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It's Dark and hell is hot mixing/mastering
Old 25th May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
It's Dark and hell is hot mixing/mastering

Rich Keller i can only find a "remastering" credit to Jeff Willens But whoever mastered this did a damn good job of keeping it natural..........sounds very well compressed til this day....i was absolutely surprised at how good Get at me dog still sounds in comparison to today
Old 30th May 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

I dunno but dame and pk don't get enough credit for producing the majority of this classic record.
Old 31st May 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Click the credits tab... to be clear though... things were different back then. Mastering was more about mixing things down to one medium and getting the volumes right. If anything they would use some EQ and limiting but mostly to ensure consistency rather than to make anything better (or worse ha)... anyway, the link I posted seems to have some pretty in depth info but it doesn't specify who did which song. You may be able to search credits for individual tracks in Google and have some luck as well.



https://www.allmusic.com/album/its-d...t-mw0000034200
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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loji's Avatar
that DMX album was mastered by Tony Dawsey back at Masterdisk

I was his assistant for a bunch of years, (not during that time however) and he had this platinum plaque hung. Great freaking record!!

Tony's got great ears. You an find him at his own phantom mastering now
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_gemz View Post
Rich Keller i can only find a "remastering" credit to Jeff Willens But whoever mastered this did a damn good job of keeping it natural..........sounds very well compressed til this day....i was absolutely surprised at how good Get at me dog still sounds in comparison to today
It's not just the engineer but the entire process. With an album like this, the engineer is usually in the sessions as they are producing and recording the record. They are using high end equipment and there is a team of people involved. It's not just the mastering but how the sounds are sampled in and produced. Dame knows how to sample and handle the sounds so when you get to mastering, it already sounds good and the engineer has something good to work with. Go back and listen to Jam On It by Newcleus. That record is one of the best masters I have ever heard. It's old but the mastering blows away anything put out now.

With that said, the technology has come a long way and if you learn the basics of mastering and practice you can make your records sound close to the DMX record.

Think of mastering this way -> You have a sound spectrum and you have limited use on the highs and lows. So if you pump the bass up high, that is going to take away from your hi end (treble). You need to make sure you EQ each sound cutting out the spectrum you don't need. For example, let's say you have a piano sample. Make sure you EQ that sample and take out the low end you don't need even if you don't hear it. This will give your track more room with existing sounds. For low end sounds, make sure you take out the high end you don't use.

It's critically important you pay attention to EQing out the low or hi's you don't use for each sound so you are not using up your spectrum on unneeded sound. Even though you may not hear what you are cutting out, believe me when I tell you it makes a HUGE difference.

One great example of this is vocals. If you don't properly EQ your vocals, they can take away quite a bit from every other sound. Make sure you cut out the low end on your vocals. The human voice can use a great deal of your high and low spectrum. I always cut out the low and some of the mid range on the vocals which gives me extra space for other things like the bassline. On a piano, EQ out the low end. For basslines, EQ out the high and mid.

Remember that it's a balancing act to give each sound the proper amount of spectrum. Once you do this, you tracks will start to sound amazing. Also make sure when you use a loudness maximizer you don't push the track too hot and give it enough room to breathe.

Mastering is much simpler than most people realize. If you start with EQing each sound, you will end up with a great sounding track.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
It's not just the engineer but the entire process. With an album like this, the engineer is usually in the sessions as they are producing and recording the record. They are using high end equipment and there is a team of people involved. It's not just the mastering but how the sounds are sampled in and produced. Dame knows how to sample and handle the sounds so when you get to mastering, it already sounds good and the engineer has something good to work with. Go back and listen to Jam On It by Newcleus. That record is one of the best masters I have ever heard. It's old but the mastering blows away anything put out now.

With that said, the technology has come a long way and if you learn the basics of mastering and practice you can make your records sound close to the DMX record.

Think of mastering this way -> You have a sound spectrum and you have limited use on the highs and lows. So if you pump the bass up high, that is going to take away from your hi end (treble). You need to make sure you EQ each sound cutting out the spectrum you don't need. For example, let's say you have a piano sample. Make sure you EQ that sample and take out the low end you don't need even if you don't hear it. This will give your track more room with existing sounds. For low end sounds, make sure you take out the high end you don't use.

It's critically important you pay attention to EQing out the low or hi's you don't use for each sound so you are not using up your spectrum on unneeded sound. Even though you may not hear what you are cutting out, believe me when I tell you it makes a HUGE difference.

One great example of this is vocals. If you don't properly EQ your vocals, they can take away quite a bit from every other sound. Make sure you cut out the low end on your vocals. The human voice can use a great deal of your high and low spectrum. I always cut out the low and some of the mid range on the vocals which gives me extra space for other things like the bassline. On a piano, EQ out the low end. For basslines, EQ out the high and mid.

Remember that it's a balancing act to give each sound the proper amount of spectrum. Once you do this, you tracks will start to sound amazing. Also make sure when you use a loudness maximizer you don't push the track too hot and give it enough room to breathe.

Mastering is much simpler than most people realize. If you start with EQing each sound, you will end up with a great sounding track.
SMC, I greatly appreciate the depth you went into within your post. I also like both the remaster of Life After Death (all little dark but full-sounding) and Ready to Die (very sharp, clear, and crispy).

I've been producing since 2001 with little old Cakewalk, then onto FL, Cubase and Reason all in '02. I saw the evolution in the sound quality of plugins up to now. These days I've gotten a bit of the hardware itch, mostly on the mix bus. There were some articles I found online of charting singles back in '97 that detailed the console they were recorded on. In reference to all the Bad Boy stuff from that year, you see the SSL all over. I recently got the Stam Audio SA-4000 for my 2bus and there's a dimension to its glue that recalls the gel of the 90s records, like DMX above.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Yea, SSL consoles are great but you can achieve the same thing with your computer. Most engineers master in the computer now and never use a console. Trust me when I tell you just to EQ your sounds properly. A piano can use a good amount of low end spectrum the human ear cannot hear and if you cut that out, it gives your track room for other sounds. Before I was doing this, my track masters sounded awful and then I sat with an engineer and had him teach me. A track only has so much “spectrum” to work with. You only have so much room for hi’s, mids and lows.

The big mistake I was making was not EQing my vocals. My vocals would end up eating up a bunch of low end which took away from the bass line and other elements. As soon as I put an EQ on the vocals and cut out all the low end (even the stuff I could not hear), I couldn’t believe the difference. Don’t go crazy with the EQ - just use it to cut out what the sound shouldn’t be using.

If you have a piano loop, that loop should only be using mids and hi’s and very little low end so use an EQ to take out all the low end. Your baseline should only use lows so EQ out all the hi’s and some mids. If each element only uses the spectrum it needs and doesn’t fight with other sounds for spectrum space, your tracks will sound amazing.

Trust me on this one. It makes a HUGE difference.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
What's your take on Ozone vs T-Racks 5 for mastering? What are some common mixbus compressor/limiters that you see many mastering engineers using, mostly for hip hop these days?

Drake's albums, also Nipsey Hussle's Victory Lap, seemed to me that they were really great in the clarity department because 90-95% of the rogue/resonant frequencies were tamed well in the mix.

One thing I struggle with on my end, is getting as loud as commercial hip hop records but without the bass distorting too much.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post

If you have a piano loop, that loop should only be using mids and hi’s and very little low end so use an EQ to take out all the low end. Your baseline should only use lows so EQ out all the hi’s and some mids. If each element only uses the spectrum it needs and doesn’t fight with other sounds for spectrum space, your tracks will sound amazing.

Trust me on this one. It makes a HUGE difference.
I generally agree with the principle here but its also not totally true of course.It depends on the material and what you need from it.Like a bass 'sample' for instance might have some perfect high resonances which enhance and make your track.So is true for the high material have some interesting lower artifacts ect.But as i say generally it makes sense.This is how to get a well balanced mix but.......
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goa-Dubs View Post
I generally agree with the principle here but its also not totally true of course.It depends on the material and what you need from it.Like a bass 'sample' for instance might have some perfect high resonances which enhance and make your track.So is true for the high material have some interesting lower artifacts ect.But as i say generally it makes sense.This is how to get a well balanced mix but.......
Yea, I agree with this. Of course there are exceptions and you need to listen and trust your ears but as a general mastering principle, it works. I think it takes people a while to get the concept of the fact you have a limited range of spectrum/frequencies to work with and you have to maximize it as much as possible.

I struggled with mastering for many years because I wouldn't cut the low end out of my vocals or spend the time EQing each element so everything was fighting for the same spectrum space which makes the track sound terrible.

I watched a mastering YouTube video on this and once I understood the concept of making sure each sound only uses the EQ frequencies it needs, it made all the difference in the world and my tracks started to sound amazing.

You do have to trust your ears as well as you said b/c some sounds may warrant giving them more space than others. Completely agree.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Isn't mastering the process of finalizing a media project using already mixed audio parts? I mean eq'ing piano, bass etc should be done at the mixing stage, no? (could be done earlier at the production stage too while adjusting audio samples, electronic sounds...)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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deuc647's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
Yea, SSL consoles are great but you can achieve the same thing with your computer.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Yea, that's why almost every engineer mixes in the box now right? Because if SSL or external consoles were so amazing, every engineer out there would refuse to mix in the computer. You get the same sound if you know what you are doing. Don't believe me, go speak to the engineers who work on the biggest records in the world and ask them why they walked away from using consoles.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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deuc647's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
Yea, that's why almost every engineer mixes in the box now right? Because if SSL or external consoles were so amazing, every engineer out there would refuse to mix in the computer. You get the same sound if you know what you are doing. Don't believe me, go speak to the engineers who work on the biggest records in the world and ask them why they walked away from using consoles.
I wont pollute this thread with ITB vs OTB, but it all comes down to money now and how fast engineers need to switch between projects(Scheps). Most albums today sound the same, because its made ITB and mixed ITB, not that its wrong, but its why you dont really hear depth in records anymore. Ill give you one example, pick any good mix today and compare it to The Ruler's Back or All I need from The Blueprint. Not saying you cant make great sounding records now, but its not on that level. Or anything from DJ Quik's Trauma album. But give them an honest listen and i want to hear ur honest opinion. We can move this to PMs
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
It's not just the engineer but the entire process. With an album like this, the engineer is usually in the sessions as they are producing and recording the record. They are using high end equipment and there is a team of people involved. It's not just the mastering but how the sounds are sampled in and produced. Dame knows how to sample and handle the sounds so when you get to mastering, it already sounds good and the engineer has something good to work with. Go back and listen to Jam On It by Newcleus. That record is one of the best masters I have ever heard. It's old but the mastering blows away anything put out now.

With that said, the technology has come a long way and if you learn the basics of mastering and practice you can make your records sound close to the DMX record.

Think of mastering this way -> You have a sound spectrum and you have limited use on the highs and lows. So if you pump the bass up high, that is going to take away from your hi end (treble). You need to make sure you EQ each sound cutting out the spectrum you don't need. For example, let's say you have a piano sample. Make sure you EQ that sample and take out the low end you don't need even if you don't hear it. This will give your track more room with existing sounds. For low end sounds, make sure you take out the high end you don't use.

It's critically important you pay attention to EQing out the low or hi's you don't use for each sound so you are not using up your spectrum on unneeded sound. Even though you may not hear what you are cutting out, believe me when I tell you it makes a HUGE difference.

One great example of this is vocals. If you don't properly EQ your vocals, they can take away quite a bit from every other sound. Make sure you cut out the low end on your vocals. The human voice can use a great deal of your high and low spectrum. I always cut out the low and some of the mid range on the vocals which gives me extra space for other things like the bassline. On a piano, EQ out the low end. For basslines, EQ out the high and mid.

Remember that it's a balancing act to give each sound the proper amount of spectrum. Once you do this, you tracks will start to sound amazing. Also make sure when you use a loudness maximizer you don't push the track too hot and give it enough room to breathe.

Mastering is much simpler than most people realize. If you start with EQing each sound, you will end up with a great sounding track.
IMO 95% of a good master is starting with a good mix.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomotomoto View Post
IMO 95% of a good master is starting with a good mix.
Not true. If you heard some of the De La Soul records before mastering you wouldn't believe it. I worked at a record label that did house and some Hip Hop (They have some platinum plaques for Def Jam records) and heard some of the pre-masters of the De La Soul songs and mastering worked wonders for those songs.

The records sounded like absolute **** before mastering.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
Not true. If you heard some of the De La Soul records before mastering you wouldn't believe it. I worked at a record label that did house and some Hip Hop (They have some platinum plaques for Def Jam records) and heard some of the pre-masters of the De La Soul songs and mastering worked wonders for those songs.

The records sounded like absolute **** before mastering.
Hmmm can you elaborate as to what sounded terrible about them before mastering? What did the engineer do to fix them?

Also I stand by my statement. A great mix almost always translates into a great master. A terrible mix is a real challenge to polish.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
I wont pollute this thread with ITB vs OTB, but it all comes down to money now and how fast engineers need to switch between projects(Scheps). Most albums today sound the same, because its made ITB and mixed ITB, not that its wrong, but its why you dont really hear depth in records anymore. Ill give you one example, pick any good mix today and compare it to The Ruler's Back or All I need from The Blueprint. Not saying you cant make great sounding records now, but its not on that level. Or anything from DJ Quik's Trauma album. But give them an honest listen and i want to hear ur honest opinion. We can move this to PMs
I don't agree. I worked on very high end Neve consoles with SSL. One board in the main studio was the Neve SSL board from the BBC. We actually rented a UHAUL and drive it from New Jersey to Florida. The thing literally weighed a ton. You can get the same quality mix from that board as you can a computer. You just need to know what you are doing.

Most records sound the same now because the high end engineers who actually knew what they were doing went and worked other jobs because they got sick of starving after the business collapsed. It's call technology and progression. A computer with a good external sound interface can produce just as good sound as a high end Neve SSL board.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomotomoto View Post
Hmmm can you elaborate as to what sounded terrible about them before mastering? What did the engineer do to fix them?

Also I stand by my statement. A great mix almost always translates into a great master. A terrible mix is a real challenge to polish.
For example, the song Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) was produced by De La Soul in their house on their equipment. The pre mix lacked any kick in the drum loop and the loops sounded flat. The engineers took the break beat and made that **** sound AMAZING! Listen to the breakbeat on that record. It's sounds incredible.

They used a Whatnats sample from Help is on the Way and the engineer re-sampled it from the record using a high end turntable with a high end audio interface and reconstructed the track. The drum loop and Whatnats sample sounded incredible after they got done with it. The original mix sounded absolutely terrible. The break beat was flat and dull and the loop from Help is on the Way sounded horrible.

The engineers took that song and made it sound phenomenal.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
For example, the song Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) was produced by De La Soul in their house on their equipment. The pre mix lacked any kick in the drum loop and the loops sounded flat. The engineers took the break beat and made that **** sound AMAZING! Listen to the breakbeat on that record. It's sounds incredible.

They used a Whatnats sample from Help is on the Way and the engineer re-sampled it from the record using a high end turntable with a high end audio interface and reconstructed the track. The drum loop and Whatnats sample sounded incredible after they got done with it. The original mix sounded absolutely terrible. The break beat was flat and dull and the loop from Help is on the Way sounded horrible.

The engineers took that song and made it sound phenomenal.
Sounds like we aren’t that far off in our opinions. What the engineers were doing in your examples would fall under producing or mixing more than mastering imo. When I think mastering, I think taking a single audio file and processing it to get the final master, not recreating entire drum patterns or resampling sections of the song.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomotomoto View Post
Sounds like we aren’t that far off in our opinions. What the engineers were doing in your examples would fall under producing or mixing more than mastering imo. When I think mastering, I think taking a single audio file and processing it to get the final master, not recreating entire drum patterns or resampling sections of the song.
To me, mastering is doing whatever is required to make the track sound good. If you are simply taking an audio output file and tweaking it and it still doesn't sound good, it's not mastered in my opinion. People rush through "mastering" these days.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Here for the gear
SMC, I noticed a big difference in clarity/quality in Nas' 2001 Illmatic vs the 2012 Life is Good Album as well. Seems like the vibe for LiG was intentional distortion to go along with the vintage vibe of the samples in most of the tracks.

Stillmatic, I understand was from a different era but there's a separation between the instruments clearly and the punch is harder. I found the Untitled album to be a cross between the two albums' mix styles.

Do you think it sounds like LiG was mixed more ITB, since Pro Tools was still coming on the scene more in 2001?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Head
 

smccarthy945 what mastering is to you is not the definition as accepted by the rest of the world, never knew Neve made ssl boards either lol
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
i like DMX as a personality... but musically this album sucks

in fact it ushered in the absolute worst era in hip hop. the i cant play keyboards but i dont have to clear samples era... punctuated by the same impeach the prez short decay snare on every friggin song

SMFH

swizz and ruff ryders can burn in hell for this 1
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
ssl neve crackd smoked neve pipes thats why craked for real snare sounds breakds
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
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Skamm Goodiez's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
Yea, SSL consoles are great but you can achieve the same thing with your computer.
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