Mastering

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
PCLewsen
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Mastering

Post by PCLewsen » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:30 am

I am currently having a problem finding out how to tune my bass/synth right so that it goes along with the drums & doesn't override them or cause unwanted distortion. I want to know how to have a pumping house beat with solid fat drums and fat chords without it sounding uneven.

timothyallan
Posts: 5788
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:05 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia
Contact:

Re: Mastering

Post by timothyallan » Sun Sep 28, 2014 1:21 am

That's mixing, not mastering. Unless you mean mastering mixing, then yes, that's correct. Once you've mastered mixing, it will become second nature.

infernal.machine
Posts: 1051
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Mastering

Post by infernal.machine » Sun Sep 28, 2014 3:04 am

Yes I believe indeed you have been keen to mix mixing with mastering, unless you are betwixt and between and mixed mastering with another thing.

PCLewsen
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Re: Mastering

Post by PCLewsen » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:35 pm

Oh okay. Any tips on helping my bass/leads stand out in my mix without overriding my drums?

JoshG567
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:42 pm

Re: Mastering

Post by JoshG567 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:11 pm

Frequency wise, try looking at both spectra in EQ8, see how they're crowding and apply some filtering/cuts/boosts to fix it.

Amplitude wise, maybe you could side-chain compress (maybe broadband or maybe multiband) one from another so its level ducks when the other peaks.

Just keep in mind that the maximum amplitude/frequency in a recorded mix is ultimately finite - you have to keep the container from overflowing.

If your ears don't know what to do, your eyes can help you (look at the spectra).

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Mastering

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:47 pm

PCLewsen wrote:I am currently having a problem finding out how to tune my bass/synth right so that it goes along with the drums & doesn't override them or cause unwanted distortion. I want to know how to have a pumping house beat with solid fat drums and fat chords without it sounding uneven.
Search the forums for "gain staging". Typically, what you do will — in my personal experience at least — typically sound like crap until you apply knowledge about how to set proper levels in the digital sound chain. Gain staging is both about simple ideas and a bit complicated at first to feel at home with, but it will sound much better in the end.
The fast tip: don't put all audio at 0dBFS, especially not drums and bass. You have 24 to 32bits to play with and there's typically no need to be afraid of noise levels (which once was possibly a valid reason for cramming as much amplitude as possible into a track).

Try with for example a Nominal Peak level of -12dBFS and Normal operating level of -20dBFS. This leaves headroom that can be used at the actual mastering stage. Don't try and master when you're making a mix!

What was said about EQing and sidechains is also true and these are important tools. As with any tools none of them should be overused.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Make some music!

iamcluster12
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Mastering

Post by iamcluster12 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:40 pm

Yeah this is definitely a mixing issue, too many clashing frequencies, try a bit of research into "mixdowns" ;)

re:dream
Posts: 4562
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: Mastering

Post by re:dream » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:32 pm

http://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/ ... tiAnalyzer

A great tool for seeing where your frequencies are overlapping or clashing too much.

PCLewsen
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Re: Mastering

Post by PCLewsen » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:54 pm

Thanks guys. I am definitely going to look this stuff up. If anyone has some links to share, i would really appreciate it

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Mastering

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:56 pm

re:dream wrote:http://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/ ... tiAnalyzer

A great tool for seeing where your frequencies are overlapping or clashing too much.
You think this also works for people not hearing obvious issues already? Like a learning tool? It seems to me the Spectrum Analyzer would be enough visual feedback to get EQing pointed in the right area and then your ears could do the rest of the guiding needed.

I'll try this out, so thanks.
Make some music!

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Mastering

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:04 pm

PCLewsen wrote:Thanks guys. I am definitely going to look this stuff up. If anyone has some links to share, i would really appreciate it
I was meaning to post the Sound on Sound article on Gain Staging. Here is the link to that

Gain Staging In Your DAW Software (September 2013 by Matt Houghton).
Make some music!

PCLewsen
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Re: Mastering

Post by PCLewsen » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:37 pm

Spectrum is very complicated to me, i have no idea how to adjust it or use it. I am definitely going to read these articles. I have a decent 5.1 surround sound stereo in my room, do you think that I will be able to hear the EQ?

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Mastering

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:08 pm

PCLewsen wrote:Spectrum is very complicated to me, i have no idea how to adjust it or use it. I am definitely going to read these articles. I have a decent 5.1 surround sound stereo in my room, do you think that I will be able to hear the EQ?
Basically you put it up on full screen as a visual aid to see where to place cuts and other EQ adjustments.

I wouldn't make any major adjustments on a surround system unless you're releasing on that format. I assume you can set the system to stereo mode.
When you write the music it of course doesn't matter as much as when mastering, but you shouldn't make changes you can't redo later on that system IMHO.
Make some music!

JoshG567
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:42 pm

Re: Mastering

Post by JoshG567 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:21 pm

Spectrum just tells your brain what you're hearing through your eyes instead of your ears - learn to use it with the former to enhance the latter.

If you don't understand the basics of (1) the frequency spectrum and how multiple signals can interact in a finite 2.1 (or even 5.1) mix and (2) human perceptual thresholds for hearing as a function of freq and amplitude I would recommend some study there.

Here's a good glossary of common terms describing sound qualities. Often these descriptions came to me intuitively before I saw them written down ("boomy", "boxy", "brittle", etc.), but each is actually pretty specific and the number of extreme cases is relatively few. Learn to recognize them in your tracks and how to tame them with devices.

Post Reply