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  • Looking for feedback on mastering job

    I just uploaded a preliminary test master of my new EP to Soundcloud. I plan on living with it for the next week, trying it out on different systems, and gathering any feedback on the mastering job - then I'll do a final master (and possibly a few tweaks to the mix). So feel free to give it a listen, and comment away!

    I'm particularly interested in your feedback after listening to it on less than ideal systems (car stereos, earbuds, etc) - but all feedback is welcome. There are a few things bugging me, but I won't tell you what they are because I don't want to put any ideas in your head!

    Something seems to be a bit funky with the way links are getting posted...so please use the one that immediately follows, rather than the one at the bottom of the post:

    https://soundcloud.com/mick-97/transfixed-test-master-1
    Last edited by Mickmeister; 07-19-2017, 01:35 PM.

  • #2
    Very good musically. I'm only judging the mix on a super low end computer speaker in mono but it sounds to me like the vocals have too much edge ad is masking the backing music whenever works are being sung. Sounds like a condenser mic which has a razor blade top end that cuts too much.

    If it was a full band playing the vocals would likely be ideal. It would need that edge to cut between the snare and cymbals. With the ambient tones of the accompaniment, I'd ease that edge by bringing the mids in the 1~5K up a tad and attenuate the top down in the 8~13K range to flatten out the mid scoop a little. Just use a broad EQ curve. It doesn't need to be highly sculpted. Maybe use a frequency analyzer to help guide you.

    In mastering a good Multiband limiter like Waves Linear Phase Multiband would take care of that nicely. It one of my go to tools which fix a myriad of issues like this.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the critique, WRGKMC. Are you talking about applying those EQ tweaks to the vocal only, or to the overall mix?

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      • #4
        I'd say the vocals only. Right now you're using that edge as a top frequency anchor because you don't have anything else in the mix up there.
        Vocals cant take the place of cymbals, percussion missing from a mix, at least not in a song like this. Its cutting edge is more appropriate for a rock mix where you need the vocals to cut through the drums. You need to soften that edge to make it less aggressive to the words. This is not necessarily a frequency adjustment. Its more a gain staging tweak. I don't know what your effect chain is.

        The issue may have begun with singing too close to the mic and getting too much drive from it. It may be a hot plugin, compression/EQ combination giving a hot edge.

        It could also have been a result of mixing with headphones. Because the outer ears aren't being used they don't funnel the sound the same as they do when listening to a speaker and create an abnormal presence bump which you simply cant identify so long as you're using headphones. If you are using studio monitors then it may be a room acoustic problem.

        Its not off by much. Like I said, I only have a crappy mono speaker here at work but I should not be getting those hyped frequencies on this speaker.

        Two things you can try. Turn your mix off then gradually bring the volume up. The first frequencies you hear are the ones that need to either be softened or cut.

        Another trick is to download a free plugin called Fletcher Munson. https://www.noisebud.se/?page_id=2671 Put it in your mains buss and crank it up then try and mix the tracks to remove the EQ bump the effect produces. Then remove the plugin and you will have fixed that hot mic tone.
        How and why it works
        Fletcher and Munson measured the human ears frequency response on different levels and created an average curve from a test with many subjects. They concluded, roughly speaking, that the mid range is more prominent at lower levels and the response flattens out at higher levels.

        At low monitoring levels you will hear the mids clearly but you will miss the high and low-end. That’s why we often see a smile curve on EQ’s and if you listen to a bedroom produced track they almost always have too much low-end and are slightly too bright. All that excessive low- and high-end mask the mid area and when you get rid of that excessive high and low-end you have a mid sharp as a knife. Fletchy-Muncher exaggerate the ears frequency response and make us aware of the mids in a badly balanced mix.
        How to use
        Put it last in your chain and slowly start to move the knob against the ‘Default’ position. A good balanced mix/master should survive all the way to ‘Default’ with just a little increase in harshness. If you find your mix too harsh halfway through you’ll have to go back to the mix/master and use EQ, MB compression or other tools to soften it a bit. Remember to put the plugin at ‘Flat’, bypass it or remove it before bounce your new mix/master.

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        • #5
          Good info, thanks. Do your comments apply to all the tracks (there are six of them) or just the first track? The reason I'm wondering is because most of the tracks have full drums, whereas your comments seam to be directed at the first track (with its limited snare and cymbals).

          The Fletcher-Munson thing sounds good...I'll give it a try when I do my revised mix/master.

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          • #6
            It was just the first one I heard which didn't have drums. That link brought up the one track at the top of the page. The tracks below it were in fact mine so the page must have remembered my log on and imported the one track only.

            Each track needs its own link if you want to share them. You likely saw all the tracks on your page and though the one link would link them all.

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            • #7
              I had just exported the whole six tracks as one piece - they're all in that same file. I will of course export them as separate tracks when I have final masters.

              (EDIT) Just to be clear, the file to listen to is called "Transfixed Test Master #1". Sorry for any confusion.
              Last edited by Mickmeister; 07-21-2017, 09:02 PM.

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