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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:25 pm 
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LUFS is the new standard but it has its own shortfalls.
Its ballistics don't represent the human ear the same way as a good RMS or even better, VU meter does.
So you get less of an idea of the dynamic movement and ebb and flow.

I'm old school, I was trained in an all analog studio and we metered by VU meter.

So i can read RMS very well, and still meter with RMS using A and C filtering. I cross check against LUFS but I always hit the target on the nose so you can correlate them wuth each other.

I would say use LUFS as a final read, but use RMS C weighted (you can flip to A now and again for a more natural response) when producing as you learn a lot more about dynamics and loudness as it relates to your music, and you start to recogise certain signs in the movement and so on.

Most pro engineers will recommend you learn to read a VU meter.

In vst land this http://klanghelm.com/contents/products/VUMT/VUMT.php is a really great recreation of VU ballistics.

In mastering terms I use VU and C weighted RMS as it gives me more of a picture of the music than LUFS but I do final checking with LUFS. Call it the final measure.
With album mastering the LUFS becomes more relevant to me because you can get a time plot which is great when you are looking to create a certain flow of changing dynamic, for instance, over the length of an album.

C weighted RMS (provided you use a decent and reliable meter) and LUFS do correlate, in most cases, though the actual numbers aren't the same.

Now, when it comes to multi track projects, albums etc my main tool for loudness is still my ears. LUFS is not infallible and I have had many tracks that match in LUFS/EBU 128 but not out the speakers.
So I do a LOT of flipping backwards and forwards, cross checking, cross checking again, hitting a monitoring preset for different volume and then cross checking again. The meters just provide a final reassurance.

Did I answer the question?

To what degree do I aim for consistency?

It really depends.

On a 4 track VA techno ep for vinyl it would be unrealistic to try to get a rigid loudness consistency, so I woukd be more lenient. It is more importabt for each track to sound as good as possible rather than try to conform the EP to an overall tonal or loudness bias.

With a single artist EP the consistency becomes more important.

With an album it becomes even more important, though again the artist might want a tonal shift from dark to light over the length of the album. Or you might want the dynamics to get looser as the album progresses, which will effect how rigidly you can conform to a uniform loudness.

Is any of that helpful in any way?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:12 pm 
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I really love the VUMT as well, a beautiful tool.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:01 am 
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Thanks, guys. I've resolved the issue by monitoring both RMS and LUFS carefully. I've gone for general consistency, but allowed one of the tracks to be slightly (subjectively) louder as it is generally a "bigger" track anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:57 pm 
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nice tips, im on the process of mastering right now, thats quite frustrating at the begining, im mixing and mastering on the headphones and its barely a blind work, but with some training my ears are getting acurate

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:52 pm 
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There is no such thing as mastering your own music.
Maximising would be a better term to use, mastering requires 3rd person objectivity, virtually impossible on your own music in the the same room on the same listening equipment you made it on.
Hence this guide really.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:06 am 
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Lost to the Void:

the brainworx M/S limiter...under what circumstances do you use it? I picked it up at the last sale and think it's really fun to play with, but I haven't actually found a use for it yet.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:24 am 
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I'd be interested to hear as well, I never used it.
DMG Limitless is my everyday limiter now, not the smoothest to use in home mastering context though.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:12 am 
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The_G wrote:
Lost to the Void:

the brainworx M/S limiter...under what circumstances do you use it? I picked it up at the last sale and think it's really fun to play with, but I haven't actually found a use for it yet.


It's my go to limiter really.
It can be used very simply, or you can go complex if you need to (split mid and side band with a final stereo peak stop, if you need more than that you probably need to go back to mastering school).
It's clean and it has saturation built in if you want to push forward harmonics for a little extra illusion of loudness.
I really don't do much limiting in mastering these days, I just tickle the meters as a safety thing really, but yeah, this thing is great, especially for super wide modern mixes.
It's really good at handling bass dominant stuff like trap, dubstep, drum and bass with no choking at all.
You can really keep a lot of punch with it too, it can be very responsive.

It's one of the few limiters out there that comes close to my Weiss DS1 for transparency.

I haven't found anything better in software land yet for my needs.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:47 pm 
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Somehow i'm just reading this thread properly for the first time :) I'm, curious about the corrective EQ part, not sure if I'm doing things right - how about something like this? Too little? Too much?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:20 pm 
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If that scan is an rms/averaged graph then yes kinda.
You are better off pulling back the areas around the place you are boosting, and leaving off any boosting or keeping it down to less than 2db especially with something like ProQ which I wouldn't trust as a mastering EQ.
But you basically have the right idea providing it sounds good.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:18 pm 
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Alright, thanks. Yeah, it is set to average. I instinctly thought about "filling" the holes but I can see that bringing the peaks around the valley area achieves the same thing in the end.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:50 am 
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Generally speaking those boosts you do are way too narrow in a mastering context man. I'd do the opposite of what you've done, cut the narrow resonances instead of boosting.

dubdub wrote:
I instinctly thought about "filling" the holes but I can see that bringing the peaks around the valley area achieves the same thing in the end.


Yes, you cannot fill whats not there naturally in your music :)

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:06 pm 
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Yes, that makes sense when I stop and think about it :) So ideally or rather, prototypically, my tracks should be produced/mixed a bit more even rather than these huge resonant spikes in the spectrum?


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:09 pm 
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Well it's relative but a little more "even" yes. I think you should adjust your SPAN settings, they look to cover a bit much and react a little too fast to give the right idea.
If it works more on RMS detections you get a better understand fo the audio in this context.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:33 pm 
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Yeah, that makes sense, the issues seem a bit more obvious with a setting like this. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:27 pm 
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Ah, so there you go, your mix is very mid-forward and possibly a little peaky in the tops, especially if I am assuming it is dub techno.

there`s a method called empathetic EQ, it`s quite sciencey but in mastering it is the most effective method, ME`s on the cutting edge love it.

Basically you stop looking at things subtractively, you look at the mix, and find a median line that runs through the peaks and troughs of the main average. You then take this as a "base line" and bring any peaks down, closer to this line, and any troughs up, closer to this line.
It gets much more complex than this when it comes to dealing with small individual/narrow problems in the mix, and I won`t go in to that because it seems counter-intuitive if you`ve not been mastering a while, but as a technique it is very very effective for getting your balance right.
always start broad, with wide Q`s

I`m taking the baseline in your example as around -51db

so in your case you would deal with the big bump between 600 and 2k by pulling back on a wide Q centred around 1.2k, maybe a couple of db or more, hard to tell with span (I don`t use it) so this is just a rough walk through.

then the second bump in the highs between 3.5 and 9k, centred around 5.5k (5k is an important point in vinyl mastering, but not something to go in to now), pull back a little.

then a little boost at 400, not too wide as you are only pushing the region from 300-500hz

Boosting is absolutely fine in mastering providing you know what you are doing and you are using the right EQ. The thing to have in mind is that in production, on a single channel you can be making boosts or cuts of 4-5 or more db and not really altering the sound much. In mastering, when acting over the whole program material, a boost or cut as little as .5, or .3 of a db can make a huge change to the mix.


Now having said all of that, in your case mastering is not the solution.
It is always, always, always, and I`ll say it again, always better to deal with a problem in the mix, if you can.
Mastering is only ever patchwork. Field surgery.
The mix is where a true clinical fix can be made.

If you have identified the problem, go back to the mix and find the channels/parts causing the problem and fix it there, rather than shoving an EQ over the whole mix to try to deal with the problem, you will always get a less destructive result.

Obviously as mastering engineers we can`t do this.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:47 pm 
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dubdub, when I remember I will post you a much better setting to see whats going on in SPAN

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:53 am 
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Rolf Harris
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Lost to the Void wrote:
The_G wrote:
Lost to the Void:

the brainworx M/S limiter...under what circumstances do you use it? I picked it up at the last sale and think it's really fun to play with, but I haven't actually found a use for it yet.


It's my go to limiter really.
It can be used very simply, or you can go complex if you need to (split mid and side band with a final stereo peak stop, if you need more than that you probably need to go back to mastering school).
It's clean and it has saturation built in if you want to push forward harmonics for a little extra illusion of loudness.
I really don't do much limiting in mastering these days, I just tickle the meters as a safety thing really, but yeah, this thing is great, especially for super wide modern mixes.
It's really good at handling bass dominant stuff like trap, dubstep, drum and bass with no choking at all.
You can really keep a lot of punch with it too, it can be very responsive.

It's one of the few limiters out there that comes close to my Weiss DS1 for transparency.

I haven't found anything better in software land yet for my needs.


Thanks, man. Yes it sounds wonderful and I also like to go very light when it comes to limiting (for all the obvious reasons). I just haven't figured out what situations exist in which I would want to split the M/S bands, so I've just been using it as a regular limiter.


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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:36 am 
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I actually use he m/s feature a fair amount.
I do a lot of vinyl mastering and it is surprising how much stuff comes in with a really narrow stereo field, I'm not sure why as it is only with techno people, they seem to neglect the stereo feild. I dont get that issue with dnb or dubstep or house or anything else.
So the ms feature I use to push up what little side there is at the final stage and being able to sidechain the sides to the mid low or high is very useful.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide to home "Mastering" of your own tunes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:00 pm 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
I actually use he m/s feature a fair amount.
I do a lot of vinyl mastering and it is surprising how much stuff comes in with a really narrow stereo field, I'm not sure why as it is only with techno people, they seem to neglect the stereo feild. I dont get that issue with dnb or dubstep or house or anything else.
So the ms feature I use to push up what little side there is at the final stage and being able to sidechain the sides to the mid low or high is very useful.

Im listening to my vinyl records (recored to hard drive) I'm interested to hear more of what you have to say about the 5K region.
Curiously the recordings seem to be lacking stereo width if anything.

Such a pleasure to listen to! I guess its partly to do with nostalgia, having been glued to my turntables for a considerable part of my youth.

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