- This topic has 7 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 7 years ago by Adam Ayan.
March 20, 2016 at 7:48 am #6314Anders IsbergParticipant
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.March 21, 2016 at 6:57 am #6354Adam AyanParticipant
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!
AdamMarch 21, 2016 at 7:45 am #6355Jared ShermanParticipant
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?March 21, 2016 at 10:13 am #6364Adam AyanParticipant
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.
AdamMarch 21, 2016 at 11:06 am #6369Jared ShermanParticipant
Thanks Adam. How do you add transients via EQ and what other tools/gear/plugins do you use to achieve that effect?March 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm #6378Anders IsbergParticipant
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?March 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm #6438Adam AyanParticipant
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.
AdamMarch 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm #6439Adam AyanParticipant
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!
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