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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 8:40 pm 
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quest wrote:
I will set at soundcheck and forget. Tuning to the room is not something that needs to be done over the course of the set, if the PA is prepared correctly.


You`ve clearly never played live. EQing channels live through the rig is one of the most powerful tools you have with a live PA, you can make old sounds completely transform due to the combination of room resonances and large soundsystem, it is extremely important.


Ok, let me explain more clearly.
Obviously this fucking stems from NI bullshit has you in a new mindset.

Firstly, and I don`t want to sound harsh here, you think you have a new idea for playing techno, but what you propose has literally been going on in clubs for over 10 years now.
Hybrid live PA`s with full tracks and stems is just a simplified ableton PA.
I was running a club night in brighton called Tribal Editing Department in the mid to late noughties, it was a 2 room dance music event and we only booked live PA`s, as part of that I was also giving lectures and seminars pirvately and at colleges and universities on live electronic music performance, and this exact method is one of the things I was teaching people, it`s nothing new man.

So, firstly, there is no way to get stems to sounds the same as a fully mastered track. You can`t predict how the stems will be used, there will always have to be more headroom on them, it`s the nature of how mixing works.
Secondly, in a mix situation, a LIVE situation, fully mastered tracks don`t sound as good as a live mix from parts.
Realise this.
A mastered sound is a compromise.
A mix is not.
When I play live, my sound is punchier, fuller, with much more clarity than the records I play before or after. It`s not because I am some super genius, it`s simply the nature of how the sound is. The sound from separate tracks has more punch and clarity and fullness, BECAUSE it has more punch and clarity and fullness
Why?
Because no compromises have been made to get the (vinyl) audio to a high perceived loudness. No limiting, no shaving off of dynamics, and no corrective EQ across the whole mix.
There will always be a difference if you mix full stereo masters with tracks made from stems. And you actually want that difference. It`s a win, not a lose.

Now how this bullshit stems system will work I don`t know, it will be incredibly hard for NI to standardise how people send in the stems. It`s just.... well, it`s just bullshit. I can`t really see any artists signing up to it except the most desperate beatport copycat producers making muck, but just desperate for any kind of recognition.

I mean what artist wants to give away their tracks as separate parts? to further devalue their vision of their own music? And what DJ is so fucking talentless they they will use others parts and pretend to play live rather than make it themselves? What will Ni`s next plan be? The NI ghost DJ system? where you hire a DJ or producer to just come and play for you, and you stand at the front of the stage and just wank off in to the audience?

I disgress.......

One of the simplest ways to do what you propose is (using ableton, because this is precisely what it is designed for) set up ableton with, let`s say 10 channels.

8 channels grouped in to 2 groups of 4 (so you can mix stem tracks as 2 separate "tunes") and then 2 channels for stereo mastered full mixes.

On the 2 groups you would have some buss processing that provides glue and so on, a collection of compression, maybe some harmonic distortion, a top and tail clean up EQ.
Each channel within that group has an EQ as well, so you can tweak live.

then your 2 stereo master channels just have EQ over them.

Your master channel can then have some more compression, and typical master buss processing.

You can then perhaps have crossfader options set up the busses, and individual channels, so you can say crossfade between a stereo master and a stem group or whatever.
With ableton it`s so easy to do this shit, which is why I say, go to the ableton forum.

That`s pretty much it, that will do you, it can be expanded on, but that is everything you need and more to do the NI stems experience, but with far more potential.


Processing your stems? just do as you would per-channel, really clean up them low frequencies, and apply typical channel dynamics effects you would in the mix, but maybe shave another db over the norm, as long as you have headroom on the master channel it really doesn`t matter.


But there is no real smooth way to move between stems and full stereo masters. The stereo masters will sound more cramped and less dynamic and musical. That`s just how it is.

With my own live PA`s I generally (used) to throw in about 3 or 4 fully mastered tunes, so that I could "take a break" in the set and chill out, as my live setups are generally a bit mentally intense and you need a mental break occasionally in that 2 hour set to gather your thoughts.
I changed the way I played, dramatically about 5 years ago? (well, even more dramatically over the last 2 years, but that`s another discussion) where I transferred all my live control to an ipad running Touch-Able (and ableton controller platform for tablets) remotely over an ad-hoc network with my laptop.
This meant I could set up my gear in the booth, but control it from anywhere in the club, so I could set up at the back of the room, opposite the rig, and mix from the rig, rather than using the shite monitors you always get in DJ booths (that never truly represent the soundsystem). I really wanted to make sure the audience was getting the best possible audio experience.

So what I noticed when I started doing this was how mixing in stereo masters just didn`t sound as good, due to what happens to tracks when they are mastered. Everything was going from clear and punchy and rich and full, from the stems and live vsti, to cramped and closed with the stereo masters (done by various engineers all of good quality).

so from that point I started taking out prepped premastered stereo tracks in place of the mastered stereo tracks. (Just with a little mastering Eq on them, but nothing else).
everything then sounded better, the full mixed stereo tracks were holding up nicely to the full stems and going through the same master buss processing, this was my final "ding" eureka moment that really got my live PA`s to sit "perfectly".

So your solution?

there isn`t one, you can`t get stems to sound like a mastered track, and why would you want to.
If you play live, play live, the soundsystem becomes your live mastering tool.

Now, let`s dump this subject, it has no place in this sticky which is here to help people get their 2 buss mixes to a "play out" level for personal use.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:57 am 
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Well I did play live from 00-05. I never said I wouldn't be EQing the stem groupings as I saw fit. But dealing with all the original individual tracks would be too much for my way of playing live (it always was, even with the old hardware set I made my groupings on the mixer in a similar way).

I'm not saying the way of playing the foundation tracks on their own with deep mixing is anything new, though you'd usually see that from DJs more than live PAs, the live PAs I've seen tend to play their tracks out end to end with short or even immediate mixes between them.

But building a set that is mainly in the mix, and putting the dancer-controlled system on top of that (they play parts that are for that particular mix, not parts that are part of one track or the other) might be. I want to find the music in the mix, not in the individual tracks themselves.

If you do know of any live PAs that do it that way, let me know. I haven't seen many. I'm not saying that trying to do it this way is anything special, but it's the approach I want to take, and I'm trying to find a reference point.

Anyway I do want to continue this conversation, but I'm happy to move it into the NI stems thread.

I do see the topics of prepping your 2 track masters to play live, and prepping your 8 track stems to play live (and be able to choose from either, and have them sound roughly equivalent, which is exactly the Stems concept) as a single topic, but I'm fine if you want to keep them separated.

I do think you're missing the point still, which I'll try to illustrate in the other thread.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 3:12 am 
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hmmmmmm...
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And thanks for the advice too.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 6:01 am 
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Clearly I have some latent NI issues that I wasn't fully aware of.
My therapist should probably be told.

Next time I dig up my patio I'll tell her about it, provided she no longer smells.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 10:49 pm 
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Conversation continued in other thread (if you're willing).

Honestly I couldn't care less about whether it's NI or Pioneer or whoever. I care about how they have the leverage to get other people to care.

Nobody knows if it will take off, but it probably won't without some early adopters (I'm going to try to be one of them, but am still unknown so not much help).

The trick is going to be proving what's actually useful about a standardized multitrack format. I argued that for creative techno DJs, it would be a godsend compared to what you could do with only stereo masters and an EQ (and whatever tacky mixer effects).

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:29 pm 
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Mattias wrote:
I think Soundonsound have decent articles with mixing etc.

For good reading about things regarding mastering check Bob Katz Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science. Good starting point


I actually have this book I got it from the library a year and a half a go , must route it out and have a read. I only ever skimmed through it.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:33 pm 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
As prices go, Matt Colton is arguably one of the best in the business (he won engineer of the year 2 years in a row or something), and his vinyl mastering is less than dubplates and mastering, I learned a lot from him. You pay for their name with those guys.
I wouldn`t pay the money DP&M are charging, I could go to abbey road and do a sit in with Geoff Pesch for less than that.


I recommended my brother to get his music mastered by Chris McCormack for his album .

Rock music.

Sounded excellent.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:37 pm 
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Good topic, i remember watching Rob Babicz ( Rob Acid ) talk about the cutting of 30hz... good point. I'm still trying to get good at it . There are differences in the low end from Digital to Vinyl. With Vinyl you're really cutting anything lower than 50hz ,so in many cases the bottom or low end spectrum is different. That Massive passive you have- would be a great choice to go back down to the sub base region around 100hz to make the low end more pronounced/tighter. Again ,it comes down to having some decent monitors- they don't have to cost Thousands of dollars as long as you get a good frequency spectrum from them .The software that is available today- Shareware or store purchase is good enough to get the basics done. Overall, The Arrangement and spacing of the Mix is important too ( thats another conversation ). Good post !


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:11 pm 
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StyleCityRecord wrote:
Good topic, i remember watching Rob Babicz ( Rob Acid ) talk about the cutting of 30hz... good point. I'm still trying to get good at it . There are differences in the low end from Digital to Vinyl. With Vinyl you're really cutting anything lower than 50hz ,so in many cases the bottom or low end spectrum is different. That


Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Vinyl is very capable of delivering under 50hz, it's a matter of volume output on the cut. And E V E R Y case is very different :twisted:

StyleCityRecord wrote:
they don't have to cost Thousands of dollars as long as you get a good frequency spectrum from them .


Yes they do as there are no such speakers you mention :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:02 am 
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Thanks!
This is gold.
Thumbs up!!!


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:22 pm 
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Very helpful discussion--thanks!


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