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Mastering FAQ


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  • #31
    Originally posted by mandulete

    i generaly try my final mixes this way, 24/48 files:

    1. i made fade and timing adjustments( 1 or 2 seconds betwen
    tracks, 1 or 2 seconds start of file and the same at end.

    2. apply some eq with waves lin eq broadband.

    3. i try to compress a little with tracks or waves till it sound
    a little better "i guess", but some time i pass the compression

    4. resample to 44.1 with sound fore, and it use something call
    anti alias filtering.

    5. then bit depht conversion to 16bit with no deithering.

    6. i use waves L2 to set levels at -0.2 (very simply to use, i
    never really over limit my stuff) and deithering.

    7. burn, and hear it in my SUV (truck), and maybe star over again.

    Well, there are no set procedures that you have to follow like cutting below 20. There's nothing wrong with your doing, if nothing else, just use your ears and do what sounds best. However, you might want to move your order around a little bit. You usually do fades and ordering at the very end (so like step 6 instead) after you've done all your processing. Also, try your bit depth conversion after you use the L2 (switch steps 5 and 6). Set the L2 at 16 bit dither while processing the 24 bit mixes, then down sample.


    • #32
      I do all of my work in SonicFoundry's ACID. Are there places that can just do mastering on .wav's ??? I don't record to tape or anything like that. Would they need the ACID files so all the tracks are separated?

      I'm confused.
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      • #33
        Originally posted by Dr. Strange
        Set the L2 at 16 bit dither while processing the 24 bit mixes, then down sample.

        I was under the impression it would be better to downsample before applying bit-depth conversion and dithering. Are you saying bit-depth conversion and dithering should be done before downsampling? What's the rationale for this?

        Thanks in advance...


        • #34
          K I'm a graphics student not a sound guy but I have a guess.
          the Terminology is very similar so here's my stab at it.

          Think of it as if you were editing a picture. You'd want to do all the editing of the picture and fix it up real nice as best you can before you down sample the image. this way the editing that you've done will be less noticable. I believe in recording speak it's more transparent.

          Or basically by downsampling after you're givin the bitrate conversion and dithering more information and more space to get everything right before you basically loose that 8-bit of information.

          someone let me know if I sound like I know an incling



          • #35
            i had this crazy thought... i'm thinking of getting two avalon vt 737sp's for recording but my question is would these two units work as decent mastering devices? the 737 has both eq and compression etc. and avalon is known for being very transpearant... i know there are specific devices for mastering but i can't afford to go nuts on gear (unfortunately) but perhaps the 737's can serve a double purpose? is anyone knowlegable on this topic?


            • #36

              The more I work, the more dead my ears become.

              I know the feeling. I've been there before. Ever hear the distortion THE NEXT DAY?


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              • #37
                The mastering process will involve equalising, compressing and expanding the final mix as a whole. A good mastering engineer is someone who has the experience and tools to turn a so and so track into the next double platinum, super hi quality hit. Mastering is as much science as it is art. There are so many different ways to go about mastering a finished mix. There is no universal


                • #38
                  that was a well written piece of information, thank you! I am just starting to understand the idea of multi-band compression. I have a TC Finalizer 96k which, after reading your post, makes me think that it is worth hanging onto even if it is just to have a device that can can do multi band compression and experiment with different settings. I was thinking of selling it and purchasing an Avalon 747 but perhaps i might wait and work out on the TC.


                  • #39
                    Too bad we cant get someone from sterling sound or gateway to post some stuff, those seem to be the masters of mastering. And how some people say dont do anything to a 2 buss before the master, i do happen to know a couple platinum engineers that do do stuff before mastering, and stereo vox box's are made for "a little pre mastering"


                    • #40
                      Good post: concise and helpful for the layman!

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                      • #41
                        Short of boring you geezas to death, there are tutorials on my site http://www.samplecraze.com and the first set are about compression, check them out.
                        I will be adding sound design, eqs and sampling for the next installment.
                        Samplecraze-Audio Production Tutorials and Sound Design


                        • #42
                          Last week I had "Dr. Strange" Master my first CD for me.
                          I was very happy with the results....nice quiet spacing between
                          the tunes, all the same volume level, no other odd noises,
                          and just a pure simple sound like I wanted. I will use him
                          again and just wanted to post that for all to see.


                          • #43
                            forgive my ignorance but a few questions...

                            why must the levels be at -0.2db?

                            what do the terms 'bit depth', 'dither' and 'downsample' mean?

                            Also someone please post more info on PQ coding and also details on how the 'pre master' copy is made and what makes it different from other copies.


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by stone
                              forgive my ignorance but a few questions...

                              why must the levels be at -0.2db?

                              what do the terms 'bit depth', 'dither' and 'downsample' mean?

                              Also someone please post more info on PQ coding and also details on how the 'pre master' copy is made and what makes it different from other copies.

                              Levels dont have to be at any specific range, some people use -0.2 as a standard to get a certain volume without sacrificing too much headroom or creating audible distortion.

                              Bit depth refers to whether something was recorded in 16, 24, 32 bit, etc. Dither is an added process to help eliminate what is known as quantization distortion when you're converting from a higher bit depth to a lower one. Downsampling is just converting from a higher sample rate (say 88.2 khz) to a lower one (44.1 khz).

                              PQ coding is usually done using specialized software or is a feature built into some DAWs such as Sadie, Sequoia, Wavelab, etc. Its not as complicated as it sounds, merely involves things such as placing markers that indicate track IDs, copy protection, preemphasis, ISR and UPC codes, etc. Also little things like spacing between tracks and hidden tracks, all the structural things that make your CD flow as an album and not just a bunch of songs stuck together. Right now the standard audio CDs are in what is known as Red Book format which PQ codes must adher to in order for them to read properly in CD players and the likes.

                              When sending materials to a cd duplication plant they can usually accept a variety of formats. Standard digital formats are CDR, DAT, and DDP. When it comes to burning proper CDR premasters all that means is that the CDR is created using the proper PQ coding in redbook format and is burned usually at low speeds with high quality cdrs using a high quality cd burner. If you are creating a CDR premaster then you want to make sure that it has the lowest errors possible and that you dont touch/leave any finger prints on it as any flaws with the premaster will be present on every CD that you get back from the plant.


                              • #45
                                Hey thanks a lot Dr. Strange...will get in touch.