What makes a good mastering "sound"

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V0RT3X
KVRAF
7565 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Canada

Post Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:27 pm

I'm just asking out of curiosity because I want to learn what's a good "master" for my own stuff. If you have any examples of what you think is a good mixing and mastering job lemme know. I need to up my game a bit so I can learn to maintain a bit of consistency between my own stuff. :phones:

I've been listening to a few CD rips that I have on my computer with my Sennheiser MDR-7506 and trying to really listen to the tonal characteristics between each album.

I need recommendations.
Sound Experiments -> |https://soundcloud.com/user-841453413|
Join the Anti-EDM movement :borg:

enroe
KVRian
927 posts since 19 Mar, 2008 from germany

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:36 pm

V0RT3X wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:27 pm
... with my Sennheiser MDR-7506.
You mean: Sony MDR-7506? :?:
free mp3s + info: andy-enroe.de songs + weird stuff: enroe.de

imrae
KVRian
565 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:29 am

You could do worse than looking at George Marino's discography: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_ ... iscography

But hopefully that's also enough to show you that a good mastering engineer doesn't really have a "sound", they work with the mix they're given. He didn't try to save ...And Justice For All, and did Bleach and Appetite for Destruction around the same time.

So the mixing is really the key thing and if the mastering is heavy-handed it suggests there was a problem with the mix. For a recent-ish album with exquisite mixing I'd recommend Steven Wilson's "Hand Cannot Erase".

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ATS
KVRAF
6227 posts since 21 Dec, 2002 from MD USA

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:39 am

I can tell you what isn't a good master. Where someone slaps a limiter on something, cranks it up, and calls that mastering.
my music: http://www.alexcooperusa.com
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls ~ Pablo Picasso

ramseysounds
KVRist
211 posts since 9 Jul, 2014 from UK

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:57 am

Starting with a great mix
I wonder what happens if I press this button...

zeep
KVRAF
1707 posts since 17 May, 2005

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:54 am

Mixing is like 95% of the production, if not more. Mastering is to get that last bit of amazing on top.
Really, if you're after great mixes / productions, look at the mixing engineers first and learn from them.

If you want to learn from your own productions, then bounce to stems and try one of the many Stem mixing & mastering services. That way you can A / B your version and the pro mixed version, lots to learn from that.

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V0RT3X
KVRAF
7565 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Canada

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:54 pm

enroe wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:36 pm
V0RT3X wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:27 pm
... with my Sennheiser MDR-7506.
You mean: Sony MDR-7506? :?:
Actually I did mean Sony :dog:

For some reason I was thinking Sennheiser, because those are the cans I want to upgrade to eventually. :lol:
Last edited by V0RT3X on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sound Experiments -> |https://soundcloud.com/user-841453413|
Join the Anti-EDM movement :borg:

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V0RT3X
KVRAF
7565 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Canada

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:55 pm

ATS wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:39 am
I can tell you what isn't a good master. Where someone slaps a limiter on something, cranks it up, and calls that mastering.
Yah me too

I know there is a lot more to a mastering process than just that.
Sound Experiments -> |https://soundcloud.com/user-841453413|
Join the Anti-EDM movement :borg:

Jake_xms3
KVRer
6 posts since 31 Jan, 2019

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:14 am

V0RT3X wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:55 pm
ATS wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:39 am
I can tell you what isn't a good master. Where someone slaps a limiter on something, cranks it up, and calls that mastering.
Yah me too

I know there is a lot more to a mastering process than just that.
Not necessarily.
Sometimes all that’s needed is limiting (if the mix is right)
Using unnecessary processing for the sake of it will ruin a master.

enroe
KVRian
927 posts since 19 Mar, 2008 from germany

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:40 am

zeep wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:54 am
Mixing is like 95% of the production, if not more. Mastering is to get that last bit of amazing on top.
Exactly this!

I think mixing is 99% of it. If your mix is good you only need a slight
limiting at the master stage.
free mp3s + info: andy-enroe.de songs + weird stuff: enroe.de

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2980 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:00 am

I think mixing is 99% of it. If your mix is good
If your mix is good, then you can use all that plugins you get at KVR. Otherwise they're just kind of waste :P

I master tracks myself (and get them signed), but the "mastering" stage is more like a reality check than some arcane magic. If the mix is good, you just need to tweak the EQ, scope and dynamic range values.

And to answer the original question: Check your reference tracks with scpetrum analyser and oscilloscope. Also, use a variety of saturation plugins to reduce the nasty peaks and clicks.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

imrae
KVRian
565 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:20 am

What are you looking at on reference tracks using an oscilloscope?

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
2026 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:08 am

mono compatibility...

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2980 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:15 am

imrae wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:20 am
What are you looking at on reference tracks using an oscilloscope?
Dynamics and peaks. In particular, the shape of kick but also the open hat. Where the sound is smashed and where are the quiet gaps. How to make the most of available headroom.
This makes more sense if your scope also shows colour-coded spectrum.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

imrae
KVRian
565 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:13 am

Ah that makes more sense. I thought you meant you were looking at waveforms! Could be very useful on a slow setting to see where headroom is going.

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