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OT: Mastering Demo Cd


letveronafall

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ok... first off my band just received the mixes back from the guy who recorded us a few months ago, things sound good, but it sounds like a demo, which it is, so it's okay...

 

now the problem is this, before now we have never had any of our music mastered, and being new to the recording process, we don't really know much about mastering...

 

what will this do to our music? will it still sound like a demo? i think our singer had contact with some company in new york to master our cd which cost 800 bucks... we have a 5 song demo, does this price quote sound correct?

 

what are the pros and cons of not mastering. are there any really good mastering places that offer cheaper services?

 

im worried that we are about to fork over 800 bux of hard earned cash (which is more than we spent RECORDING the demo) to send off to be mastered, and then we get it back and it will still sound demo quality.

 

can someone please ease my worries/help me out??? thanks!

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Generally what you might hope to obtain from mastering is that all of your tracks sound like they belong together to form a complete album rather than a bunch of tracks that were stuck together. You can expect the mastering process to make your tracks louder and tighter with each song having similar volumes, so you don't need to reach for the volume knob for each song, and similar frequency responses.

Usually the mastering process involves eq'ing, multiband compression and limiting, though depending on what's needed the mastering engineer may not use all of them on every track.

EQ: is used to enhance or attenuate certain frequency ranges, usually for the length of the entire track and sometimes for every track on a CD.

Multiband Compression: separates the signal into a few frequency ranges and then compresses each frequency range separately. This might be done when some gentle eq'ing is needed but not for the whole track, just in certain sections.

Limiting: is generally used to increase the average volume of a track and to help make the volume for each track the same or similar.

I master your femo for $300 though I would like to talk about it before completely settling on the price. If interested please call me: (917) 957-4007.

I have mastered the following albums:

The Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - Ekranoplan - released on Teepee Records.

Ancestors - Neptune with Fire - to be released in February on North Atlantic Sound.

MUUD - Snake Lady Trio and The Blind Dog That Stares At Me- to be released in the New Year.

Saturnine - Rememberance of Things Past - released on Victorialand Records.

Thanks,
John

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Mastering is the most abused term in audio. There are so many jokers who think "mastering" equates to making it louder by crushing the dynamics and hi-shelfing at 6khz 'til it makes the ears bleed.

 

I am of the opinion that mastering is something you should feel more than hear. It won't make a demo sound like a record. Good playing, good tracking and good mixing make it sound like a record. I would not spend $800 on mastering if I thought my recording sounded like a demo. Personally, I'd rather listen to a really well engineered unmastered recording than a fancily-mastered demo-grade recording. I am all for high-end mastering, after hearing what all these $10-per-song chuckleheads are doing with their "studios" throwing software limiter presets across mixes, but the prior steps need to be in order first in order for paying for a good mastering engineer to really make sense to me.

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the songs sound good, but i mean, i just am not feeling right about it...

 

i attend school at School of Communication Arts in Raleigh North carolina majoring in a two year audio engineering/recording arts program and i will basically graduate pro tools certified, and we recorded this demo with a friend in a building in his backyard (a barn literally) no sound design whatsoever, and very little if any sound treatment. he used shure mics into a behringer eurodesk tracking to an HD24, then he mixed and edited in cubase i believe...

 

i deal with top notch analog (Soundcraft Neve (my teacher has an API) consoles and protools HD rigs on a regular basis and i just dont think that the demo (as good as it may sound) is as good as it CAN sound...

 

geez i wish i had a way to let you guys preview the tunes and give an honest opinion

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well, its not so much that things could improve, there is really only one or two vocals lines that i think the singer could do better (but approaching him about that is also another issue) maybe a guitar tone or two i possibly would change.. but i feel like if we ever were to have these songs played on the radio or anytihng we would want to re-record them anyway

 

im just not so sure that spending the 7-800 bucks on mastering a demo that we are planning on handing out at shows and playing on myspace is worth it... if it were half that price i may be more interested

 

it sounds good for being recorded with the above conditions but i just wonder if it could be better

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I was going to type a long response, but the short of it is: I wouldn't master it at all if it's not something that you'd put on the radio.

At the end of the mixing stage, you should be saying "This sounds awesome." At the end of the mastering stage, you should be saying "This sounds like a record."

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the performances are great, we can retrack the vocal lines and guitar tones im speaking of... im just wondering if the 800 dollar price tag is usual, or what, and possibly some names, information on mastering...

 

right now we only have the one mastering house my singer is set on and im trying to convince him that there is probably a cheaper route, but he only knows of this guy because some band he knows used them...

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well, its not so much that things could improve, there is really only one or two vocals lines that i think the singer could do better (but approaching him about that is also another issue) maybe a guitar tone or two i possibly would change.. but i feel like if we ever were to have these songs played on the radio or anytihng we would want to re-record them anyway


im just not so sure that spending the 7-800 bucks on mastering a demo that we are planning on handing out at shows and playing on myspace is worth it... if it were half that price i may be more interested


it sounds good for being recorded with the above conditions but i just wonder if it could be better

 

 

 

If it is just for Myspace nad handing out at gigs i'd say spend a few hundred dollars on something like Izotope Ozone and learn roughly what mastering is about. Master them yourselves, get them up to volume (kids at gigs dont notice subtelty but they do notice if your CD seems to quiet) and just go with it.

 

When you spend more on the recording process and have a product you intend to sell then i;d suggest getting preo mastering done. I mean why spend on pro mastering when you have not spent for pro recording?

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I don't know if this is BS but I hear the rule of thumb is never have an album mastered in the same studio that it was recorded in nor by the same person. It seems that, from bands I know, better results occur when they send it off to an actual mastering studio.

 

This is a good rule of thumb indeed.

Most mixing engineers are not the best at mastering and vice versa.

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i think $800 is an insane price to pay for mastering...especially a demo. to me, a demo = rough recordings to get your ideas together (with the idea in mind that you're gonna re-record the songs for something better) and also generate some interest by putting it in peoples' hands, myspace, etc. and by calling it a "demo" i think it implies a certain roughness. if you're going to pay a {censored}load to master it, at least call it an ep...although i understand wanting to put your best foot forward, that's my take. save the cash.

my band got our 4 song ep, at 23 minutes or so, mastered for $300 and i think we paid $600 for our full length (9 songs at roughly 45 - 50 minutes minutes)...which was at a different place and 2 years later.

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thanks for all the replies guys, i should probably refer to it as EP material but i am one of those who is hard to commit something to tape, i think that maybe two of the 5 tracks are exactly how i want them... i have also talked to my teacher at my school and he has recommended some cheaper local alternatives, also saying that 800 is too much

 

i did online search for mastering and came across a few websites offering mastering at $50 per song (ie. blackdogmastering.com) anybody know if this is a possible option? any experience with this place?

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i think $800 is an insane price to pay for mastering...especially a demo. to me, a demo = rough recordings to get your ideas together (with the idea in mind that you're gonna re-record the songs for something better) and also generate some interest by putting it in peoples' hands, myspace, etc. and by calling it a "demo" i think it implies a certain roughness. if you're going to pay a {censored}load to master it, at least call it an ep...although i understand wanting to put your best foot forward, that's my take. save the cash.


my band got our 4 song ep, at 23 minutes or so, mastered for $300 and i think we paid $600 for our full length (9 songs at roughly 45 - 50 minutes minutes)...which was at a different place and 2 years later.



my bands EP is also 23.1 minutes exactly, so you say around 300 is the price we should be paying? who did you use if you dont mind me asking?

i think i may have to bring this up at practice friday... if i dont find a cheaper route im going to be 200 bucks in the hole in about 3 weeks :cry:

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my bands EP is also 23.1 minutes exactly, so you say around 300 is the price we should be paying? who did you use if you dont mind me asking?


i think i may have to bring this up at practice friday... if i dont find a cheaper route im going to be 200 bucks in the hole in about 3 weeks
:cry:

 

the place was called micro-moose, in brooklyn, and the guy's name is doug henderson. i'd shoot you a phone number, but i've long since lost it.

 

and we were considering going to alan douches at west side music. he mastered our friends' record that you can listen to some tracks that you should be able to listen to here:

 

www.rahimrahim.org

www.myspace.com/rahim

 

but so you know, from westside's "pricing page":

 

"$100-140/hr (depending upon engineer choice). We estimate approximately 1 hour of studio time for every 10 minutes of program material, then add an extra hour for full lengths or a half hour for an EP. For example, a 40 minute CD usually takes 5 hours to complete. This is just an estimate. Please call or email our office for more specific details."

 

www.westsidemusic.com

 

and while $200 is a far cry from $800, again, i'd go back and evaluate whether or not you need to master a demo. there are so many "band" expenses (van, gas, merch, recording, etc.) that money can always be used somewhere else....

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$800 is way too much to pay to master a demo. Mastering your recording will definitely improve the "listenability," though, so I would recommend it. Look around for mastering studios in your area and you can probably get a much more reasonable price. You can usually pay less to have engineers master it without you or your bandmates being there "in session," too.

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