Mastering dissapointment, or am I clueless

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by alanfc, May 16, 2005.


  1. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    hi,
    we had our bass player's friend, who's a real engineer, master a song for us to see if we wanted to use him for our CD.
    We gave him one of our songs that had a variety of tempos & feels.
    I got the CD of the song today and was a little shocked.

    I was shocked because it didn't even sound like us. The low end totally dominated and was muddy, and all instruments and voices lacked detail and sounded =small=. Compared to my work.
    I don't know.
    Anyone have the patience to give these a quick listen and tell me if I'm clueless, or better off doing it my way?

    I'm sorry these mp3's are so big, couldn't figure out how to cut them down. All you need to hear is the Intro+ Verse+Chorus to get the point.

    ="MeloMasterFriend" is this guy's job (sorry dude if you're on this board, its a matter of taste I guess)
    ="MeloMasterAlan" is my homebrew mastering

    thanks alot..

    (big play button is hi-fi stream, little play button is lo-fi stream, down arrow is download)

    http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists/album.php?aid=2962&alid=1309
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    If you don't like what he does, don't use him. You should choose a mastering engineer who (a) is a mastering engineer, (b) whose work is on music similar to yours and (c) whose work you like.
     
  3. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    OK thanks

    I'm bummed because he had all the gear to make a good master that the duplication company would need.
    Now I need to get in to the whole Redbook error-free mess:(

    I was =really= hoping his work would thrill us all
     
  4. Eoin

    Eoin Member

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    Well, a sound engineer is not a mastering engineer. Get a pro if you can afford it. If not, I'd say give it a quick normalise and just leave it. Better to have no mastering than bad mastering.
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    Scott Peterson, of our own TGP does a nice job mastering, and so does Jonas Berzanskis, who has mastered grammy winners. Both are here in Michigan.

    Mastering is its own thing, and it's different from recording and mixing.

    If you want to spend some serious dollars, there are folks on both coasts I can recommend.
     
  6. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I don't like to use the board to spam what I do, but if you send me a final mix mp3 I'll turn it back to you so you can hear what I can do.

    Just a thought.

    scott@spetersonmusic.com
     
  7. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    hi thanks guys-

    this friend we had try a master for us was "free help"

    we've gotten alot of offers from various friends and about 10% of the time they actually follow up, thats OK.

    I'm going to keep my homebrew mastering the way it is. THe band liked it, our friends think it sounds professional (so -so compliment, they don't know any better)
    But, we do have a real pro friend, the producer for a girl named Madeline Peyroux, who cranked all 11 songs with my mastering, in his pro space, and he said it sounded great with no deficieincies. Thats really all I need.

    So I'm not really shopping for places to send our mixes to

    thanks for all the ideas
    :)
     
  8. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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  9. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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  10. jkr

    jkr Supporting Member

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    Yup, a mastering person can make your stuff sound better or WORSE. I find that many mastering guys add more bass than you here on top commercial releases. I don't know why. Listen to the top 40 radio songs in any genre other than rap and you don't hear mondo bass booming.

    I took some stuff to a well respected mastering guy who muddied up the songs with low end.

    Picking a mastering guy is like picking a mixer, you've got to hear his stuff first. Also, much like mixing, you'll probably want to live with it for a few days and then do tweaks to get it "just right".
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I don't know who you're talking about, but I can guess why. They probably can't hear in their "mastering rooms" what you hear in your car.

    JMO, but mastering is not a job for "mastering guys." It's a job for a trained mastering engineer in a real mastering room with real mastering grade gear.

    I guess it depends on what one considers master quality, but to me it means the audio quality of a commercial release and a minimum of errors on the master itself.
     
  12. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    Yes this is my goal now. Just want it to pass the duplicators requirements.
    The band liked what I did, and we're just making a 1000x for gigs and friends.
    Our next CD alot of stuff will be different.
     
  13. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    OK
    despite all the article and demonstrations I've given to my band regarding the volume wars and crushing everything with compression/limiting, they seem to have forgotten everything.

    One asked me today:
    "When you transfer mix, can you raise overall volume (i.e., making it equivalent to something like recent Red Hot Chilli Peppers/U2 releases)?"

    great.

    If you can, can you see if my version in the link above,
    is any quieter than the other guy's version? (using fancier gear than me). Mine is Master Alan, his is Master Friend.

    thanks

    /edit/
    now have a new version up on this same link- called
    "Melo Alan Rad Master" where I'm going straight from an EQ into a KJAERHUS Master Limiter. (No chain of 2 compressors im between the EQ and the Limiter like my original)
    Is there too much obvious compression?

    thanks
     
  14. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    You can take or leave what I have to say and its ok:)

    I happen to be in my studio today, so I'm listening on the monitors I am used to listening on.

    In your rad master I can hear the compressor on the cymbal hits a bit, but you're not slamming it by any means. It could be more expansive in the lower eq, but since you didnt like your friend doing that, its probably just not what you want.

    The volume difference isn't as noticable as the expansion of the upper and lower frequencies on your friends master that I don't hear in yours. It makes you think its louder cause you are hearing more of it. And this could be more or less pronounced depending on your listening environment.

    It sounds good. There gets to be a point where its alot more about taste than "good" or "bad". I'm used to hearing mastered finals that are squashed and ready for FM radio. thats a terrible thing from some points of view, but it's what some other people want. Just different tastes. One thing that should happen after mastering is that the song should sound acceptable no matter where it is played. So check it in the car, pc speakers, a boombox. For me, studio monitors aren't the best final judge cause very few of your audience will be listening on them.

    H2H
     
  15. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    Cool ! Thanks for listening,
    can you help me straighten one thing-

    you said:

    "The volume difference isn't as noticable as the expansion of the upper and lower frequencies on your friends master that I don't hear in yours. It makes you think its louder cause you are hearing more of it. "

    you mean the Friend master has the expansion and mine doesn't , yes?

    Just want to get that right ! I'm still on the fence about using him or not,
    but if there's a sort of =largeness= his master has, compared to mine, it may sway my opnion

    thanks again
     
  16. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    Yes, thats right. The bigger sound comes from the bigger top and bottom ends. But thats easy to hear on my studio monitors, it may not translate the same in a car or home stereo. Did you listen to his final those places and others?

    H2H
     
  17. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    hi, thanks

    I listened to the Friend version on the system I use to judge things the most, my 1996 Honda, stock factory stereo and a portable cd player with the irritating cig lighter power source..
    I know what pro stuff and my stuff sounds like in there, and its sort of my standard.

    The expanded low end on the Friend version was massive and un-crankable in my car. Unlike mine or the pro CD's I listen to in there. Mine =used= to have out of control low end but I learned. His job sounded great off the mp3 on computer speakers though - so I'm planning on making distinct/separate masters for our mp3 soundclips on our website.

    There was something in the Rad Alan version that I tried, which I =think= opened up the mix a bit (does it seem so?), as I mentioned above, which was to go straight from EQ to limiter, goosing the input volume on the EQ and the output volume on the EQ. Instead of the little compressor chain I had.

    I'm starting to think our friend is actually going to be too busy to do this for us after all, I've learned just today.
    I =can= do it myself...it won't be pro, but we're not trying to tour the world and go multi-platinum here;)
    I've got a gillion resources for learning the stuff which I was trying to apply on my own first version, but the quality of my setup may be a factor.
    Thanks
     

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