Helpful ReplyMastering

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LWD19821483
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2017/05/22 01:03:17 (permalink)

Mastering

Hello, 
 
        What are the sonar pro built in plug ins that you always use for finishing an instrumental?  All I use are the basics because I'm not good enough yet to use the more advanced ones.  Although I have been mixing my own beats for years, I've come to the point where my tracks sound pretty much industry ready, however it's that one percent polish I'm lacking.  My high end seems to ascend into the non perceptible, that's why I always filter it, since I can't get it to sound fully mastered.  My low end is more focused since I make electronic music, I've mastered how to get the synth kick heavy punch, and still have a well sounding sub bass line.  
 
Any little effects or tricks you or I maybe be missing to get that extra one percent polish?  I know it's more than one percent, the finalization to a mix is the most precious.
 
Thanks,
LWD
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#1
Starise
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Re: Mastering 2017/05/22 13:24:54 (permalink)
Craig Anderton has set up some decent mastering chains within the PC. At least I think it was Craig. Not 100% sure. Look in the folder of the PC. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "extra polish". 
Sometimes mastering chains will use an exciter at the end. Different material requires different approaches. Mastering is a long process to learn even with all the best plug ins. You also need a reliable way to listen/interpret what you hear.
There's really no "trick" to make it happen. You need a good left-brained approach to do it right. 

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#2
batsbrew
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Re: Mastering 2017/05/22 14:22:52 (permalink)
i use wavelab for my mastering.
 
and a combination of Waves and other plugins (IKM)
 
this is a great combination, and the point that wavelab is setup specifically for this task,
makes it super easy.

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#3
Bristol_Jonesey
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Re: Mastering 2017/05/24 13:15:41 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby robbyk 2017/05/24 14:58:10
I use a custom built chain of T-Racks plugins.

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Mesh
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Re: Mastering 2017/05/24 13:26:21 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby glennstanton 2017/06/05 14:25:04
Ozone 7 Advanced is perfect for me.......I really don't knowing much about the whole mastering process so O7A makes it super easy with all the great presets (a lot) it comes with.

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#5
interpolated
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/02 19:32:01 (permalink)
I use Alchemy and some witches brew mainly.

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Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/03 09:31:47 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby glennstanton 2017/06/05 14:25:21
LWD19821483
What are the sonar pro built in plug ins that you always use for finishing an instrumental? 



Many times I have some of the following plugs in my "pseudo" mastering chain: WAVES J37/Vinyl (for color), some Fairchild compressor emu for glue (often WAVES PuigChild), a multiband compressor (often FF MB) and a limiter at the end (e.g. The Wall) ...what one of the singer/songwriters I worked with lately called the "black magic voodoo buttons" which make it sound better (which is a simple combo of a little bit of mix glue plus the formula that louder is also better IYNWIM) ... however, since I'm not a mastering engineer I mostly use this to illustrate how a final master could sound / change how the song comes across ...
 
Apart from the Fairchild emu there is a Sonar version for each of these plugs ... still I usually grab some of the ones I listed because I know them well ...
 
Mastering itself I approach in 2 ways:
In case I need to deliver something as loud as a final master e.g. something that ends up as a background track for youtube promo videos, I "pseudo" master myself, actually often having the mastering plugs already in the master bus and when fine-tuning the mix, I mix into these plugs often via Avantone cubes which represent the playback devices for many youtube videos (cell phones, TVs, tablets, ...) ... however, this I do when I need to deliver quickly and the artist has no budget for 3rd party mastering ... and after discussing the downsides of not professionally mastering ... plus providing also the pre-"mastered" mix to have it mastered at a later stage in case the material should go onto some CD ...
 
For stuff that needs proper mastering (songs that make up an album distributed as a download package or CD) I basically insist on external pro mastering.
 
 

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#7
Guitarhacker
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 12:33:59 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby glennstanton 2017/06/09 18:40:39
I use Ozone.  It seems to give good results across the board.
 
It is one of my main "goto" plugs.

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#8
Starise
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 14:51:52 (permalink)
I use all that stuff too, but as I understand it that wasn't the question. The question was which SONAR plug ins do you use. I believe it is possible now to get a really good master using only the plugs in Sonar, especially with the new Adaptive Limiter and Engineering Eq's etc.
 
In Ozone 7 Advanced we have chains. In TRacks we have chains. In Sonar we have chains or you can make your own.
After having used most of the others I believe you can do it in Sonar. It's mostly about knowing which chains to use in addition to how to set each plug in.
You can make your own mastering chain in Sonar.
Here's a basic example of a chain you could make that would cover a lot of material.
Dynamic EQ> Multiband Compressor>Post Compressor>Exciter>Post EQ> Adaptive Limiter
 
You can mix it up, you can copy other chains or use the existing chains in Sonar. No one says you can't make adjustments to existing chains.
 
To begin with you'll need a basic understanding of frequencies and how they interact.How they can cancel each other or how too much can make a track muddy. Also an understanding of limiters and compression. With respect to master volume RMS, LUFS, Average RMS, K-meter. 
 
Lots of folks simply use a mastering application. It really doesn't take much more to do it the other way. Even if you still use Ozone or TRacks you can learn how to best manipulate them for maximum effect. Use good plug ins. Sonar has good plug ins.

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#9
bapu
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 16:35:32 (permalink)
I don't master. I just make everything louder than everything else until my ears bleed then I back down the master level by -0.3db.
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jamesg1213
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 17:20:26 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby bapu 2017/06/13 20:25:21
I do the very best mix I can, then put some light compression on the master bus. That's it. I've never understood the concept of 'mastering' a single tune. If it's a collection of tunes intended to be heard together, different kettle o' fish.

 
Jyemz
 
 
 



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#11
Starise
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 17:46:47 (permalink)
I try to keep the track at a decent volume in windows medial player since many listeners use it as their main player. Uploads to Soundcloud  end up 128 mp3 into WMP or the Mac equivalent. 
 
If I have a decent mix then I look at ways to get it to threshold for the genre. That means looking at the standards and getting the track in that ballpark.  I could make it so loud it would blow your ears off. I don't want that. I want good and natural listening levels. I'm not mixing EDM either :) At least not today.

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#12
dcumpian
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 18:09:37 (permalink)
jamesg1213
I do the very best mix I can, then put some light compression on the master bus. That's it. I've never understood the concept of 'mastering' a single tune. If it's a collection of tunes intended to be heard together, different kettle o' fish.




I do "mastering" only in the sense that I put nothing on the master bus until my mix is done. Then I create a new project and "final polish" the "final" mixdown. This is where I'll do things like add saturation, parallel compression and minimal EQ tilts/shifts when I'm listening on other systems and feel that a small EQ change will help a track translate better. If there are issues I hear with an instrument, or levels of tracks, I go back to the original project, tweak and export again. Keeping the two projects separate allows me to separate overall mix changes from individual track changes.
 
Dan

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jamesg1213
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 20:05:25 (permalink)
dcumpian
 
 
This is where I'll do things like add saturation, parallel compression and minimal EQ tilts/shifts




Isn't that still 'mixing' though Dan? Curious about your mention of parallel compression, how would you apply that in a mastering sense to a stereo mix?
 
 

 
Jyemz
 
 
 



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dcumpian
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/09 20:37:04 (permalink)
jamesg1213
dcumpian
 
 
This is where I'll do things like add saturation, parallel compression and minimal EQ tilts/shifts




Isn't that still 'mixing' though Dan? Curious about your mention of parallel compression, how would you apply that in a mastering sense to a stereo mix?




Technically, it is still mixing, but the processes I'm applying at this stage apply to the mix as whole.
 
I'll run a send to a compressor on a bus. I usually have a compressor bus and saturation bus, with sends on the only track in the project. I use the bus faders to adjust the "blend".
 
Dan

Mixing is all about control.
 
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chuckebaby
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/13 15:50:53 (permalink)
I have learned over the years it not about what you have for mastering tools.
Sure everyone could use a good limiter and a good multi band EQ but the most important thing of all is starting off with a good recorded mix down.
 
As long as that mix down is good (level wise and sonically good) you can use a potato and more often than not its going to sound good.
 
Once upon a time I tried to do too much in the mixing stages. It shouldn't be like that.
Your one job is to increase the level by squeezing the dynamics. Sometimes this brings out other elemenets, hence the reason for a good MB EQ.
 
Think simple, Keep it simple.

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#16
interpolated
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/13 15:59:28 (permalink)
Also checking your mix in mono will identify any clarity issues before and after effects are added to your mix. I'm not into throwing on effects these days by keeping things much more simpler even my grandma could understand it....sort of.

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brconflict
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Re: Mastering 2017/06/20 20:20:01 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby chuckebaby 2017/06/27 01:48:59
I use both Sonar and Wavelab for Mastering, but mostly Wavelab if I need to export to various formats where the Metadata is important. Wavelab also has a very nice metering suite. With that said, I'll Master in Sonar sometimes because I have 3rd-party metering plug-ins that work very well, and it's easy to go back and re-tweak the mix if I need to. Global Freeze is worthwhile to save some CPU time. If I'm mixing the session as well, I will work in both realms (which is ostensibly blasphemy to most Mastering engineers).

Chuckebaby makes a great point. When mixing, don't even consider Mastering. Just get the best mix you can possibly get, and worry about Mastering later. So, I mix my sessions without Mastering on the fly. However, I may drop in some routine Mastering chain plug-ins into the Master buss where I can enable/disable them to see if there's anything in the mix that may have adverse effects on the future master. But I only use that chain typically to burn a fast demo for an artist, along with the regular mix. I always end up Mastering later with better results. So, this sets a good level of expectation.

As far as plugins in the Mastering chain that I use, they're mostly 3rd-party, but careful use of the built-in plug-ins can garner you a pretty darn good Master. The newest Multi-band EQ and Compressors offered by CW are great for these. The 4K compressor is wonderful on the Mastering buss. Careful use of that is phenomenal on drums.

I posted my approach here a few weeks ago.

Brian
 
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#18
RexRed
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Re: Mastering 2017/07/08 12:49:48 (permalink)
I use a multi-band compressor, then a stereo expander, then a limiter. The extra bit part is in what is put in the song in the first place; if one has good tracks they will shine.
 
No "process" can help a repetitive loop shine, but other solo instruments and embellishments that break up the monotony can. Changes in the right places can keep a mix fresh even if it is a poor or simplistic recording method; musicianship is vital.
 
Interesting dynamic sounds and subtle textures that build and evolve.
 
Mastering is simply putting the existing tracks in focus. 
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