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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:36 am 
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I've gotten some dub plates cut here in New York for about 10 to 15$ But, I was still very new to making my own music. And at the time, I really wanted to hear something I made out and to be able to also mix it out. It also wasn't like he did much to my material either "He just cranked it up, tweak its needed frequencies, and cut it". The guy wasn't a electronic type of music guy either. He was a Rastafarian, Jamaican, Reggae man. It was still a fun thing to see and do.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:22 am 
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I assume it's not so much just "electronic" as opposed to a certain style. Could be wrong but even if it got mastered the same as a dub reggae track, I'd imagine it would be a similar approach for a techno track, bass driven with other elements worked around it ..


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:22 pm 
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delve wrote:
I've gotten some dub plates cut here in New York for about 10 to 15$ But, I was still very new to making my own music. And at the time, I really wanted to hear something I made out and to be able to also mix it out. It also wasn't like he did much to my material either "He just cranked it up, tweak its needed frequencies, and cut it". The guy wasn't a electronic type of music guy either. He was a Rastafarian, Jamaican, Reggae man. It was still a fun thing to see and do.


That's suspiciously cheap for a cut.
Was it a proper lathe or one of these strap on jobs?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:07 am 
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Carlsberg don't do strap-on jobs, but if they did...


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:33 pm 
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Cheers for this Steve! Extremely helpful....

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:11 pm 
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LOL Steve.
Yeah, if I remember correctly they were 15$, 20$, 30$ at most, which got you 1 - 10 inch plate with about 7-6 mins of play time on each side. This was maybe back in 2003 2004 the latest. But however before I got them cut. I brought my trax to a friend of mine who was more experienced at mixing and mastering. And he did the quick mastering job for me. So the dub guy seriously did exactly what I wrote above, "Crank it up and turn a few knobs and then cut". The place was pretty ghetto as it was in the the middle of Bushwick Brooklyn and you had to walk through a large crew of rastas and their ganja cloud of smoke. On my way out after he cut my plate on my first time, one rasta dude told me "boy you got the ill bassline on that".
(c:]

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:33 pm 
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Ah ok, yeah a straight cut, there were a few places in London in the early 000's where you could get a dub done for around 20 quid.

Gone are the days.....

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:45 am 
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I´m looking for Books about Mixing and Mastering, would be great if the Author focusing on electronic music (i think it differs a lot between the genres how u do a mixdown).

Well i also looking for really good Articles in the Internet too ... everything deals with Handle low end, mixing, EQing and in the end some Mastering.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:51 pm 
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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

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:08 pm 
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Belka: check this book out, it's superb.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mixing-Audio-Concepts-Practices-Tools/dp/0240520688

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 8:36 pm 
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I'm still struggling with this stage of things. I listen to the masters coming out of top studios like http://www.artefactsmastering.com and have no idea how they manage to get such a big sound without it actually being heavy on the ears.

I'm going to use masters from RYC 001 against my tracks I guess to try whatever I can to get a comparable sound coming off of my soundcloud. It's a drag to have a quieter sound in general that doesn't compete with almost every other good soundcloud for other artists.

If anyone can expand on the exact workflow to use that 6db of headroom up at each stage correctly, it'd be a big help.

Also if anyone can comment on differences for stems mastering, it'd be great. I'm doing a run on my tracks soon that will be 4 stereo groups per track, and possibly a 5th mono track just for the kick.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 9:58 pm 
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Stems are usually better when the mix is problematic to begin with, or when leaving a lot in the hands in the mastering engineer.

Work flow? It can vary a lot depending on track.

- Listen
- Spot things that need to be corrected or enhanced to balance / Listen
- Adjust input volume / Listen
- EQ / Listen /Adjust EQ output depending on the changes you made with EQ
- Possibly adjust micro and or macro dynamics if needed / Listen / adjust compressor output depending on dynamic changes (null it with the gain reduced)
- Possibly adjust more EQ if needed / Listen / Adjust EQ output depending on the changes you made with EQ
- Adjust and or make changes back in the chain if necessary / Listen
- Limit / Listen / Adjust Limiter / set final volume / Listen / Make changes back in the chain if necessary

And in between those, constantly listen and monitor spectrum.

Really it should not be expected by the artist to do the masters. They can do a finalizing of their music to play out. Steve's original post guide here is excellent for that. :)

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 10:03 pm 
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I think after about 8 or so years of working at mastering you might get comparable results to decent mastering houses.
Dont be so hard on yourself, mastering your own music is futile for a start, but it is a master art, hence the name. Baby steps mate, one at a time.

6db of headroom at each stage!!! That's bad mastering, the most gain reduction I ever apply in master on anything is 2db MAX, sometimes you barely see the meters moving, and I'm getting pretty damn loud masters for my clients ( though these days, the loudness war is thankfully going away, except in techno land, which is behind the times).

Stem mastering on your own music?


What why?

I'm not sure you fully understand the mastering process, if it's your own music you don't need stems, you have the whole mix, just mix down more effctively.

We only ask for stems when a mix is beyond standard mastering techniques.

You don't need to have your music loud for soundcloud if it is demo stuff, if you want proper masters get them mastered.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:40 am 
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I should clarify on a few points. I did mean 6db for the entire set of stages, not 6db for each stage.

I'd like to master all my tracks that make the cut as stereo masters, but I'd like to master the stems of the tracks I want to play live as separate stems, only because I want the crispness of a mastered sound combined with the flexibility of 2 percussion and 2 synth and/or SFX channels per track, with or without a separate kick track.

This lets me do deep mixing between tracks (several minutes long mixes) with great flexibility.

I want to do the exact opposite of most sets, where I am in the mix for about as long as most live PAs play a single track, and play the single track (the exact middle of it) for about as long as most live PAs do their mixes for.

Something more like a DJ set, but with 4 channels per side (I'd likely combine the kick track with the low percussion track).

So 8 faders and a crossfader for the set, no need to bother with EQ when I can just turn off a frequency range completely with a fader.

Long story short, I made test live PA demos this way and finally it feels like I found the right formula for what I'd be doing while the dancers were adding synth/SFX layers and MIDI learned control sweeps on top of the mix. I don't think I want to play synths live myself, deep DJing with tons of control is the way I want to go.

So the question is, if I mix my own stems well enough, maybe the resulting audio will be fine on its own?

Maybe I'll just practice stereo mastering on select tracks because as you say, when labels sign they will master for you as they want to keep up their standard.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 3:55 am 
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This still doesn`t make sense, masterings stems separately is not mastering.
Mastering is working on a whole piece.

If you were to master stems and then try to mix them together, it would be an overblown mess without dynamics as every channel would be maximised, and seeing as EQ is th emain part of what mastering is, how would you master EQ a group or channel? it makes no sense without a whole context.
I still don`t think you understand what mastering really is.

I`ve been playing live for years and years, and never once do I master stems, that would be madness.

All you need to do is have a mix bus setup that gels and gives power to the whole mix, in a live context. So some EQ so you can tune to the room (again, much better to do this per-channel), and then some compression, and some analogue style limiting or fast compression. Either hardware or software, this is the way to get a live PA really BAM!! crisp and present.
even then you only need to tickle those effects because the great thing about a live PA is you don`t need to crush everything to get it loud, you have the rig to work with, and all the headroom that implies, meaning you can get fantastic, dynamic, punchy, present music, without the need for loads of compression and limiting and clipping and so on.



The reason why mastering your own music is kinda pointless is that you have no to little objectivity, in fact that was the entire subject of this thread.
You can do some home "mastering" to get your tracks up to a nice level to play out, but mastering is all about objectivity and part of that comes from handing your music over to the objective 3rd party.

It really is far far more important to spend all the time you can mixing, rather than mastering, because mastering work is essentially correcting mixes.
Get your mix right and the mastering can be as simple as a little compression, a little limiting or clipping, and job done.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 10:32 am 
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Good points, although I definitely do know what mastering is.

The stems would still sum to 0 db as though they were a stereo master. Try to understand the NI Stems approach even if you don't support it - I'm working on an open alternative here.

What would be the standard for something like NI stems? It sure wouldn't be 4 groupings of tracks with little thought about gluing them together.

I was asking for thoughts on what glue like that might look like. Is it as simple as a few 166's on the percussion groups while mixing down, or more?

This is what I'm dealing with in preparation for live sets to come. I'm not going to play the original projects, I do want to mix them down to stems.

I'll have enough to worry about during the live set without needing to tweak the EQ per channel for original project files.

I guess I'm really an early adopter of the stems format without much reference point yet!

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 12:49 pm 
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If you don`t have time to EQ per channel whilst playing live, what exactly are you doing with your time?

It`s essential, every room and rig is different, and when you play you`ll find new harmonics and resonant areas to play with, if you don`t EQ anything, then really, what kind of Live Set is it?

I mean what you are talking about is essentially a very very minimal ableton style audio PA, but with hardly any channels.
IF so people have been doing this for years and years, go check out the ableton forum for tips, and again, you won`t need to master the stems (because you can`t), just mix them properly, maybe control them a little with compression when you make them.

None of this is really relevant to this sticky thread, which is a guide to home "mastering" your tracks so that you can play them out as stereo audio.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 6:00 pm 
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Alright, then back to the main point.

Suppose I want to play a mix of my tracks and DJ set, but still want the control of stems when I have the chance.

Or suppose I find a bunch of good techno also in stems format, and want to have my stems sound as good as those.

I still think that there is going to be an emerging standard for how to do this. There will be a way to master for stereo and a way to treat the stems so that when all four stem faders are up (like on an NI S8 controller), it would sound roughly equivalent to the stereo master also provided.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt to be a bit flexible and mentally wander into the space of what it would be like to prepare files this way.

If you'd prefer to limit this thread to stereo mastering only, then fine, but the irony is that yes, for stereo I might as well just pay to have a big batch of tracks be properly mastered and try to get some volume discount.

But I'd be unlikely to be able to afford touchups on stem mixdowns on top of that. Hence my wanting to try and ask about that.

Maybe I'm blindly optimistic but I think that new ideas are what are going to revitalize the scene . Not the same old sets with disconnected visuals and this big hard line between DJ set and live PA. We need to care about creating a real experience for the attendee again.

Not be stuck in this proud and stubborn mindset, something I personally saw creeping into the scene in the early 00s which is why I dropped out of the scene.

Of course I will set up an initial EQ for the four audio tracks per side for the room. 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.

I want to concentrate on long, subtle and hard to pinpoint mixes between tracks over the course of the set, and I think stems can facilitate that.

I want to sound as crisp as the DJ who may be booked just before me.

Anyway, think you should cut me some slack here instead of tear me down.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 6:44 pm 
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I'd suggest you go on with this in a simple but effective manner;

1. Finish the track(s) you gonna play live with the best possible mixdown you can
2. Group the channel tracks depending on how you want them for the stems. Maybe all hi-hats to one, all perc to one etc
3. Export all stems
4. Re import in your live set up and mark everything properly.
5. Organize your live tracks in all stems and group and bus them all down to ONE single bus, which you treat as your "master bus"
6. Now put on the necessary EQ and effects you need on the stems for your live.
7. Finally go to the bus you treat as your "master bus" and add a glue compressor, another EQ and a limiter with ceiling set to -0.5dbFS
8. Profit?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 8:06 pm 
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Thanks Mattias.

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