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Old 02-23-2007, 11:09 AM
Torchlight Torchlight is offline
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Default Mastering in ProTools with Waves Masters Plugs

I just want to get some opinions here. For those of you who use the Waves Masters plugs (LinEQ, LinMB, and L2), I was wondering what you would do in this situation. When mastering an album that contains some songs that are purely solo instruments, like classical guitar for instance, would you consider completely bypassing the LinMB (multiband compressor) and just using the LinEQ Parametric EQ and the L2 limiter for that tune? When I applied the LinMB to a solo classical guitar it seemed like overkill to me. The thresholds for each band, especially the low and low mids were so low that the LinMB hugely compensated with the auto makeup gain. I think this happened because I had to pull the master threshold down very low to get the LinMB to even kick in. Naturally the auto makeup gain boosted the output gain quite high. So high in fact that it sounded a bit unnatural. I have heard that when mastering a song that has nothing more than a solo instrument with predictable dynamics (no spikes, etc.) some engineers just bypass the multiband compression and go straight to the final limiter (L2). Anyway, if there were any nasty spikes they should have been dealt with during mixing. Any thoughts?

Torchlight
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Old 02-24-2007, 01:01 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Mastering in ProTools with Waves Masters Plugs

Deep subject.....so here's my take. Mastering is part art and part science. It is also a skill that takes a long time to master(DOH) and I highly recommend you send your stuff to a real mastering engineer. Now having said that, I sometimes find myself having to "master" a project due to budget limits. Now I don't consider myself a mastering engineer(hence the quotation marks) so this is what I would do. Keep it simple(i.e. don't overdo it and make a mess). I would use judicious amounts of L2 and linear phase EQ. With L2, don't let it hit more than 2db of reduction and if that still sounds too much, then it IS too much. I haven't done much solo instrument stuff so I am no authority. As for the EQ, before you do anything, are your speakers high quality AND is your room acoustically treated for balanced response(especially in the low frequencies)? If not, plan on making modest adjustments and burning audio CD's so you can listen on several other systems before you settle on the best EQ settings. I would avoid the multiband compressor entirely(just me) because; it can do great things if used correctly. And it can dig you into a hole like you've never been in before. If you're bold, remember, small steps are the key. But a good way to learn that plugin IS to tweak and listen/learn what happens. Just don't expect perfection the first time out(or the second....third...)
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:37 PM
bugnut bugnut is offline
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Default Re: Mastering in ProTools with Waves Masters Plugs

For solo classical guitar I would begin by using single-band compression possibly with a side-chain HPF set somewhere between 80-100hz. (Low E sting is around 82 hz.) Set the exact frequency of the side-chain so that you maintain the attack and openess of the low notes. This will also make sure you are not compressing any "rumble" from the recorded environment. Use a ratio of about 1.5-2.0, an attack somewhere between 20-70ms and a release between 250-400. Go for 1-2 db compression max. Be careful not to kill the natural dynamics of the instrument and begin to worry if you hear your high end dying. Personally. I don't like the Waves LinMB. I prefer the C4 or better yet the Renaissance compressor.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:26 PM
Torchlight Torchlight is offline
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Default Re: Mastering in ProTools with Waves Masters Plugs

Thanks for the advice guys! I am always extremely careful when I use compression. I have used the LinMB quite alot on full mixes, but never on a solo instrument like a classical guitar. I will probably resort to small amounts of compression on a single band comp.

Thanks,

Torchlight
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