Which mastering plug?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Teleking, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Teleking

    Teleking Supporting Member

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    I just record my own projects and have been sending my work to a friend to master. He does a great job cheaply, but I do wonder if I might be able to do a better job as I learn. Plus, I enjoy learning more and more about recording.

    Which plugs do you use for mastering? I work in Pro Tools.

    Thanks
     
  2. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    i use the one where i plug about a thousand dollars into the pocket of a real dood to do it right ;)

    that said, the bx stuff is pretty good, waves, izotope when i absolutely have to do it myself
     
  3. Scott Whigham

    Scott Whigham Member

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    Yeah, paying for mastering makes the most sense for me/to me right now.

    That said, for my own demos and stuff, my research says that Steven Slate's FG-X is "it".
     
  4. RocksOff

    RocksOff Member

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    Izotope for its EQ
    The Glue
    Massey L2007
     
  5. DavidLM

    DavidLM Member

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    Yeah, if you have a huge budget, and time, and trust a particular guy to do it the way you want it, send it out.

    But if you have all the tools to track and mix at home, then you have the tools to master at home. No budget + know what you want, gotta DIY.

    Here's my basic, generic chain, similar to RocksOff:

    EQ if necessary, gentle curves
    The Glue or other comp, low ratio
    Voxengo Elephant brickwall limiter, 3 to 6db of gain reduction usually but depends, .2 or .3 peaks, shooting for an RMS of -12 more or less and no awful clipping, yucky sound

    all AU's, sorry. But the chain can apply to any plugins.

    Drag some of your itunes collection into your DAW and see what they look like on your meters (not Pro Tools meters, third party), what they peak at, etc. Look at the goniometer stereo image - if it starts to look like a diamond or a square depending on your perspective, there is massive clipping and I'm sure you can hear that - crispy.

    I like some of Pink's songs, for instance. But I dragged one into Logic and it is clipping like crazy and sounds like ****. That is kind of pop/dance music, though, and virtually all of those songs are mastered horribly - and the biggest, most expensive "name" mastering engineers are the ones who master them. Seems like all the big boys and girls just want it as loud as possible period. Loud as possible never sounds good.

    Some of The Beatles 2009 Remaster CD's, the softer stuff, is at like -20 RMS and sounds great.
     
  6. JCM 800

    JCM 800 Member

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    For quick mastering Ozone 5 works well. The Massey limiter is always on my 2 bus.
     
  7. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    I've been out of the business for a few years, but I did a lot of mastering using:

    Waves L2 or L3 for making it louder

    Waves X noise for noise reduction

    Waves IR-1 reverbs when necessary

    Algorithmix Red EQ

    PSP Audioware

    The main thing most people don't have to do mastering is an acoustically treated control room with great monitors. All the plug ins in the world won't help get EQ decisions right if your room and monitors are screwy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  8. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Yeah, maybe.

    Though the one "plug in" that always seems to be missing from DIY mastering, even my own collection is the one where you plug 'yer ass into the chair with a completely objective opinion.

    Nobody who's recorded and/or mixed their own record has that one. Fresh ears and unfiltered thoughts go a long way at any stage of the process.

    But technically, for processing the basic tools are an EQ and brickwall limiter of choice. Then you need something that can cut a properly encoded disc or DDP and whatever other formats are required without error.
     
  9. riker4208

    riker4208 Member

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    My research has pointed towards Slate.

    It's only research tho and not real world experience.
     
  10. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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    I just went digital (from tape) a couple of years ago and mastered our first digitally recorded ITB; we all agreed it was better than most of what we've gotten from bigger names (in indie rock). I say go for it. -E
     
  11. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Some of the better known "indie" people are really terrible at best. Had quite a few bad encounters myself which sent me elsewhere. Nothings worse then getting that call; "what did they do to our record???"

    There's a bit more to good mastering then making things louder & brighter, to say nothing of encoding & delivery formats.

    But I'd tend to agree, if all you wanna do is crush things why pay someone else to ruin your music?

    Haven't listened to your band, only talking generally... DIY "mastering" as a concept.
     
  12. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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    Folks I used had delivered good result for others.:confused: I think some bands get their stuff back, realized it's been crushed, and then someone in that band--like OP, maybe--says, "Heck, I can do better than that." Hopefully, they're right. In my case, I feel like the limitations of my gear (and I recognize them) are offset by my ears, by the fact that I know what we want, and the fact that I don't cost us any money (and thus can take all the time I need). Also, I enjoy it. :dude-E

     
  13. thefyn

    thefyn Member

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  14. KidArchitect

    KidArchitect Member

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    Slate FG-X, Brainworx bx digital, waves l2/l3
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    There are a lot of good tools that are easy to find. But as others have pointed out, the problems are generally related to these concerns:

    1. The room and monitoring system's accuracy; and,

    2. The experience and objectivity of the person making the decisions and doing the work.

    Slate, Brainworx, Sonnox, Sonalksis, Izotope, Waves, and even IK and others make tools that are capable of being used in professional ways to achieve one's ends, and all of them do slightly different things and have interfaces that will suit different approaches.

    So it's a matter of choice as to what's good for the material, workflow, preference, etc. Does the material call for M/S processing? Does it need EQ? What kind of dynamic range is preferred by the artist and producer? What audience is it for?

    There's no right answer to this. Fortunately, many of the makers offer free trial periods with the plugs. Try a few out, and see how things go.
     
  16. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Generally for the processing part of mastering, its only ever going to be "as good" as the mixes are. However there's also no accounting for taste and/or communication and lack of... few years ago on a record I produced but didn't mix I insisted that it go to one of my main guys. Since I didn't mix and was only loosely involved, I didn't know the mixes were done and had been mastered until I got a call from the band who wanted to lynch me since they hated the mastering!!!

    After listening to the master & what was handed in I couldn't find any real fault with the processing. Turned out they handed over the mixes with no instructions or notes... once I got involved and sorted it out everyone loved the revised master.

    But processing is only one part of the game... the easy part.

    Delivery of multiple formats is the cruncher and why people spend the money, for consistency between those formats. Used to be they'd cut a CD, or CD and cassette. Now its CD; mp3 downloads; FLAC; hi-res 24bit for HD; iTunes; online subscription streaming; video including TV & you tube etc with all the checklists each format & its playback systems need.

    If it were as easy as turning a knob on an EQ well... why would the top artists & producers across any and all genres pay someone else thousands of dollars rather then doing it themselves?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  17. louderock

    louderock Member

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    McDsp ML4 is really good
     
  18. Strangeland

    Strangeland Member

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    For EQ, I like Equality, PSP Neon

    For Compression, my favorite was the Elysia Alpha Compressor, also The Glue, Duende Bus Compressor

    For Limiting, Elephant works for me

    But speakers and room will be your biggest allies/foes.

    I'd just reiterate what others have said, I would always prefer to have someone else do it.
     

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