Online mastering

Author
interpolated
Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
  • Total Posts : 788
  • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
  • Status: offline
2017/08/07 21:57:08 (permalink)

Online mastering

I've been thinking about this for a while now.
 
I looked at LANDR and whilst my mixes are not quite as loud as their's, it just seems their algorithm is about turning a -20dB LUFS to -10dB LUFS in one fowl swoop. There doesn't seem to be control over how much stereo width or style of dynamics. So my guess this is aimed at people looking for quick masters or people who don't know much about the process. I mean how do we know it's not a tealady who just happens to be proficient with Izotope Ozone. Joking....sort of.
 
Cloudbounce was something I discovered which is the same idea as above however they offer a pay as you go service as well as mastering options. A 320K MP3 and 24-bit 44.1Khz version for a small fee just less of $5. They also have subscription options.
 
Abbey Road offer online mastering for a bigger fee however if you have the budget then this may be the difference between a radio hit and internet damp squid. 
 
So I was thinking Cloudbounce because the pricing is fair and it made a really old badly mixed track I did, sound almost listenable. Just think what a 24-bit version could be like.
 
Then there's a quandary, I have all these assorted plug-ins that can be used for mastering and detailed mixing. In a better environment and a bit less erroneous mix decisions I could do a better job. My newer master versions are not only louder but have more definition. 
 
It does beg the question though, should I spent hundreds of $ (£) on plug-ins that are only used to shape the sound until somebody with proper analogue gear and a phase-free environment is able make it sound compatible in all situations. I enjoy the challenge and slowly finding myself wanting using to Analogue emulation or the proper equpment in place of software plug-ins.
 

I have computer stuff.
 
https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
#1

16 Replies Related Threads

    Jeff Evans
    Max Output Level: -28.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4656
    • Joined: 2009/04/13 18:20:16
    • Location: Ballarat, Australia
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/07 22:16:24 (permalink)
    Nothing compares to learning about mastering and how to master and setting all these things for yourself.  Not using factory presets in the software either.  Starting from scratch and setting everything according to the track and how it sounds.  Provided you can do so.  Hardware and software will also get you there.  It is all about using the right tools well and making good choices.  This is all better to me than sending something off and just having an automated process applied.  I think you need some fine tuning input instead. Things like listening to amazing references and switching back to your track.  Comparing all the tracks in a CD for texture and sound etc.. You have to do that.
     
    I have used some fine hardware for mastering.  EQ's costing $5000 and the best stereo outboard compressors and limiters.  These things have slowly moved inside the digital realm and many mastering engineers are not shy about using software to do the job. There is some incredible stuff out there now.  More, and what that means is you can alter your mastering chain now more diversely.
     
    I have mastered some albums and bought some tools and I am happy I did.  Things like PSP Xenon for limiting and some really nice EQ's and compressors.  C2 type or API2500 or Neve multi band etc..  Things with character and some mojo.  Others transparent and accurate.  Consoles and tape and entered the realm again too.  They can be included in the mastering chain easily. They can pay for themselves too. 

    Specs i5-2500K 3.3 Ghz - 8 Gb RAM - Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME PCI HDSP9632 - Steinberg Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport - Studio One V3.5 - iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - Sierra 10.12.5 - Focusrite Clarett thunderbolt interface 
     
    Poor minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas -Eleanor Roosevelt
    #2
    bitflipper
    01100010 01101001 01110100 01100110 01101100 01101
    • Total Posts : 24446
    • Joined: 2006/09/17 11:23:23
    • Location: Everett, WA USA
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/07 23:51:39 (permalink)
    interpolated
    ...how do we know it's not a tealady who just happens to be proficient with Izotope Ozone. 
     



    It's not even that. It's an automated process.
     
    Still, they do a surprisingly good job considering it's an algorithm. You could do at least as well with practice, and have a lot more fun in the process.


    All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

    My Stuff
    #3
    dcumpian
    Max Output Level: -37.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 3774
    • Joined: 2005/11/03 15:50:51
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/08 12:24:52 (permalink)
    I think that learning how to master makes one a better mixer because it becomes much clearer how much better a mix can be if it is good before mastering. Trying to kick the can down the road by "fixing it in the mix" or "the master will be better" hardly ever makes a track stand out.
     
    Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that we can all become excellent mastering engineers, but understanding the process and being able to use those techniques helps all around.
     
    Regards,
    Dan

    Mixing is all about control.
     
    My music:
    http://dancumpian.bandcamp.com/ or https://soundcloud.com/dcumpian Studiocat Advanced Studio DAW (Intel i5 3550 @ 3.7GHz, Z77 motherboard, 16GB Ram, lots of HDDs), Sonar Plat, Mackie 1604, PreSonus Audiobox 44VSL, ESI 4x4 Midi Interface, Ibanez Bass, Custom Fender Mexi-Strat, NI S88, Roland JV-2080 & MDB-1, Komplete, Omnisphere, Lots o' plugins.    
    #4
    RobWS
    Max Output Level: -89 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 51
    • Joined: 2013/01/29 10:16:50
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/08 14:14:24 (permalink)
    You'll never learn to drive as long as you use a chauffeur.  Personally, I would not use an outside service because I would like to grow in that ability myself.  However, it can come in handy for comparison.  I recently watched a video from Jason Moss comparing mastering via a mastering engineer vs LANDR.  It is very interesting.  Just keep in mind, the mix is professional to begin with.  Here is the link.
     
    http://behindthespeakers.com/landr-mastering/
     
    #5
    Slugbaby
    Max Output Level: -36.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 3896
    • Joined: 2004/10/01 13:57:37
    • Location: Toronto, Canada
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/08 14:48:35 (permalink)
    Is there a half-decent studio nearby?
    I paid a pro to mix/master my last album, and learned a lot by sitting and watching/listening.  It cost more than an online service, but it was an education (as well as getting a product that will hold up against anything else similar on the market).

    http://www.MattSwiftMusic.com
     
    Dell i5, 16Gb RAM, Focusrite 2i2 IO, Telecasters, P-bases, Personal Drama for a muse.
    #6
    RobWS
    Max Output Level: -89 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 51
    • Joined: 2013/01/29 10:16:50
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/08 16:30:03 (permalink)
    I should probably clarify my point on not using an outside service.  I, like most others here on the forum are increasing in knowledge and ability in all aspects of recording, including mastering.  If my project was professionally recorded then I would use a professional mastering service, i.e. an actual mastering engineer.  But as long as I'm still learning, I want to find out what makes "That sound".
    #7
    Starise
    Max Output Level: -11 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 6427
    • Joined: 2007/04/07 17:23:02
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 12:56:06 (permalink)
    We had a blind listening test here awhile back using the same mix mastered in Landr, someone on the Cakewalk team using Sonar, and a professional mastering studio.
     
    We had a vote on the results. It was amazing to me the difference in personal preferences . I thought I could tell which one was mastered in the pro studio. I was correct, however it wasn't a night and day kind of difference. They all sounded good. It was a split on which ones sounded the best.
     
    I think we can do as well or better than LANDR or any of the other automatic mastering houses. LANDR doesn't know what your personal preferences in a master are.
     
    A few things that helped me were reading this forum and looking at mastering chains the pros use. Even if I use a different plugin and duplicate something they did in hardware with software those chains can be really helpful. Once you figure that out , you'll need to understand each plugin and use it to the fullest potential for your application.
    Sometimes a minimalist approach is better than adding a bunch of plugins. The mix might need more subtraction than addition.You won't need everything for every mix. 
    Programs like Ozone and TRacks can be great tools, but I seldom use the presets exactly as they are.
    One thing I love about Ozone 7 is it allows you to put any plug in into it and demos in mp3 mode. This is really helpful, since pretty much everything ends up as AAC or Mp3 online.
     

    Intel 5820K O.C. 4.4ghz, ASRock Extreme 4 LGA 2011-v3, 16 gig DDR4, ,
    3 x Samsung SATA III 500gb SSD, 2X 1 Samsung 1tb 7200rpm outboard, Win 10 64bit, Presonus Firetube Studio
     
    John Wayne- "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid."
     
     
     www.soundcloud.com/starise
     
    www.recordinghound.com
     
     
    Twitter @Rodein
     
    #8
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 16:57:30 (permalink)
    I don't really care about the lossless market because I feel this has cheapened the whole process. What's the point of fancy masters and such, if they are being diluted and replaced with psycho-acoustic placeholders. OK for streaming I suppose however not as a master offline copy.
     
    It's not like I don't have the right tools for the job. Maximisers, Limiters, Studer Tape Emulations etc. It's just I know I don't have the right acoustics, compensation, room environment/calibration. So rather than kid myself I rather get someone or even an algorithm to do it whilst I don't.
     
    Recently I started reproducing older tracks from the clips and stems I still have. Occasionally creating new ones and variations. It's just so the final product can be a CD quality download from somewhere. I want to ensure the final mixes are better than I am capable of.
     

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #9
    Starise
    Max Output Level: -11 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 6427
    • Joined: 2007/04/07 17:23:02
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 18:27:08 (permalink)
    You can get around some minor acoustics issues with monitor correction software, and/or a little studio treatment. I personally like to get into my own mastering.
     
    I understand it isn't for everyone.There is a bit of education involved and some of it is ongoing.Some people just don't have the time to do all of it.
     
    LANDR or similar will be better than trying to master it if you feel ill equipped. The nice thing about daws though is we can make as many copies as our hard drives will allow. IOW we can afford to experiment.
     
    There are also those "special sauce" plug ins like the most recent from IK and the ones by Waves.They don't tell you what happens under the hood, but they can be helpful. The presets in Ozone are sometimes what those without much experience use and they can be decent all depending. 
     
    It's nice to have options available.
     
    If you have a bad monitoring setup though, it can be tough to recognize a good master when you hear it.
     
     
     
     

    Intel 5820K O.C. 4.4ghz, ASRock Extreme 4 LGA 2011-v3, 16 gig DDR4, ,
    3 x Samsung SATA III 500gb SSD, 2X 1 Samsung 1tb 7200rpm outboard, Win 10 64bit, Presonus Firetube Studio
     
    John Wayne- "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid."
     
     
     www.soundcloud.com/starise
     
    www.recordinghound.com
     
     
    Twitter @Rodein
     
    #10
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 21:01:08 (permalink)
    I try to use presets as a guide rather than a default state of things. Anyway on my Soundcloud page I have two identical songs (well nearly). Master 2 is my updated mix of the same song. I was aiming for better dynamics so changing the arrangement and track volumes all helped me get a more balanced sound.
     
    I know some EDM is all punch and no dynamics virtually. Further limited and reduced by online streaming services.  Which is good, so the sound is not compromised by the reduction in bandwidth or algorithm used to lower volumes. In a way, I just want something that sounds like on CD in a car or when converted to FLAC & played on my Digital Media Player.
     
     

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #11
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 21:10:49 (permalink)
    The plug-ins I use in my final mastering chain are not always for enhancement, they're for monitoring and judging the levels coming in and out of my speakers. 
     
    I may use a Goniometer or correlation meter to judge the phase of the audio, sometimes raising the volume and metering that aspect lets you know where to tighten up or de-emphasise certain aspects. Like a wide stereo reverb, that may benefit from gating at the lower levels for example.
     
    Plug-ins I use vary from project to project. However I do have go to plug-ins.
     
    VSL  Suite Multiband
    UAD Precision Multiband
    UAD Precison Limiter
    Waves J37 Tape
    SSL G Compressor
     
    No particular rhyme or reason. I like what they do.
     
     

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #12
    Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
    Max Output Level: -48.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 2698
    • Joined: 2011/02/03 04:31:35
    • Location: Sound-Rehab, Austria
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 21:26:32 (permalink)
    External (3rd party) mastering used to get another pair of experienced ears onto the project. That by itself made sense to me ...

    I still believe in the ears thing, don't want the algorithm thing ... that's too much one size fits all IMHO

    yet for most of the online mastering services you won't get much of that golden ears time. Just look at the (low) rate you pay and do the math how quickly it needs to be completed to be a profitable business. That also applies to big outfits like Abbey Road. Despite higher few fees I would not be surprised if most work is done by juniors, assistants or whatever they call it

    GOOD TUNES LAST FOREVER
      +++   Visit the Rehab   +++
     
    DAW: Platinum/X3e, win10 64 bit, i7-3930K (6x3.2GHz), Asus Sabertooth X79, 32 GB DDR3 1600MHz, ATI HD 5450, 120 GB SSD OCZ Agility3, 2x 1TB WD HDD SATA 600
    Audio-Interface: 2x MOTU 1248 AVB, Focusrite OctoPre, (Roland Octa-Capture)   Control-Surface: VS-700C 
    VSTi: WAVES, NI K10u, FabFilter, IK, ... (too many really) 
    #13
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/09 21:32:01 (permalink)
    I just know if I could do better if my sound image was correct. So i'm just not banging my head against a wall metaphorically. 

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #14
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/11 20:27:46 (permalink)
    OK so I tried a PAYG master from Cloudbounce using some of the magic options. First problem with the Chrome streaming playback for me. However I went and processed it anyway. Statistically it's mentally loud. 
     
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4bhVdNls9c4aG5LdjBQMzl3RTQ/view?usp=sharing
     
    The dBTP is louder than expected. Even if I did process that as trance with stereo imaging options. I will upload the cloudbounce version to my soundcloud and you can find the original on there too. Which leads me to believe you really need to crush the living daylight out of your premaster before you even think about processing it.
     
    I'm not happy with the results. Surely my mixing isn't that bad..sheesh!
     
     

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #15
    Jeff Evans
    Max Output Level: -28.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4656
    • Joined: 2009/04/13 18:20:16
    • Location: Ballarat, Australia
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/12 01:08:58 (permalink)
    Pre mastered mixes do not have to be crushed.  That is something that manual mastering can accomplish that probably automated mastering cannot.  I can take a -20 dB FS rms premastered mix and bring up to -8 dB rms if I wanted to.  But in stages and carefully.  Trying to slam whole -20 mix up by say 12 db in one process is not actually possible and still sound great.  With the automated processes it may possible but it sounds terrible usually in the making.
     
    If I am wanting a very loud master there is nothing wrong with creating a slightly louder pre master.  K System -12 is a good level for this.  (this can involve some form of stereo buss compression too, but not heavy, just conditioning) But if I am not sure if I want a -12 pre master then I can go for a lower unmastered mix such as -20 and do the work to bring it up later. 
     
    Automated mastering may require a different premaster level perhaps.  Only experimentation will tell.  There are still so many deficiencies with automated mastering though compared to detail ears driven manual mastering.  Don't confuse the two.  They are nothing alike.  As long as you are referring to automated mastering processes.  Careful manual mastering is in a class of its own.  Especially when it comes to transforming a transient and delicate -20 mix into a wall slamming monster.  And still sound great and punchy. 
     
    There is less need to be pushing to super high levels.  Maybe the automated mastering processes are already behind the times.  The streaming sites will turn them down in the end and make them sound whimpy.  There is a balance point.  e.g. A -14 dB FS rms master hits the almost perfect -16 LUFS spot which is much more in the ball park now with many streaming services. 
     
    There are have been numerous articles on this subject.  Especially a featured one in Sound on Sound recently.  The trick is the various streaming sites all have slightly different approaches to levelling out music.  You almost have to master for them individually.  Some software mastering plugins now incorporate different streaming algorithms. And let you hear them in advance now too inside your DAW.  Do some research in this area in order to improve how your music sounds in these environments.  Instead of sending tracks off to some random automated mastering service where have no idea what they are actually doing to your music.
     
    Upload the finished file somewhere from one or some of these services and I will open it up in some detailed editing software.  I can tell if it is mastered well or not. 
     
    A really great mix will master very well and it always comes back a step to getting that mix sounding great and well balanced in the first place.  Just the right amount of energy across the spectrum.  Keep the bass under control too.   You can master your own mixes, you just need a week off between the two processes that is all.  In fact if you are mastering your own mix you can bring a level of mixing detail into a mix with mastering in mind.  But you don't do it on the same day at the same time though. 

    Specs i5-2500K 3.3 Ghz - 8 Gb RAM - Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME PCI HDSP9632 - Steinberg Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport - Studio One V3.5 - iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - Sierra 10.12.5 - Focusrite Clarett thunderbolt interface 
     
    Poor minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas -Eleanor Roosevelt
    #16
    interpolated
    Max Output Level: -75 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 788
    • Joined: 2015/03/26 17:34:58
    • Status: offline
    Re: Online mastering 2017/08/12 07:42:55 (permalink)
    I tried applying a similar amount of gain using the sonar tools. If you look at the Google drive link you can see what they did.

    I might try to address the mid-high distortion aspects which are occurring. It means finding the project again. My top 4 tracks are my recent projects since I started getting back into Sonar production. 
     
    Everything else is old and deprecated really and need done again, if I can even find the original projects.
    post edited by interpolated - 2017/08/12 08:09:14

    I have computer stuff.
     
    https://soundcloud.com/sigmadelta
    #17
    Jump to:
    © 2017 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1