewhere crusin near some tropical island.

3rd. You gave ZERO contribution to the questions so I can’t understand why you even commented, besides the fact that you felt the NEED to let us all know that you hate Ozone. That’s fine. That’s your opinion but you added absolutely NOTHING to the conversation. ?

Lastly? Where I come from? If you even have to say “I’m not a hater”. That just lets us know that you ARE a hater. ?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
As always, it depends on the nature of the problem and the most transparent or musical way to correct it.

Mostly I'm targeting specific frequencies that are poking out with narrow cuts or a dynamic tool. Esses, cymbal resonances, vocal glare, etc. Anything that's distracting or overpowering.

I occasionally cut the high end with a broader bell, shelf or LPF if the harshness is more generalised. Just enough to make it sound more pleasant without killing the airiness or openness, allowing the attention to focus on the important things in the arrangement.

It's easy to overdo these things as you can oversensitise to them quickly when focusing on them. So it's important to zoom out and check the overall picture.

If you're consistently getting a piercing sound in your mixes, I'd be interested in trying to identify the cause. Starting from the sources - instruments, mics, preamps, converters - and working through the mix - gain staging, fx, overcrowding, etc. It could be lots of little things contributing to this overall colour and addressing them earlier will get the best result.
Thanks for the replay.

The mix itself in the multitrack stage sounds decent. I do mostly electronic music. I don’t EQ much besides low pass/hi pass when needed.

I guess something happens when they are all tracks are summed into one file. That file, starts to get this hi-ish piercing sound when cranked up. From what I read somewhere? They was saying all the digital sounds summed up together causes this. So I was wondering in mastering, do some roll off the hi-end? Because I’ve heard song mixes sound ok in the studio but ones released? Sounds nice and polished and not harsh. So I was assuming it was something in the mastering stage that’s being done.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Hey,

I don't follow. One minute it's fine and the next when making final "music number, final song" it sounds different? Correct?

Krešo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycapmusic View Post
I guess something happens when they are all tracks are summed into one file. That file, starts to get this hi-ish piercing sound when cranked up. From what I read somewhere? They was saying all the digital sounds summed up together causes this. So I was wondering in mastering, do some roll off the hi-end? Because I’ve heard song mixes sound ok in the studio but ones released? Sounds nice and polished and not harsh. So I was assuming it was something in the mastering stage that’s being done.
Now to quote you.

You mix stems (I suppose syth parts(s), rhythm, this, that...) and in who knows how many number of them. OK. So it all sounds good then. Suddenly you bounce (export, make/create) final thing. And bummer - not good. You have something seriously wrong in your line of production. What more to say man?

Regarding Ozone and sh***. Who cares really. Ozone or not - love or hate. I am reg. iZotope user but I don't use it for this purposes. That's what I said.

Go bask, as I said, check your busses and Master bus and maybe you'll find out what makes that difference that bothers you.

Hope you'll find your answers here as there are plenty of good girls and boys around.

Don't get so militant immediately. If you love certain tool it's fine but it's even better to go with "normal" tools rather than "mastering assistants". That's all and I won't go into this any further.

Best regards,

Krešo

PS: I gave you clue to go back and find out what's wrong. Since you yourself say in mx it's fine, after bounce it's not. Master bus, tools, converters, God knows what. Solution to problem is knowing where to look.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycapmusic View Post
The mix itself in the multitrack stage sounds decent...

I guess something happens when they are all tracks are summed into one file. That file, starts to get this hi-ish piercing sound when cranked up.
Are you saying that there is a noticeable change in sound between monitoring the multitrack project and the bounced stereo file? The multitrack doesn't sound harsh when cranked up?

Is this digital only or analogue?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Are you saying that there is a noticeable change in sound between monitoring the multitrack project and the bounced stereo file? The multitrack doesn't sound harsh when cranked up?

Is this digital only or analogue?
Hey SmoothTone, looks like you're asking exactly the same question as I did. Except Ozone part, hahaha...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Is this digital only or analogue?
Digital.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Hey man,

go back retracing your steps. As I said, as a fellow participant(s) here, if you have one "sound image" while mixing and prepping for final bounce/export and after the fact completely different "sound image" then there's some hidden or forgotten process involved that gives you result that you don't have in the first place.

Maybe some forgotten bus/send or some prefs in the bounce/export setup like bypass this or that. It is hard to help you, no matter my or any observations on tools in use or ones you would like to use (like Ozone, haha).

What's your DAW, process on Tracks (stems) and processing there? Inline (insert plugins use) or sends/bussing (grouping), are you using those silly tools like room emulators (Sonarworx or similar) which can be setup as for listening only or exporting thru (and/or bypassing those when finalizing)? There are so many steps (or just one) that could go south which is giving you headache.

Everyone who participated so far, including me, are asking you pretty much similar questions.

And one more detail. No matter what's your final intent, go for digital or analogue (vinyl) it all comes to one thing - start and end result are different. Do you use outboard gear in some point which could be bypassed due to setup or whatever which takes an important rule in sound change?

See, all who chimed in are trying to get you going and steer to final result.

I really hope you'll find out what's the problem here. ITB only or hybrid, no matter really, if all is done in a proper way and set up as it should be, then you should be getting the same result on your final product.

Maybe some plugin isn't working? Cracked soft? Some cable, some plugin emulation, some settings, ...

Do write back when you go thru trace-back steps. I am getting curious since I am in this correspondence now. And I'm pretty sure all involved would like to know what's the deal here because it makes no sense having differencies like this.

Best regards man and I hope you're not silent with me regarding our Ozone clash. ;-)

Krešo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycapmusic View Post
Digital.
Ok, so providing you are monitoring the bounced stereo file in the same way as the multitrack*, this might point to some clipping of individual tracks or busses that isn't audible in the floating point world of the multitrack environment but becomes audible once you bounce down to fixed point 24bit file.

Try bouncing to both 24bit and 32bit floating point, import these files back into you project and compare them to each other and the multitrack.

It's hard to troubleshoot further without more info.


*If not, there are variables here that could be the culprit.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
I did a few things. One of them was rolling off some bottom and top end and the harshness was gone.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycapmusic View Post
I did a few things. One of them was rolling off some bottom and top end and the harshness was gone.
Good to hear. If you could elaborate on the 'other things' you did, that would satisfy my curiosity about the cause of this issue. It would also be helpful for anyone who comes across this thread in future looking for a solution for the same problem.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Addict
you don't want to cut out too much frequency information or else it will create a dull sound

find the offensive frequencies with a parametric eq notch, then subsitute those for less destructive parametric eq dips with a .2 or .4 or .6 Q (or is that .02 .04 .06) at the same frequencies

only -5 db or so in that specific frequency, or else natural resonances for other notes will greatly suffer. this might also create an auditory ritardando in every type of speaker the listener uses
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Make sure at mixdown your not clipping anything.

1. Get your gain stage legit. This includes channels, plug ins, busses.

2. Find a warm sounding 2 buss/mastering/summing set up. I've heard many plug ins that take the harsh brittle sound out of a track, and I've hear MANY summing mixers that while adding some MOJO they also add a brittleness to the upper end.


BTW, WHERE is the mix sounding bad? in a mixdown room, is your room correctly treated? does it sound harsh on phones? in Cars? etc?

Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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So I just listend to you sound cloud and ya, you got some issues going on.

1. Are you using reverb on some of the synths?

2. The reverb your using is adding crazy harshenss to some tracks.

3. Your snare sample, samples, or layering is bright on some tracks

4. Your cymbals sound bathed in a super hard reverb on soem tracks

BUT, Im hearing some good things. Some songs are really missing some mid range energy, some are missing low end, and they all are missing that "glue"

On the snare sample/hand clap sound, Using some compression or parrlel compression or both could really give it some weight.

That reverb you using on a lot of tracks though, "In cover all the exits", that's a really dark and harsh verb bro.

I would look into dialing in the reverb sound, and fix the harsh elements in the mix first, with EQ and proper compression.

So I did some quick looking at your tracks in my DAW and got some pretty good results with some EQ.Parralel multi band compression, and console shaper.
The EQ and compression made the biggest difference.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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I think I've probably used a LPF fewer than 10 times in mastering, out of thousands of masters. The vast majority of high frequency issues can be solved with a less brutal tool: maybe a bell, maybe a shelf, maybe a combination of the two, maybe a dynamic EQ/de-esser.

That said, I do have one very successful mix engineer client whose mixes rarely have much above 17k (apparently it's due to the bus compressor uses). I'd argue that his mixes are great (and they really are) in spite of that, and not because of it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
Make sure at mixdown your not clipping anything.

1. Get your gain stage legit.
Now about "gain staging". Is it really necessary when using samples and soft synths? I keep hearing mixed things about this. About leaving your faders at zero (0) and adjusting the volume from the source or using a trim plug-in.

The flip side is, I keep hearing it doesn't matter. Just use the faders for volume control.

Just so many mixed messages.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
So I just listend to you sound cloud and ya, you got some issues going on.

1. Are you using reverb on some of the synths?

2. The reverb your using is adding crazy harshenss to some tracks.

3. Your snare sample, samples, or layering is bright on some tracks

4. Your cymbals sound bathed in a super hard reverb on soem tracks

BUT, Im hearing some good things. Some songs are really missing some mid range energy, some are missing low end, and they all are missing that "glue"

On the snare sample/hand clap sound, Using some compression or parrlel compression or both could really give it some weight.

That reverb you using on a lot of tracks though, "In cover all the exits", that's a really dark and harsh verb bro.

I would look into dialing in the reverb sound, and fix the harsh elements in the mix first, with EQ and proper compression.

So I did some quick looking at your tracks in my DAW and got some pretty good results with some EQ.Parralel multi band compression, and console shaper.
The EQ and compression made the biggest difference.
1. Are you using reverb on some of the synths? Yes if I fell it needs it.

2. The reverb your using is adding crazy harshenss to some tracks. Ok

3. Your snare sample, samples, or layering is bright on some tracks. We this is why at times I don't like using EQ. If I like how it sounds, I want to use that natural raw sound. I feel EQ at time can change the sound and most times I don't want to change the sound.

4. Your cymbals sound bathed in a super hard reverb on some tracks. At times I like to add a touch of reverb and delay on the crashes.

BUT, Im hearing some good things. Some songs are really missing some mid range energy, some are missing low end, and they all are missing that "glue". I definitely agree on missing some glue. To me? The whole mix needs to be glued together.

On the snare sample/hand clap sound, Using some compression or parrlel compression or both could really give it some weight. Ok

That reverb you using on a lot of tracks though, "In cover all the exits", that's a really dark and harsh verb bro. Ok agreed.

I would look into dialing in the reverb sound, and fix the harsh elements in the mix first, with EQ and proper compression. Ok

Thank you for your feedback. Appreciate it much.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Heres the screen shot of the mix for a song on my SoundCloud page called "Supernatural". Please tell me whats wrong with this. Because in MY mind? It sounds good.
I really don't use EQ because it sounds good to me without it. I will use more filtering first if needed.
Attached Thumbnails
What to cut? Or do you?-screen-shot-2020-01-24-11.31.34-am.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
You may want to make a thread in the "work in progress/advice requested" sub-forum as this relates to engineering basics (i.e. gain staging), production and mixing rather than mastering.
Cheers!
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