Welcome to the next in our series of tutorials which give you an exclusive look at our new online Audio Mastering course featuring Waves plug-ins which launched this month. This weeks video (below) is taken from week six of the course which looks at mastering in action.
The track used in the tutorial is a ‘Terra Firma’ produced by Joshua Black aka Point Blank tutor Jonny Miller. As we enter the final stages of the mastering process, the overall mix is sounding alot better than what we began with, but there is still some fine tuning that we can do to really nail it down.
First we need to fine tune the top end, the shaker is very energetic and is a good candidate for de-essing to control the peaks without affecting the tone too much. We can do this using the Waves C1 as demonstrated in this previous post.
Because there is a lot of content in the very high end frequencies, it is worth inserting a low pass filter, we do this using the LineEQ setting it very high so that it doesn’t affect our tonal balance.
Finally, we fine tune the final level of the track using the L3 limiter and comparing with a reference.
Check out Doug Shearer showing you the process in the video here:
The Audio Mastering course has been developed by JC Concato (Mix engineer: The Cure, Erasure, US3) and Doug Shearer (Kasabian, Jamelia), with contribution from top industry professionals, Jim Lowe (Producer, engineer: Stereophonics, The Charlatans) & Bunt Stafford Clark (Mastering engineer: Thom Yorke, Manic Street Preachers, Aloe Blacc). The aim of the course is to help you understand the role of the mastering process, develop/tune your ears, learn about EQ techniques, compression, limiting, as well as advanced techniques such as mid/side processing and multiband dynamics, and much much more. Each week you’ll master a choice of tracks yourself and get 1-2-1 video feedback (DVR) on your work from your tutor. Courses start: 9th Jan, 5th March, 30th April 2012
We’re pleased to be running the course in association with the fantastic Waves plugins but the skills you absorb can be applied to any mastering software or hardware.
“Mastering is one of the most important stages of the production process and we’re delighted that Point Blank have gone with Waves as their plugins of choice”
Gilad Keren, Waves Audio CEO
Keep up to date with all of Point Blank’s news, tutorials and giveaways by subscribing to our Youtube channel, or following us on Facebook and Twitter… and if you have something to say about this post, start the conversation with a comment below. Thanks!
Hello. I am Doug Shearer. Welcome to this preview of Point Blank’s Audio Mastering course, featuring Waves plug-ins. I have mastered records by [inaudible: 00:13] and others, and I have worked in some of the top mastering studios in London. Here is a preview of what you can expect.
We will be reviewing what we have done to the track; how to look at all the filters we have added so far and reviewed, made sure we really want to do it. One thing I would like to do is . . . the top-end is nice now and more open than it was, but there is a shaker that is really a little too energetic, and I might just put a little de-essing onto that, just to try and control it. Again, open up C1, split mode, and have a listen to our side band.
Dial in a little bit of ratio, like that. Just start touching those peaks. Just a little bit of gain reduction, not too much, at all. We went to the loudest part of the track when all those shakers going on. Back that off even a bit. We just want a little tickle of it, not to be too much.
Because there is a lot going on in the top-end, I think it sounds fine but one thing I might do is just put a low pass, just [inaudible: 20:30], 19 or 20k. I do not want to hear it too much just because there is so much going on up there. I want to protect any tweeters and speakers. It if ends up on vinyl, we want to make sure that it is not going to distort, just basically housekeeping maneuver really, rather than change the sound radically.
The last thing we are going to do is just go through our compressors and check our levels. We are happy with the De-esser. Check we have got the right amount of gain reduction on the compressor here. Give it a little more actually. Finally, we will work our final level for the track. Start some of that gain back in. We are not getting a huge amount of gain reduction here, but you will notice that the gain reduction we have got is the baseline, and that is the thing we cannot really limit too hard without sounding a bit rubbish; it distorts it. This is about as far as we can push it.
Let us just have a listen to our reference track. You remember, it is not the same genre even as what we are working with, but it is another dance track, but [inaudible: 04:29] ballpark figure, and we can look on the [inaudible: 04:34] meter. You will see, though, we have got much more level, where it actually sounds a bit quieter. With this track, there is barely anything going on in the bottom-end. In the dubstep track, we have got a ton of bottom-end. That is the comparison. There is only so much energy that we can get and so much level, so our perceived loudness we will be less perhaps, than the more sparse track.
That is OK, I think. Let us just stick with that. Finally, let us just AB the original mix with what we have done to it. I think [inaudible: 05:10] it is louder, brighter, more direct, and clearer; more musical.