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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:05 pm 
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There can be so much that prevents a track from reaching loud levels. Many wants it loud but never realize their track doesnt have the right potential to go up there due to several factors like:

- tracks that are balanced poorly
- massive sub that eats energy (causes distortion easily)
- tracks that are too "thick" with too many things going on in different areas of the spectrum clashing together
- narrow and strong resonances
- crest factor (the relation between peaks in the program in relation to the "body" of the music)

to mention a few

But also the sounds you choose matters, the arrangement, the gain staging, your ability to hear what actually happens in the music and similar.

Upload a snippet of a track and it's easier to analyze rather then doing guess-work.

Another thing worth mentioning is your RMS level, it might not be correct. You say it's -12 but you meter might have the wrong readings. it's very common that some RMS meters
needs a +3DBFS correction, check if that option is available to you.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Guys, first thanks a lot for all the extremely useful information.

I've been reading, re-reading and studying for months and I'm starting to understand better the overall maximization and GR techniques, however I'm having a really hard time trying to tame a handclap in a track, which is not spiking in the spectrum meter set to average, however it's making my limiter (invisible limiter) go over +2dB of GR everytime it claps.

It is already compressed in the mix, it doesn't sound louder in relation to the other elements in the mix (it actually could be a little louder for my taste) but still, this shit is taking GR further than 2dB which is what I'm aiming for - it's taking it to 6.1dB of GR right now - since the guidelines in this very post brought an unbeliaveable clarity to my maximized tracks, mostly because transients were preserved and the second comp also shaved the other couple dBs I needed for leveling it out.

I'm getting my RMS reading at -8.0 with the SPAN set at DBFS+3. However the gain reduction is way outta my target. Is this normal, if not, any thoughs in ways I could fix this? This same thing is a issue in another track, but with snares.. I'm trying to understand what possibly I could be doing wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:01 pm 
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First thing to check, did you enhance the claps with Transient Designers? If not, perhaps it's still one in there if it's a sample from a sample library.
Check if the clap have any nasty resonances that migth need to be tamed by EQ, perhaps it have much unnecessary bass under 100hz? If you tried that then test to add soft clipping to the clap in the mix. Or go all out and try hard clipping it by a dB or so. Just make sure you use a proper plugin (or converter) for it and use a high oversample setting when you render your track. Truly very few claps or snares survives good old hard clipping if done right!

RMS -8 with SPAN set to DBFS+3 is the correct RMS reading. So it's within reasonable values (relatively speaking), however depending on certain factors (especially if your track is light or heavy on bass) the -8 RMS can either be a bit quiet or loud in perceived loudness. A balanced mix hitting -8 RMS is plenty loud.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:09 am 
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Mattias wrote:
First thing to check, did you enhance the claps with Transient Designers? If not, perhaps it's still one in there if it's a sample from a sample library.
Check if the clap have any nasty resonances that migth need to be tamed by EQ, perhaps it have much unnecessary bass under 100hz? If you tried that then test to add soft clipping to the clap in the mix. Or go all out and try hard clipping it by a dB or so. Just make sure you use a proper plugin (or converter) for it and use a high oversample setting when you render your track. Truly very few claps or snares survives good old hard clipping if done right!

RMS -8 with SPAN set to DBFS+3 is the correct RMS reading. So it's within reasonable values (relatively speaking), however depending on certain factors (especially if your track is light or heavy on bass) the -8 RMS can either be a bit quiet or loud in perceived loudness. A balanced mix hitting -8 RMS is plenty loud.


Mattias, thanks a lot for the quick response.

No, in fact I haven't checked any transient designers yet. I'll look into it right now. However I'm using the D16 Drumazon claps instead of samples in this case. Regarding EQing the clap low frequencies, I actually hi passed it at 150Hz. I'll try to shave off these extra dBs with glue compressor soft clipping and/or with a bit crusher and see what I can get.

The annoying thing is that even lowered in the mix the claps still rob these extra few dBs, but I'm sure I'll learn something trying to tame it.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:26 am 
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Sorry for the confusion, I should've been more clear: Why I mentioned Transient Designer was because if you had one on your clap you could have tried to remove it or dial off some of the effect it caused. Those processors have a habit to overdo the transient information and cause exaggerated initial peaks (doh!).

Also try a Bessel filter for the hi-passing on the clap. See if that helps to reduce a little peak information. Often it's several small steps that are the key to reduce rather then a single brutal act of processing.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:22 pm 
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psicomagia wrote:
Mattias wrote:
First thing to check, did you enhance the claps with Transient Designers? If not, perhaps it's still one in there if it's a sample from a sample library.
Check if the clap have any nasty resonances that migth need to be tamed by EQ, perhaps it have much unnecessary bass under 100hz? If you tried that then test to add soft clipping to the clap in the mix. Or go all out and try hard clipping it by a dB or so. Just make sure you use a proper plugin (or converter) for it and use a high oversample setting when you render your track. Truly very few claps or snares survives good old hard clipping if done right!

RMS -8 with SPAN set to DBFS+3 is the correct RMS reading. So it's within reasonable values (relatively speaking), however depending on certain factors (especially if your track is light or heavy on bass) the -8 RMS can either be a bit quiet or loud in perceived loudness. A balanced mix hitting -8 RMS is plenty loud.


Mattias, thanks a lot for the quick response.

No, in fact I haven't checked any transient designers yet. I'll look into it right now. However I'm using the D16 Drumazon claps instead of samples in this case. Regarding EQing the clap low frequencies, I actually hi passed it at 150Hz. I'll try to shave off these extra dBs with glue compressor soft clipping and/or with a bit crusher and see what I can get.

The annoying thing is that even lowered in the mix the claps still rob these extra few dBs, but I'm sure I'll learn something trying to tame it.


Post an audio clip on SoundCloud. A good mix should not be having the problems you are experiencing.
Possibly you may be setting up you master bus chain incorrectly

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Record Label Singularity Recordings
Dirty Shit https://soundcloud.com/voidloss/voidloss-baptiser-of-sewage


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:48 pm 
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Mattias wrote:
There can be so much that prevents a track from reaching loud levels. Many wants it loud but never realize their track doesnt have the right potential to go up there due to several factors like:

- tracks that are balanced poorly
- massive sub that eats energy (causes distortion easily)
- tracks that are too "thick" with too many things going on in different areas of the spectrum clashing together
- narrow and strong resonances
- crest factor (the relation between peaks in the program in relation to the "body" of the music)

to mention a few

But also the sounds you choose matters, the arrangement, the gain staging, your ability to hear what actually happens in the music and similar.

Upload a snippet of a track and it's easier to analyze rather then doing guess-work.

Another thing worth mentioning is your RMS level, it might not be correct. You say it's -12 but you meter might have the wrong readings. it's very common that some RMS meters
needs a +3DBFS correction, check if that option is available to you.


hmmmm, dont think it's my RMS meter...

might be a couple of the other things u mentioned. I observed that when my tracks "breathe" more (meaning that i dont have all kind of sounds bumping in to eachother), i don't seem to have the problem as much (but still present). I fix this by limiting the track, extracting it to adobe audio and runing the volume up in there... Than everything seems normal, and i get the right RMS reading...

I will post a snippet when it happens again :)

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:23 am 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
psicomagia wrote:
Mattias wrote:
First thing to check, did you enhance the claps with Transient Designers? If not, perhaps it's still one in there if it's a sample from a sample library.
Check if the clap have any nasty resonances that migth need to be tamed by EQ, perhaps it have much unnecessary bass under 100hz? If you tried that then test to add soft clipping to the clap in the mix. Or go all out and try hard clipping it by a dB or so. Just make sure you use a proper plugin (or converter) for it and use a high oversample setting when you render your track. Truly very few claps or snares survives good old hard clipping if done right!

RMS -8 with SPAN set to DBFS+3 is the correct RMS reading. So it's within reasonable values (relatively speaking), however depending on certain factors (especially if your track is light or heavy on bass) the -8 RMS can either be a bit quiet or loud in perceived loudness. A balanced mix hitting -8 RMS is plenty loud.


Mattias, thanks a lot for the quick response.

No, in fact I haven't checked any transient designers yet. I'll look into it right now. However I'm using the D16 Drumazon claps instead of samples in this case. Regarding EQing the clap low frequencies, I actually hi passed it at 150Hz. I'll try to shave off these extra dBs with glue compressor soft clipping and/or with a bit crusher and see what I can get.

The annoying thing is that even lowered in the mix the claps still rob these extra few dBs, but I'm sure I'll learn something trying to tame it.


Post an audio clip on SoundCloud. A good mix should not be having the problems you are experiencing.
Possibly you may be setting up you master bus chain incorrectly


https://soundcloud.com/alexsheeny/ex-qlto-78/s-JIF7C
the claps starts at 00:46


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:01 am 
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I'm on the run today but checking your track quickly I'd say it have quite a lot of balance issues, very thin sounding, sharp sounds and mostly all synths and hihat sounds are crazy loud in relation. Perhaps you washed your track in exciters along with strong EQ boosts and cuts all over?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:10 pm 
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Damn... I'm really struggling whereas I mix my tracks to a point where they're too thin like this or too mushy. But basically I just got my first pair of actual monitors two months ago and I'm kinda obsessive in learning it's sound (maybe that's the matter too, I feel like Im totally losing objectivity after hours trying to mix material)... it's a pair of Focals CMS65 plugged into a scarlett 2i2. Before that I spent almost a year learning through a pair of KEFQ300..

I'll re-check everything and get back here, thanks a lot for having a listen to it, these feedbacks help me a lot to understand where I'm going with these mixes.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:17 pm 
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I think that your listening environment is messing with you more rather then some new monitors.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Absolutely. I mean the KEF's weren't even monitors they're bookshelf "hi-fi" speakers. I'll re-read the focals manual to see if im making any adjustments wrong in the back of em. I also can check in headphones (AKG K702).. but the fact is that right now I really can't afford to treat my room as i am in a rented place.

But after your last reply that was exactly what I was thinking too, that maybe this untreated room is resulting in crazy resonances when mixing.. probably making everything I do unbalanced by nature. I really don't know what exactly it's causing, i don't have this knowledge yet. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:34 pm 
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Ok, I listened to the clip. I don`t think the clap is going to be causing any issues, more likely the double kick if anything.

Your levels are all over the place, the mix isn`t in balance.

I would say, without trying to be condescending here, that you need to walk before you try to fly.

This mix isn`t ready to be mastered, and you are probably obsessing over stuff like RMS peaks on the master channel without fully understanding what you are doing.

Work on getting your mixes to a more balanced standard before you try home maximisation.

In essence, and I think I mentioned this in the original tutorial in this thread.... A great mix needs little mastering.
Mastering is essentially correcting mix balance, before final level for format.

So until you sort out your mix balancing, you will never be able to get a balanced master, and therefore will encounter problems with mastering gain reduction reacting to the wrong parts of the mix.

A good lesson to check a mix is to play your mix at your normal volume, then slowly turn the volume of the monitors down to zero. See if everything remains balanced all the way to zero. Or if any elements pop out unreasonably from the mix.
then go from zero volume, slowly, to normal monitoring volume and again listen to the mix balance, to see if all the elements remain balanced.

To me, you are not yet working to a "mastering ready" standard.

The elements sit well together, the mix is not overcrowded, but it is out of balance.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
Ok, I listened to the clip. I don`t think the clap is going to be causing any issues, more likely the double kick if anything.

Your levels are all over the place, the mix isn`t in balance.

I would say, without trying to be condescending here, that you need to walk before you try to fly.

This mix isn`t ready to be mastered, and you are probably obsessing over stuff like RMS peaks on the master channel without fully understanding what you are doing.

Work on getting your mixes to a more balanced standard before you try home maximisation.

In essence, and I think I mentioned this in the original tutorial in this thread.... A great mix needs little mastering.
Mastering is essentially correcting mix balance, before final level for format.

So until you sort out your mix balancing, you will never be able to get a balanced master, and therefore will encounter problems with mastering gain reduction reacting to the wrong parts of the mix.

A good lesson to check a mix is to play your mix at your normal volume, then slowly turn the volume of the monitors down to zero. See if everything remains balanced all the way to zero. Or if any elements pop out unreasonably from the mix.
then go from zero volume, slowly, to normal monitoring volume and again listen to the mix balance, to see if all the elements remain balanced.

To me, you are not yet working to a "mastering ready" standard.

The elements sit well together, the mix is not overcrowded, but it is out of balance.


Thanks for the professional input, I wasn't aware of this. I think at some point I actually overdid this mix and it became this frankenstein i posted, it's like the 78th mix version... I'm just having a real hard time trying to balancing stuff, it's starting to getting frustrating. But I'll redo it and will definitely try this.

I also just noticed that my monitors eq configuration were less than ideal for the enviroment I'm at, I think the settings won't make it anywhere near a perfect sound since the room is not treated but def improved it. I wasn't taking the manual eq instructions further away (each eq potentiometer in the back have like four positions for filtering different frequencies, I was only going one step or two instead of going for a more flat response as the manual says..) because I stupidly thought the room acoustics were bad but not that bad.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:25 pm 
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Well, I'm back again, did volume roll-off/roll-on trick (very GOOD) and tried to understand how to organize my tracks and balance the whole mix... and it made a fucking whole world of a difference. Now I was able to go even further on the maximisation, the sound balancing made a total difference, managed to go over -8db, even to -4.5db in another track. Of course just being loud isn't the point here, but I simply used the limiter as a way to tell me if something was off in my mix, eating the headroom and mushying the mix.

Until now i had never balanced and properly organized any of my tracks through the busses, although actually using the busses before I was simply shoving the volume knobs and trying to make it sound good and never thinking about balancing it, it simply never worked, clearly it wasn't possible to balance/mix it with that mess .

Another crucial thing was that the kick transients were eating up the headroom, hence the peaks I mentioned earlier thinking about the claps were simply the first kick spikes eating the whole thing, the claps weren't the culprit (like Lost to the Void mentioned earlier). A simple EQ adjusment on the compressor (glue compressor in this case) to a higher frequency on the EQ solved it.

I simply solved all my tracks vital issues with those tips (the kind of issues that make everything you produce sound like a complete crap, no matter what), thanks a lot. Gotta long way to go bettering my mixes and my sounds I guess, but these tips changed it for me. It just clicked!

Also I managed to fix the monitors EQ in the back and pulled the table away from the wall, it's not like a treated room now of course, but it made a lot of difference.

Here's the updated version: https://soundcloud.com/alexsheeny/ex-qlto-79/s-we2uu


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:40 pm 
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I just feel stupid for this last message... well, this track obviously wasn't nowhere near resolved in this last post.

Just asked for a professional to come in next week and help me to solve this and treat the room for the resonance issues, it is indeed completely messed up acoustically speaking.

But I can't stop to produce and mixing more stuff daily so the acoustics eng. already gave me some placement tips on the room that just made a hell lot of difference, so I'm just using the AKG K701 to check everything.


The crazy thing about all this is that everything was already written and advised by you guys here, but I simply couldn't understand or follow it blindly for a start. Learn production and mixing by yourself time consuming and overwhelming. It's not one thing or two, it's a whole bunch of information that you have to cross.... Also I should've understand before what you guys always said about choosing the fucking right sounds.

Sorry for messing up this thread that had nothing to do with the problems I was having. As soon as I reach the 27 posts I'll start posting my productions and ask for advise, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:22 pm 
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Not a problem man! You're learning and seem to have fun doing it that's the spirit.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:13 pm 
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I have a question guys,
Do you usually get rid of every information in the Anti-Phase area of the Phase Spectrum?
I saw that lots of my tracks have a considerable amount of sounds in Anti-Phase zone, btw they seem to be 100% mono compatible, like nothing disappears and nothing lose many energy in mono.
Testing some professional mastered wav i saw that some tracks have nothing on anti-phase zone, but others have as many information that my maximized tracks have...
Worth to get rid of that anti-phase just to gain headroom/volume on the mono side? (For music focused to be played in mostly mono systems)

Thanks.


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