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T-Racks users, DIY masterers, PLEASE HELP!

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Okay I've got an album for a client that has chosen to have me master it for budget concerns. The masters sound good, but there's a subtle crackling sound in the left and right sporadically. It seems to come and go with the guitar sounds. This sound is NOT on the mix. I've mostly been using T-Racks and I have been hitting it pretty hard, but I've never experienced this before. On a couple systems that really hype the highs, the crackling is pretty noticeable. I have not, as of yet, been able to isolate its cause. Deadline for the project was yesterday. Need some suggestions ASAP. I want to blame the stereo widening - anyone had this before?
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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Originally posted by Anderton:

I would guess one of two things:


Transients are distorting

Clock problems -- is the program synching to the clock on your audio interface or using an internal clock?

I would have thought the limiter would be fast enough to catch the transients, but I'll be checking that more thoroughly.


I would have not thought of the clocking issue. Thanks. That's at the top of my checklist when I hit the studio today.

No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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Hitting it pretty hard with T-RackS will give you that crackling sound. Remember, T-RackS isn't reconstructing the analog internally before processing. Therefore, the harder you hit it, the more clipping you generate on the external DAC when the waveforms are reconstructed (since consecutive 0dBfs samples are very likely to create a waveform that exceeds full scale)
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i use t-racks24 for this purose a lot. AFAIK, t-racks cannot run on anything but the internal clock, but i only use macintosh version.


as for the cracking, you are hitting too hard.

most likely you are hearing effects of the saturation limiter in the final output stage. this can sound nasty.


back off you settings until you get at least 6db range in your meter outputs.


if you want my advice, start with somethig simple, like opto master preset or fm limiter preset. these are heavy. nice presets that while they dont quite work yet, they can with tweaking.


i have about 40 presets i have made myself, each named after the tune they are set to, and a few generic ones also.


my favorite one right now is one i call "DVD output" - this is tailored to a television system but also works well for everything i have used it for. it has a low cut, hi cut, presence boost, nice easy comp, heavy limiter with overide, gentle saturation. sounds very good.


be careful. use the presets until you "get it".


do NOT overdo it. from what you describe your material is most likely louder than a normal factory cd and beginning to break up. i had this happen too when i started,


t-racks is an excellent app that is often made fun of until used. no one i have have showed it to here mocks it anymore.

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While I'm not exactly new to T-Racks (I got it when it came out) I'm no expert either. This is the first master I've had a problem with out of about 100 songs I've previously used it on. I also used it on the best sounding project I've ever done and had zero trouble, however, this project is a little heavier rock and is requested to be more squished than I normally prefer. So yes, I may be hitting it too hard, but it didn't seem to lessen when I pulled down the output section and the multi-band limiter. I need to try everything. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Keep 'em coming.
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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If you think you're sending 'overs' to your DAC you could try and stick Inspector (Elemental - free VST) on the final track and see if the overs lights come on. I think you can set the overs criteria - same with the free PSP meters.


I know transients can get thru the 'clipper' stage on that thing - it's not that fast.


Also - if you need to 'hit it hard' why don't you try hitting it half as hard with the dynamics processors but do it twice. Problem is with T-Racks it's got the automatic saturation that can't be turned off so multiple times thru that guy might get somewhat gritty (don't forget to turn dither off for the 1st pass, and back on for the final pass).


Other than that if you want a pretty good mastering limiter to push into to make stuff louder try this free VST from the classic series:




He's also got a pretty good compressor in there you can get to pump and stuff.


If you want a great Mastering Limiter (hehe says the voice from the garage) then slap a couple of bucks down ($65) for Voxengo Elephant VST - you'll disconnect all your other ones for this type of transparant limiting and maximizing.



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Well, Coaster, I respectfully disagree.

I've used T-RackS through several incarnations of it and never liked what it did to the audio. I view it as the Bellari of digital simulation programs

Really :confused: ?

I think T-RackS was my best investment for under $400 bucks.

I have Waves mastering plug ins that cost hundreds more, but I find myself using those for solely for EQ and T-Racks for limiting & compressing.

I find if you don't rely on the presets - this program is amazing.

To each his own, I guess.



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As far as messing with the stereo field this is my current 'top shelf' choice for $25.




I used stereo enhancer and stereo controller to put the field where I wanted it.


Also the free VST SIR will widen the stereo field depending on which free impulse you use from noisevault.com or any of the others. In other words it can widen the upper mids to open things up a bit without adding much reverb effect (it will add a little 'room' but it's adjustable)


Sunday Mastering - fun ! :thu:

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