Mixdown

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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jezjonson
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Mixdown

Post by jezjonson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Is it better to get a professional to do the mastering? and if so, is it better to use no plug-ins on the master channel before sending to the mastering engineer. Is this good practice?

Is Olav Basoski telling us about plug ins for Mastering or for Mixdown in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9TzdyxHi4M

Tarekith
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Re: Mixdown

Post by Tarekith » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:09 pm

Is it better to have someone who specializes in mixing do it versus doing it yourself if you're not that good at it? Sure! Can you always afford it? Probably not :) Here's a few tips and tricks for mixing and mastering that might clear up the process if you want to try it yourself though:

http://tarekith.com/assets/pdfs/Mixdowns.pdf

http://tarekith.com/assets/pdfs/Mastering.pdf

Maybe those will help clear up some of your questions.

Sage
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Re: Mixdown

Post by Sage » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Some people like to mix with very subtle compression on the master channel (Ratio of like 1:1.5-2, gain reduction of 1-2dB at most), but generally plugins shouldn't be on the master when mixing. It is better to get a professional to do mastering if you can afford to.

vitalispopoff
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Re: Mixdown

Post by vitalispopoff » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:22 am

Some mastering engineers appreciate having the raw version for work, and customer's master version. It depends on the person though.
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Eventful
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Re: Mixdown

Post by Eventful » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:02 am

Sometimes I wonder if he isn't just begging us to keep our mastering chains free of our effects processing so that they'll sound weak and meh. So that we'll pay him to do it for us.

Just a thought.
funken wrote: The whipping must put air in and this stops it exploding.

stringtapper
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Re: Mixdown

Post by stringtapper » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:15 am

Eventful wrote:
Sometimes I wonder if he isn't just begging us to keep our mastering chains free of our effects processing so that they'll sound weak and meh. So that we'll pay him to do it for us.

Just a thought.
I heard he puts out all those other free tutorials as a smokescreen to make him look objective and unbiased so that we will fall into his evil capitalist clutches when we read the mastering tutorial.

True story that.
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Tarekith
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Re: Mixdown

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:15 am

That's exactly it, you found me out. :(

In general I tell people that if that have compression and limiting on the master channel just to make things sound loud, then they should liely take them off. If they have a favorite compressor they like to mix into, that's fine too, but I usually ask for a version without too just in case I want to try something new.

willdahbe
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Re: Mixdown

Post by willdahbe » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:42 am

Warning: Rant

It couldn't hurt to have a dedicated mastering professional sweeten up your mixdown. Although, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it for yourself though. The more you do it the more you'll learn.

As these things go there are no rules, mix your track with a mastering chain on the main out, or do a mixdown with no eq's, compressors anywhere on the track. The more I keep making this musical journey I find that listening and following what people say is kind of a bunch of b.s. "you can't do this, you should do that" Sure there's a lot of information from people on here and all over the net that's helped me tremendously along the way, but you have to do what you think is right. I'm not going to drop names, but there are a lot of people that do their mixdowns with a full mastering chain on while composing and finish the track without anyone else touching it. With surprisingly good results sometimes (more dynamics and whatnot)

I'm going to eat my own words though and say there are things you probably shouldn't do. Like put a compressor, limiter or heavily eq your master channel if you're going to send it off to a professional. Either way, don't listen to me and try out whatever you want.

Btw I still have a long ways to go in getting my tracks sounding professional.

southsounder
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Re: Mixdown

Post by southsounder » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:50 am

Almost laughing too hard to reply, but had to offer up some props to Tarekith since he just mastered my new ambient/drone album.

Do you need a professional mastering engineer to finish your work? Absolutely not. With a few basic tools, time and patience you can do a respectable job on your own. I've mastered every one of my albums prior to this one and they turned out sounding just fine.

That being said, I learned a fair bit about the mastering process doing it myself, and there are few real benefits to having a professional do the work.

1) Good sounding room & gear. The biggie. Mastering in a dodgy room or with shitty speakers can be done, but it is a royal PITA. Plus what makes a decent mixing setup does not necessarily make a decent mastering setup. Count on endless revisions burned to CD and carted around to various stereo systems to get a real world reference check. You'll spend a lot of time on this.

2) Having and understanding the proper software. Can you master an album with Waves Native Power Pack or something similar? Yep. But any software has a learning curve. If you're not an expert on your mastering platform be prepared to spend a lot of time getting intimately familiar with it.

3) Understanding the mastering process. Basics are getting track-to-track EQ and levels balanced so the songs flow from track to track. Then comes correcting issues which were not noticed or addressed in mixing, such as clicks (ahem) or timbral problems. Bonuses are getting the songs to sound similar to others in the same genre. Extra bonuses are adding creative touches to the overall sound of the album. Each of these take proportionately greater amounts of time for someone who does not do them on a regular basis.

So far, the only thing that really separates the amateur from the professional is time. Lots of time. What we can do in 2 days a professional can do in 2 hours. Same principle applies to car maintenance and hanging drywall. How much is your time worth to you?

4) Objectivity. This one is a little different, and it's the main reason I decided to have someone else master this album. How many times have you listened to your songs by the time the mixes are finally done? Can you really listen to them objectively? In my case I knew the mixes so well that any little change sounded "wrong", just because it was different. A second set of ears can help with the big picture, and my case that was worth spending some dough on.

Can friends provide the same objectivity? Sure, but can their input be quickly translated into changes that in turn translate to the real world well? See #1-3 above.

In the end, could I have done as good a job as Takerith did? Probably, but it would have taken me a hell of a lot longer and I wouldn't have had the added perspective of someone who has mastered who-knows-how-many tracks. Plus, given our different equipment and experience my approach would have certainly differed from his. So regardless of whether the results were "better" or "worse" they definitely would not have sounded the same. For an album which I created & mixed solo getting someone else's take on the mastering really took the album to a level that I would not have reached on my own.

Or maybe I'm just rationalizing my own capitalist victimization... :wink:

jezjonson
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Re: Mixdown

Post by jezjonson » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:24 pm

great replies guys.

Can anyone shed any light on the Olav Basoski video though?

Is Olav Basoski telling us about plug ins for Mastering or for Mixdown in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9TzdyxHi4M
Cheers

Tarekith
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Re: Mixdown

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:14 pm

Looks like he's using those on the master channel, so mastering most likely.

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