mastering with ableton

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
stpetersrcuk
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mastering with ableton

Post by stpetersrcuk » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:40 pm

Hiya,

I am after peoples top 5 (or top 10) tips/pointers on mastering with ableton.

I have recorded a band and am after getting the best quality results.

Only have ableton at moment to produce the finished product.

Track consists of Drum, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Rhythm/Lead Guitar, single Vocal.

All i know at moment is how to drop on reverb and compression :)

Thanks.

Tone Deft
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Tone Deft » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:48 pm

don't use compressors unless you HAVE TO. casual use of them will only kill the dynamics of the band.

the mix shouldn't represent you, it should represent the band. don't mess with what you don't have to. mix with your ears not your eyes.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

Tarekith
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:34 pm


Simbosan
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Simbosan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:18 am

EITHER: Get a copy of Ozone and go through the steps I did:

1) Loudness Maximiser: Use it and go WOW!, overuse it, come back a week later and realise you crushed the death out of everything and dial it back to sane levels.
2) Exciter: Use it and go WOW!, over use it, come back a week later and... you get the picture?
3) Compressor: I seldom compress anything, it takes the air and space out. Unless of course you WANT a heavily squeezed compressed sound like metal or something. Me, I like space and stuff that pings out at you.
4) EQ: Subtle again is good. The mix should be EQ'd right anyway.
5) Stereo image, widen the high freq stuff, narrow the low freq stuff. Even that's over simplifying, but it was a while before I moved beyond that idea.

I find it a great tool for an idiot like me though, just be subtle about it, read up a bit and you will start to learn =) It's really well worth starting on, fascinating subject.

OR:

Use what comes with live, you have EQ8 with mid-side, you have multiband compressors, reverbs, limiters. Lots of stuff. Trouble is, for me, Ozone taught me a lot about that stuff before I would have had a clue what to do with the Ableton plugins. There is no way round it, you need to learn the stuff.

OR: None of the above, there are many plugins that help mastering (the accepted wisdom is that you cannot master your own tracks) I just picked Ozone cos its a one stop shop simple plugin.

S
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Tarekith
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:03 am

Main point I would always stress when it comes to mastering, is to make sure that anything you do in the mastering phase is actually NEEDED, versus you just using something that's at your disposal. It's very easy to add a plug in and turn some knobs, you hear that you changed something, so it must be better, right? Like Simbosan said, most people will use all the tools that Ozone has, simple because they are there, and people think that because they are there they must be used. Come back to it a few days (or even years) later, and you realize you over did it for the wrong reasons.

It's like painting a house when you're done building it. Sure, you can use ALL the different brushes and colors in your tool kit while you paint, but is that really going to create the nicest looking house when you're done? Or would you have been better off just using the best, most efficient brush for the task, along with only a couple of really well thought out colors? Never use a tool unless you HEAR a need for it. If it's not solving a problem, it's creating one.

And yes, my analogies are crap tonight, sorry :)

Simbosan
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Simbosan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:25 am

Actually I thought that was a pretty good analogy!

One thing that continues to defeat me is loudness, loud always sounds betterer, science! So what happens is this; you tweak some control, everything gets louder and therefore your ear tells you that you just improved it, so you go away happy.... wrong.

It ain't necessarily so. Some tools offer auto-gain compensation so that you aren't just hearing the volume going up, but most don't. To hear the difference between something sounding better, and something sounding better cos it's louder still regularly defeats me.

S
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Room full of guitars!
Akai EWI USB : Loads of Sample Modeling instruments (the best ever!)
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Tarekith
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:50 am

There's nothing wrong with loud being better, nothing at all (well, minus hearing loss at extremes of course). What's wrong, is HOW you get that loudness. Squashing all the dynamics out of your music to make it SEEM louder, is going to pale in comparison to just turning up the volume knob of the playback device. Thinking you have to COMPETE with other producers to have a loud sounding track is self-defeating in the end. You throw away all that hard work you did when making that track in the first place.

There's a point beyond which it just doesn't sound better, it sounds worse really loud (squashed). There's nothing wrong with a little nip and tuck here and there to even things out, or even to be roughly in the same ballpark as some releases. Problem is, it takes a long time to learn how and when too much is too much, and most producers are too poor (or impatient) to hire someone to help with this.

Luckily, more and more producers are finally becoming savy to this, and asking for really squashed masters less and less. Let's hope that trned continues as people become more educated about what the trade offs are to a hot master.

3phase
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by 3phase » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:56 am

And No5: dont use live for mastering purposes
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Simbosan
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Simbosan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:18 am

stpetersrcuk wrote:Hiya,
I am after peoples top 5 (or top 10) tips/pointers on mastering with ableton.
6. Don't feed the trolls
Ableton 9 Suite - Ozone 5
Room full of guitars!
Akai EWI USB : Loads of Sample Modeling instruments (the best ever!)
M-Audio FastTrack Pro
Turbo Nutter B*stard >>>> WINDOWS <<<< PC
Simbosan on Soundcloud

3phase
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by 3phase » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:11 am

Simbosan wrote:
stpetersrcuk wrote:Hiya,
I am after peoples top 5 (or top 10) tips/pointers on mastering with ableton.
6. Don't feed the trolls

troll? abletons semigod henke has given that advice here on the forum
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Forge.
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Forge. » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:57 am

like Tarekith I think I should also post my stock reply on my blog so that I can just link it, but it's essentially the same point anyway - focus on the mixing, don't worry about mastering..... get the mixing right and you won't really need to worry about it, and a mastering engineer is going to be better anyway, and labels will usually send it to one anyway....

oh wait, I did blog it: http://www.abletontrainer.com/?p=242 ;-)

Pasha
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Pasha » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:06 am

Tarekith wrote:My standard reply:

http://tarekith.com/assets/mastering.html


:D
This changed my life years ago. + 1000 :mrgreen:
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IP
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by IP » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:08 am

I currently use live and some favorite plugins on the master and i cant see (or hear) something wrong with this! :|

Of-course the kind of mastering we are talking here is "ITB demo mastering" right?

i mean we cant do (or compare) the job of an engineer with 20 years of experience in mastering and a warehouse full of outboards.

Tarekith
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by Tarekith » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:48 pm

For most people mastering with Live is just fine. It might not have the best workflow compared to a dedicated wav editor, and you're not going to be burning CDs with it, but it can do a fine job if you avoid some of the more common issues:

- Don't warp things if you don't need to.

- Don't use Live for changing sample rates, this is what Henke was referring to. There are definitely much better sounding tools for this.

manwell
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Re: mastering with ableton

Post by manwell » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:50 pm

Hi, I just got a bit paranoid that I might be making mistakes when I'm mastering my stuff! :oops:

I have been rendering my mixes to 24bit and then reimporting unwarped into a project with Ozone on the master channel set to 16bit for dithering and sample rate conversion purposes, then rendering to 16bit for the mastered version. I'm using Live 6 at the moment so there are no dithering options in Live itself. Does this sound like a sensible way of producing my master files?

Thanks

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