@ianuarius Mar 9
My album is going to be in Spotify next Friday.
I did the mastering myself, because mastering for 14 tracks (while possibly worth it) costs waaaay too much.
Here's what I did:
- Limiting and NY compression.
- Tape saturation.
- Level matching to make sure everything is a loud as the music on Spotify and that the tracks have a consistent volume.
- Subtle EQ changes to make the tracks fit together with each other better.
- Cutting the tracks to right length and making sure there aren't too long pauses at the end/beginning or no cutting audio.
@standup Mar 9
I put out an EP in January, and I used an actual mastering guy, who was reasonable priced: http://www.oldcolonymastering.com/
I have doubts about my mixing abilities, and I assume my mastering abilities are far worse (plus another set of ears using completely different equipment is a good idea.)
All my FAWM recordings were mixed using a limiter on the master buss, but no fancy mastering plugins or even EQ, I did the EQ channel by channel.
@ianuarius Mar 9
@oddbod I guess the general consensus is that if the difference is big, then you shoulda just mixed it again.
I watched some different mastering experts explain and show their process and it's that list I posted. Hopefully, the mastering will not make a big difference. Mix it until it sounds like the stuff on Spotify or whatever and then hand it to a mastering engineer.
What is part of the reason for the cost is a proper mastering room these guys have. They'll be able to hear all the right things that need to be tweaked and from experience know the best way to achieve whatever needs to be achieved.
The point of mastering isn't to change the sound of the music. You do that in mixing. The point is to make it fit whatever place you're trying to put it in.
@owl Mar 9
my past bands have almost always used Saff Mastering:
I've honestly never noticed any huge differences, but it's a lot of peace of mind to have a professional set of ears in a professional room doing the final adjustments and making sure everything is tagged and set up properly, and all the levels are right, before it goes to be duplicated.
@sapient Mar 9
I've had the last two Abomnium albums mixed and mastered at Skyhammer Studio, near Liverpool. The difference in sound between that, and what I can do at home is beyond extraordinary.
@johnstaples Mar 9
I'll never understand mastering. Why is it separate from mixing? Shouldn't the mixing engineer also have a great room and great equipment to use for this? And to those who say "another pair of ears" well, why stop there? Why not a 3rd engineer/2nd masterer? Or another bloke in the same studio where it was mixed?
I have sent tracks away for mastering and had them come back pretty much the same as when they left. Maybe I mixed them great?
Anyway, I try and simply trust my ears and Ozone! My process is,
- mix using a reference
- apply Ozone and fiddle with various presets until it sounds like my reference
- listen in headphones, cheap computer speakers, a nice stereo and my car
- if it still sounds pretty good I release it into the wild
@standup Mar 9
@oddbod I feel like the difference for my EP was incremental. Better, but not day and night. Like Owl I like the idea of one more pro set of ears on the project.
Maybe if I could afford Bob Ludwig it would have been amazing! Or maybe the other engineer and I did a pretty good job.
At any rate, if you look at the commercially produced music you listen to, most likely somebody has a mastering credit. So I go with the idea there’s probably a reason for that. When I can afford it, I’ll do it.
@guatecoop Mar 10
The one that @zecoop mentioned is aria mastering. I don't think that it tops a real person. I use www.caulifloweraudio.com for mastering by a real person. His name is Adam and he's great. Additionally, they do great mastering for vinyl and have a Nuemann lathe for cutting the masters, too.
@scottlake Mar 10
@oddbod I will send you some of your FAWM tracks where I have applied various EQ and multiband dynamic processing and limiting with different presets of the plugin I use for putting a shine on things. I will not call it mastering. Pick which song from this FAWM and I'll send a handful of versions of the same song. Post a .wav file of your song first to your google drive and send me the link. As for the process to get the mastered for iTunes label, here's an interesting link - I make no promises about it's accuracy but it seems legit.
@jacobeverettwallace Mar 10
I used Stephen Marsh of Marsh Mastering in LA because I wanted some analog goodness on my record and he gave me a good deal. ("Orange Haze" - Jacob Everett Wallace on Spotify/iTunes/AppleMusic/etc)
I think mastering is subtle but I could tell a difference. I've A/B'd it with big money tracks and it's pretty on par. Best part is I recorded the guitars and vocals with a $100 mic. Ha.
Mastering is kind of subjective. Personally, I think a second pair of ears on mastering after whoever mixed it is a good policy.
@oddbod Mar 10
I get how the "second pair of ears" would be a very useful thing. Someone objective whose ears you trust to point out things you may have missed. That's something not necessarily restricted to just part of the mastering process really though.
I guess what I'm really after is some sort of justification about 3rd party mastering. To hear before/after versions and be able to decide whether the difference is worth it.
In which case I need to send a couple of my own tracks off somewhere.
I have this idea that mastering puts this somewhat intangible "polish" on a track. I need to either confirm or dispel that idea.
@boyatheart Mar 10
It's not really about a 2nd pair of ears, It's about making sure the final product is as compatible as possible across different playback systems.
So you mix on your system that sounds a certain way and you compensate to make it sound right. You then send it to a mastering engineer who has a far superior playback system which is tuned to have far, far less sonic limitations. (i.e. an acoustically tuned room and very expensive speakers). That is what you're paying for.
I don't do a great deal of mastering, but when I do I don't charge a lot because I haven't made that huge investment in equipment or room, but I'm familiar with the quirks of my own monitoring system and know how it sounds like the back of my hand, which in turn means I have learned how to make it work when played on different systems.
Can you do it yourself with a plugin? Of course and it'll probably be fine. That's what I did with my FAWM demos.