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  #1  
Old 03-23-2013, 02:12 PM
Jason Friel PT10 Jason Friel PT10 is offline
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Default Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Im using Pro Tools 10 at the minute in my home recording studio. I find my tracks very quiet when I bounce them to an MP3 file. How can I master the tracks easily in PT10?
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Usually you use a limiter at the last processing stage to bring the mix up to commercial levels.
For MP3's I use fairly aggressive high and low pass filters.
I also use a multiband compressor and linear phase eq.
I buss the mix to an aux track and insert the mastering plugins there.

I would not call it easy as mastering is it's own skill and really needs a good room/monitor setup, but you can get acceptable results at home.

Be sure to check the final files on a variety of different listening setups.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Friel PT10 View Post
How can I master the tracks easily in PT10?
At this stage, you can't. I'd recommend hiring a local mastering professional and go sit in on the session and pick their brain. There are also some books and tutorials you could use to help get you started.

Ultimately, if you're trying to learn how to record and mix now also, I'd concentrate on that and leave the mastering to the pro you hopefully meet (see above) until you're ready to tackle that.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

All you have to do is put a limiter on the main output, set the threshold so it cuts a couple of db's here and there, and bounce. This won't give you the crazy loudness that commersial stuff have, that requires professional help, but it will get you closer. (Remember that the master fader, as opposed to other PT faders are before the plugins in the signal chain, so if you move it, it will affect the input level on the limiter, and you have to adjust it again.)

I wish people would stop calling it "mastering".
The term comes from back when a "master mold" was needed for pressing vinyl. The mastering engineers job was to get the mix to translate well to the finished product, not nessesarily to improve it. The ME layed out the tracks, the distance between the grooves, maybe cut a little extreme lows to stop bleed. Translation from tape to vinyl. Analogue.

Professional mastering today is something else completely. No transition, it's all digital. Good, experienced ears that can perhaps give a little finishing touch to mixes and set the relative levels of songs. The sad thing is, because of the "volume war", these guy most often are asked to pump up the volume so much that it compromises quality. Squashing the peaks to raise the overall volume. Like a limiter does.

So one should think of the mix as the final stage. If you need to fix lots of stuff in "mastering", then your mix is incomplete. You should have fixed it in the mix.

So I think it's a complete misunderstanding when people sit at home, bounce their mix to a "mastering session", insert all kinds of multiband compressors, linear EQ's (sounds pro) to "better" the mix. In the same room, on the same monitors! Why didn't you do it in the mix?

Rant over.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2013, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Jenssen View Post
All you have to do is put a limiter on the main output, set the threshold so it cuts a couple of db's here and there, and bounce. This won't give you the crazy loudness that commersial stuff have, that requires professional help, but it will get you closer. (Remember that the master fader, as opposed to other PT faders are before the plugins in the signal chain, so if you move it, it will affect the input level on the limiter, and you have to adjust it again.)

I wish people would stop calling it "mastering".
The term comes from back when a "master mold" was needed for pressing vinyl. The mastering engineers job was to get the mix to translate well to the finished product, not nessesarily to improve it. The ME layed out the tracks, the distance between the grooves, maybe cut a little extreme lows to stop bleed. Translation from tape to vinyl. Analogue.

Professional mastering today is something else completely. No transition, it's all digital. Good, experienced ears that can perhaps give a little finishing touch to mixes and set the relative levels of songs. The sad thing is, because of the "volume war", these guy most often are asked to pump up the volume so much that it compromises quality. Squashing the peaks to raise the overall volume. Like a limiter does.

So one should think of the mix as the final stage. If you need to fix lots of stuff in "mastering", then your mix is incomplete. You should have fixed it in the mix.

So I think it's a complete misunderstanding when people sit at home, bounce their mix to a "mastering session", insert all kinds of multiband compressors, linear EQ's (sounds pro) to "better" the mix. In the same room, on the same monitors! Why didn't you do it in the mix?

Rant over.
Yes, it's technically called Pre Mastering. But it's just easier to say Mastering.

And no, it's not all done digitally these days. It of course has to END in the digital domain, but most highend Pre Mastering occurs in the analog domain.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2013, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmazurek View Post
And no, it's not all done digitally these days. It of course has to END in the digital domain, but most highend Pre Mastering occurs in the analog domain.
Of course I meant digitally, as opposed to tape, vinyl pressing, styluses and such.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2013, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Good advice already Since this is a learning process, here's more tidbits to get you thinking. The volume of the bounced file starts with....the volume/level of the mix. Do you have a master track?(you should). How high are the meters on the master track(for self-mastered stuff, I would shoot for well into the yellow, but without any red clips)? Starting with good mix level, then add a mastering limiter(Massey L2007 is a solid plugin at a stupidly good price if you don't have a good limiter yet). Set the limiter for an output ceiling of -.05 and lower the threshold until you see 2-3DB of reduction(no more). If its still not loud enough, stack another limiter in line(same rules apply). Personal choice only, but I almost always bounce to wave and create my mp3 version from that(have had inconsistency bouncing directly to mp3 with Pro Tools, although I will use it for something "quick and dirty"). If you record at 24 bit(and you SHOULD) you will want to add dither as the very last process(which often can be done WITH the limiter at the end of the insert chain). There's a lot to learn here so go slow, experiment a lot(don't be afraid to take notes) and don't expect miracles
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2013, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
and don't expect miracles
Why not? Disappointment builds character.
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2013, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

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Originally Posted by TOM@METRO View Post
Why not? Disappointment builds character.
That explains a lot......................
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Pro Tools 10 Mastering

Just to add to the confusion. I've been really pleased with Slate's FG-X as my final limiter. Don't know exactly how it does it but, at least to me, it gets it loud without it loosing all dynamics.

I do have a master buss compressor and EQ before it though to help dial it in before limiting. Also use a high pass filter, and maybe even a low pass filter, before the limiter. You more than likely have some super low end that know one will hear anyways that is wasting energy.
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