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Mastering Suggestions for the Free Music Movement


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Sure you can master your own stuff, but why would you? If the mix isn't how you imagined it to sound when you mixed it, ask yourself why did you mix it that way?"

 

Actually, I am glad that artists are buying what we are selling.

 

Mastering is not only software - you also need very good monitors, good acoustics and a lot of experience.

or

Artist can not make proper mastering for own music!

or

I think this illustrates just how mystical a process mastering is.

Mastering puppets are pulling your strings. Yes it is an absolute pleasure to work a sound treated studio with phenomenal monitors but don't let the lack of equipment or experience deter you from learning all you can about mastering. The more you know about the entire process, the better decisions you will make at the beginning of making a track. All of the decisions made throughout the creation process add up to the final product - DUH!!!

 

There are many artists that master their own work. Mastering basically comes down to knowing what to do in order to get what the artist perceives the best sound for their music is. There are many tips that you can use if you are going to master your own work. One of the best is to step away from the music for a while once you have finished the track - don't listen to the songs you are going to master for a few days. This will give you some separation from the music and your mind will allow you to focus on the track as a whole instead of individual parts. If you find yourself changing sounds on individual channels while you are mastering, finish your changes and then step away from the track again after removing whatever mastering processing you may have applied. Return to the song once it isn’t running through your head all day long and begin the mastering process again.

 

Just because mastering was done on high end monitors does not mean that the song will sound terrible on low-end speakers. It is the job of the Mastering Engineer to know their setup and how their work translates onto different systems which is one reason "experience" is quoted on almost every mastering website. One thing to note however is that it is not necessarily the ME's fault for a song sounding bad. Often times it is the artist that demands what is done to a track. There is a lot that can be done with adjusting the EQ of a track to get it to sound louder but in today's market, heavy compression is the standard. IN THE MOST BASIC EXPLANATION, compression equals distorted sound.

 

When mastering on high end speakers, you WILL hear the parts that will not sound good on crappy speakers. You just need to make the decision of what you are going to do with the track. For example, most computer speakers do not handle the bass-intensive dance music tracks very well. It is the job of the ME to work with the artist to find out if they want something done with the bass so that it sounds good on the computer speakers or if they want to flood the dance floor with bass. Many people on psynews have bought PAR-2 compilations. I did all of the mastering work on those CDs. Our goal when working on those was not to have the loudest cd out there but we also didn't want people to have to change their listening volume much when they changed CDs. We made some compromises in overall levels so that our tracks could be played on a wider range of systems.

 

Just some things to think about.

 

Kat

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  • 2 weeks later...

Goa sure doesnt need good sound system cause at goa beaches there were no sound systems like u have them today..

Psy trance maybe.. Quality was way worse years ago in time of goa.

Er... :unsure: wtf? Just because the systems weren't there doesn't mean they weren't needed! Badly-produced music needs a good system to stand any chance of coming across well; a well-produced track will sound better than a badly-produced one on all kinds of sound systems.
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Er... :unsure: wtf? Just because the systems weren't there doesn't mean they weren't needed! Badly-produced music needs a good system to stand any chance of coming across well; a well-produced track will sound better than a badly-produced one on all kinds of sound systems.

If I play some old school goa on a lousy system, that was mastered or mixed bad, i sure hope the system is good :D And the mixer as well. :)
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Er... :unsure: wtf? Just because the systems weren't there doesn't mean they weren't needed! Badly-produced music needs a good system to stand any chance of coming across well; a well-produced track will sound better than a badly-produced one on all kinds of sound systems.

:D I knew this will provoke some tensions :lol:

Of course it was needed, but there wasnt so good equipment like these days, thats what Im saying, dont get me wrong.. Its just that those imperfection of early goa make it so interesting.. I dont want to imply that these days u should create on a bad equipment, of course todays goa must meet all standards of todays music to be good.. But the main point is that u should use what u have and get most of your gear no matter how good it is.. So if production is good even with lousy gear it will still sound great and u can always get your track mastered by some pro and it will sound well on any sound system.. But if the production is bad and sound system degrades music even further than its really bad.. But in old days u had no choice like nowdays..

Theres nothing better than good produced track on a good, big sound system.. After listening to Element(live) on the party for 12000 people with great sound system I got impression that they produce music especially for such high end massive sound systems.. I mean, nothing sounded so clear on such massive audio walls.. It was almost like music was alive, you could actually feel the vibe if u know what I mean, its pretty hard to explain..

Its like they have such 50000 watt studio in their homes and they produce on it.. What are your views on this?

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I can tell you now with 100% certainty that if we'd had the technology back then, our tracks would have sounded as clean and clear and punchy etc. as they do now. And I'm equally sure that every artist who was producing goa back then would say the same.

 

No-one has a 50K soundsystem in their studios; good production shines.

 

Goa sure doesnt need good sound system cause at goa beaches there were no sound systems like u have them today

Of course [good sound system] was needed but there wasnt so good equipment like these days

Make your mind up ffs.

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I can tell you now with 100% certainty that if we'd had the technology back then, our tracks would have sounded as clean and clear and punchy etc. as they do now. And I'm equally sure that every artist who was producing goa back then would say the same.

 

No-one has a 50K soundsystem in their studios; good production shines.

 

Make your mind up ffs.

Man thats only if, but be real.. Todays standard in studio is Pro tools HD that costs 15000$ and u dont need to have it at home to produce good music.. If u are doing music for others than you cant produce without such standard and if u produce for your own pleasure your sound system doesnt have to be on pro level..

So I guess your right, if u wanna produce good music rent-a-studio is the only option, or u can reserve some 100.000 bucks for medium quality studio at home..

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

sounds to me some people here hope to fix the problems they have in their mix with mastering. A good mix only needs a little compression maybe to get the volume to cd level. But then again i didnt read the whole topic and i could be wrong..

 

ha ha ha I thought the emails on the dreamweavers mailing list could get off topic.

 

I have to agree with supergroover, poor input = poor output or at least a generic sound. I am guessing that Colin speaks with a lot of authority (I am assuming that this is the same OOOD that was producing killer, mind twisting tracks back in the 90's? If so I think I was listening to one the other day) on GOA and what was going on back then. But there has been a massive leap forward between the technology that Astral Projection used to compose Kabalah and Utopia to what they used on the last track of theirs that I heard.

 

Frankly I have a rather spurious thought that the 'original' Goa sounds have a lot more life and emotion to them. I suppose looping takes on a DAT tape meant that you always got a sort of live feel? Though of course I stand to be corrected.

 

Mastering issues aside my take on this is that before we even get to the mastering stage today's tracks seem to have an over-produced almost clinical perfection about them. bitd I couldn't sit and listen at the side of the dance floor. Today (sigh perhaps I am getting old) I find I listen to trance as cerebral stimulation rather than for its foot tapping qualities. Though this might be due to too many breaks and clever tricks and I am trying to figure out how they are done?

 

So what happened to the original thread and releasing free music? Did anything come of all of that?

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  • 5 months later...

So what happened to the original thread and releasing free music? Did anything come of all of that?

Have a look at my site. Since this thread was started we've posted something like 30 new released in MP3 and lossless-quality audio. Some of these have been mastered but not all. In almost all cases the mastering has been "in-house" i.e. by someone related in some way to the netlabel or artist providing the free release.

 

The mastering issue remains: there are plenty of producers who recognize the benefit of releasing music for free but few engineers interested in mastering a free release without compensation. For our own in-house productions (EKTEP01, EKTEP02, EKTEP03, EKTLP01, and EKTVA01) I've opted for professional mastering. It has set me back close to $1,000 so far but I hope to offset this expense in a variety of ways (on-demand CD sales, additional bookings, cost-sharing with the artists in some instances, donations, etc). Most of these tactics are specific to the organization and vision of the Ektoplazm new media label and aren't necessarily viable for independent and small-scale content providers. Thus the original problem remains largely the same: professional mastering costs money and few qualified individuals are willing to donate their time to a free project.

 

P.S. should this thread really be a "sticky"? It contains some interesting information but isn't exactly a definitive resource.

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Don't overcompress any more records like you did with Mindsphere!

Is this directed at me?

 

To clear up any confusion, Ektoplazm is both a new media label AND a web site that amalgamates content from netlabels, independent artists, and other providers. I had absolutely no involvement in putting the Mindsphere release together aside from promoting the final product.

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Posted Image

 

Detz haw psychadeelik musick is maid!!

 

MORE POWWWAAAAA, MORE dBBBB!!!

OMG anyone that uses those crappy mastering plugins should be slapped.

 

I never use multiband compressors or mastering plugins on my master channel,it's too complicated for the fine tuning mastering really is, it's geek stuff, pretty boring, i don't care about it, not my fav field in audio IMO; once my mix is somehow decent i'm pretty satisfied. When i try mastering I mostly use several software compressors in a row, but the result is not fantastic. The problem is that soft compressors all have a similar outcome, and others try to be as broad and complete as if one compressor is the key to mastering. I see mastering as a sequence of different compressors or simple audio techniques that each have a single purpose to lift the audio. Something i would recommend trying, i only did it once but the result was positive: Render all your channels as seperate wav's and pull them through some hardware compressors, really old hardware compressors are IMO the best, they don't do much, but it's exactly what you need, they will only have one function, but an important one . Everything that has a compressor on board can be used and you will learn which compressor is doing best on a certain job when you put your channels back together.

 

And experimenting with recording some channels on analog media and putting them back to digital format can have good effects. I've been thinking of buying an old DAT or tape recorder, with the big wheels and stuff and record one channel of my track on it, put it back to digital and do other tracks with compressor or something. I have used A Kaoss pad 3 and recorded all my tracks to minidisc with different EQ or compressor settings. That's my impression on mastering IMO, it's kinda like using presets on software, once you know a preset you can tune it better but the best presets for mastering appear to be simple techniques with compressors and analog media.

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OMG anyone that uses those crappy mastering plugins should be slapped.

 

I never use multiband compressors or mastering plugins on my master channel,it's too complicated for the fine tuning mastering really is, it's geek stuff, pretty boring, i don't care about it, not my fav field in audio IMO; once my mix is somehow decent i'm pretty satisfied. When i try mastering I mostly use several software compressors in a row, but the result is not fantastic. The problem is that soft compressors all have a similar outcome, and others try to be as broad and complete as if one compressor is the key to mastering. I see mastering as a sequence of different compressors or simple audio techniques that each have a single purpose to lift the audio. Something i would recommend trying, i only did it once but the result was positive: Render all your channels as seperate wav's and pull them through some hardware compressors, really old hardware compressors are IMO the best, they don't do much, but it's exactly what you need, they will only have one function, but an important one . Everything that has a compressor on board can be used and you will learn which compressor is doing best on a certain job when you put your channels back together.

 

And experimenting with recording some channels on analog media and putting them back to digital format can have good effects. I've been thinking of buying an old DAT or tape recorder, with the big wheels and stuff and record one channel of my track on it, put it back to digital and do other tracks with compressor or something. I have used A Kaoss pad 3 and recorded all my tracks to minidisc with different EQ or compressor settings. That's my impression on mastering IMO, it's kinda like using presets on software, once you know a preset you can tune it better but the best presets for mastering appear to be simple techniques with compressors and analog media.

Well actually I don't use any waves plugins for mastering. I'm pretty new to mastering myself, but I don't see the key is using a waves plugins in the chain for the final master. I only use C4 for some instruments, a C4 before any other effect when I'm looking for something particular in the sound. Of course, it doesn't have to be C4, but it works most times, that's why I use it.
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Nothing wrong with Waves plugins if used correctly... LinMB, LinEQ Broadband, REQ2, M/S Matrix, PAZ Meters and S1 all have their place in my mastering chain, alongside a bunch of other stuff and a little hardware.

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Nothing wrong with Waves plugins if used correctly... LinMB, LinEQ Broadband, REQ2, M/S Matrix, PAZ Meters and S1 all have their place in my mastering chain, alongside a bunch of other stuff and a little hardware.

yes, waved has some cool stuff, as long as the fuctions you need stay seperate and simple, it's ok, but recently i got Ozone3 and i didn't like it.

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I Stumbled Upon This And It Looked To Me As If This Were Along The Lines Of Waves Mastering Tools, So I Thought i Would Post It Here And See if Some Good Can Come Of It.

 

 

http://hem.bredband.net/tbtaudio/

 

Hope This Makes The Tunes Sound A Bit Fuller. :lol::D

 

Cheers! ;)

 

rrrrr, the limiter looks sexy. only 5 knobs, won't do much, but at least i'll exactly understand what it does. I like to be in control.

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yes, waved has some cool stuff, as long as the fuctions you need stay seperate and simple, it's ok, but recently i got Ozone3 and i didn't like it.

All-in-one mastering solutions are not the way forward IMO. Especially when people use them on their tunes and then send them to me to master! DON'T DO IT lol But as ever I'm sure some people get good results from them.
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