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Duck Soup
12-08-2013, 06:35 PM
After setting up a session for mastering, and the file to be mastered has been imported,.. How do you set up the tracks for eq, compression, limiting,...
Do you set each of the tracks up as aux? Do you send them to a sub group? Master fader? Or back to the track that has the file to be mastered? What does the ideal set up look like?

albee1952
12-08-2013, 07:04 PM
You're not going to like my suggestion(and please believe me that I mean no offense here), but I have to offer it. Mastering is part art and part science, and you seem like you are a bit too much of a novice and you should have your stuff mastered by a pro. Now if you are just curious and want to "get your feet wet", before you roll any audio, do some homework. Start with Bob Katz' book on the Art&Science of Mastering is it is as close to a "bible" on mastering as you will find. Then, hit youtube and search for "mastering in Pro Tools"(without the quotes), or in whatever DAW you want to use. Personally, while you CAN master in PT, I much prefer Wavelab(check out their "essentials" version that is under $100).

Some things that mastering requires: accurate monitoring(and I mean REALLY accurate, which means a treated room with very good speakers that are tweaked as a "whole package"). Well-trained ears(if you think everything sounds great coming out of computer speakers or an MP3 player, then your ears are not trained yet). The experience/knowledge to know what to do(and I applaud you wanting to learn), and knowing what NOT to do(there's that darned "experience" thing again:o). I know it sounds like I am mister negative here, but its really about being realistic.

If you have a whole batch of tunes to master(or have mastered) maybe pick what you feel is the strongest song, and have it mastered by a pro. Then you can use that as a benchmark and see how close you can get on the other songs:D

BTW, while i have the tools to do mastering, and a well-tuned room, and years of experience with recording, and I do a lot of my own masters(due to budgets), I am not a mastering engineer and even after 30 years of doing this stuff, I am still learning:o

Duck Soup
12-08-2013, 07:24 PM
You're not going to like my suggestion(and please believe me that I mean no offense here), but I have to offer it. Mastering is part art and part science, and you seem like you are a bit too much of a novice and you should have your stuff mastered by a pro. Now if you are just curious and want to "get your feet wet", before you roll any audio, do some homework. Start with Bob Katz' book on the Art&Science of Mastering is it is as close to a "bible" on mastering as you will find. Then, hit youtube and search for "mastering in Pro Tools"(without the quotes), or in whatever DAW you want to use. Personally, while you CAN master in PT, I much prefer Wavelab(check out their "essentials" version that is under $100).

Some things that mastering requires: accurate monitoring(and I mean REALLY accurate, which means a treated room with very good speakers that are tweaked as a "whole package"). Well-trained ears(if you think everything sounds great coming out of computer speakers or an MP3 player, then your ears are not trained yet). The experience/knowledge to know what to do(and I applaud you wanting to learn), and knowing what NOT to do(there's that darned "experience" thing again:o). I know it sounds like I am mister negative here, but its really about being realistic.

If you have a whole batch of tunes to master(or have mastered) maybe pick what you feel is the strongest song, and have it mastered by a pro. Then you can use that as a benchmark and see how close you can get on the other songs:D

BTW, while i have the tools to do mastering, and a well-tuned room, and years of experience with recording, and I do a lot of my own masters(due to budgets), I am not a mastering engineer and even after 30 years of doing this stuff, I am still learning:o

I appreciate the insight and sicere effort to get me on the right path.i will definitely check out wave lab. However, like you budgets are the key factor here for me. I do understand that jumping in thinking I am going to get a pro quality mastering, but I have to start somewhere. So, thus the question of the best way to set up the tracks.

Southsidemusic
12-08-2013, 07:33 PM
WOW Albee :-) You are the Master here and i couldn't agree more than a million percent what you said. We have all the "Gear" for matering you mention and it costed upwards of 200-250K NOT counting our recording studio and we stil didn't get the sound we were after so instead of trying to do all this ourselves we started by sending off the important songs which the success of the sound was do or die to a pro mastering crew and what came back made our attempts sound like childplay :p

After that we have been mixing/mastering our own stuff only that we don't have been paid for by record comapanies as a learning and as we are interested so as Albee said, there is no way in this century that someone can just "start mastering" good stuff one morning as it ain't gonna happen.

There is a reason we pay like 750-1200 dollars a song just for the mastering part as these guys have stuff we never even heard of making songs sound a bit more "glimmering and shimmering" whatever that means but I can promise you will hear what they mean when you get the songs back :-)

So in closing, if you just wanna have fun with your own songs Katz is the Master and absolutely everyone have to start somewhere so I say Go for it! But make sure you start in the right end of things if you wanna become a master one day yourself :-)

And always remember, Your ears don't lie so start listening to great mastered songs and try emulate them as best you can. Just say -> put an eq here and bus it there and use a comp here and there ain't gonna help you until you have the basic knowledge of how this works in the process

Good Luck
Christopher

albee1952
12-08-2013, 07:50 PM
There is a budget option to look at. Abbey Road offers some budget mastering that is probably well worth the money(like $150/song IIRC). But yes, it would be way more $$ to have it done by Bob Ludwig or Bernie Grundman(who are also worth every cent of what they charge:o) which likely would not make sense for anyone that doesn't already have some hits(yeah, it all starts with a great song and a great performance):D

dave911
12-09-2013, 12:05 PM
+1 for all the above.
I'd just add you need to decide for yourself whether you are mastering for sonic quality or "competitive levels" because despite the skills available the mastering on many big money releases is a complete mess musically.
It's a marketing decision.

albee1952
12-11-2013, 12:27 PM
BTW, don't forget what may be the single most important aspect of "outside" mastering; somebody will be listening with fresh ears that have not heard the song a hundred times. Nobody I know of can pull that off on their own stuff:D:o

dr_daw
12-11-2013, 02:00 PM
+1 to all that everyone is saying. My 2 cents, you can learn a great deal about your mixes by paying someone to master your stuff. Recently, I had four songs mastered for $200 by one M/E who was more than willing to give me tips on things I should work on in the mixing process. I also decided, to send one of the same songs to another M/E on the other side of the country just to see what the difference would be (it was $75...but he is a Juno recipient for mixing/engineering).

From both engineers, it was $275 well spent. The both gave excellent feedback and the end result was a product that was ready to be distributed commercially. Personally, that money would've been wasted if I purchased my own mastering plugs and done it myself. I have done mastering for clients, but I don't consider it that; I consider it getting things to an acceptable level for playback.

musicman691
12-11-2013, 04:43 PM
I appreciate the insight and sicere effort to get me on the right path.i will definitely check out wave lab. However, like you budgets are the key factor here for me. I do understand that jumping in thinking I am going to get a pro quality mastering, but I have to start somewhere. So, thus the question of the best way to set up the tracks.
PT is not the tool you really want to use to do mastering of any kind. Not saying it can't be done but it's not the best option. Depending on the platform you are on, if Windows I'd look into Sony Soundforge 11. They also have a version for the Mac but that has some shortcomings (doesn't do cd burning for one thing) but the Windows one is one of the best out there and I used that when I had a Windows system. Steinberg Wavelab is also a good program and is available for both Mac and PC.

I'm on a Mac and I use Adobe Audition. A good tool but it takes some serious knowledge to make good use of it. They also have a Windows version but have no knowledge of that. If the Adobe name sounds familiar they are the people that put out Photoshop and Audition is a lot like that. They're not just a pdf reader program company.

As to plugins - what's stock in PT aren't something I'd use for mastering.

JFreak
12-11-2013, 10:39 PM
I'd just add you need to decide for yourself whether you are mastering for sonic quality or "competitive levels"

I have to +1 this.

"Competitive Levels" is easy, anyone can squash their stuff to lifeless square wave with zero dynamics so that cannot be the goal for hiring a mastering engineer.

What he has is unbelievably well tuned room with pristine speakers calibrated to certain level, and he has (hopefully) years of experience in analyzing music he has not mixed himself. The golden ears as they say. And with that in mind, the decisions he makes can be small (in case your mixes are good) but still well worth it if you pay him for the sonic quality.

He can also say that you should mix again and come back later.

SpinningDisk
12-12-2013, 07:01 AM
I just purchase a year Subscription to Groove3 for a year. Spent the whole day watching mixing videos. Well done. They have some great videos. As Albee said. It's always better to have a fresh pair of ears. If cost is a problem, then ITB will work for you.
Also as someone said. You Tube is your friend☺️
Hey Albee1952. I got the Wave Labs👍

albee1952
12-12-2013, 02:17 PM
I just purchase a year Subscription to Groove3 for a year. Spent the whole day watching mixing videos. Well done. They have some great videos. As Albee said. It's always better to have a fresh pair of ears. If cost is a problem, then ITB will work for you.
Also as someone said. You Tube is your friend☺️
Hey Albee1952. I got the Wave Labs👍
Cool!:D