Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mastering Adam Ayan Q&A The Mastering Process

  • This topic has 7 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 7 years ago by Adam Ayan.
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  • #6314
    Anders Isberg
    Participant

      Hi Adam.

      Could you take us through a typical mastering session step by step? I'm also interested in what are the most common problems you have to take care of, and your solutions to those problems.

      #6354
      Adam Ayan
      Participant

        Hi Anders,

        Thank you for the question!

        It is a pretty wide open question, with many potential answers. It would not be possible for me to give you a step by step, but here are a few things of note:

        My first listen for each track I master is when I dig right in. Some engineers prefer to listen through, or do comparisons, I like to get right to it. My first listen is also the one where I am focused on any "corrective measures/EQ" that I may have to perform. For example: Is the low end way too much and out of whack? If so I'll correct that first before focusing on other aspects of the mix/master.

        One of the most common problems I run into are over compressed mixes. Unfortunately, there are not many ways to fix those issues. I find that the most important think I can do in those cases is not exacerbate the problem. This seems intuitive, but at times my job is just as much what not to do as it is doing something.

        Hope these are helpful!

        Best,
        Adam

        #6355
        Jared Sherman
        Participant

          Adam, in regards to the over compressed mix that you get; do you ever find yourself trying to add transients back to the over-squashed mix via an Elysia Nvelope or some other transient shaper tool?

          #6364
          Adam Ayan
          Participant

            Hi Jared,

            Yes, absolutely. I usually would try to add transients with EQ or other tools. I would also usually avoid tools that round transients even further, or make things too warm.

            Thanks!
            Adam

            #6369
            Jared Sherman
            Participant

              Thanks Adam. How do you add transients via EQ and what other tools/gear/plugins do you use to achieve that effect?

              #6378
              Anders Isberg
              Participant

                Thanks for the answer Adam. I guess with all the experience you have a lot of what you do have become second nature, and you don't have to think too much about it. One thing I'm curious about is how do decide that the master is done? What are the qualities that a finished master should have, and do you reference the finished track to make sure it sounds good on different playback devices?

                #6438
                Adam Ayan
                Participant

                  Hi Anders,

                  For me the master is done when I can listen to it from beginning to end (on a song by song basis), and I it connects with me musically and I do not feel the need to grab a knob and make any more changes 🙂 I know that sounds very simple, but it's true - if I can listen to the mastering and enjoy the music as fully as I think possible, then it's done!

                  I do not reference other playback devices any more. I did that quite a bit starting out and found it very very useful. Once I dialed in what things sound like in my room relative to other playback environments I could reliably master without the need to check on a regular basis. I highly recommend going through this process.

                  Thanks!

                  Best,
                  Adam

                  #6439
                  Adam Ayan
                  Participant

                    Hi Jared,

                    With EQ I basically dial up what's missing in terms of making the transients pop more.

                    The SPL Transient Designer is also a wonderful non-EQ tool for transients.

                    Hope this helps!

                    Best,
                    Adam

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