- This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by David Michael.
August 25, 2019 at 4:35 pm #65235David MichaelParticipant
I have been working on mixing one of the academy multi-tracks (it's my first mix). I have 'finished' the mix, which was all done in the box, on headphones with Sonarworks Reference 4 on the master buss.
I am only doing this as a hobby and I am just trying t understand the mastering process a bit more. I don't know if I really need to master the track before putting it up for feedback, however my question is simply this: should I now master with Sonarworks as the last element in the chain?
Thanks in advance
DavidAugust 25, 2019 at 4:54 pm #65236Adrian LomasParticipant
Congrats on finishing your first mix. From Sonarworks: "Always remember to BYPASS Reference 4 when bouncing. Clearly, you would not want corrective equalization to be printed to the track itself. The idea is to compensate for the way your particular system or headphones color the sound, so you can make mixing decisions based on a sonically neutral listening environment. Bouncing the corrective effects of Reference 4, which are specific to your situation only, would not make much sense."
And no, you don't have to master your track. People will happily give feedback on your mix to support you.
Arthur has a helpful post here: https://academy.producelikeapro.com/forums/topic/faq-frequently-asked-questions/ and how to get feedback is covered in it.
AdrianAugust 26, 2019 at 4:59 am #65246David MichaelParticipant
Hi Adrian, thanks for your reply.
Looking at your answer, I realise that I didn't phrase my question correctly!
I completed the mix and bounced it to a stereo file without Sonarworks. I didn't want to attempt any mastering within the mix project.
What I was trying (but failed) to ask was should I also use Sonarworks when I master the stereo file I created?
Also, I should have said Feedback Friday there. I've had a little feedback already on a preliminary mix of the track.
Sorry for the confusion. I think I wrote that late at night and was half asleep.
DavidAugust 26, 2019 at 2:43 pm #65261Adrian LomasParticipant
There's a blog post here: https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/learn/master-fader-inserts-what-and-why/ so I believe the answer is that you do indeed keep using it during the process.
There's a whole range of levels people have printed at on Feedback Friday so all I would say is just be careful not to do anything in trying to master (seemingly a very different art!) which ends up negatively impacting your mix - like losing its dynamics and so on. Warren can just turn your mix up in his DAW or we can as listeners, no issue.
Anyway, good luck with it and I look forward to listening.
AdrianAugust 26, 2019 at 3:44 pm #65268David MichaelParticipant
Thanks for the links. I'll read the Sonarworks one tomorrow after work (I've read Arthur's).
I'm glad there is no pressure to master for Feedback Friday. I've read and watched a few things (including Warren's interviews with the likes of Michael Romanowski and the recent Piper Payne one) and it does seems to be a somewhat mysterious art. Like you say I'd rather not adversely affect my mix by playing with something I have no clear understanding of.
I'll probably take the plunge and put it up for next week's FF.
DavidAugust 26, 2019 at 4:31 pm #65269Keith FelsParticipant
For the most part, mastering serves 2 purposes. First to balance out your mix tonally and second to boost the volume without compressing too hard while staying within the limits of the intended delivery. If we could do a perfect mix the first would not be necessary because there would be no need to correct so just do your best and don't worry about anything being perfect. As far as level, most streaming won't accept higher levels anyway so you can push it a little with a limiter but don't be too concerned about getting CD levels.
Sonarworks is really just flattening the eq of your headphones/monitors so you can trust the sound you hear instead of worrying about boosted lows or scooped mids making you think your mix is even when it isn't. Anytime you are listening/mixing on your headphones you should have Sonarworks running (accept during a bounce which was talked about). If your HP have a boosted response say around 60-80 hz then your bass will sound great in your ears but maybe missing in your mix.March 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm #72202Robert HundtParticipant
About your question, let's think this through logically.
- You are using Sonarworks during mixing, to let it "correct your room acoustics" and subsequently, to make the right decisions during mixing without being affected too much by your room acoustics.
- So if you are attempting to master that same mix, you want the same out of Sonarworks Reference. You want the same correction, to make the right decisions during mastering.
"To make the right decisions", that is the very reason why you got your hands on Sonarworks Reference, no matter what decisions you are trying to make in whatever step, editing, mixing, mastering, some sort of post work, whatever it is.
And part two, where to put it:
- In a mixing situation, you are putting the Sonarworks Reference plugin last on a mix bus or some sort of post bus or your master channel or just somewhere on the sum of all signals, but at the very very last position in the chain. No meter and no analyzer or limiting device sits after Sonarworks. Else those will be affected by the corrective EQ curve, which wouldn't make sense.
- In mastering you are doing the same. You build your mastering chain and finish that up with a limiter. After the limiter you'll most often find an analyzer and a meter, which helps us to see a visual feedback of the song after the mastering chain. After that, after all your essential mastering tools, you will insert Sonarworks Reference to its job.
Again, its job is to help you make the right decision and therein is your answer, yes you will want to use it and you will want to put LAST.
Never forget to bypass it for making exports. You never want to bake that corrective EQ curve into your final exports. Not in the mixes, not in the masters!!!
A trick: is to use Sonarworks Systemwide, will which implement itself in the OS itself. If you are using Sonarworks Systemwide, you don't need to put the plugin in your DAW, because all system sound (DAW sound, Browser Sound, Spotify, iTunes, Winamp 😉 etc) will go through Sonarworks Systemwide. Works like a charm on my Mac, it's a little tricky on my Windows 10 PC.
It has been said that before, you don't have to master your mixes for feedback here. I want to encourage you to dabble around with it though, knowing a thing or two about mastering won't hurt!!! But if you send something out to the Academy or the public, you run the risk of ruining a mix with inexperienced mastering settings.
🙂March 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm #72480David MichaelParticipant
Hi Robert and Keith,
Thanks for your well considered replies. Sorry it's taken me so long to come back. Just been so busy and I had issues with ProTools and their last update. Did not sit well with my machine, so change of DAW etc. etc..
Anyway, since Black Friday last I have Izotope's Music Production Suite and hence Ozone 9. So my plan was to use that to learn a bit of mastering rather than use Studio One. I normally have Sonarworks Systemwide running as it happens (although it was giving me a little bother after the last update). So I guess, I would be using Richard's trick.
The mastering process fascinates me. Seems something of a dark art and some of my favourite Warren interviews have been with the likes of Michael Romanowski and Piper Payne. So some understanding of that process, even on an amateur level, I something I would like to have. But like you say, putting a mix out there ruined by inexperienced mastering is something to avoid.
Thanks again for all the advice.
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