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  #1  
Old 02-03-2004, 09:36 AM
Bermaster Bermaster is offline
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Default mastering, what to do and what not to do

I have a general question. My band and I are about to begin recording a full length album. Are there any specific things we should avoid or keep in mind as far as maintaining the best mixes we can before bringing to a mastering house? I heard things about normalization and how it can harm your recordings before mastering. I tend to use normalization often to bring up levels of volume-lacking tracks. Anyone have anything on the subject of mastering?

Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:39 AM
Zetajazz44 Zetajazz44 is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

Here's the link to one of the best mastering threads on this board in a while:

How Does My Mastering Compare to Yours
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:49 AM
Rabidium Rabidium is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

Well, that thread's been good, but I don't know that it's addressing his specific questions.

AFAIK, Normalizing doesn't do anything to the sound but bring it's highest peak to threshold. I don't think this can have adverse effects on your mix unless you put effects on it before sending it out to mix/master, then it can clip.

I think you want to concentrate on getting a good sound that doesn't clip, doesn't even come close to clipping really. If you want to be able to hear a track during recording, slap an RTAS limiter on there and you'll be able ot hear the instrument. Then you can just strip out all effects before mixing.
-Olaf
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:58 AM
pk_hat pk_hat is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

This website should be a good read for anyone interested in mastering, whether at home or by a professional. The book you see promoted on the site should be on everyone's bookshelf, as it's not just for mastering.
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:03 AM
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lemix lemix is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do


Bermaster, ,

There are a lot of things you can do to make your final master better and make the mastering engineer's job easier. Here are some hints, I usually give to my clients :

-find out beforehand what media/fileformats they can work with
-use the highest possible bit resoluton & sample rate you can work with...and stay w/it till the end. Do not convert/dither
-use compression/limiting on individual tracks only (for impact,tone,sustain)., leave the master fader's inserts alone
-leave some ( -2 dBFS ) headroom open
-give the mastering house a few alternate mixes ( more/less >>bass;lead vox;stereo spread )
-leave top and tail "handles" ( silence/room tone before-after the take )
-do not "normalize"

I'm sure someone else will jump in...

hope this helps,
cheers,
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:29 AM
SSRJazz SSRJazz is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

Quote:
AFAIK, Normalizing doesn't do anything to the sound but bring it's highest peak to threshold. I don't think this can have adverse effects on your mix unless you put effects on it before sending it out to mix/master, then it can clip.
I'm not sure which method PT uses but it depends on -how- you normalize it. For example, the last time I used it in SoundForge (v4.0...been awhile) there were two normalization methods: Peak to Threshold and RMS. Peak To Threshold would behave as you describe, but the RMS method would just bring up the level of wav w/o much regard to whether your peaks would clip or not. Actually, I think SF did try to do some compression on your peaks...but it usually ended up sounding horrible.

Turn up your monitors and get your mix sounding the way you want it. It'll be the mastering house's job to bring up the level and do the mastering.

-or-... if you really have a problem with that. Save up yer pennies and buy waves' L2 plugin.

=)
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:47 AM
Bermaster Bermaster is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

you guys are great...
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:50 AM
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lemix lemix is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AFAIK, Normalizing doesn't do anything to the sound but bring it's highest peak to threshold. I don't think this can have adverse effects on your mix unless you put effects on it before sending it out to mix/master, then it can clip.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I'm not sure which method PT uses but it depends on -how- you normalize it. For example, the last time I used it in SoundForge (v4.0...been awhile) there were two normalization methods: Peak to Threshold and RMS. Peak To Threshold would behave as you describe, but the RMS method would just bring up the level of wav w/o much regard to whether your peaks would clip or not. Actually, I think SF did try to do some compression on your peaks...but it usually ended up sounding horrible

>>

exactly...professional mastering places ideally would have better algorithm/DSP solutions for managing levels, thus outcome of final master will ( possibly ) be superior.

cheers,
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Old 02-03-2004, 11:57 AM
GapeOne GapeOne is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

Quote:

-leave some ( -2 dBFS ) headroom open

What exactly does this mean?

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Old 02-03-2004, 12:08 PM
hurdy gurdy hurdy gurdy is offline
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Default Re: mastering, what to do and what not to do

What he means is don't SLAM your levels (to 0 dbfs) to full scale on the master fader with a limiter plug-in (or just your mix in general on the master fader) as to leave the mastering engineer some room to work.
L.A.Branville
PS. Quote: "Don't touch my levels now, I have them set just the way I want them".
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