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Adv. Audio mastering techniques?

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Macrofarad
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Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 00:07:07 Reply

Hey I'm the new guy on the block and I was curious on what mastering techniques people here use? (if any)

Currently using a variation of the New York parallel compression technique and I was curious if anyone had any other interesting things to try out.

Explanation: NYcompression technique is where you have your song divided into bands of audio approx 100-200 htz wide and split each band into a compressed and uncompressed version of the band which is then equalized on a larger mixer. By splitting the audio into both compressed and uncompressed channels it allows for a much richer tone and the ability to retain a good portion of dynamics despite the compression. (sorry if I got a bit too technical, img explains it)

Thoughts?

Adv. Audio mastering techniques?

The-iMortal
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 00:41:40 Reply

At 1/29/13 12:07 AM, Macrofarad wrote: Thoughts?

Yeah, parallel compression is more commonly used on individual tracks in the mix. However, I'm sure it could work on the master at times as well.

Though, I get the feeling that you've mixed up mixing with mastering...

Mixing is the engineering of individual tracks/instruments, in a production, to make them all complement each other. Mastering is the engineering of the production to polish and make it ready for distribution.

...am I right?

Macrofarad
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 01:31:16 Reply

At 1/29/13 12:41 AM, The-iMortal wrote:
Yeah, parallel compression is more commonly used on individual tracks in the mix. However, I'm sure it could work on the master at times as well.

Though, I get the feeling that you've mixed up mixing with mastering...

Mixing is the engineering of individual tracks/instruments, in a production, to make them all complement each other. Mastering is the engineering of the production to polish and make it ready for distribution.

...am I right?

You're correct, Parallel compression is generally used on individual audio tracks within the song, from what I've seen it's most common to use it on drum set tracks.

But I've actually had great success in placing my finished songs though a very light 16 band (16 compressed bands x 16 uncompressed bands) parallel compression I modeled after the NY style and using it as part of my mastering template itself. I was curious if anyone else had similar techniques or even something radically different that might work.

The-iMortal
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 02:03:38 Reply

At 1/29/13 01:31 AM, Macrofarad wrote: But I've actually had great success in placing my finished songs though a very light 16 band (16 compressed bands x 16 uncompressed bands) parallel compression I modeled after the NY style and using it as part of my mastering template itself. I was curious if anyone else had similar techniques or even something radically different that might work.

Ah ok.

Here's a pretty cool multi-band compression technique for the low-end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0Um-4oLHXk

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

rockit1
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 04:27:36 Reply

At 1/29/13 02:03 AM, The-iMortal wrote:
At 1/29/13 01:31 AM, Macrofarad wrote: But I've actually had great success in placing my finished songs though a very light 16 band (16 compressed bands x 16 uncompressed bands) parallel compression I modeled after the NY style and using it as part of my mastering template itself. I was curious if anyone else had similar techniques or even something radically different that might work.
Ah ok.

Here's a pretty cool multi-band compression technique for the low-end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0Um-4oLHXk

Never found the need for parrallel compresssion in mastering. If a song has been mixed well, then adding multiband compression followed by a limiter is often the best answer in my experience. Sometimes a single band compressor followed by a limiter may be more suited on a particular track though. These, plus a bit of EQ. I am not a mastering engineer ( I am a recording and mixing engineer)...but at times I do master albums etc though, and this works. For adverts it can work well too. I'm not really a big fan of side chain compression on ads either...because of the nasty pumping/squashing that can occur. Automation is often more natural sounding for this.


Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
jakeghost
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 07:09:44 Reply

I love parallel compression, definitely works well in the mastering chain for the right music!

One of my favourite mastering techniques (and mixing, might I add) is notch EQing- pinpointing those irritating or strong frequencies by boosting a thing Q bell and sweeping around, and then turning the gain down still with a very thin Q. It's a good way (I find at least) to 'smooth out' or help balance the overall track. Doesn't work so well if you're mastering in the same room that the mix was done in but for external mixes coming in it's super useful.


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MetalRenard
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 08:38:22 Reply

So you put that on your master track? Sounds more like something I'd do with electronica (and yet you have a jazz track uploaded). Strange.
Sure, I agree, compression when used well can really warm/thicken a mix up but I'd rather do it on individual tracks rather than on the mastering side of things.

Having said that, I thoroughly dislike loud music for the sake of loud music and I tend to use compression for creating and shaping sounds rather than mixing them. I'd add a compressor to vocals and to a bass guitar but I'd not add more than a touch of compression before the limiter to preserve dynamics completely. So what if it's quieter, on my music I can do what I want. :)


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zelazon
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-01-29 11:21:09 Reply

At 1/29/13 08:38 AM, MetalRenard wrote: So you put that on your master track? Sounds more like something I'd do with electronica (and yet you have a jazz track uploaded). Strange.
Sure, I agree, compression when used well can really warm/thicken a mix up but I'd rather do it on individual tracks rather than on the mastering side of things.

I agree with this... I find it much easier to deal with compression on individual tracks rather than trying to add compression to the whole song, as it might chance the (color?) of the song enough to the point where it's different.

1: Having said that, I thoroughly dislike loud music for the sake of loud music and I tend to use compression for creating and shaping sounds rather than mixing them. I'd add a compressor to vocals and to a bass guitar but I'd not add more than a touch of compression before the limiter to preserve dynamics completely. So what if it's quieter, on my music I can do what I want. :)

This.

rockit1
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-02-01 04:43:55 Reply

At 1/29/13 11:21 AM, zelazon wrote:
At 1/29/13 08:38 AM, MetalRenard wrote: So you put that on your master track? Sounds more like something I'd do with electronica (and yet you have a jazz track uploaded). Strange.
Sure, I agree, compression when used well can really warm/thicken a mix up but I'd rather do it on individual tracks rather than on the mastering side of things.
I agree with this... I find it much easier to deal with compression on individual tracks rather than trying to add compression to the whole song, as it might chance the (color?) of the song enough to the point where it's different.

1: Having said that, I thoroughly dislike loud music for the sake of loud music and I tend to use compression for creating and shaping sounds rather than mixing them. I'd add a compressor to vocals and to a bass guitar but I'd not add more than a touch of compression before the limiter to preserve dynamics completely. So what if it's quieter, on my music I can do what I want. :)

This.

I love compressors. I use them on all sorts of things. Infact......on most things....usually in small does. But I hate the "super squashed overly compressed and limited to the point of distortion, just to get an extra smidgeon of a dB to keep needles pinned to zero sound"...that is so common in today's music. Makes me want to turn it off. But compression to make music sound louder, but still natural sounding is cool in my book. Keeping some dynamics is important to me. I NEVER use a limiter on the master buss when mixing...but I always have one as the final piece of kit in my chain when mastering.

jaysummers759885
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-02-01 12:49:21 Reply

In my experience I always use compression coming in from the amp modeler of the live instrument, or create compression on an individual track, and then import it into a track with a mastering mix already in place. It doubles the compression, and helps the sidechain on the kick of the bass to sound very prominent.

I have never taken a clean channel, and then played a long side of it the same phrase with compression. It is an interesting idea, and wonder it would sound like.

~J

Avith
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-02-02 19:26:14 Reply

wow, never heard about those compression techniques, I will try and hear the changes.


My music: Bandcamp (Triphop and dark ambient)

0jkensler0
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Response to Adv. Audio mastering techniques? 2013-02-04 04:52:40 Reply

Hey sorry it took me so long to respond. Smack dab in the middle of an EMT course right now. Lots of good input here.

@rockit1: not really a fan of limiters myself except in rare circumstances, I view them in a similar way to auto-tune, if it can be used creatively without detracting, awesome, elsewise I don't touch it. That being said, if you have something up your sleeve with them, I'd love to hear it c: Good to see another sound tech here though. Started sound when I was 10 ish, over a decade ago 0.o

@MetalRenard: yes, it does colour the whole thing, but in some cases that's a good thing. Done lightly it can make things sound warm and happy (within reason). I do agree that it shouldn't be smothered on like nutella though.

As to the rest, I'll definitely try playing with it more on vocals/smaller things as per your suggestions. And any other mastering suggestions are always appreciated. Currently working on rearranging "death waltz" from the ground up, but that may take some time as the notation is absurd.