What makes a good mastering "sound"

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BONES
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7837 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:23 pm

Exactly! You give the controls to any rock band and they will crush it to death because that makes it sound better. They don't care about transients or anything, they just want it turned up to 11. The material you linked to is very laid back, maximising it too much wouldn't make it any better anyway so there'd be no sense in even trying.
ATS wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:04 pm
Let the pros ruin their mixes by over limiting OP. It is much better not to overdo it.
It entirely depends on the material but if you want energy in your songs, you need to maximise the hell out of 'em or they will just sound weak compared to other stuff in a similar vein.
imrae wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:56 pm
I don't find it too hard to reach -14 without obvious artefacts. -12 may need a few compromises here and there but doesn't destroy the material.
I've mastered our album tracks to -9 LUFS for CD and it doesn't sound crushed, either, just full and powerful. It's all about using the right tools.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

V0RT3X
KVRAF
7628 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:27 pm

PluginAlliance had a special on their BX_masteringdesk and I jumped on it today. I'll probably be using it finalize my stuff a bit with their BX_console_G, but I still need to learn a bit about what they are actually doing.

Seems to make things a bit more louder, with more detail and presence if that makes any sense. It's also dead simple to use which is kind of nice.

Here's a before and after track I tested BX_console_G and Bx_masteringdesk on in Live 10.

Before Track
https://soundcloud.com/user-841453413/e ... n-complete

After Track
https://soundcloud.com/user-841453413/e ... lete-mix-2

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ATN69
KVRAF
1916 posts since 5 Oct, 2015 from Swedish / Living in Hong Kong

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:33 pm

I decided to jump on the bx_masterdesk deal to. At first I wasn't too impressed by masterdesk because I could not get the results I wanted. Then I realized that I was going about things in the wrong way. If I can't fix the master with masterdesk, that tells me that my mix is not okay. Masterdesk is there to add the finishing touches of the song, not to fix the underlaying issues. Never too late to learn I guess.
Win 10 -64bit, CPU i7-7700K, 32Gb, Focusrite 2i2, FL-studio 20, Studio One 4, Reason 10

V0RT3X
KVRAF
7628 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:36 pm

ATN69 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:33 pm
I decided to jump on the bx_masterdesk deal to. At first I wasn't too impressed by masterdesk because I could not get the results I wanted. Then I realized that I was going about things in the wrong way. If I can't fix the master with masterdesk, that tells me that my mix is not okay. Masterdesk is there to add the finishing touches of the song, not to fix the underlaying issues. Never too late to learn I guess.
Yah you kind of want to mix your track with just a basical limiter on the master first. Do this without using Bx_masterdesk at all, and then when it's finished and sounds nice on it's own add Bx_masterdesk to your master ouput and mix the sound to taste.

At least that's what I've been doing so far.

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ATS
KVRAF
6361 posts since 21 Dec, 2002 from MD USA

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:39 pm

OP ignore BONES, he think he knows what he is talking about, but it's obvious he does not. If you volume match something that was limited too much (or a lot of times limited at all), it won't sound nearly as good as the same recording where no limiter was used.
my music: http://www.alexcooperusa.com
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls ~ Pablo Picasso

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BONES
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7837 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:50 pm

Pig's arse! For a start, what does "good" even mean? You probably think the music you make is good but I think it's dated, derivative garbage. So what? To each his own.

To me good means more power but for others it will mean something else. That's why my posts in this thread have started with "it depends on what you're doing..." (or words to that effect), rather than your pronouncements to the effect that what's good for you is good for everyone and if you don't agree you're wrong.

But if nothing more, maximising will bring out some of the more subtle elements of a mix, things your mostly clean and simple arrangements would probably not benefit from, that might otherwise be fighting to be heard over the more dominant elements. Yes, sometimes you can take care of that in the mix but often you get better results by squashing the loud bits with a brick wall limiter in the master channel.

I tell you what, though, if you think you know better I am happy to give you a 24 bit mixdown of one of our album tracks and you can show us all how you can make it better than my master without maximising it. Interested?
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

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BONES
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7837 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:53 pm

V0RT3X wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:27 pm
PluginAlliance had a special on their BX_masteringdesk and I jumped on it today.
Do you have any experience with Slam Dawg/Pro/XL? I have all three and I really like 'em. This Brainworx thing seems quite similar, only more expensive. I still prefer to do my actual mastering as a separate process in Ozone, though, not on top of the mix in Orion.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

V0RT3X
KVRAF
7628 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:17 pm

BONES wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:53 pm
V0RT3X wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:27 pm
PluginAlliance had a special on their BX_masteringdesk and I jumped on it today.
Do you have any experience with Slam Dawg/Pro/XL? I have all three and I really like 'em. This Brainworx thing seems quite similar, only more expensive. I still prefer to do my actual mastering as a separate process in Ozone, though, not on top of the mix in Orion.
No never tried them, I saw they were on sale when I last used my Plugin boutique account and I think the only thing that makes me remember them is because of the name :hihi:

Looking at the features, it does kind of look similar. I'd give it a demo but I'm kind of saturated with these type of things and need to learn what I have so far.

I used to have a Ozone5 licence but ended up giving my Izotope account to a friend who needed it more than me. Ozone was nice and I liked the AIO workflow of it, (Same with Trash2, Alloy2 etc) but I just found i liked dialing in my own "sound" using a bunch of other tools in my own custom chains.

I am currently thinking of getting Izotope again but the only thing i'm really interested at this point is the RX7 software for fixing some field recordings I made.

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1022 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:21 pm

ATS wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:39 pm
OP ignore BONES, he think he knows what he is talking about, but it's obvious he does not. If you volume match something that was limited too much (or a lot of times limited at all), it won't sound nearly as good as the same recording where no limiter was used.
This is true. The more you smash, the LESS energy you have in the track.

Of course for some genres and styles it's expected. I'm quite happy to get my HipHop clients stuff to -6 or -7 LUFS because that's what they ask for and what the style requires to have any chance of success. But I donlt like listeing to things that have been that crushed for pleasure. Same for most modern Pop and EDM stuff, it's one of the reasons I mostly only listen to acoustic Folk music the last few years.

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ATS
KVRAF
6361 posts since 21 Dec, 2002 from MD USA

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:24 pm

BONES just because you call people names and talk a lot doesn't make you right. And it quite obvious you know nothing about the effects of limiting really.

BONES send me the mixdown of one of your songs, I will put one through a limiter and one not. Then volume match it and you will see how wrong you are. Or just do it yourself. But you don't really want to learn anything do you? Of course not, you already know it all, and that's great.
my music: http://www.alexcooperusa.com
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls ~ Pablo Picasso

imrae
KVRian
622 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:52 pm

Compressing to bring out details is a valid choice but that's really more of a mixing decision IMO.

Unless the transients are annoying you (which is, again, best fixed while mixing), turning up the master volume is superior to limiting. That... shouldn't be controversial.

imrae
KVRian
622 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:06 am

ATN69 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:33 pm
I decided to jump on the bx_masterdesk deal to. At first I wasn't too impressed by masterdesk because I could not get the results I wanted. Then I realized that I was going about things in the wrong way. If I can't fix the master with masterdesk, that tells me that my mix is not okay. Masterdesk is there to add the finishing touches of the song, not to fix the underlaying issues. Never too late to learn I guess.
Bingo! Mastering should be a light touch to finish things, it won't save a mix.

On a related note: a powerful tool for salvaging a bad mix is multiband compression. It's even better at ruining good mixes. If you have the choice between adjusting the mix and using a multiband you should adjust the mix.

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
7837 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:49 pm

That's just common sense. I've mastered songs on our new album as many as five or six times, after going back and making adjustments. All up, only 4 of the 17 tracks got through mastering without at least one re-mix/re-render and three of those are just short interstitials. The only proper song to get through was the one I was working on last, before I started mastering.
Hermetech Mastering wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:21 pm
This is true. The more you smash, the LESS energy you have in the track.
Right, and the more you crank up your Marshall amp, the less energy your guitar sound has, too. Idiots who think like that are why I can do a better job of mastering than any full-time professional who thinks he knows what he's doing.
Of course for some genres and styles it's expected. I'm quite happy to get my HipHop clients stuff to -6 or -7 LUFS because that's what they ask for and what the style requires to have any chance of success.
Hip-hop has no energy, it's nursery rhymes for losers. Lame and tame and no amount of mastering is going to change that.
ATS wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:24 pm
BONES send me the mixdown of one of your songs, I will put one through a limiter and one not. Then volume match it and you will see how wrong you are. Or just do it yourself. But you don't really want to learn anything do you? Of course not, you already know it all, and that's great.
You do understand that Ozone has volume matching built in, don't you? It is actually very easy to do an A/B comparison of the original material compared to the mastered sound without any coloration of perception caused by volume differences. The problem, of course, is that to do that, Ozone needs to overdrive the sound, so it breaks zero all the time to get the level up where it needs to be to compete. THAT is why you use a brick wall limiter instead. That's it's purpose - to make it louder than you can get from simple normalising. It's also why I turn the Maximiser off to do the A/B, so I can tell if the other tools in the mastering chain are doing a good job before I make it as loud as it needs to be. I'm not maximising to make the master better, I am doing it to make it louder because it needs to be as loud as everyone else's stuff. One thing I am confident of, though, is that maximising doesn't make anything sound worse if you use it properly. It is reasonably transparent, it mostly just sound louder.
imrae wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:52 pm
Unless the transients are annoying you (which is, again, best fixed while mixing), turning up the master volume is superior to limiting. That... shouldn't be controversial.
In a perfect world, perhaps, but the world we live in is one where we have to compete with everyone else to get a listener's attention. If you are streaming stuff on Spotify, for example, and you listen to a dozen songs that have been mastered to -12 LUFS and then your uncompressed song comes on at -20 LUFS, it is going to sound pathetic. Where all the other songs' kick drums are booming in their headphones, yours will be making a little "pffft" sound.

It's a problem that used to come up a lot when I was a retro DJ - you're in the middle of a set and you put something on that even at full volume isn't anywhere near as loud as all the other stuff and suddenly everyone is walking off the dance floor. So the next week you make sure you start with enough headroom to make that song as loud as everything else and the dance floor stays packed. I've seen it first-hand, time and again.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

supimpa
KVRer
16 posts since 4 Dec, 2018

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:50 am

As said above, reference tracks and oscilloscope.

Compare your lows, highs and the overall balance. Also as said, be careful with mono compatibility (phase correlation).

If everything is alright, all you need is a good limiter (some i like: Stealth Limiter - IK Multimedia, Pro L2 - Fabfilter and the limiter in Ozone 8 - Izotope).

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BONES
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7837 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: What makes a good mastering "sound"

Post Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:42 pm

What I really like about Ozone's limiter is the way it works with the Dynamic EQ to try and maintain transparency. It's something I simply couldn't do with any other tool.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

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