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My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
#3065873 10/13/20 12:21 AM
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This was just too crazy, so I had to write it up for the PreSonus blog since it happened in Studio One.

Talk about tedious!!!

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it might be cool to ask the question - does anyone else have scary/horrific/insane mastering stories (or mixing, for that matter)?

Sound, Studio, and Stage Island
Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065882 10/13/20 01:28 AM
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What was the answer to the obvious question: "Do you have the multitrack recording so we can re-mix that kick drum?"

Or was this a recording from the "808" period, back when few people saved their original recordings for very long?

Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065893 10/13/20 03:06 AM
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That is sisu !

Nice job.

Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Mike Rivers #3065896 10/13/20 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
What was the answer to the obvious question: "Do you have the multitrack recording so we can re-mix that kick drum?"

The answer was "this is from 1992, we have no idea where the multitracks are."

Actually all the "Martha-of-the-Month" singles I've mastered so far have not had the original tracks available, nor were there original tracks for her "I Have My Standards" album that I mastered. That album was put on the shelf for 10 years because it was considered unuseable. I had to pull out every trick in the processing book to fix that one, but not go so far as to namecheck every effing kick drum smile

Maybe what goes around comes around. The kick was from the Wendell drum machine, which used a CompuPro computer...and my advertising agency was their agency at the time. So I guess Past Tense Craig is partly responsible for the problems of Present Tense Craig. This may be why time travel isn't such a good idea.

Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065897 10/13/20 03:37 AM
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Well done.
My first thought while reading the early part of your blog was "phase shift will kill it."

Lots of work though, your final sounds great. I was a Motels fan, we played a couple of their songs in bands I was in during the New Wave period.

OK, this is recent and a great learning experience for me. I'm recording a singer/songwriter, the song we are working on works with a steady tempo - not all of them will (another thing I am learning!!!).

We chose a drum loop from NI Studio Drummer that had a good feel for her strum, found the exact tempo (135.5 bpm) and I looped more than enough to get a scratch track.
Scratch track was vocals and acoustic guitar, a way to locate where all the parts go. Not a perfect take in terms of timing of the guitar but it didn't bleed too much into the vocal mic so I let that slide since it's just a way to get started.

For this project, I am an army of one and will be playing guitars, basses and arranging the drums. My singer writes songs that sound perfectly normal, but she somehow puts or omits a bar or two here and there. It is very consistent, it is how the songs go and it feels natural when you listen to her play the song. It's clever and I like it.

I started picking clips for specific parts of the songs and dropping the MIDI files in place. That is something I've never done before, it is a bit tedious but not difficult. I got fairly good at it by the time I was done, had cool changes and fills and it served the energy of the song well. I was a bit too proud of myself...

I don't recall copying and pasting the main beat, it played all the way through on the scratch track. I could be wrong but I think that's how it went. In theory, with most songs, it would just be a steady beat all the way through.

When I tried to track along, it somehow felt wrong for a bit in the middle and then at the end. All the same tempo, listening to the drum track and not playing seemed OK.
Until I REALLY looked at the MIDI and then listened.
The original beat went 1 -2 -3 (flam) 4 and it stayed that way for the first two verses/choruses. Then there was a bridge-instrumental part. The drum beat after the instrumental part went 1 - 2 (flam) 3 - 4. Same thing happened on the last chorus. I'm probably not explaining it correctly but you get the idea.

I fixed it last night, put correct beats in that match the first two verses. Haven't tracked with it yet, other stuff needs done today. Hopefully I fixed it. If not, I'll keep at it.

A great lesson and a reminder to try and remain humble!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065917 10/13/20 02:46 PM
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Your story has inspired me. I've had a project on the back burner -- the almost-completed album by the band of a friend who passed away last year -- hindered by the lack of complete multitrack sessions, and various deficiencies in the best mixes of all the tunes (all in MP3 format, of course...).

Maybe it's time to get back at it and see how we can make those mixes live.


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Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065938 10/13/20 04:58 PM
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<<Your story has inspired me. I've had a project on the back burner -- the almost-completed album by the band of a friend who passed away last year -- hindered by the lack of complete multitrack sessions, and various deficiencies in the best mixes of all the tunes (all in MP3 format, of course...).

Maybe it's time to get back at it and see how we can make those mixes live.>>

When I mastered "I Have My Standards," on one song's mix the stand-up bass was beyond too loud. It totally dominated the track, and given that it was being mastered for vinyl, that made matters even worse. So I split the audio off into two bands, and isolated the bass to the lower frequencies. Then I could limit it and alter the level independently of the other tracks, as well as put a dual pan module in there to pan the bass totally to center. Also, the EQ on the track as a whole was fairly involved, but that made all the difference in the world. For more information about restoring stuff that's beyond hope, check out the post Mastering Martha Davis - for Vinyl. It's really rewarding to compare the before and after, even if you had to put a lot of work into it.

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Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065945 10/13/20 05:52 PM
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Amazing stuff, all of it!

Did I miss something or are there before and after samples of the mix you discuss directly above me ^^^ and in the blog - which I read.

So much to learn!!!!!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065971 10/13/20 09:43 PM
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No, I never did post before and after...but that would have been a good idea. Next time!!

Re: My Craziest Mastering Salvage Job (So Far)
Anderton #3065991 10/14/20 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
No, I never did post before and after...but that would have been a good idea. Next time!!

So it goes, at least I am still relatively cognizant!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...

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