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  #1  
Old 02-21-2000, 10:22 AM
Alberto Tarin Alberto Tarin is offline
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Location: Valencia (Spain)
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Default tips for mastering

Hi¡ I´m new into PTLE. I have to mastering some projects and I am really scared. How can I get similar equalisation on all songs?. What compressor relation (ratio) must I use?. How can I get the best signal (normalize? maximize?). The only thing that I have heard working fine is the TC finalizer, but it´s too expensive for me. I have a composer from behringer but it doesn´t do what I want.Anybody knows something not expensive for do this?. Or what are the steps do I need to do?(ex.1st compressor, then maximize and finally limiting, or 1st normalize, then compressor... What about ULTRAFEX II from behringer? anybody can help me ? Thanks.
Tarin
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2000, 07:03 PM
Sinboy Sinboy is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

Hi Tarin.
I would suggest compressing first and then normalize. Or better yet, Normalize, Compress and normalize again.
But you should watch your levels from your first recording, so that you should use the full dynamic of PT, therefor you shouldn't need to normalize BEFORE compression.
I strongly recommend a software compressor. I don't know which one, though (I use Logic Audio's compressor). It will be easier to use, You'll stay in the digital domain, It should be cheaper.

The most important thing for compression and EQ is to educate your ears. Try, listen don't be afraid of trying extreme settings, just to see why they don't work (if they don't). Burn a CD. Listen to it on your friend's hifi, your car...then come back and correct your mix. Do that for about 10 years, and you should be able to do a decent mix ;-)

Good luck.
David.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2000, 02:04 AM
BHeller BHeller is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

Dave's right...Mastering is a fine art and not for the faint of heart (which is why I don't do all that much of it, but I spent some time with people who do)!

IMHO, The biggest thing you want to focus on is to seve the material you are working with. Try and see what type of material you have, perhaps what kind of things the mix engineer was trying to across in his mix. Then completment those, or temper them. I would avoid outboard gear unless it's high end- cheap compressors will ruin the track and add more noise. Many people like to use the Waves plug ins. The Native Power Pack offers a LOT for under $500 and most of it of the highest quality. The L1 limiter is a popular mastering tool these days.

That said, AVOID over-compression and the compultion squah everything and master too hot. AVOID over-EQing unless the sounds are awful and you can't get anything re-done. These things are quite noticeable on a track when a mastering engineer has tampered too much. On the other hand, you will may have to fine-tune the mix with EQ or solidify the mix with some LIGHT compression (start at 3:1 or 4:1). Basically, whatever you're going to tweak is going to have to serve the purpose of balaning + solidifying 1)amplitude or 2)frequency- may sound obvious, but you can organize your thinking that way.

just my 2 cents- hope it helps! Good luck...
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2000, 06:28 AM
Alberto Tarin Alberto Tarin is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

Thank you very much Sinboy and BHeller. Your comments make me thing I am in the right way. I think my problem is trying to be a guitar player and a sound engineer too and you can´t really do your best in two different things like this. I think I am going to work as I do but with the Waves pack, working with my ears and then finalizing on L1. Another important thing for me is the speakers you use. I am 6 years working with NS-10 M only and now I am working more with my good headphones AKG K240 because my ears are saturated because of the yamaha´s, I find difficult to mis in this speakers. I have worken in other studio with Genelec and the different worths. So I am thinking in invest in health and look for the Gen stuff. Thank you again
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2000, 09:16 PM
Preston Klik Preston Klik is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

In my opinion, YOU shouldn't master at all.
Have someone else do it, somewhere else,
with diifferent ears and different monitors
and in a different room.
YOUR ears and weaknesses as a mixer
are still with you if you master yourself.
The same equipment and room's faults
are still there.
But if you take it elsewhere,
you'll get FRESH eras and FRESH speakers
and a FRESH room.
And FREASH perspective on your mix.

I am not a mastering engineer.
NOt even close.
That's the point.
I've seen what these guys can do,
and I ALWAYS trun my mixes over to them
now that I've done it once.
They straightened out my audio
"personality defects".

If you can, go with someone else.
Don't try to do it all yourself.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2000, 01:32 AM
JMan JMan is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

I would agree with Preston! I do a little bit of mastering work, mainly tape restoration - mastering, but it's usually from someone who can't afford to go to a mastering house, or the material isn't really worth taking it to. Mastering is a whole different ball-park. Sure, there are extremely experienced engineers out there who can mix and master both. I would suggest sticking to one aspect and "master" that. I love providing mobile on-site recording services. This is where I excell at. I do most of my own mixes, but not all the time. And, I very rarely master. First of all, there are big differences between Waves' plugs, a dbx Quantum, a Finalizer, etc.. I use these these myself, but when I need a job "actually mastered" I take it to a mastering house with a Mastering Engineer that specializes in just that.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2000, 01:38 AM
BHeller BHeller is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

Very much agreed! If you find a good engineer, your dollar is always well-spent! Best of luck!
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2000, 11:54 PM
Dean Bohana Dean Bohana is offline
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Location: N.Y. N.Y. USA
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Default Re: tips for mastering

HogWilly! Look how far you've come, doing digital recording on a computer, applying and tweaking plug ins, automating a mix...Why Stop There?! Great mastering plug-ins are available offordably so, so why not go for it and attempt to Master, seeing your projects through to the end? Leave final mixdown to it's own dedicated day; Audition your mix on every gizmo you can find. You can become the Master of Mastering.

Just like to talk, DB (that's right, hogwilly!)
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2000, 09:46 PM
Sir Bob Sir Bob is offline
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Default Re: tips for mastering

If we had a lot of money then going to a mastering house would be the best bet. Unfortuately some of us must try to do the best we can at home.

Has anybody tried T-racks? I have heard a demo and the compressor sounded great.
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2000, 10:06 AM
MichaelK MichaelK is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Default Re: tips for mastering

When you say "mastering" I wonder about your end use. If you are producing your final master to press a few thousand CDs to sell, I would suggest taking to a Mastering house and letting a pro mastering engineer do his/her thing. One, because you'll hear the difference, and two, because you want another set of ears - PROFESSIONAL ears.

If you just want a great sounding demo, as close to a professionally mastered CD as you can reasonably produce on your own, I have found the Waves L1 Ultra Maximizer (included in their Native Power Pack) to be an invaluable tool. I took their "16-bit Final Master" preset and tweaked it just slightly: set the output limit to -1dB and the noise shaping to "Normal." Left everything else the same and saved it as a user preset. I use it as the last insert on the Master fader when bouncing to disc, and I have been very happy with the results.

I don't have the training or expertise of an engineer, so my concern is that in the effort to make my CDs sound "just so" I might over-process the signal and not hear it at the time. I think my monitor setup is pretty darned good, but I know it's not perfect. I trust the folks at Waves to know their stuff when it comes to the presets, but I read up on it as well and make small adjustments based on what the documentation says and what I'm hearing. I don't even try to start from ground zero.

------------------
- Michael
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