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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard poizone's Avatar
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    Default Mastering to compete with professionally produced tracks

    So I've been working on this track for a few days, and I have the general song done, it just needs all the tweaks that make it big. I'm always playing house parties and thing, so I have a bunch of professionally mastered tracks that I'm playing, and can never slip anything of mine in because it just sounds weak. I'm looking for any tips that'll give me that really nice flat waveform you see on most professional tracks without destroying the sound quality (Which is already happening a tiny bit on my latest attempt). Thanks for the help!

    http://www.soundcloud.com/poizonous/the-union

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Tarekith's Avatar
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    Whew, lots of things happening in this track that are holding you up IMO:

    - There's a ton of excessive sub-bass in track that's going to trigger your mastering dynamics processors more than you likely want to.

    - The bassline is really phasey, almost nothing of it in the center, make sure it doesn't disappear when you listen in mono.

    - Already starting to distort from some of the mastering you've tried so far, try using less compression.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru Tarekith's Avatar
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    Also, except for the kick and bassline, everything else sounds really thin and flat. You highpassed all those other sounds, right?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by poizone View Post
    I'm looking for any tips that'll give me that really nice flat waveform you see on most professional tracks without destroying the sound quality
    That nice flat waveform IS the tell-tale sign of the destruction of sound quality. The "flat" profile is typically achieved with some combination of effects that add up to hard compression.

    There is nothing wrong with playing the louder tracks at "8" to give yourself a little headroom....
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  5. #5
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    Agree on the sub bass being all over the place. I'd low pass it at 30Hz 12dB/octave and go from there. Tarekith, why don't push it through for him and show him how valuable well-considered mastering is.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru Tarekith's Avatar
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    I was going to, but it's an MP3, not worth the effort.

  7. #7
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    Word.

  8. #8
    Tech Wizard poizone's Avatar
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    Tarekith, I'd be completely down for that. Here's a .wav I rendered after taking your suggestions into account. I got rid of all of my master bus things, and worked hard on getting the levels even and giving it a bit of headroom. The highest point is right around -10dB. There's some silence at the beginning and end too.

    Here's the file: http://www.grant-elliott.com/the_union.wav

    As for high-passing, I try to avoid processing like that by designing the sounds out of the way of each other, and then using a spectrum analyzer individually to ensure there aren't overlapping frequencies, but I'm going to go with I missed one or two. I'll take another look, and put some highpass on them too.

    I toned down the sub-bass (Apologies to my room mate for working with my big headphones at the loudest volume at nine in the morning), so hopefully that helps. I don't have access to professional monitors, but I try hard not to over do anything the headphones might not reproduce well.

    On the bassline phasing, I'm using a three voice instance of massive (Big ups to my friend for giving me a cheap deal on his license when he got komplete), and both the voice pan position and dimension expander to widen it up a bit. I went back and switched the voicing to monophone with just pan positioning all the way open, no dimension expander, and that seems to have fixed the issue.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Tarekith's Avatar
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    I was actually going to suggest NOT doing the highpass thing. There's nothing wrong with overlapping freqs a lot of the time. Cutting out everything like that really removes a lot of the warmth and oomph from a song that gives it depth and energy.

    So, just for shits and giggles, here's a quick pass on your track:

    http:/innerportalstudio.com/downloads/UnionSample.mp3

    Grab it if you want it, I'll only leave it up for a day or so. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard poizone's Avatar
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    Tarekith, you are amazing. I don't know what you did, but that was all it took to make it fit right in. I'd happily pay the fifty dollars you charge for mastering if I could, but with the new semester and my income becoming a little more sparse than usual, I guess it'll have to wait.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and help, it's always a learning process, and that's what I love about music.

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