LISTEN TO THE STEREO STUFF

As I’ve mentioned in prior tips, the Utility device can be used to remove all of the mono information from a signal so you can hear the purely stereo information. Just set Width to 200%: Something I like to do is listen to my reference tracks at 200% just to get a sense of how […]

COMPRESSOR: THE INSERT A SIGNAL ANYWHERE-ERIZER

We’re still talking about mastering here, but this tip includes a cool technique that you may find other uses for.. When I’ve inserted my mastering chain into the mix, I sometimes like to use Spectrum to have a look at the difference between my mix and the track I’m referencing. This presents an interesting problem. […]

MASTER IN THE MIX, pt. 2

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I find that applying mastering processing to a nearly completed mix can help draw attention to flaws in the mix. In particular, I sometimes find peaks in individual tracks, overly dense sections of the mix, or errant low frequencies that sound fine until I try to squash the […]

MASTER IN THE MIX?

There are two different techniques for applying mastering processing to a mix: in the Master track of the Set you’re mixing in or in a separate Set just used for mastering. The conventional approach is, of course, to complete the mix then master it separately. However, there are always variations. If I’m doing a quick […]

CUTTING THE LOWS

Remember a few tips back when I was talking about seeing sharp drop off in frequencies below 30Hz? These super low frequencies can consume a lot of mix headroom without contributing much to the outcome. These frequencies can cause limiters to respond very agressively and really make a mess of things. They can also contribute […]

SETTLING FOR LESS

You may find that, even after tweaking the limiter a bit, you’re just not able to get acceptable sound quality with the level of loudness you’re going for. That’s understandable – music these days is mastered incredibly loud. It takes a lot of skill to get stuff that loud with good sound quality. (There’s also […]

LIMITER TWEAKS

If you use a limiter to bring up the volume of a track, bear these few principles in mind. A slower attack will leave the transients of the music a bit more in tact, but at the cost of higher distortion. Live’s Limiter does not have an attack control, it only has Lookahead. The shorter […]

LOUD – BUT AT WHAT COST?

For the moment, we’re going to continue focus on Limiting as the main source of adding loudness to a mix. It’s not the only tool that’s used, but it’s the most available and the easiest to understand… At first, when you crank up a limiter to give your mix some volume, it can be very […]

GETTING IT LOUD

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 […]

NO FREE LUNCH

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 […]