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Cool Mastering Experience


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As most of you know, I do mastering but so far it's only been for people I know or work with.

 

Then the other day I got an email from a Keyboard subscriber in California who knew I did mastering, and wanted to know if I'd master his CD. I thought sure, why not, as long as I like the music...so we agreed on a price and time frame.

 

His music is basically pop, with Christian overtones but I wouldn't call it Christian rock -- he doesn't hit you over the head with it, in fact it took me a while to catch on to the presence of a religious element. The main thing I heard was sincere performances from someone who knew how to craft songs.

 

Anyway, to make a long story short, it was fascinating getting into this guy's head as I worked on his music. He had good tracks, so it was also very satisfying to bring out the best in them. As I started to get more involved, I became a little more daring and did things like create new endings for tunes by grabbing portions and looping them for a fade, and some other things. It was great he was open to letting me do my thing.

 

So now, I've never met the guy, but I feel like I've just made a friend, and I feel like I know him pretty well just through his music. What made it flow so easily was the net, from our initial correspondance to the ability to send him an MP3 so he could get an idea of where I was taking his sound. Sometimes you just gotta love 20th century technology!

 

I debated about whether to post this or not because hey, who cares about whether I'm mastering someone's CD or not? But I think the underlying story of technology bringing people together for a positive result was worth mentioning.

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The use of the net for music should only get better for collaboration and mix/mastering approvals.

 

Putting the MP3 piracy issues aside, the net has been a wonderful way of exchanging ideas and meeting deadlines (plus saving a ton of money on FedEx). :D

 

It's a shame that Rocket Network didn't live up to it's potential, but they seemed to be just a bit ahead of their time. FTP is my preferred way of exchanging large files. In the work I do, I often use Open TL files or OMFs. The ability to encode audio files with timecode is essential for audio post work. If BWAV becomes a standard, it'd be much easier to post short segments of audio that could be easily slipped into a project without the sync problems that often exist.

 

If your client is willing, I'm sure many of us would like to hear before and after versions to see what you've brought to the project. For those of us unfamiliar with mastering, this would give a good example of what mastering is.

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Hello Mr. Anderton

 

I know that I may just be a cat, but I was wondering if you could supply a few more details. This sounds really interesting.

 

Did the guy send you his original files over the internet, and if yes, in what form/format did he send them?

 

Were you both using the same DAW or did he mix to a generic file like AIFF that you transfered into your DAW?

 

Did he send you stems or a stereo mix?

 

Then, I take it, you sent him mp3s as you were working in order to get his feedback.

 

When you were mastering, what sort of tools did you use? Do you relie on a few cherished plug-ins? Do you use analog stuff? What is your toolchest.

 

Thanks In Advance.

Dooby Dooby Doo
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<

 

First of all, I wasn't involved with the mix, just the mastering. The files were already mixed. He originally sent me an audio CD with some obvious clipping. I asked him to send me a CD with WAV or AIFF files, just the raw mixes, no additional processing. He was able to generate 24-bit WAV files, which was ideal because it gave me a lot of headroom to work with.

 

<

 

I loaded the files into Wavelab for mastering. His original mixes were done with Cubase.

 

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They were complete stereo mixes.

 

<>

 

What I did was master one tune, and sent a high bit rate MP3 so he could decide whether he liked what I was doing to his songs. He liked it so much he said to just go ahead and proceed with the rest. We figured it would save time to master the whole thing, then go back and make any changes, rather than work on one song at a time. He's getting the CD later today; my guess is that there may be a few fixes but nothing major. Or he may think it sucks and I should start all over :)

 

<>

 

To me, the essence of mastering is EQ. I use the HarBal program I reviewed in EQ, it's an 8000 stage FIR filter that is very precise and easy to use. That's a standalone program. I then bring the EQ'ed file into Wavelab, where I add a bit of Waves L1 ultra-maximizer. I tend to avoid traditional compression and multiband compression because so often the individual tracks are compressed, and I also try to preserve as much dynamics as possible consistent with creating something "hot" enough for the client.

 

That's about it. I do use the iZotope Ozone multiband harmonics sometimes, just a VERY small amount added on the highest band to give a little more "air."

 

The files then go into Sequoia for CD burning and level changes. I expect that soon I will be using Sequoia instead of Wavelab for the mastering itself, but I'm still a little bit new to the program and for now, I'm faster on Wavelab. I did the extended endings and such in Sequoia, but also used volume envelopes to bring up specific things, like an opening snare hit on a song that I wanted to have stand out.

 

There was one "problem" song that lacked sufficient high end, but it had periodic hi-hat hits with plenty of highs. So when I boosted the high end, the hi-hats were waaaay too prominent. I isolated each high-hat hit that was too loud, and brought back the highs for a few milliseconds so that the sound wouldn't stick out as much. Most other tunes didn't need that kind of salvage operation, they were quite straightforward.

 

If I had my druthers there were a couple of tunes where I would have made some changes to the mix, but they weren't crucial and could be compensated for 90% of the way with the mastering.

 

My general rule about mastering is to do the least amount necessary to get a good sound. I feel every time you add a process, especially with digital plug-ins, it degrades the sound a bit.

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I'll second the idea of hearing some "before and after" examples. :thu:

 

As bandwidth increases, collaboration via the Internet is only going to increase - and I consider that a very good thing. But even now, with overnight delivery services such as UPS and FedEx, collaborating with someone far away is fairly easy... but being able to send a 16 bit / 44.1 KHz file to someone in a couple of minutes makes things even easier.

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<>

 

I asked him about that, and he indicated he'd be willing. I'm not sure where we'd actually post this, but I think something's going to come of it.

I remember you did a mastering tutorial in that manner here a few years back. That was really educational.

William F. Turner

Songwriter

turnersongs

 

Sometimes the truth is rude...

tough shit... get used to it.

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Originally posted by Anderton:

[QB

The files then go into Sequoia for CD burning and level changes. I expect that soon I will be using Sequoia instead of Wavelab for the mastering itself, but I'm still a little bit new to the program and for now, I'm faster on Wavelab. I did the extended endings and such in Sequoia, but also used volume envelopes to bring up specific things, like an opening snare hit on a song that I wanted to have stand out.

 

[/QB]

I'm happy to see you are using Sequoia. I use both Samplitude and WaveLab. I've found that WaveLab, for whatever reason, sounds better than Nuendo or Cubase. Samplitude was the better sounding program to me of the bunch. I've yet to use Sequoia, but I understand that it's the same as Samplitude without some of the feature set. Is that what you understand?
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I have trouble sending small MP3 files from yahoo so a large wave file is totally out of the question.

How would I E-send whoever my 47Mb wav file for him to master.

I have an E-mail provider from My ISP as well as yahoo. you cain't do it in yahoo. they hove size limit. .

would it be better to just try to do it snail mail?

would all the data arrive the E way?

snail mail seems mo bettah except for sending an mp3 mix

maybe.

Frank Ranklin and the Ranktones

 

WARP SPEED ONLY STREAM

FRANKIE RANKLIN (Stanky Franks) <<<

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<>

 

You can PM me for details. I basically charge a setup fee to cover moving files over, creating backups, making test CDs, etc., and a fixed rate per minute of music (typically $10/minute, so an average CD ends up costing around $650-$750 total). If it's a salvage job, though, or there are other problems, I sometimes have to charge more and I discuss that with the client before proceeding. This job was pretty easy because the files were in good shape and not even slightly "premastered."

 

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How would I E-send whoever my 47Mb wav file for him to master.>>

 

For the moment, UPS and FedEx still seem the best way to move large amounts of data around.

 

<

 

Actually it's Samplitude on steroids, with the extended features having mostly to do with file editing. For example, Sequoia is an incredible program for cutting up dialog and narration because of its "four point" editing. Check out the review I did in EQ for more info.

 

<>

 

Yes, it was called "Mastering Step by Step" and was on the MusicPlayer.com site back when it had dedicated content.

 

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Did that EQ program make it easy to copy the settings as necesary to treat all the hi hat hits? If not- yuck.>>

 

HarBal is really for program material. What I did for the high-hats was set up conventional EQ in Wavelab to cut out just the most offensive frequencies. I then selected a small region around the high-hat, and rendered to selection. The hits were short enough so that even though the highs were being pulled down a bit for the entire file, it went by so quickly (and was being somewhat masked by the hi-hat anyway) that you didn't notice any difference compared to the rest of the file.

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Craig,

 

I've mastered CDs for people I've never met, too, and it's been truly amazing experience. Our good friend the internet is responsible for that.

 

With each project, I feel like I'm looking through a window into a person's life. Someone I've never met face to face. From places I've never been. And, how cool is that. Very. Also humbling.

 

Lots of times I'm blown away by the talent and drive that these artists have shown in their work. It's inspiring.

 

Michael Oster

F7 Sound and Vision

ReGurgiTron - will make you feel warm and fuzzy.

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I'm nearly done mixing three tracks. The band are hopefully going to pay for Brad Blackwood to master them. I'm really excited about this and I'll post the before and after versions for those interested ... I just hope that my mixes don't sound like shit ;)
"That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously." - Banky Edwards.
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Originally posted by Anderton:

Sometimes you just gotta love 20th century technology!

 

I debated about whether to post this or not because hey, who cares about whether I'm mastering someone's CD or not? But I think the underlying story of technology bringing people together for a positive result was worth mentioning.

As some of you may know, there have been several

of us forum members working on a fairly

large-scale project over at the Collaboration Corner:

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=11;t=000252

 

{There are various threads related to this so-called

"Fantasy League CD", but this one has some audio clips}

 

The final CD will feature 8 songs by 4 different

Teams (bands) with members in Australia, Spain,

Canada, Mexico, the UK and the US...

 

I just finished assembling and mastering this

compilation earlier this week and sent it off

for its initial run of duplication...

 

We will be making an "official" announcement here

when it's all finished and ready to send out,

but I just wanted to mention our project in

context to the topic of this thread...

 

{Sorry for the semi-hijack}

 

As I've said before, in the future,

this present time will be seen as the

"Golden Age" of international/online

music composition, production and distribution...

 

Rock on, fellow internet pioneers...!

Bob Phillips

20to20soundesign

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<

 

Lots of times I'm blown away by the talent and drive that these artists have shown in their work. It's inspiring.>>

 

I couldn't have said it better (in fact, I didn't). Exactly -- it's like doing a Vulcan Mind Meld or something.

 

Bob, thanks for bringing up the Collaboration Corner in the context of this thread. I keep forgetting that some people may be new to this. Also for newbies, you should know that David Bryce, the Keyboard Corner forum moderator, doesn't just preside over a great place to hang but also cranks out superb compilation CDs by forum denizens.

 

None of that would have happened without the net, nor the infamous "SSS Mixing Event" of George Toledo's tune, which ended up on CDs in my "Cubase SX/SL Mixing and Mastering book" and "Sonar Mixing and Mastering" book.

 

Yeah, it's all cool . A good thought on which to end the week...

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