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Hi, again -

 

More on compression (and EQing):

 

From your response and others, I'm thinking that using a cheap preamp/compressor wouldn't be a great investment.

 

The project I'm working on is an album of a dozen tunes that I've chosen from a hundred-plus I've recorded over the past few years. The plan has been to get the twelve stereo songs sounding as good as I can on my Tascam (I've been putting in weeks of tweaking and re-tweaking), put them onto a disk in AIFF format for a pro to master (e.g. adding compression and EQing and getting the levels consistent from song to song), and then pass it on to Disk Makers for production. (I'll produce all the art.)

 

So my question, since I'm not having much luck with compression in my basement, is: How much is having the album professionally mastered likely to help the overall sound? In other words, what can I hope for, and what's too much to expect?

 

Thanks again -

Edited by Delmont
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The project I'm working on is an album of a dozen tunes that I've chosen from a hundred-plus I've recorded over the past few years. The plan has been to get the twelve stereo songs sounding as good as I can on my Tascam (I've been putting in weeks of tweaking and re-tweaking), put them onto a disk in AIFF format for a pro to master (e.g. adding compression and EQing and getting the levels consistent from song to song), and then pass it on to Disk Makers for production. (I'll produce all the art.)

 

So my question, since I'm not having much luck with compression in my basement, is: How much is having the album professionally mastered likely to help the overall sound? In other words, what can I hope for, and what's too much to expect?

 

Thanks again -

 

What sorts of things are you hoping the mastering will accomplish?

 

Mastering CAN make a big difference, but it's not a miracle worker. You can expect things to sound more polished, maybe more balanced (in terms of overall frequency spectrum) but it's not going to compensate for poor mixes, and a good mastering engineer would probably ask you to remix if it came to that.

 

 

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It's mainly balance I care about - bringing up the too-quiet songs, taming the spikes. And certainly some EQing. And yes, I'd like to know if something should be remixed (and be told what it needs).

 

I'll be posting the dozen current candidates on my website soon. I'll check in here again when I do so you can see what I mean.

Edited by Delmont
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It's mainly balance I care about - bringing up the too-quiet songs, taming the spikes. And certainly some EQing. And yes, I'd like to know if something should be remixed (and told what it needs).

 

I'll be posting the dozen current candidates on my website soon. I'll check in here again when I do so you can see what I mean.

 

Perfect - that will give me something to go off of - I'll be able to give you better advice (or at least a more well informed opinion) after I hear what you're doing.

 

BTW, level matching between songs so that the whole record is consistent in volume is relatively easy... :wave:

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To add .02, I would second the idea of letting someone else mix it -- completely from scratch, with of course some input from you.

 

I know people who get very raw stems and taped tracks and just really know what they're doing, and do it well, in a matter of hours. This may mean that your work on the tracks not only is bypassed, but may even 'get in the way' a bit.

 

Is this feasible?

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Good idea for an ideal world, but not possible in this one. I do have money budgeted for someone else to master it, but that's as much as I can afford. I can do the mixing for free.

 

That's why I've been asking for mixing advice here at Harmony Central.

Edited by Delmont
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I ran into a guy near here who might be able to do it for $350:

http://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Steve_Austin/40587

 

I'm a folkie, not a metal bone in my body - hadn't even heard of most of the acts he's recorded. But mastering is mastering, and he seems like a straight-up guy.

 

As I recall without opening a spreadsheet, my CD production budget is somewhere in the $1,500-to-$2,000 range, and most of that will go to Disc Makers. So $350 would work.

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Reading and wondering: why DiscMakers? At this point in time, is it not cheaper to buy a high-end duplicator and do runs of 100 at a time yourself? Issues with a bar code? Explain? And it has been at least 15 years since I was hands on the manufacturing end of indie releases, so if I'm out of touch, yeah, I'm out of touch.

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You end up with a stack of CDs, which is fine. But then what? Disc Makers does all the packaging and a lot more.

 

No one is in touch. This is the twenty-first century. Those days have gone the way of the phone booth, Wite-Out, Dialing for Dollars, and the time lady.

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When I was manufacturing CDs, I really liked being in control of the packaging vs. letting someone one-stop it. Everyone has preferences. I'm just thinking that if you had control of the situation (e.g., could always whip off another 100 CDs), you would experience some financial relief.

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A CD would still need to be packaged. And Disc Makers does other work, too, like taking care of ASCAP, BMI, CD Baby, and more. In fact, they do just about everything except copyrighting and distribution, which I'll take care of.

 

And they get solidly good reviews from folks who use them. I did a lot of querying at forums like this before I chose them. Other CD makers don't offer as much, aren't as forthcoming about their services, don't get such good reviews, and cost more.

 

Control? I wouldn't lose control of the four things I care about: the recordings, the text, and the art work. And they offer a wide selection of packaging. (I like their four-panel eco-wallet.)

 

So if I decide to make a CD, that's the way I'll go.

Edited by Delmont
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