Whats a good mastering chain for edm? Any tips for newer producer?

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Kevinvial
KVRer

Topic Starter

10 posts since 22 Nov, 2021

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:18 am

What compressors do you all like to use?

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRAF
1595 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:18 am

Chandler Germaniums here

ThunderMix
KVRer
5 posts since 9 Dec, 2021

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:00 pm

The best chain is analog. Top mastering studio use analog gear such as SPL, Elysia, Manley. But digital tools are getting better every day.

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cryophonik
KVRAF
7607 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:08 pm

The OP is looking to just "master" his own tracks to finalize them for his personal satisfaction, not for a label release. He's already stated that he can't afford to pay for professional mastering and, obviously, there's no need for that in his case. To everybody who says he shouldn't worry about mastering, my reply is, no way, mastering is as much of the production process as anything else, so there's absolutely no reason that he (or any other hobbyist/enthusiast) shouldn't make it part of their music-making experience. Besides, if you stop and think about it for a moment, you might realize that the top mastering engineers all started somewhere, right? ;)

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vurt
addled muppet weed
88513 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:18 pm

cryophonik wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:08 pm
if you stop and think about it for a moment, you might realize that the top mastering engineers all started somewhere, right? ;)
mic drop!

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
31546 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:27 pm

bx_masterdesk will do the job, and its on sale today ...
only $29.99 with code XMAS21-BXMD

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/prod ... rdesk.html

Bulbizarre
KVRist
219 posts since 31 Aug, 2020

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 3:10 pm

ThunderMix wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:00 pm
The best chain is analog. Top mastering studio use analog gear such as SPL, Elysia, Manley. But digital tools are getting better every day.
Maselec !

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRAF
1595 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Thu Dec 09, 2021 10:41 pm

It's really not the tools, or hardware vs. software, analogue vs. digital etc., it's what you do with them.

recursive one
KVRAF
5646 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:56 am

In the last couple of years I wasn't attempting any mastering myself and was sending the finished mixes to a ME right away, thinking that they would do it much better than I ever could so it would be a waste of time trying to do this myself. Some mixes did ok, but some surprisingly had problems during mastering which I couldn't predict at the mixing stage, so I decided to put together some chain to make draft mastering myself in order to reveal possible mixing problems.

My chain is as follows:
- Ozone equalizer which only cuts the sub around 25-30 Hz
- SPL Iron, which tightens up and fattens the mix (makes sense to set up the internal HP so it wouldn't react to the lowest frequenices)
- Another instance of Ozone, with equalizer doing the broadband tonal ajustments, a bit of exciter and stereo processing (mostly to mono the lows - or this can be done within Iron. I haven't worked out yet if this should be done before or after the compressor, but since I keep my kicks and basses in mono anyway that probably doesn't make much difference as most of the time it does nothing and sits here just in case)
- LVC clipshifter - to shave off the most prominent peaks before hitting the limiter
- Ozone limiter

With this chain I try to bring the loudness and the overall sound of my tracks as close to the references as possible and if some parts of the track start to distort or sound werid I go back to the mix to work specifically on these parts - that might be buidlup in certain frequenices, or uneven dynamics, that need to be fixed in the mix.

Overall, if the mix is good enough, I think that chain must be sufficient for a draft master to post at soundcloud or for demo presentation.
Kevinvial wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:23 am
I own ozone actually but i really dont like their limiter. I demoed fabfilter l2 and got way better results.
Ozone limiter has few modes which can sound drastically different. Depending on the material, one may sound poor and another one may sound quite decent with the same threshold/GR.

I don't have L2 so can't compare though.
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

https://soundcloud.com/recursion-loop/s ... travels-ep

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Aloysius
KVRAF
35286 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from another dimension

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:23 am

Whats a good mastering chain for edm?

A noise gate.
Hi-de-Hi!

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
2396 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:31 am

Keep it simple if you're learning. Eq, then a compressor, then a limiter. And use metering tools after that. The T Racks metering suite is good, but Izotope's Tonal Balance Control is the best thing out for guiding EQ at the mastering stage (I use both).
First make your EQ decisions, then deal with the comp. Try to use a "mastering" preset on both the comp and limiter, First dial in the comp using either the input or the threshold to get a little gain reduction going on at the loudest sections, then use a limiter to make it louder.

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Bodhisan
KVRian
711 posts since 7 Aug, 2015 from H2O

Post Sun Dec 12, 2021 4:29 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:27 pm
bx_masterdesk will do the job, and its on sale today ...
only $29.99 with code XMAS21-BXMD

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/prod ... rdesk.html
Can’t remember if I got this free or really cheap with a couple other Focusrite (or maybe it came with my Solo?), but I put this on my master out doing hardly anything to it at all and was delightfully surprised at the tightness and glue it added. It’s staying.

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astralprojection
KVRist
60 posts since 30 Jun, 2019

Post Tue Dec 14, 2021 6:00 am

good mix. have the mix sound like its done already, or to the best of your ability to do so. That doesnt mean putting things on your master fader but rather create buses and mix those (similar to stem mastering i would suppose) then have the mix at a stage where it sounds amazing to you.

the mastering chain then is pretty straight forward
- corrective EQ in linear phase mode; HP/LP filtering, M/S, get rid of nasty whistling and sharpness in the highs, boxiness, etc
- any "sweetening" such as rBass; Saturn; M/S compression/stereo imaging. all optional. i only ever use rbass these days. I dont think stereo imaging tools in mastering is very good as it could cause some unwanted phase differences; same with m/s compression so use that with catuion :P
- bus compression with a sidechain HP filter. letting the <30hz through (creating that depth/bottom), but glueing everything else together. This is always done parallell - so blend the dry with the wet. Pro-C2 is the single best compressor plugin that can do all of that and much more. I usually dial in a slow attack to get the entirety of the kicktransient - then enough release to catch the tail too. normally i use a 4:1 ratio. dial in about 5-6db of gain reduction then mix wet and dry to taste.
- sweetening EQ. this is where all the sparkle comes from, reduce possible unwanted freqs the compression brought out, cut away too much of what rBass did- etc.
- optional - multiband compressor like Pro-Mb. also in linear phase mode. either bring down too much freq buildups in certain places of the song; or expand them.
- clipping. this is where if the wave still has lots of peaks and transients; and its more than you like - use a clipper to shave it off. i use standardClip.
- limiting this is where you hone in the final loudness of the master, and whatever youre aiming for. pro-l2 has a Delta mode so you can really hear what the limiter is doing and if its causing too much distortions.
- 2nd limiter for ISP/TP limiting; and leaving about 0.2db of headroom for later conversion/dithering/mp3 encoding, or what have you.

forgot to mention; its important to render each step in the chain. so this method will take more time but it is absolutely worth it.

im all self tought and have been interested and experimented with mastering for about 20 years or so. and the golden rule is - if its sounding great, than youre doing it correctly. Regardless of methodology, workflow, or creativity. And if its not sounding that good, keep practicing. Ive never stopped practicing myself, and never will.
One final note about the Ozone stuff though, I dont think it sounds very good. Ive a/b the ozone eq, compressor and limiter from its mastering suite - and tbh it doesnt leave a transparant result. I can totally recommend the fabfilter stuff.

Kevinvial
KVRer

Topic Starter

10 posts since 22 Nov, 2021

Post Fri Dec 17, 2021 8:37 pm

Should i render the track then go and master then but render each one and reload in the DAW?

All really great advice ty , got some reading to do , thanks!

Kevinvial
KVRer

Topic Starter

10 posts since 22 Nov, 2021

Post Fri Dec 17, 2021 8:40 pm

cryophonik wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:08 pm
The OP is looking to just "master" his own tracks to finalize them for his personal satisfaction, not for a label release. He's already stated that he can't afford to pay for professional mastering and, obviously, there's no need for that in his case. To everybody who says he shouldn't worry about mastering, my reply is, no way, mastering is as much of the production process as anything else, so there's absolutely no reason that he (or any other hobbyist/enthusiast) shouldn't make it part of their music-making experience. Besides, if you stop and think about it for a moment, you might realize that the top mastering engineers all started somewhere, right? ;)
;)

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