Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
lolalola
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Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by lolalola » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:48 pm

So I've got a couple of songs, and they seem to be mixed well enough.. I want to put them out there on cd. Can I master them in Live, or should I be looking to other programs to do this...? I've a stack of vst's, but wouldn't know where to start.

If I do this in Live - what's the procedure? Advice most welcome people! :)

Poster
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by Poster » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:55 pm

yes, it can be done..
though expect to hear different opinions..

synnack
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by synnack » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:18 pm

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Pasha
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by Pasha » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:46 pm

Although not a pro, I mastered tracks using Live 8 only.
Of course Tarekith guide is a must read.
Follow my signature to listen to results

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UKRuss
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by UKRuss » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:16 pm

EQ8 in hi qual, multiband comp or single comp, Lives limiter. Lives noise shaping POW_R dither options. nice.

synnack
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by synnack » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:24 pm

Another tip: If you export a mixed track, then plan to master it like most people do... when you bring it back in a new set as a stereo file make sure you match the tempo of the original track or turn off warp for that clip.

I can't tell you how many times I've mastered a track in ableton and forgot to turn off warping and been like "hrm why does this sound worse?" or "this seems slower than before wtf??!?!?"

TURN OFF WARPING when mastering in Ableton.
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3phase
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by 3phase » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:59 pm

tempus3r wrote:
TURN OFF WARPING when mastering in Ableton.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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jonathan harker
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by jonathan harker » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:13 pm

i can recommend you bob katz. his page is very good!!!! http://www.digido.com/audiofaq.html
and his book is also nice!
cheers!

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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by mholloway » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:57 pm

Yes, you can do it all in Live, but I'd definitely recommend using 3rd party plugs rather than live's for your mastering chain.

-M
my industrial music made with Ableton Live (as DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER): https://deadwhenifoundher.bandcamp.com/
my dark jazz / noir music made with Ableton Live: https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp. ... guilt-noir

evernaut
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by evernaut » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:45 pm

Yes, certainly you can. In fact, I often use Live out of choice even though I have more suitable ( in some other ways) software like Wave Editor. I like to use a lot of automation even at the mastering stage to keep things fresh and breathing in the mix & Live is just so quick & intuitive for anything like that. WE still drives me nuts with its zoom functions and some of the confusing view options it uses.

I would say that you'd probably get better results, faster by using Ozone 4 within Live than by relying on Live's plugs alone too.

But it can be done & done well. Now whether your ears/room/monitors are tuned up is another matter entirely :)

lolalola
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by lolalola » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:22 am

mholloway wrote:Yes, you can do it all in Live, but I'd definitely recommend using 3rd party plugs rather than live's for your mastering chain.

-M

Any plug ins you can suggest?

leedsquietman
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by leedsquietman » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:52 am

mholloway has it right for me.

Live is seriously lacking in analytical tools, such as audio statistics, decent visual metering (yes, trust your ears first, but good metering is always a helpful bonus) and requires some 3rd party help. Adding the limiter and multiband dynamics in L8 was welcomed, but I personally prefer 3rd party versions with oversampling on the limiter and more algorithms (such as Voxengo Elephant 3).

So yes, Live can be used as the host, but IMHO you need other tools for mastering - so vst/au support from other parties will improve what you can do. I almost always tend to use Soundforge with it's excellent easy to use audio editing and stats analysis, together with 3rd party tools loaded up in the plugin chainer.

2 good free tools which will help are FLux's Stereotool which has a goniometer (phase meter), mono compatibility meter as well as capability for stereo widening. And Voxengo's SPAN, which is better than Spectrum in Live because it gives you level readings including peak and RMS levels.
http://soundcloud.com/umbriel-rising http://www.myspace.com/leedsquietmandemos Live 7.0.18 SUITE, Cubase 5.5.2], Soundforge 9, Dell XPS M1530, 2.2 Ghz C2D, 4GB, Vista Ult SP2, legit plugins a plenty, Alesis IO14.

Khazul
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by Khazul » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:07 am

evernaut wrote:I would say that you'd probably get better results, faster by using Ozone 4 within Live than by relying on Live's plugs alone too.
Period - not faster :)

Personally I dont rate Live's limiter and compressors for the job of pushing modern levels through post mix processing alone - you need to mix with this in mind (live compressors and EQ8 all have a place doing specific jobs, and often very well) - but it really depends on the material and what you are trying to do with it.

Ozone is a great bitt of kit to get you going - its probably the only all in one tool I can think of that actually gives you really complete set of stages. Its presets are actually very useable - often you can get away with little more than adjusting input level and overall EQ and that will give you a better result than and inexperienced user could ever get editing each of the stages from scratch, or using discrete plugins. But a half decent mastering engineer with his/her chosen tools will give you a much better job. Its weakest link IMHO is its limiter - if you drive it hard - it sounds horrible compared to several other mastering limiters available, though someone I very much respect here has said positive things about it too :)

So after all that - I dont actually like it very much as a tool chain and dont actually use it - too cluttered, lots of OK bits, but nothing outstanding and I really just dont get with its UI, though if I had to turn someones mix into an decent demo level master in a few minutes, I cant think of anything quicker. I personally prefer UAD precision series for compressors and limiter, Redline EQ or EQ8 and SPL Mk2T vitalizer for imaging and any clarity enhancement that might be needed. If a reverb is really needed at this stage, than Ill usually use Aether as thats the best reverb I have.

At the end of the day - Live is a good enough host to master in - no worse and no better than others *if* you have a useful set of plugins that give you decent metering options. I used to use Cubase for the job mainly because I could quickly export an mp3 as well, but I use Lame instead for that now.

For dance music producers, mastering in Live actually has alot of advantages - quick and easy to drop in different reference tracks, beatmatch them and mix to them to see if anything sticks out, or set up easily selectable horrible monitoring signal chains - for eg, EQ+Distortion+Delay+Reverb to simulate club/venue mush, or just EQ to roughly correspond to different sizes of speaker systems, car boom box etc :)

Mastering your own stuff however nearly allways fall foul of one really huge problem - you... Its a job that needs a fresh set of ears.
Nothing to see here - move along!

leedsquietman
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by leedsquietman » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:17 am

Other reasons I prefer Soundforge -

clipping detection, DC offset removal, clipped peak restoration tool, noise reduction, decrackler, easy export of just about any file format (wav/aiff, mp3, ogg, flac, aac, etc) and in conjunction with CD Architect (bundled), authoring of red book compliant CD or (since SF9) DVD-A or other formats. Acoustic Mirror *convolution reverb* is also occasionally useful with some nice Impulses and you can use regular .wav/.aiff impulses too. It also handles fades and crossfades quicker and with more precision.

I love Ozone's metering but I'm not a huge fan of the multiband compressor (great visuals though) OR the limiter if PUSHED HARD (they are OK with moderate use) nor do I like the mastering reverb. It's good value for the money though. Depending on program material, the presets can be a reasonable starting point or just plain horrible.
http://soundcloud.com/umbriel-rising http://www.myspace.com/leedsquietmandemos Live 7.0.18 SUITE, Cubase 5.5.2], Soundforge 9, Dell XPS M1530, 2.2 Ghz C2D, 4GB, Vista Ult SP2, legit plugins a plenty, Alesis IO14.

mholloway
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Re: Mastering my tracks in live - can it be done?

Post by mholloway » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:21 am

lolalola wrote: Any plug ins you can suggest?
Yes, but two notes first off: 1. mastering plugins tend to be some of the most expensive plugins out there, and 2. which is best and why is a very subjective, debatable issue. I simply tried lots of different things (pretty much everything has demos available) in different contexts and after lots of testing experiences, it was very clear to me which I liked best, and I bought those. I highly recommend checking out demos of many of Voxengo's products, as they are great to work with, sound good, and are vastly cheaper than most of their competition.

Limiter - Sonnox Limiter is for me the absolute best by a long shot; Voxengo Elephant is runner up.
Stereo FX - Sonalksis stereo tools all the way; tried the freebies and didn't like any of them.
EQ - PSP Neon ; Voxengo again has some nice options here too.
Multiband Compression - I really like the multiband comp included in Ozone 4: great GUI, great sound; Ozone 4 can also be used effectively for EQ and harmonic excitation. I do not care for it's limiter one bit, nor its stereo enhancement.
Also worth checking out is BBE Sonic Suite for harmonic excitation / loudness enhancement tools.

-M
Last edited by mholloway on Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
my industrial music made with Ableton Live (as DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER): https://deadwhenifoundher.bandcamp.com/
my dark jazz / noir music made with Ableton Live: https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp. ... guilt-noir

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