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  #1  
Old 06-14-2002, 06:18 PM
Peter Duemmler Peter Duemmler is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

I wonder why I´m the first to reply... ;-)

Well, it doesn´t sound that bad, so mastering should be not that big a problem (I listened to it only through some headphones at home; there seems to be quite a lot of sub-bass going on, but maybe that´s intentional...? You may take care of that).

But: To me it sounds like a weak song that´s totally overproduced with FX and EQ/distortion gimmicks, sorry.
Towards the end the arrangement and the structure of the song gets totally confusing.
I´d work on that before thinking about pro-mastering it...

Peter
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2002, 08:51 PM
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2002, 10:10 PM
markjohn markjohn is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

The track is sonically tight I'm not going to critic the music material it's not something that I listen to regularly, that don't mean nothing though, so here my 2¢. I always prefer to have material that I've mixed sent out to a mastering house. But there are times that the producer didn't calculate mastering into the budget (major mistake) anyway at that point I ask for a week (at least) break from the project and then I put my pseudo mastering cap on. Luckily most of the jobs that I've done (I can think of one that didn't) have translated well over major broadcasting mediums (radio, TV). This is a synopsis of how I go about it. I set up three listening signal paths, 1, a processing chain, 2, an A/B signal path, 3, a "reference" stereo Audio track playing back the digitally transferred commercial release.... Sorry I just realized there is alot involved and since I'm really tired (I've been in session all day) I'll be glad to email you a template session to start you off if your interested.

Good Luck
MMJ
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Old 06-14-2002, 10:24 PM
markjohn markjohn is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

To the previous two posts even though they might be valid from a different perspective the poster is requesting technical suggestions I don't think we've been asked to critic the creative work. I could be wrong but I think the question is how to apply the "Waves Masters" bundle plug ins in a mastering scenario... right ???

MMJ
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2002, 01:30 AM
Dimension Zero Dimension Zero is offline
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Default Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

Anyone have any tips for mastering a single for radio? I just purchased the new Waves Master suite (Linear Phase EQ, Multiband Comp, L2) and will be mastering this track by itself. What would be the best way to use these tools on a single song? Here's the song if anyone wants to give feedback..

Monty

Static Space in 192 mp3 format

http://www.liquidrecords.net/dimensi...pace192pm5.mp3

Static Space in 64 WMA format

http://www.liquidrecords.net/dimensi...space64pm5.wma

Thanks everyone!
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2002, 09:42 AM
Dimension Zero Dimension Zero is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

Thanks everyone for answering. Well, I like getting feedback of any kind so feel free to post any opinions you would like, creative or technical. However, my focus in this thread is that I am interested in opinions on how to best use of the new Waves Master bundle on a single audio track (Linear Phase EQ, Multiband Comp, and L2 Limiter). One mastering engineer told me he doesn't use EQ at all during mastering because tonal balance issues should be fixed in the mix. However, he did say multi-band compression is usually a must. But, I would think compression issues should be fixed in the mix as well. So, I don't know. I can't find any decent books on mastering. Any suggestions? Everyone is SO secretive so they don't give away "their" signature sound. It is my understanding that mastering is the process of making the mix sound good on all mediums. You think this would be a more scientific process that writing, recording, and mixing a song but since I know very little about it maybe not.

Ok, how about this then. When mastering a single audio track:

1) What tools do Mastering Engineers commonly use and for what purpose?

2) What are common problems that Mastering Engineers typically solve? If anyone has any examples that would be nice.

3) From my understanding, it doesn't seem Mastering Engineers have much control over fixing a song. So, why are fresh ears so important? Wouldn't it be smarter maybe to have a separate mixer with fresh ears instead of a mastering engineer? A lot of musicians I like do their own mixing which I think give them their sound. Or possibly, have your mixer also be the mastering engineer? Or are we talking about two entirely different things here.

If anyone has any suggestions for books or anything where I can get more knowledge on Mastering I would really appreciate it.

I've talked to other Mastering Engineers and they say they had a hard time learning as well because no one will really shed some light on the subject and they had to learn through experience. I know this is a necessary, but experience with education (like a book to follow) would be nice.

Thanks.

Monty
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2002, 10:42 AM
slangification slangification is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dimension Zero:
If anyone has any suggestions for books or anything where I can get more knowledge on Mastering I would really appreciate it.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...F8%5F1/104-672 4163%20-36511/103-3286917-0615839
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2002, 11:17 AM
emilano emilano is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

Yeah mastering is one of those things that's often very cloudily described in the media and everywhere really.

I'd say that mastering is really about making it sound good on all systems and about clearing up any tonal issues (eq or compression) that happened in the mix. Depending on how good the original mix was, mastering could involve extremely little or a whole lot of processing. That's why fresh ears are important, because if you are the one who caused the tonal issues in the first place, you're not likely going to fix them. As for getting it to sound good on all media, that often requires a very good sounding listening environment and several sets of excellent to crappy sounding speakers in your room. This costs lots of money. There are no rules. Multiband compression is only good if it sounds good on the song.

So, my recommendation would be this. If you have the money, let a professional master it. If you don't or if you have complete trust in yourself for this project then do this. Put the song through those plugins and play around with the settings. Use the waves presets (they're good)as starting points. Make liberal use of the bypass buttons and make sure you are actually making the song sound better. (you may want to play around and then come back to it a day later to see if it actually sounds better). Get rid of the low and high frequencies that are not played over the radio using the linear phase eq. When you think you are done, print out a 16 bit/44.1k CD of the song (no mp3). Then take the CD around with you with a little notepad. Play it in your car, play it on friend's stereos and boom boxes, etc...Take notes on what sounds bad on any of the systems. Then take it back to your studio and make the minor corrections. Rinse and Repeat.
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Old 06-16-2002, 11:50 AM
doug_hti doug_hti is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

..."the only thing that really matters is the quality of the song, whether its a song for the mass public, or music for fellow musicians. It has to move someone. If the only person it moves is you then rock on! Who cares what anyone else thinks, but if the intent is to try to touch someone else, then it has to have commercial appeal. Eq, FX, etc. etc. etc, really don't make the song, or a huuuuge difference, a good song will be a good song regardless, and likewise with a bad song."...

Chae,
Not to deviate from the original subject in this thread, but I disagree. It's for the reason of people caring, starting down at the level of the publisher pitching to the A&R guys who are pitching to the artist and producers. SONGS do have to sound good at all levels.
90% of why we bought a HD3 system as opposed to getting by on a digi001 is that even at the demo level in pitching a song.... the songs turned in can rarely be piano/vocals or guitar/vocals to sell the song, they have to sound like records.
I know the pop industry is moving more towards rock and even things like popera, but in our expereience the production at all stages does matter in whether a song sees the light of day.
I am the first one to wish this wasn't the case. Obviously (most of the time) the song has to be good (which is the starting point), but it sucks that a bad song well produced can beat out a good song poorly produced in whether or not it makes it to someones record.

And Dimension Zero,
I'm not a mastering engineer, but I think i can answer some of your questions.
1. The tools they mainly use are a great eq and limiter ...then a means (if they took it out of digital) to get it back to digital with the best AD converters. One of their main goals is to "normalize" (reduce dynamic range) the songs (bringing levels up to a consistent "commercial level" while still sounding good on all stereos, radios, whether it's a walkman, tiny radio, car, home theatre system, whatever.
Sure the mix engineer has a big part in this as well....

2. Mastering engineers don't usually have the ability to make a bad record great, but they can definately make a good record bad (sonically speaking)...by making poor decisions in EQ or compression/limiting.
They can definately sweeten a record (part of their main job) in EQ by warming up or brightening up something, filling in sonic holes (through multiband limiting or by just plain eq boost)....etc.
They also prepare the "master" to be distributed to the dupe houses. This means editing song lengths, creating the sequence (order of songs), creating fades, putting pauses between songs, merging songs together (to go into one another, or seperate tracks numbers.....
Mix engineers (usually) don't make the final cd as far as sequences, fades, etc..., they turn in seperate mixes of songs preferably with a good amount of dynamics left and not squashed too much.
Usually a mix engineer will also print a seperate lead vocal from the track so the mastering engineer can edit a song length/fades a lot easier as well as making final adjustments to the vocal.

Also If the song makes it to radio the song gets remastered specifically for radio...and instead of recalling the mix... with the seperate vocal/track print, they can edit the song length and create several radio versions (regular play, fade ins, extended play, AC version, Hot AC version, etc)...as well as re-EQ.
I don't know if you've ever heard a commercial radio single that labels distribute to radio stations, but they are unbelievably crunchy(tons of hi end eq) to compensate for what is lost from the major limiting that radio does to it when it broadcasts through the "magic box" some device that will take out nearly all dynamics.

Hope this helps clear up some some of your thoughts for why mastering engineers exist. I'm sure I've missed some stuff...but oh well.
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2002, 02:01 PM
Dimension Zero Dimension Zero is offline
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Default Re: Mastering singles for radio with new Waves Mastering suite.

Thanks for the great responses. I will check out the book on Amazon "The Mastering Engineers" handbook. I have seen that book for sale actually, and didn't buy it, mainly because the first few sentences were "I'm not a mastering engineer....but...!!!." However, after reading "The Mixing Engineers" handbook, I am sold on his technique. More as a researcher than anything. So, I will go check it out. I also found the book "Audio Mastering (Quick Start)" by Craig Anderton and will buy that one as well. You can never get enough knowledge.

Doug, thanks for the info on the mastering tools. I had no idea they mastered a version just for radio but that makes perfect sense. Sterling Sound told me they do "Internet mastering" as well just for WMA and mp3 formats. Anyone know what the trick is for Internet mastering? I would guess more mid range and less highs since popular Internet formats choke on high frequencies.

Well, here is what I am going to do. I found a mastering engineer that is going to master this track for free, then, if I like his work, I will have him master my future tracks. He told me to replace my mix EQs with the Waves Linear Phase EQs if I have the DSP that way my purchase was not a waste. Then, I can attempt to master it, and I can keep the version I like the best.

SO, I guess the main goal is to make the mix sound the same on all speaker types and that's why fresh ears help. I can see where this would be difficult. However, I have been doing that with my mixes for the past year and a half and limiting them as well. So, I guess I have been "mastering" in some ways. However, I never used a stereo EQ on the final mix or a multi-band compression, so those tools are new. I used Maxim before, but most people here do not like it. I plan on using the L2 now.

It sounds like good equipment is very important in the mastering phase. I think I may have better equipment than the mastering engineer I am going to use (better monitors, and processors. He has the original Waves Mastering series native). However, he has a lot more experience and the monitors probably don't matter too much if he is going to check the mix on all the speakers he can find.

Anyway. Thanks again!

Monty
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