Mastering Tutorial

Free Mastering Info exchange! I've mastered music for Netflix and Cartoon Network and other broadcast ready outlets, and now I wrote a paper about mastering a song! I'll send you the audio before/after that goes with it if you gimme your email! I'm always down to do mastering if you need it! Also, open to my fellow mastering engineers discussing the following:

Mastering channel strip in the following order: One Logic gain plug in, One compression plug in (shadow hills mastering comp), One Stereo equalizer plug in (UAD Manley Massive Passive), One Mid/Side and Dual mono capable equalizer plug in (FF Pro Q3), a phase correlation meter, a limiter (AOM invisible limiter G2), and a loudness meter.

The First thing I did was experiment with the stereo field in the Logic Gain and balance plugin. I found that the stereo field was relatively balanced overall and I could just use an equalizer to help with any of the left versus right balance issues.

Next, I started with stereo equalizer sweeps in order to find where the unwanted frequencies were. I found that there was a lot of mud in the low end, some due to a phasing issue. I then used the side only feature of my equalizer to create a high pass filter for side frequencies only at eighty-one hertz at 24db per octave. This cleared things up a bit, but there were more issues with the phase that had to be addressed with turning down the sides in a few other places in the audio spectrum. The high pass filter conveniently makes this master so it would fit nicely on a vinyl without throwing the needle out with a bump on one side or the other. With sweeps, I found especially bad spots at three hundred, nine hundred and twenty-five hundred hertz. Those spots were ducked by about 2db each.

The next operation was to increase presence on the sides in a way that maintained a feeling of width without the phase issues so I boosted the frequencies of fifteen hundred hertz and twenty-five hundred hertz on the right side, as well as the frequencies of seventeen hundred hertz and three thousand hertz on the right side.

The next operation was to deal with the lack of high end clarity. For this issue, I used a stereo equalizer, (massive passive) boosting a high shelf at twenty-seven hundred hertz and a low Q for a smooth transition into the boosted frequencies. The boost was about six decibels.

I then worked on compression, and found that for this genre, a compressor with both optical and voltage controlled amplifier circuits working suited well (shadow hills). I timed the attack and release to the tempo of the music so that the compressor would recover at the time the next kick drum came around. The compressor had a nice “Stereo Width” feature that I felt helped the sound feel wide as well when turned up to about one hundred and ten percent. I also used a side chain high pass filter on the compressor which allowed the bass to pass through without triggering the compression too much.

I then used the limiter to push the level up to the broadcast standard, monitoring LUFS with my loudness meter.



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