Tips for mastering an EP?

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samdam1
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Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by samdam1 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:48 am

Hey guys, i'm currently producing a 4 track EP. And I would like some informative tips on how to effectively master it.

Also, I have heard that you should master all the track together in an audio form track by track? But what I'm afraid of, is if I bounce my tacks down to wav, and then master them all, which means i have to bounce them off again as wav, and then i will be bouncing to 320kbps mp3, wont that be massive quality loss? or will there only be quality loss on the past when i bounce to mp3?
Should i first bounce my songs to 24bit instead of 16 it wav to master?


Thanks In advance to these questions guys and girls! :)

Bournio
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Bournio » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:03 am

Bouncing to 24 bit wave, if you produced in 24 bit wave won't effect the quality.

When you mastered it, you can then bounce it down to a 16bit file, for cds or mp3s. Before you do this I'd add a dither plug in at the very end of your chain.

Or you could send it off to a Mastering Engineer who'd be an extra pair of ears and could fix things you didn't notice. Stuff like phase and tiny eq changes.

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by samdam1 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:18 am

[quote="Bournio"]Bouncing to 24 bit wave, if you produced in 24 bit wave won't effect the quality.

I'm on ableton, how do i know if I am 'producing in 24 bit' and what does that mean?

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Bournio » Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:51 pm

It's the bit depth of the project, if you're interested google it.

When you start a project, you'll get the option to select the bit depth, I couldn't tell you which one you used, but there'll be a way to check in ableton. I don't use it so can't be more help.

Sir Edward Coke
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Sir Edward Coke » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:47 pm

here's what I do when I need a simple "in the box" pseudo mastering:

-export each tune without any dynamis effect or eq in the master bus. you're using those effects later since you have to master an EP, not a single tune, and you have to compare each tune with the overall sound.
-open a new arrangement, import all the tracks, load one channel per track.
-put effects as inserts on each track. the effects you can use vary depending on what's needed, what you hear and your skills. I usually just put an eq to make the tracks have similar frequency response, a dynamic processor (that almost always means compressor, at this stage) to modify the dynamic touch of each track, some other things that could be useful to make the tracks sound similar.
-master bus: I put a subtle maximizer and like said before a dithering effect to convert from 24/32 bit to 16.
-export the whole mastering arrangement and later divide each track with a wave editor or export each track directly from that arrangement.
-listen again. if something is wrong with the mastering, open the project again. if something is wrong with the mix, open the mix of the single track!

this is my personal pseudo mastering procedure, useful if you just want the tracks of a project to sound similar. what real mastering engineers do is more accurate, depending on the medium you will use, the sound you want etc :4:

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Sir Edward Coke » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:51 pm


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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Gurnumsbug » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:03 am

Mix then render to wav, master then render to wav, then convert to mp3 format. :mrgreen:

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by bibbyj » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:07 am

In Ableton go to options select preferences, select the record warp launch tab, the second box down should say bit depth, select either 16, 24, or 32 for your project, Reading the manual, and following the built in lessons usually helps :roll:

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by amphibian » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:12 am

samdam1 wrote:
Bournio wrote:Bouncing to 24 bit wave, if you produced in 24 bit wave won't effect the quality.

I'm on ableton, how do i know if I am 'producing in 24 bit' and what does that mean?
You're not ready for mastering your own. Get someone else to do it.
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Mad_EP
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Mad_EP » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:37 am

Not to sound like an asshole... but my best advice for mastering, is to get a well-respected professional to do it.


I've released 4 critically received full-lengths (one of them a triple cd album)... and in all modesty, my pre-master mixes sounded quite good... but mastering is for the final step, when a fresh set of ears polishes an already well polished gem. If the mix is weak, the master will be weak. If you don't know how to make a really good sounding mix done, mastering will be of little use... and if you are self-mastering, it will be of no use.


Anything you can do to aid a self-master, would be better utilized in the original mixdown in the first place.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by SunkLo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:09 am

Mad EP wrote:Anything you can do to aid a self-master, would be better utilized in the original mixdown in the first place.
:W:
People think some sort of magic happens during mastering. 'The magic' amounts to a fresh set of ears and some better quality equipment. If you're mastering yourself, you'll have neither of those.

Get it pristine in the mix, test it on multiple systems, get some fellow producers to give you mix feedback. You may need to edit it a bit to get the tracks to fit together sonically, but don't forget you have access to the stems. That's one advantage you have over the mastering engineer, take advantage of it.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Mad_EP » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:21 am

SunkLo wrote:
Mad EP wrote:Anything you can do to aid a self-master, would be better utilized in the original mixdown in the first place.
:W:
People think some sort of magic happens during mastering. 'The magic' amounts to a fresh set of ears and some better quality equipment. If you're mastering yourself, you'll have neither of those.

Get it pristine in the mix, test it on multiple systems, get some fellow producers to give you mix feedback. You may need to edit it a bit to get the tracks to fit together sonically, but don't forget you have access to the stems. That's one advantage you have over the mastering engineer, take advantage of it.
Exactly - in fact, to take it one step further...

I recently did a remix for someone...and the Mastering Engineer noticed a bit of distortion on the vocal ... and we're talking microscopic. It had snuck past both me, the original artists, and the label.

Turns out it was a defect in the source file - so I was able to go back, do a lil first aid to the source file, re-mix the stems and then give it back to the mastering. I was still doing most of that work - but with fresh ears and amazing equipment, they found a defect that had slipped past the rest of us.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by grooki » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:26 pm

SunkLo wrote:
Mad EP wrote:Anything you can do to aid a self-master, would be better utilized in the original mixdown in the first place.
:W:
I used to worry about "mastering" my own tracks, which was really just trying to make the mix sound better via the master bus. Now (because I don't send my stuff to get masterd) I get the mix as good as I can, and whack a limiter on there to boost the volume.

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by __________ » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:18 pm

Mad EP wrote:if you are self-mastering, it will be of no use.
Yep. My tip is get someone else to master it. Even if they are an amateur, it will be a different set of ears. Mastering your own stuff is completely pointless, you might as well just 'fix' it in the mix.

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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by -[2]DAY_- » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:54 pm

Self mastering isn't completely pointless ...... its just not as terrific as a pro's work. But really... you might as well tell someone its pointless to mix on their own and they should just compose/produce stems and send them off to a mix engineer, because he/she's got better EQ's and shit.
You can do it all yourself if thats what you choose or can afford. You won't get any better at it without trying.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Sharmaji » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:19 pm

Mad EP wrote:Not to sound like an asshole... but my best advice for mastering, is to get a well-respected professional to do it.
absolutely good advice, but i def. think it's worth learning what goes on it mastering, what ME's listen for, and how to-as has been said--deliver a better mixdown. hell, even reading the mastering forum on gearslutz will be informative.

attending mastering sessions of my own music years ago was really enlightening, and was the 1st step towards me mastering other people's work.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by SunkLo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:20 pm

Yeah I'd love to be a tea boy for a mastering house or something, just to get a look inside their process. Hearing someone work on your own music would be very enlightening because it would show you where the holes in your listening are.

The self-master vs out of house debate really depends on what your definition is. If we're talking some compression, limiting, and a bit of final polish, then self mastering is doable and is definitely worth learning and expanding on. If you see mastering as running it through a final checkup from someone with highly trained ears and nice outboard, you'll agree self mastering is virtually pointless.
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Re: Tips for mastering an EP?

Post by Littlefoot » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:37 am

A few of us MEs who browse this forum provide free demos/mix analysis, and I find 9 times our of 10 if it's a clients first mastered track I end up giving them some feedback and it's a eureka moment for them. Not because I'm some kind of magical philosophical wizard, but because a mastering pair of ears listens for different things (as people have mentioned in this thread), the chances are the feedback you get from your first mastering session will be some of the most important MIX feedback you will ever receive, as it allows you to understand the chain of production in a world in which most people are rather isolated (bedroom EDM producer) :)
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