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Best low - cost mastering soft/hardwear


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I do my own mastering until I can afford to have ''Mr.Bernie Grundman!'' do it. In the meantime I would like to know what's the best low-cost mastering soft/hardware package to get my mix as fat and crisp as possible.
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T-Racks is pretty nice, I'd say. It's got a 4-band (I think, don't have it in front of me) parametric EQ section-also with a low rolloff that's really useful. Compressor, limiter, and an ok saturation/overdrive thing. You can also do fades with 2 different curves and you set how long you want them to be. You can save and load presets of all the settings together. Dithering you can turn on or off when you render through it. My stuff usually turns out better unless I've been smoking crack through T-racks than the regular Waves Gold stuff. Haven't tried the newer Waves Mastering set though. I'm sure the Waves stuff _could_ sound just as nice if not better, but I can get good stuff dialed in with T-Racks easier, maybe. It helps having everything on one screen, and messing with it all at once instead of a buncha different plugins one at a time.
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I have T-RackS and it is easy - they come with a lot of very usable presets. The manual is very basic, though, and doesn't really go into too much detail. I finally figured out the output setting so the level peaks at -0.1 dB like the pros (I was previously using a preset but it only peaked at -0.3 dB). Pretty cool! I have a decent handle on using the compressor and limiter. I still use presets for the EQ because I'm still clueless. I also downloaded izotope's Ozone demo after Mr. Anderton himself mentioned it in his mastering book. Haven't had time to actually try it but you may want to check it out. What's nice is, you can also download a document they created on how to master with Ozone.

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While I've heard good stuff about the t-racks...Waves is really the gold standard. The Ultramaximizer can't be beat. You can get this in the Native bundle for more like 500 bucks instead of buying the $999 Platinum bundle. If you're looking for even cheaper, check out Spark or Bias Peak.

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