Mastering in Ableton 8

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Panz
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Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Panz » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:05 am

Is it possible to master using the existing effects in Ableton 8?

I have been playing my tunes out and I can't get the sound right on them. I have been recommended a few things for mastering, a lot of friends are suggesting izotope ozone plugins, one person even said I should invest in some external hardware as I won't be able to get a decent sound through plugins.

Any Advice?

leedsquietman
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by leedsquietman » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:15 am

Is it possible - yes ? Live 8 brought a limiter and multiband compressor in as features not available in L7. It has a reasonable EQ, it has a spectograph and saturation. What it doesn't have is a phase scope or audio statistical analysis tools, although you can download things such as a goniometer (phase scope) and some plugins like Flux Stereotools has a mono compatibility meter and stereo widening *utility can also do stereo widening* and Voxengo SPAN gives you realtime statistics.

Is it the best way to do it - debatable ?

I personally use Soundforge with a bunch of dedicated 3rd party plugins. Other people like Ozone or T-Racks. Others use other DAWS or audio editors with native and/or 3rd party plugins.

some useful free downloads : Voxengo SPAN - http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/
Flux Stereotools - http://www.fluxhome.com/products/Freewares/stereotool
PC Goniometer - http://www.uk-music.de/index.php?page=gonio
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.

Panz
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Panz » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:40 am

Thanks for the advice and the links!!! :D

luddy
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by luddy » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:23 pm

leedsquietman wrote: I personally use Soundforge with a bunch of dedicated 3rd party plugins.
you lucky stiff. That program is the only thing that gives me peecee envy.

-Luddy

Pasha
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Pasha » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:52 pm

Being short on money I have used only L8 effects for my first album and due to to the same for my second work. I have followed Tarekith's guides on Mastering by the book and had a lot of fun learning it. As leedsquietman said this usage is debatable. There are sure better Mastering tools out there. However I have learned that focusing on what I have got and learn every single bit gets you better results. With a little modification some Audio FX Rack presets for Mastering included in Live Library can really do the trick... or it's what I wish for you as it was for me.

- Best
- Pasha
Apple iMac 2013 / Macbook Late 2012
Live 10 Suite,Zebra ,Guitar, Bass, VG99, JV1010 and some controllers
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Tarekith
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:57 pm

If you're just starting out, it's definitely possible to master in Live. Probably a good idea to learn how to use it's relatively simple tools for the job before you start dropping money on better plug ins too. Here's the article they were referring to as well, maybe this helps:

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

Feel free to ask more questions though, happy to help.
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subunit23
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by subunit23 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:04 pm

I have always wondered about the utility of a multiband compressor if you master your own material. Since you have access to all the individual tracks, why would you need to use the multiband compressor to fix things you could fix within the mixdown session? Or does a multiband compressor allow things beyond the individual track tweaking?

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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:16 pm

For the most part I agree with you completely, I don't see the need either, and I address that in my article. That said, there is a certain sound that overly squashed music via multi-comp has, and some people apparently like that.
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subunit23
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by subunit23 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:25 pm

Thanks for claryfing that Tarekith! But taking this argument to the extreme, if you are completely satisfied with your own mixdown and you have no money for external mastering, what kind of process would you use (except raising the level) to give the two-track more sheen and polish?

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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:30 pm

Please read the link I posted above, it was made for exactly your question ;)
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subunit23
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by subunit23 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:48 pm

Yes I read your Mastering guide (and the other ones) when you first published it and regularely since then and it's been really really helpful :wink:

The reason why I asked this question about sheen is that recently I sent my album to a mastering engineer and it came back sounding way better that my own mastering. Now, I don't prentend I could achieve the same in Live with native plugins and that guy used mostly hardware but I was wondering if using external vst like gentle tape saturation and the like could help pushing the result towards a more polished sound.

Tarekith
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:07 pm

Well, I think it's kind of a catch 22 in that more often than not it's having a trained ear that's really what's making the difference versus a specialized plug in. So while getting a better plug in MAY help, it's not something you can really guarantee. Someone with experience in a good room is going to be able to get great results using just Live's plug ins too. It's the ears not the gears I say.

I'm not saying better plug ins won't make things sound better, just that it's not a given you're going to get better results just cause you paid for a 3rd party plug in. If you don't know how to use it or have a monitoring environment that's not telling you accurately what you're doing, you're still just shooting in the dark.

In terms of that plug in, I think it's actually pretty rare for a mastering engineer to use something like tape saturation during the process. I think you'd be better off investing in a really clean EQ and limiter instead.
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subunit23
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by subunit23 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:17 pm

I completely agree with you on all points, it makes complete sense.
The reason why I mentioned gentle tape saturation is because reading Bob Katz book, there is a long-ish section about the Cranesong HEDD 192 and its tape emulation stage. So was wondering if such process is usual in mastering or not.
But in the end nothing replace ear training and room acoustic as you say.

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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:24 pm

It's a tool, and like any tool there's a need for it at times, and it's inapprpriate at others. I'd never recommend it for all mastering though. Maybe if you needed to take the edge off a really harsh digital sounding track, though you could also do that with careful EQing too.
Tarekith
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leedsquietman
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Re: Mastering in Ableton 8

Post by leedsquietman » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:43 pm

The Cranesong HEDD192 has saturation or can be neutral or anything in between, like the Metric Halo ULN-8 etc. This is part of the reason Bob Katz recommends it (along with several other choices).

Soundforge is still the easiest program in the world to use IMHO and so powerful. When I was working, we got the option to buy it at a ridiculously low price by Sony Creative Media, who supplied Vegas to our media centre.

Tarekith and Pasha are correct though. Live is maybe not the best tool for mastering but can do the job to a degree which is often good enough for most home users, and it always pays to learn to use what you have before evaluating if dropping money on add-ons, plugins, mastering suites or other software is really cost effective.

The points about multi-band compression are valid too, it is usually (from a mastering point of view) better to fix things at track level in the mix, it can have other creative uses though. On a track level, it can be a more useful tool for processing loops, and creative effect.
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.

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