Best mastering chain with plugins?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRAF
4036 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Wed Oct 27, 2021 4:28 pm

Azure / SlickEQ M
TEOTE
Taipei

And the mastering engineer can do outboard compression and ITB limiting.

Also featuring here and there: Soothe2 (tiny amounts, ofcourse), Saturn2, PSP Saturator (new one, rocks!), Spectre (careful with this, but puts sparkle where none existed, like nothing else), Bassroom. 2% of this, 5% of that.

Not in the audio signal, but very important: ISOL8, SpecTrend, ProQ-3 (analysis only),Correlometer, MtM Reference, Tonal Balance Control 2

KVRAF
3466 posts since 2 Jul, 2005

Post Wed Oct 27, 2021 5:53 pm

For my own stuff I use a few different chains that I've built over the years. For stuff that clients send in I use pretty much iZotope RX and MXXX.
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.

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KVRAF
7276 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:14 pm

My basic mastering/finalizing setup is Wavelab 11 with Ozone and FabFilter Pro-L, metering with Flux Analyzer

KVRAF
2715 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Post Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:29 am

IK T-Racks
Acon Acoustica
Tokyo Dawn Labs

KVRAF
4036 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Thu Oct 28, 2021 1:42 pm

What analysis are you guys using?

I absolutely can't live without ISOL8 now. I set the low band to 0-80hz so it's my one-click 'mono sub checker', not just on the master but all thoughout production and mixing. Marvelous free tool.

KVRian
1176 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from Kocmoc

Post Fri Oct 29, 2021 3:28 am

My ears mainly with VSX, SPL Hawkeye and live's spectrum.
Soft Knees - Demoscene - Live 10 - Diva - Omnisphere - Slate Digital VSX - TDR - Kush Audio - Fabfilter - PA - Valhalla - Fuse - Pulsar - NI - OekSound etc...

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KVRAF
1562 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Fri Oct 29, 2021 3:59 am

SPAN, Sonoris Meter and Youlean Pro here. I have most of the ISOL8 functions built into my Crookwood mastering console.

AKJ
KVRAF
1962 posts since 2 Mar, 2004

Post Fri Oct 29, 2021 5:04 am

Easiest (with very good quality): iZotope Ozone
Best: combination of Voxengo plugins (with Elephant as final limiter)
or anything you like and master.

KVRist
50 posts since 15 Mar, 2021

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 2:42 am

MogwaiBoy wrote:
Thu Oct 28, 2021 1:42 pm
What analysis are you guys using?

I absolutely can't live without ISOL8 now. I set the low band to 0-80hz so it's my one-click 'mono sub checker', not just on the master but all thoughout production and mixing. Marvelous free tool.
Metric AB is a great all in one solution for analysis and reference, tried making my own analysis chains, but came back to Metric, since it contains actually everything. Sometimes i go back to SPAN or uLean for more accurate metering.

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KVRian
831 posts since 21 Nov, 2015

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:05 am

Metric AB is indeed a very useful Tool!

+1 for Voxengo for being just High Quality and well Thought out.
The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.

KVRist
52 posts since 25 Oct, 2009

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 7:44 am

true iron > equilibrium > unisum > limitless > metric ab
sounds really great and without metric ab can also be used live at the cost of about 25-35% cpu :)

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KVRian
1221 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 9:37 am

Wondering if most people responding even know what mastering is. Hint: it’s not what you put on your master buss.

You shouldn’t be using saturators and other beauty products when you master. You really shouldn’t be mastering your own work at all.

But if you’re going to, you will likely have better results using automated processes that 1) match level and balance between songs, followed by something that 2) sets ideal loudness for your target format. If you’re not mastering a collection of songs to be packaged as an album, then you should skip step 1.

Anything other than those two steps should be addressed in the mix, not during “mastering.”
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRist
105 posts since 20 Jul, 2012

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 10:08 am

jamcat wrote:
Sat Oct 30, 2021 9:37 am
Wondering if most people responding even know what mastering is. Hint: it’s not what you put on your master buss.

You shouldn’t be using saturators and other beauty products when you master. You really shouldn’t be mastering your own work at all.
Not sure you do know what it is. Go tell it to the hundreds of professional mastering engineers that use saturators and exciters. Why should it be bad?
And of course you can master your own music, there is nothing bad about it.
:dog:

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KVRian
1221 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 10:46 am

So you have to look at the history of mastering and why it was done. Mastering is about fitting the music into its destination media.

Record needles would literally jump the grooves if the dynamics were too hot, so a person who understood the parameters of the format would put a limiter on the master destined for the lathe. Cassette tapes would experience high frequency loss, so a mastering engineer needed to put some extra HF emphasis on the master destined for tape to make up for it. Mastering was done specifically per format.

Today these problems don’t exist, so those practices are no longer applicable, though many people who don’t understand that continue to apply them, just because.

Now what you need to be concerned with is loudness limitations of streaming formats. There is a right way and a wrong way to do LUFS. The wrong way sounds really loud when you play it in Media Player, and really weak and castrated in Spotify.

I’m sure there are lots of mastering engineers who do all the stuff you shouldn’t. The number of absolutely destroyed remasters out there is astounding. So appealing to their authority is a logical fallacy for good reason. There is never any good reason to add distortion (which is a form of dynamic limitation and resolution loss) that late in the process. That is an artistic decision, and that is not the mastering engineer’s job. They need to stay in their lane.

The reason you shouldn’t master your own work is because you are listening to it with the same ears that mixed it. How is the person that made all the mistakes going to be the one to fix them? An automated process at least removes the source of the problem (you) from the equation.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRist
105 posts since 20 Jul, 2012

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 12:11 pm

Wrong, adding distortion/saturation/excitement/you name it, is a decision made by the mixing or mastering engineer. Depending on the style and function of the distortion (of course you dont put a guitar amp on a clean vocal track in a ballad, but you can excite the high ends of a mix to make it sound crispier, for example).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzHT4Y3uJjI

And of course you can master your own stuff. People that do that, instead of hiring a professional mastering engineer, probably have a good reason for that (financial, flexibility,...).

Saying "you shouldn't" or "you should" to general things like excitement is quite the opposite of an artistic mindset, just saying.

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