Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1

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californiamusic
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2012/04/15 23:16:15 (permalink)

Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1

 
How is everyone mixing.. then mastering their songs in X1?  Once you have all your tracks right with volumes, etc.  are you recording your mix to a new stereo track, then exporting it.. then importing it in a new template for mastering?  ; )

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    quibb
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/15 23:33:50 (permalink)
    Just like you stated,  once I have my levels set and it sounds the way I want it to, I export to a wav. I then re-import it into a single track template that has my mastering tools (ozone, etc.) already loaded.

    In the past I've tried to just master in the main project file, but I like the feel of a dedicated mastering template a lot better.

    YMMV,
    Vernon

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    AT
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 00:47:38 (permalink)
    I export to a wav at the same bit depth and sample rate as the project and import it, mute it and save the project.  I'll then unmute/solo that unmastered "mix" and route it out and record it through TC hardware (EQ/Comp) and analog comp/limiter.  I import that "master" into Sound forge for top and tails and any fine tuning w/ EQ/comp if it needs to still come up a fraction of a dB.  From that final master I downsalmple to make CD copy and mp3.

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    californiamusic
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 01:15:45 (permalink)
    I thought about exporting to Sound Forge, some of my 64bit plugins wont work sense sound forge is still 32bit.  I have been importing my mix into a X1 template and mastering it there.

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    Kalle Rantaaho
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 02:24:24 (permalink)
    I'm sure you'll find more interesting views and procedures using the search. There's a million threads about mixing and mastering

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    bapu
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 02:31:22 (permalink)
    I export to an undithered 24bit WAV. OPen that into Wavelab 7. Do some fine tuning and save. Import that into a Mastering SONAR project where I apply all my mastering tools. Export to 16bit dithered WAV from there.
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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 07:44:54 (permalink)
    I do it all in the original project.  The only export is the finished project. 

    I insert the "mastering plugs" right at the beginning and as I add tracks and envelopes I'm constantly making eq adjustments in the tracks. I mostly leave the master buss plugs alone at this stage. It's all about getting each track to sound the way I want. 

    Once the tracks are sounding good, I will tweeze the master buss plugs. Then it's time to export. 

    I use ARC and Ozone as my main master plugs. 




    add: in all fairness, I did use the method of exporting the rough mixed wave to a new project. I did not see or hear any advantage to doing it that way.  The finished tune sounded identical doing it that way to the one done "in the box" so I figured why go through the extra work if the finished project sounds the same. I have mixed and polished in the original box ever since. 


    I'm not knocking anyone who exports to a new project..... if that works for you, by all means keep doing what works.


    I'm also not mastering stuff for CD's. 

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    #7
    Skyline_UK
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 08:32:44 (permalink)
    I keep it all in the project, so it's easier to re-mix and re-master the song.   This is what I usually do:

    1. Mix to a new track placed at the bottom of the other tracks.  Name this track 'Mix'.
    2. Keep this mix to -10db or thereabouts.
    3. Solo this mixed track, insert TRacks3 Deluxe or Ozone 5.
    4. When I think I'm happy, bounce that to another new track named 'Mix-Post TRacks(or Post Ozone)'.  Solo this track and un-solo the first 'Mix' track.
    5. Sometimes I insert FabFilter's ProL limiter on this track if I want to try and squeeze out a wee bit more loudness.  The look of the waveform will help me decide as well as my ears.
    6. If ProL added, bounce to another new track named 'Mix-Post ProL'.
    7. Solo and highlight the final mixed and mastered track, export as necessary to MP3.  NO dithering in the stages above except on this one. 
    8. Burn to CD, go and listen in the car.
    9. Go back and repeat from 1....
     
    I'm interested in this thread as I'm always curious to see how others go about things so I can adapt where necessary.  It's also something that tends not to be covered in tutorial books or videos.

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    #8
    Danny Danzi
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 08:46:38 (permalink)
    Skyline_UK


    I keep it all in the project, so it's easier to re-mix and re-master the song.   This is what I usually do:

    1. Mix to a new track placed at the bottom of the other tracks.  Name this track 'Mix'.
    2. Keep this mix to -10db or thereabouts.
    3. Solo this mixed track, insert TRacks3 Deluxe or Ozone 5.
    4. When I think I'm happy, bounce that to another new track named 'Mix-Post TRacks(or Post Ozone)'.  Solo this track and un-solo the first 'Mix' track.
    5. Sometimes I insert FabFilter's ProL limiter on this track if I want to try and squeeze out a wee bit more loudness.  The look of the waveform will help me decide as well as my ears.
    6. If ProL added, bounce to another new track named 'Mix-Post ProL'.
    7. Solo and highlight the final mixed and mastered track, export as necessary to MP3.  NO dithering in the stages above except on this one. 
    8. Burn to CD, go and listen in the car.
    9. Go back and repeat from 1....
     
    I'm interested in this thread as I'm always curious to see how others go about things so I can adapt where necessary.  It's also something that tends not to be covered in tutorial books or videos.

    Skyline, there's a good thread that konrad started here: http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.aspx?m=2545586 and another good one that Jeff Evans started here: http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.aspx?m=2541828 
     
    Both of them have some really good reading in them that you may enjoy. :) I tried to add a bit to both threads from another perspective. Hope it helps. :)
     
    -Danny
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    fireberd
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 08:54:13 (permalink)
    Whether "correct" or not, what I do, after I have the individual tracks the way I want them, is bounce all the tracks to a new track within the project.  I then use Ozone with the new mixdown track and do whatever I want for the mastering.  I then export the mixdown/Ozone track as a 16 bit standard wav file.  I then do anything else I need to do with Goldwave (audio editor) and the song is ready for CD burning, converting to MP3, etc.

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    listen
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 10:15:47 (permalink)
    quibb


    Just like you stated,  once I have my levels set and it sounds the way I want it to, I export to a wav. I then re-import it into a single track template that has my mastering tools (ozone, etc.) already loaded.

    In the past I've tried to just master in the main project file, but I like the feel of a dedicated mastering template a lot better.

    YMMV,
    Vernon


    Ditto

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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 10:19:40 (permalink)
    Danny Danzi


    Skyline_UK


    I keep it all in the project, so it's easier to re-mix and re-master the song.   This is what I usually do:

    1. Mix to a new track placed at the bottom of the other tracks.  Name this track 'Mix'.
    2. Keep this mix to -10db or thereabouts.
    3. Solo this mixed track, insert TRacks3 Deluxe or Ozone 5.
    4. When I think I'm happy, bounce that to another new track named 'Mix-Post TRacks(or Post Ozone)'.  Solo this track and un-solo the first 'Mix' track.
    5. Sometimes I insert FabFilter's ProL limiter on this track if I want to try and squeeze out a wee bit more loudness.  The look of the waveform will help me decide as well as my ears.
    6. If ProL added, bounce to another new track named 'Mix-Post ProL'.
    7. Solo and highlight the final mixed and mastered track, export as necessary to MP3.  NO dithering in the stages above except on this one. 
    8. Burn to CD, go and listen in the car.
    9. Go back and repeat from 1....
     
    I'm interested in this thread as I'm always curious to see how others go about things so I can adapt where necessary.  It's also something that tends not to be covered in tutorial books or videos.

    Skyline, there's a good thread that konrad started here: http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.aspx?m=2545586 and another good one that Jeff Evans started here: http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.aspx?m=2541828 
     
    Both of them have some really good reading in them that you may enjoy. :) I tried to add a bit to both threads from another perspective. Hope it helps. :)
     
    -Danny

    Good read...

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    CJaysMusic
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 11:25:54 (permalink)
    If your mixing and mastering the song, there is no reason to export it or bounce it to a stereo wave file with today's PC's. The reason why people exported it to a stereo wave file or bounced it and froze all the other tracks is because in the 1990's and early 2000's, PC's may have not been able to handle all of the processing. Now they can!

    So why do an unnecessary render to your audio file, if you don't need to?

    Cj


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    #13
    Bristol_Jonesey
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 11:31:24 (permalink)
    +1

    The only time I export now is if I want to pull a track into my album compiler

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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 14:30:04 (permalink)
    CJaysMusic


    If your mixing and mastering the song, there is no reason to export it or bounce it to a stereo wave file with today's PC's. The reason why people exported it to a stereo wave file or bounced it and froze all the other tracks is because in the 1990's and early 2000's, PC's may have not been able to handle all of the processing. Now they can!

    So why do an unnecessary render to your audio file, if you don't need to?

    Cj
    Yup   +1




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    #15
    ampfixer
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 17:39:03 (permalink)
    I set the track levels where I want and then send the stereo out to tape. Yes, tape. Then I create a new project and record the 2 track tape into X1. I find the process pulls everything together. I guess the tape machine is much like a low-fi compressor/saturation effect. It also gives me an excuse to use my beloved 3440 for something other than a 40lb paper weight.

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    Danny Danzi
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 21:10:15 (permalink)
    CJaysMusic


    If your mixing and mastering the song, there is no reason to export it or bounce it to a stereo wave file with today's PC's. The reason why people exported it to a stereo wave file or bounced it and froze all the other tracks is because in the 1990's and early 2000's, PC's may have not been able to handle all of the processing. Now they can!

    So why do an unnecessary render to your audio file, if you don't need to?

    Cj

    Here's my reason for what it's worth. I answered this in another forum post. :)
    Danny I'll give you my take for what it's worth. I sometimes do a mix inside of Sonar where I master on the bus. But I'd call this "little m mastering" because it's impossible to get all the things right that you would need to do in that situation. If you had a stereo file to work with, it allows for other options that you won't have working inside a project of several tracks. I'll spare you on that since I type a lot and you'd probably not be interested...but the short version would be...

    There are times when you have to manipulate something in the mastering process. If you have 32 tracks or more, this becomes a tedious endeavor. If you just had one stereo file to deal with outside of the actual mix, it becomes a whole lot easier to deal with yet you can be more precise in other ways. If you master inside of your project, you're not really mastering because there's an entirely different process that should be used. Again I'll spare you the long version.

    Another cool thing you can do is stem mastering. Export your stuff out of your project in stereo files and then re-import into Sonar and master that way. This way all your effects are applied and you're just dealing with a few tracks. You know, stereo drums, guitars, voice, bass, keys and back-ups. This way if you have to manipulate anything in depth, you're only cutting up or moving 6 files instead of 32 + ya know?

    But I prefer working on a single stereo mix or a stem mix when mastering. It's just the better way to do things.

     
    If we had any type of insane manipulation in a big project, you have to edit every track in that project or move/slide things. It just can get complicated depending on the mix. It's a lot easier to manipulate one stereo file as opposed to messing with 32 or more to do something. Let's say you want some sort of sound effect by itself in the tune that you decide to do later on. How do you do this inside of a project of 32 or more tracks without sliding them all to make room?
     
    Or...bouncing down to a stereo file so you can easily split, move and add your effect? This is the stuff I mean. I'd rather deal with a stereo mix over dealing with mastering inside an entire project. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but it just doesn't make sense to me to be in that possible position to where all the other tracks need to be moved or dealt with.
     
    You also lose control over the REAL mastering procedure while doing it inside of a project. How do you account for peaks on the mix as a whole? DC offsets? All this stuff gets harder to control while in the context of an entire song. Granted, most people don't get insane DC offsets to begin with, but you may have some already in your song. Add a limiter and for sure you gain even more. It's also nice to manually control peaks for your mix as an entity. You don't have this control in Sonar as there IS no master wave file when you work in a mix with several tracks. So there are pros and cons to the "mix and master while in project" scenario.
     
    To me, it's "little m mastering" and a huge difference from what can be done when you pull the stereo track out and master it the right way. But that's just me. :)
     
    -Danny 
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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 21:17:57 (permalink)
    I agree with Danny's definition of mastering by dividing it into 2 different but similar categories. 

      The big M.... Mastering is the kind done professionally.  If I was planning a CD and trying to get a record deal or some such thing.... this would be the way to go. 

    The little m mastering is what I do..... make it sound as good as possible in my humble studio and in the box with the polishing and sweeting tools at my disposal. This works well for my purposes as I do not need a professional big M Mastering job for the tunes I write. 

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    bapu
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 21:20:29 (permalink)
    Here's what I once gleaned from Danny.

    Say my master bus (in the mix stage) is showing ~-10db. But for some reason (on a large project) something is causing a -5db spike in a certain spot and for some reason I just cant seem to isolate what it is. I can fix that spike in Wavelab. IOW, I can get more surgical on a stereo WAV file than I can in a complex project. Just my workflow now. YMMV.


    Yes, I can probably put an envelope on the master bus as an alternative.
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    Danny Danzi
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/16 21:53:17 (permalink)
    I agree with Danny's definition of mastering by dividing it into 2 different but similar categories. The big M.... Mastering is the kind done professionally. If I was planning a CD and trying to get a record deal or some such thing.... this would be the way to go. The little m mastering is what I do..... make it sound as good as possible in my humble studio and in the box with the polishing and sweeting tools at my disposal. This works well for my purposes as I do not need a professional big M Mastering job for the tunes I write.

     
    Yeah and it's perfectly ok to do that Herb. I just want it to be known that I'm totally not knocking anyone that does it that way. But for some people, it's not really feasible. For myself, I can see doing it for quickie projects but here's another thing to keep in mind.
     
    Let's say I have a project up that has maybe 75 tracks going on. Now the majority of those tracks are going to be vocal harmony layers and several different drum modules hybriding at once. So there may not be physical audio there, but the track count and plug count will be there.
     
    By the time we get done with this project, we have quite a few plugs going on as well as track counts. When we try to master it, there's a chance of a crash because now we may want to bring in 6-8 mastering plugs in the master bus bin. If any of those are UAD, we may get an out of memory error. But there is a risk of a crash and to me, none of that is worth it because sometimes a hard enough crash can even corrupt a project as we know. But I do the same as you do all the time for my little projects. It's awesome that we have the tools we have in Sonar to just light things up in PC on the master bus. My favor for little m has been 4k channel comp, pc eq and the concrete limiter. They work so well together I probably could get away with mastering using just them. LOL! :)
     
    bapuHere's what I once gleaned from Danny.

    Say my master bus (in the mix stage) is showing ~-10db. But for some reason (on a large project) something is causing a -5db spike in a certain spot and for some reason I just cant seem to isolate what it is. I can fix that spike in Wavelab. IOW, I can get more surgical on a stereo WAV file than I can in a complex project. Just my workflow now. YMMV.


    Yes, I can probably put an envelope on the master bus as an alternative.

     
    Good points Ed. The good thing about doing it in the project though...is you can usually isolate what the spike is and fix it. 9 times out of ten it's a snare drum, bass pop, vocal thrust or maybe even hats. When you have this problem, just solo up individual tracks (especially those like drums that may be virtual tracks) and run wave form preview on them. You should then be able to add things in one at a time and find out where the spike is coming from and fix it on the track. Of course that's the best way to do it before we even get to the mastering stage.
     
    But yeah, what you said is in my opinion, the best way to take care of a full mix situation. You just have so much more control in other ways that you wouldn't if you were working inside of the project. There are definitely pros and cons to using both ways.
     
    Another good thing I like about the stereo track mastering is, it gets you totally out of mix mode. When you get a chance to listen to the song as an entity, you listen differently than you would when it was in the project. This is how we can tell what we actually need to do in the mastering stage. If you notice you need a bit more kick drum or your bass isn't loud enough at the mastering stage, we have to ask ourselves why you didn't hear that when you were in the project?
     
    The answer to that is you're listening differently. At the mixing stage, though you are listening to the entire song, you're still concentrating on track at a time while making sure everything is audible and where it needs to be. Once you leave the project realm and sort of accept "it is what it is" for right now, it alters your listening habits and you begin to notice things that may need to be fixed. It's simple enough to just fire up the mix and re-export if need be and only takes a few mnutes, so it's not a bad alternative. But that's really the only down-side of working out of the project as opposed to working IN it.
     
    There are also things we can fix in programs like Wave Lab, Rx Advanced and even Adobe Audition that we can't fix in Sonar. So it's good to have those other editors for the mastering stage as they can eliminate problems without having to export individual tracks into them. Whatever way works for someone is the way they should use. But it's nice to know the pros and cons as well as the uses for both methods. :)
     
    -Danny
    #20
    fireberd
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/17 06:43:14 (permalink)
    With my "shoestring" budget home studio, the last demo song CD project I did for a "retired" Nashville songwriter was blessed by Hank Williams Jr.  He sent a copy of the CD to Hank and he liked the songs and the mixes and forwarded it to his publishing company partner.  The songwriter (Jimmy Peppers) was offered a publishing contract from it.

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    #21
    mudgel
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/17 07:33:12 (permalink)
    californiamusic


    I thought about exporting to Sound Forge, some of my 64bit plugins wont work sense sound forge is still 32bit.  I have been importing my mix into a X1 template and mastering it there.

    My 64 bit plugins all have 32 bit versions that I use in Sound Forge 10

    Mike V.   

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    #22
    californiamusic
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/17 14:27:37 (permalink)
    I've been weeding out what was left of my 32bit plugins and now have everything running 64bit.  I was thinking about trying Wavelab 7 which is 64bit and might be a good replacement for Soundforge. ; )

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    #23
    chuckebaby
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/17 15:16:35 (permalink)
    Kalle Rantaaho


    I'm sure you'll find more interesting views and procedures using the search. There's a million threads about mixing and mastering

    im with him,there are 100's of threads on this already ive wrote chapters on this topic many threads many times,
    #24
    creynolds
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/17 19:28:47 (permalink)
    Theres a lot to be said for mixing and then waiting a while and then let someone else very talented master your tracks. I found this very educational.

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    #25
    noynekker
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/18 01:00:29 (permalink)
    With all of the amazing plugins available these days, getting a great  mix in Sonar is very close to being a "mastered" version of the mix. When you have control over every facet of what's recorded, and can apply mastering type plugins (such as a limiters, eq's, compressors) to the final mix bus, isn't that enough ?

    The newer more powerful computers also seem to make it possible to mix and master all inside Sonar.

    However  . . . since I have recently had a closer look at some dedicated "mastering" software, I've grown to appreciate that taking an exported stereo wave file from Sonar into a "mastering" software, can take a Sonar mix to a higher level of fidelity.
    (And it can all be put back inside Sonar without having to buy another audio editing software)

    For those who can afford to send it out to a Mastering Professional, I think an even better result can be obtained from a fresh set of ears + monitors.

    Also, from what I've read on this forum, the more important deficiencies in my own studio are the "room treatments" which affect the way I'm hearing my mixes . . . so I'm off to Home Depot,  instead of downloading more plugins today.








    #26
    californiamusic
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/18 01:26:36 (permalink)
    Agree!  I wonder if  the ProTools forums have this level of feedback ; )

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    #27
    silvercn
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    Re:Mixing / Mastering procedure in X1 2012/04/20 17:25:18 (permalink)
    Those of you who mention your mastering template used in  X1- can you share what that looks like and the chain of fx...
    #28
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