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
What is mastering??? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 19th March 2010
  #91
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer View Post
Naughty boy.

My sword is WAY bigger than that guys.
I thought it was an umbrella that guy was holding. I'm not kidding.

I've been making an effort to quit reading this forum, because I ain't no ME and I ain't gonna be one in the future. If you guys would quit being so damn funny it would be a lot easier!

Mychal
Old 19th March 2010
  #92
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Been there, done that. The first thing I try to impart to the new guy is that mastering does not equal processing. That is but one part of it. You can have an album mastered with minimal, or very occasionally no processing, and it is no less valuable a part of the album-making process. Get the other stuff under hand before you worry about processing.

The question "what do you patch in and why" is not the right question to ask first. So many important details are lost in the marketing hype and erroneous pop knowledge. Don't shortchange the important stuff for eagerness to play with flashy toys.

The first thing to do is listen, and to do that, you need the right monitoring environment. Mastering is the last chance to catch any problems and to have an impact on the creative vision.

Don't underestimate the significance of a clean transfer. That is mastering at its core. It comes in as one thing, and leaves as another. Getting it there with the least degradation is paramount. This can mean anything from proper D/A-A/D conversion, sample rate conversion, wordlength reduction, tape path (heads, electronics, transport), processing chain (issues may include in analog, ground loops, noise, impedance mismatch - in digital, dithering, sample rate, upsampling...) and more. In the end, it needs to end up cleanly on a properly formatted master that will go to the plant and not need any tweaking, transferring (other than onto the server that feeds the LBR) etc. And the importance QC (Quality control) can not be understated. Do you want to get 100,000 coasters back?

But everybody except mastering engineers wants to focus on the processing, as if it's the only thing. The most important lesson here for the budding engineer is to do only as much as is necessary. Sure, this occasionally includes a long signal chain and some heroic measures, but often a few tweaks of the EQ and a touch of limiting is all that is called for. It's where you make those changes, and sum of several seemingly small details that really set apart an outstanding job. Start small, and add as necessary. Don't start big and take away. Every box or plug you add has inherent degradation. Make sure you gain more than you lose.

You may be shocked how seldom the fancy tools like M/S, multi-band, stereo wideners, enhancers etc. come out in professional mastering situations. Clients often ask what kind of stereo widener I used, and my answer is that I chose the right EQ and dynamics processing. No joke. Do that right, and it gets a lot wider, along with cleaner, punchier, more engaging and so on.

Experience really is the key. One can't list the basic steps because every situation is different. It's the experience that you draw upon to know what to do with the task at hand. There's no shortcut to experience. You need to have been in the trenches for a while and seen a bunch of stuff. And remember, you don't want to make it sound good only where you are, but good on as many systems in as many environments as possible. You aren't aiming for just a car, a boom box, an audiophile system, a television, a radio broadcast, or a studio. You are aiming for all simultaneously, and that's not an easy task.

As a concrete first step, listen. Needle drop all the songs (quick listen to a bit of all tracks) to get an idea about the overall vision of the project, and how the song you are about to work on fits into the context of the whole. Then just listen. What's your first impression? That's the most important thing. That's what the mix engineer, artist, producer, and bass player's girlfriend can't have: a fresh perspective. You can only hear it for the first time once. There is no baggage attached, things you got used to, desensitized to, or fed up with.

Put up the track, and pay attention to your first impression. Every time you play something, within seconds you have a first impression. It can be bad or good. It's thin, it's boomy, it's shrill, it's muddy, I can't hear the vocal, I can't hear anything but the vocal... it's got a great groove, the guitar player is awesome, what a great vocalist... That first impression is golden. Go with it. What you feel is wrong is probably what other people will feel is wrong. Fix it. What makes the song special is what other people will likely also respond to. Feature it. That's the best place to get started.
^^^^^ Suggest this be made a sticky on this forum. NICE REPLY!
Old 19th March 2010
  #93
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Careyn/Onemoretime
Reminder, once again: Multiple ID are not allowed on Gearslutz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
----------------
You get me?


Last warning.
Old 19th March 2010
  #94
Moderator
 
jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeandSound View Post
Hey Jay, I respect your post there.

However clean transfer is the absolute minimum anyone could ask for, a given we should say. And only relevant with non file delivery which is less and less these days...
True, but even with file delivery, if you get 48/24 in, and send it through the analog chain, and need to get 44/16 on the CD, it's still a transfer at the heart of it. There are still plenty of places for it to go wrong. If you can't get that right, it's not yet time to move on to processing.

The basic transfer is indeed basic, but it's these basic steps people tend to ignore when they focus only on the processing. We know the things that should be a given, but with many people trying to do it themselves, it's not a given. Learning mastering one should learn to walk before one learns to run.
Old 19th March 2010
  #95
Lives for gear
 
Darwin James's Avatar
 

Mastering is when you take something cool and make it more cool.
Old 19th March 2010
  #96
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin James View Post
Mastering is when you take something cool and make it more cool.
To rephrase this for onemoretime, something has to be cool before it can be mastered and made really cool. Awesome! Now, are you gonna ask about analyzers again?

Onemoretime, heres a situation for you...

You are in an airport control tower and you look out the window and you see a plane headed right for the tower! Are you gonna check the radar display to make sure its real before you run?
Old 19th March 2010
  #97
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeandSound View Post
The big deal for me is level and EQ, the essence of mastering IMO is something you will have a very, very hard time finding on this forum.
Quite the contrary - all excepting two or three, the best people I have worked with over the past two decades are still on this forum. And I really miss those two or three.

SB
Old 20th March 2010
  #98
Lives for gear
 
Apostolos Siopis's Avatar
 

Verified Member
It's like history repeating...isn't it?
Old 20th March 2010
  #99
Gear Maniac
 
AV_Dub's Avatar
 

Hi all..

I've been following for a while and I have to say it's great to read all of the comments.

I 've been recording some songs in my private studio and decided to try mastering. lol, at one point I decided to try some extremes just to see how the recordings responded. I used a compressor and a limiter to squash and limit one song so hard that no level meters were moving off of -4. I had to make-up gain almost 30db to push against the limiter which squashed it more. LOL... but..
Unbelievably, it sounded a bit like some radio stuff i've heard! ouch. I quit. And it gave me a headache after listening at a higher-than 85db for a while.

Then I did some experimenting by using a compressor on each individual track (rather than the master out) and adjusted each instrument to taste. It was not only easier to get a good mix, but no compressing or limiting was needed on the master out (not much anyways). I then took compression off of a stereo keys track and it was a neat open air stereo effect when placing all of the other compressed instruments in the stereo field with it. And a different reverb on each instrument, with a touch of stereo reverb on the master out was also sweet. (which probably wouldn't work so well if compression/limiting were being done on the master out?)

After all of my experimenting, I found that I like mixing with very little compression, and more dynamics. Probably because I'm a musician, and I'm used to hearing VERY dynamic live sound. Problem is if anyone with a lesser sound system cranks a very dynamic recording up they will destroy their speakers. I guess I'll need to get comfortable with compressors etc.

I'm having fun, but I know I've got a lot of learning to do. I can see how one wrong step in the chain messes the whole thing up. My hat's off to all the Mastering peeps.

Great site.

Kudos!
JHayes
Old 20th March 2010
  #100
Lives for gear
 
Red Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Been there, done that. The first thing I try to impart to the new guy is that mastering does not equal processing. That is but one part of it. You can have an album mastered with minimal, or very occasionally no processing, and it is no less valuable a part of the album-making process. Get the other stuff under hand before you worry about processing.

The question "what do you patch in and why" is not the right question to ask first. So many important details are lost in the marketing hype and erroneous pop knowledge. Don't shortchange the important stuff for eagerness to play with flashy toys.

The first thing to do is listen, and to do that, you need the right monitoring environment. Mastering is the last chance to catch any problems and to have an impact on the creative vision.

Don't underestimate the significance of a clean transfer. That is mastering at its core. It comes in as one thing, and leaves as another. Getting it there with the least degradation is paramount. This can mean anything from proper D/A-A/D conversion, sample rate conversion, wordlength reduction, tape path (heads, electronics, transport), processing chain (issues may include in analog, ground loops, noise, impedance mismatch - in digital, dithering, sample rate, upsampling...) and more. In the end, it needs to end up cleanly on a properly formatted master that will go to the plant and not need any tweaking, transferring (other than onto the server that feeds the LBR) etc. And the importance QC (Quality control) can not be understated. Do you want to get 100,000 coasters back?

But everybody except mastering engineers wants to focus on the processing, as if it's the only thing. The most important lesson here for the budding engineer is to do only as much as is necessary. Sure, this occasionally includes a long signal chain and some heroic measures, but often a few tweaks of the EQ and a touch of limiting is all that is called for. It's where you make those changes, and sum of several seemingly small details that really set apart an outstanding job. Start small, and add as necessary. Don't start big and take away. Every box or plug you add has inherent degradation. Make sure you gain more than you lose.

You may be shocked how seldom the fancy tools like M/S, multi-band, stereo wideners, enhancers etc. come out in professional mastering situations. Clients often ask what kind of stereo widener I used, and my answer is that I chose the right EQ and dynamics processing. No joke. Do that right, and it gets a lot wider, along with cleaner, punchier, more engaging and so on.

Experience really is the key. One can't list the basic steps because every situation is different. It's the experience that you draw upon to know what to do with the task at hand. There's no shortcut to experience. You need to have been in the trenches for a while and seen a bunch of stuff. And remember, you don't want to make it sound good only where you are, but good on as many systems in as many environments as possible. You aren't aiming for just a car, a boom box, an audiophile system, a television, a radio broadcast, or a studio. You are aiming for all simultaneously, and that's not an easy task.

As a concrete first step, listen. Needle drop all the songs (quick listen to a bit of all tracks) to get an idea about the overall vision of the project, and how the song you are about to work on fits into the context of the whole. Then just listen. What's your first impression? That's the most important thing. That's what the mix engineer, artist, producer, and bass player's girlfriend can't have: a fresh perspective. You can only hear it for the first time once. There is no baggage attached, things you got used to, desensitized to, or fed up with.

Put up the track, and pay attention to your first impression. Every time you play something, within seconds you have a first impression. It can be bad or good. It's thin, it's boomy, it's shrill, it's muddy, I can't hear the vocal, I can't hear anything but the vocal... it's got a great groove, the guitar player is awesome, what a great vocalist... That first impression is golden. Go with it. What you feel is wrong is probably what other people will feel is wrong. Fix it. What makes the song special is what other people will likely also respond to. Feature it. That's the best place to get started.
brilliant!

thank you
Old 22nd March 2010
  #101
Gear Addict
 
johnnynash's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Been there, done that. The first thing I try to impart to the new guy is that mastering does not equal processing. That is but one part of it. You can have an album mastered with minimal, or very occasionally no processing, and it is no less valuable a part of the album-making process. Get the other stuff under hand before you worry about processing...
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
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
dreamsongs / So much gear, so little time
59
mittebewohner / So much gear, so little time
8

Forum Jump
Forum Jump