Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

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Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by Cruciform » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:51 pm

Tony Miro runs a mastering studio in Spain and is the resident mastering guru for the Guitar Master Class community. Here's a bunch of links to informative posts over there.

What is mastering and what an ME does
General use of EQ in mastering
Monitor with ears, not eyes
Traps in VSTs impacting sonics at the mastering stage
'Loudness' and mastering

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by MatthewMoss » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:47 pm

Great stuff, just read all of it.

peace,

Matt

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by cardell » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:36 am

Thanks Rob. :)

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by billg1 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:46 pm

In the "monitoring with ears not eyes" section it explains that mastering engineers meter with the "k" system and not just peak levels. FYI, Voxengo's great mastering limiter "Elephant" uses "k" system metering which is reason alone to use it.

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by mazz » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:53 pm

The K system needs to be set up not only for metering but also for listening levels. I did quite a bit of research on this prior to moving to my new studio. As soon as I get it completely set up, I will be implementing the K system all the way through my monitoring chain. I found a Logitek digital VU meter on eBay and it has the ability to show peak and average levels at the same time. It's in a rack right in front of me and it's always monitoring the output of my interface so I can see the level characteristics of any music that gets played back in my studio.

The discussion about DAWs only having peak metering is a very valuable one and deserves further study and understanding because so many people (myself included) have been mixing with peak meters but treating them like they are average meters and the mixes end up sounding squashed, pinched, distorted and over compressed. There's a lot to be said for leaving headroom for dynamics in music and by pushing the levels up to just below 0dbfs (which is different from 0dbV), the whole mix just suffers terribly.

I have been studying lots of mixes while watching the Logitek meter and noticing how much difference there is between the average and the peak levels, and the mixes that sound the best, the most open with dynamics and punchy sound (and are fun to listen to more than once), have the most difference between the average and peak. I totally agree that using a -20 or -14 k system metering and keeping the gains consistent during mixing and having a consistent listening volume make for a much more listenable mix that allows for anyone doing mastering (or even the end user in production) some leeway to adjust compression, eq, etc. Pushing levels to 0dbfs just flattens everything and makes the music feel hard and is very tiring to listen to after a while.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing the article.

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by Cruciform » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:26 pm

Presonus Studio One Pro is a daw which uses the K-system. It also uses peak meters on individual channels and peak+RMS on the main out, or the option to use K. It has excellent mixing features, meters and tools, and a separate mastering section. My mixes have already improved just by switching DAWs. But I still need to get an SPL meter to calibrate everything.

Glad you all are finding this good reading too. Tony is a great, helpful guy.
Last edited by Cruciform on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by billg1 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:40 pm

I've been kind of guessing at things by mixing with 14db of dynamic range and lowering my levels to a "guesstimate" of 83db based on what sounds right to me. I going to run out to radio shack this week and pick up a meter so I can start doing it properly. Hmmm, it'll be curious to see how far off I am!

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by Cruciform » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:01 pm

One major culprit against quality-sounding music is the loudness war which has limited and compressed all the dynamic life out of commercial music. I was intrigued to discover there is an organization agitating to restore dynamics. http://www.dynamicrange.de/en/our-aim

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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by mazz » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:07 pm

For those with iPhones, there's an SPL meter app and the GUI looks exactly like the Radio Shack analog SPL Meter!! It works just fine, BTW.
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Re: Mastering - info from a mastering engineer

Post by cardell » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:34 am

The K-System:
http://www.aes.org/technical/documentDo ... m?docID=65

...reading this now...

Stuart
Last edited by cardell on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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