To get oriented, put your RMS meter on the track you want to want yours to sound like (more or less). Listen to a full, loud portion of the song and take a look at the Average RMS: Now, put the meter on your own song and take a reading. Let’s say the unmastered song […]


Unfortunately, there are no secret settings that I can let you in on that will magically make everything sound loud and good. We’ll get into some technical stuff next, but before that I want to mention a general principle. I call it  There Is No Free Lunch. You could also call it Something’s Gotta Give. Let […]


If you know nothing else about mastering, you probably know that this is the stage at which commercial recordings get their increased loudness. Even if your unmastered mix is absolutely perfect in every other respect, it’s still going to be far quieter when compared to anything else in your music library, so some processing will […]


Now that we’re on to the subject of using a reference mix,let’s back up a step and look at doing this during the mixing process. I feel that referencing during mixing is very important. During mixing, we tend to get hyper focused on details and can sometimes lose track of the big picture. A reference […]


There are a number of ways to use Spectrum in a real world context. Here  we’re going to set up a mastering session with the primary intention of comparing a mastered song to one of your own. Let’s assume you’ve rendered a mix of a song you’re working on. To set up a mastering session, […]


The problem with inspecting mixes using Spectrum is how relatively similar everything can look. The trick is knowing what to look for. But even with some more knowlege, be aware that we’re definitely working in a realm of subtleties, and what you’re likely to get out of the process is a slow buildup of wisdom […]


The Spectrum device can really come in handy to help you learn more about the frequency content of an audio signal. Many engineers are quick to point out that meters are never a substitute for ears, and this is absolutely true. However, a good spectrum analyzer can be a great tool to help train your […]


There are a wide variety of reasons it’s often considered a bad idea to master your own music. Sometimes the argument against self-mastering has the sound of a moral imperitave: you should not master your own music. It’s just wrong! What’s closer to the truth is that it’s just very difficult. There are a pile […]


A basic but important aspect of configuring Live is the Exclusive setting (located in the Record/Warp/Launch tab of the Preferences screen) and how it’s modified by the Command or Ctrl key. When turned on, this option prevents multiple tracks from being Soloed, or Armed for recording simultaneously. Beyond that basic fact, the important thing to […]


Ok, one more Operator tip, then we’ll move on from all this algorithm alphabet soup. This is a simple experiment to do if you haven’t fully wrapped your head around FM synthesis. I didn’t really understand the basics of FM for a long time, and going through this process really helped me. Bear in mind […]