The forums will look a little different following the upgrade - but further adjustments are being made.

Ensure you log in with your DISPLAY NAME (the name you are known by on the forum) 

See the post in General Conversation for more details

Welcome to Muse Songwriters Message Board

Register now to gain access to all of our features. 

 

This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Scotto

Master Fader

Yeah so most of my recordings to date.... I never bothered with the master fader. Mainly because I just didn't know. My last recording, an instrumental experiment, I put it on after the fact and added a limiter to keep everything from clipping at 0. I don't think this is wise either. If I revisit it I'll remove the limiter and turn everything down naturally.

So now I am running the master fader as a stereo track from the start of the recording and keeping everything so it doesn't clip with the master fader at 0 (after some googling).

I know that I could run compression on that fader as well as some mastering EQ presets to color the overall recording now that I'm thinking about master faders and their impact on my recordings.

Just wondering how others use the master fader and if there are specific techniques and how much they vary.

Thanks and sorry if this is a rather basic question but setting out on this home recording adventure sure has been humbling. I can only get better!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah so most of my recordings to date.... I never bothered with the master fader. Mainly because I just didn't know. My last recording, an instrumental experiment, I put it on after the fact and added a limiter to keep everything from clipping at 0. I don't think this is wise either. If I revisit it I'll remove the limiter and turn everything down naturally.

So now I am running the master fader as a stereo track from the start of the recording and keeping everything so it doesn't clip with the master fader at 0 (after some googling).

I know that I could run compression on that fader as well as some mastering EQ presets to color the overall recording now that I'm thinking about master faders and their impact on my recordings.

Just wondering how others use the master fader and if there are specific techniques and how much they vary.

Thanks and sorry if this is a rather basic question but setting out on this home recording adventure sure has been humbling. I can only get better!

I usually leave the master fader alone, because I'm not a big fan of fadeouts to end songs.

As far as effects to put on the master bus, a limiter is a natural choice if you are going to self "master" your songs. That is, if you aren't sending the mix out to a mastering house, you should probably do your own "pretend" mastering. I normally have an instance of BaxterEQ cutting out the lows, especially out of the sides (it's a MID/SIDE EQ intended for basic, simple mastering tasks). I'll cut the stuff under 40 Hz or so from the middle, cut the stuff under 53 from the sides and reduce the mid lows in the sides from about 200 Hz and down. I may also brighten the mids and sides a bit, generally brightening the sides a touch more than the mids, then cut out everything above 21k or maybe 15k.

I might add in another single band EQ to scoop out some mud, (300 Hz or so), but it's often something that should be dealt with the track level.

Once I've EQed it, I may throw in a multiband compressor. I rarely use a regular compressor. I may also throw in a soft-clipper, depending on the song. Then I pretty much always have a limiter as the "last" link in my chain. I have it set to output at a max of -0.1 dBFS so that in conversion to mp3 I won't have clipping problems. TT Dynamics meter goes at the end if I'm curious about the loudness, but usually I just set it based on what sounds right compared to a reference track.

I never put reverb on the master track. Even if I want everything in the mix to go through the same reverb, I'll use different levels of wet/dry and different pre-delays, so I just do that on reverb busses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Master Fader is part of my software mixer embedded in my DAW Cubase.

I never touch it.

When I first started putting my songs on the Internet I did notice that they were at much lower volume levels than most other folks.

A few years ago, I went out and purchased a limiter, Xenon, from PSP.

That's about the only Insert added to that buss.

While at a Steinberg User's workshop, Bob Katz was there talking about how transparent it is and how he uses it.

At the time, PSP was offering it for 1/2 price so I grabbed it.

I try to use as little as possible when I do use it because, for my type of music, I want as much dynamics left in the final product as possible.

I had a listen to some of your music and it is definitely more in-your-face than mine is. B)

So i will defer to others here on the Muse who might write in that same style.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To slam the 2 buss or not to slam the 2 buss...

IMHO you are much better off leaving the 2 buss alone.

It's one of the wonders of the world as far as I am concerned that, many people when placed within a recording senario immeadiately begin thinking that they are working on a TOP 40 record rather than a humble demo. Unfortunately, when it comes time to mix, it is mistakenly believed that a "final mix" is somehow well, FINAL so they start trying to squeeze out every drop of volume thay can grab. This IS NOT the way you should do things. I know it is tempting to do so just because, you can but, it is a mistake. It may sound good to your clients BUT, what does this rewally mean? It is important to ask yourself this question. Do you really want your name on a record that sounds like Fido's dinner smells tywenty minutes after he eats it?

Even if, you intend to do your own mastering, at least try to do it correctly. A final mix is a final mix. A master is a master, they are not the same thing. Mixing is NOT thew stage where you bring the volume to 0dbfs. Mix your music leaving ample headroom for the mastering process. Me, I like -10. Then, I have headroom to play with. If you slam your 2 buss while you mix, you've just tied your hands. All the mastering in the world will not be able to help you once you've eaten up all of your headroom.

One thing which drives me nuts is, everyone is always talking about dynamics this, and dynamics that but, most of those talking fail to realize the recording process is where you should begin thinking in terms of dynamics, mix time is a little too late. Performance dynamics are extremely important. When you have good performance dynamics it is easy to accentuate them. You can try to create these with processing but, if you begin with good performance dynamics it is always so much better. Strategy is where to begin. A good mix/master always begins with a plan. It is very difficult to compete with professional music when you screw up the very first step in the process. Mixing is not mastering.

Leaving your 2 buss alone may be the biggest mix move you've ever made. Now, if we're talking hip hop this may not be the way to gho but, if it is REAL music, played by REAL musicians on REAL instruments, do yourself a favor, and leave the 2 buss alone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To slam the 2 buss or not to slam the 2 buss...

IMHO you are much better off leaving the 2 buss alone.

It's one of the wonders of the world as far as I am concerned that, many people when placed within a recording senario immeadiately begin thinking that they are working on a TOP 40 record rather than a humble demo. Unfortunately, when it comes time to mix, it is mistakenly believed that a "final mix" is somehow well, FINAL so they start trying to squeeze out every drop of volume thay can grab. This IS NOT the way you should do things. I know it is tempting to do so just because, you can but, it is a mistake. It may sound good to your clients BUT, what does this rewally mean? It is important to ask yourself this question. Do you really want your name on a record that sounds like Fido's dinner smells tywenty minutes after he eats it?

Even if, you intend to do your own mastering, at least try to do it correctly. A final mix is a final mix. A master is a master, they are not the same thing. Mixing is NOT thew stage where you bring the volume to 0dbfs. Mix your music leaving ample headroom for the mastering process. Me, I like -10. Then, I have headroom to play with. If you slam your 2 buss while you mix, you've just tied your hands. All the mastering in the world will not be able to help you once you've eaten up all of your headroom.

One thing which drives me nuts is, everyone is always talking about dynamics this, and dynamics that but, most of those talking fail to realize the recording process is where you should begin thinking in terms of dynamics, mix time is a little too late. Performance dynamics are extremely important. When you have good performance dynamics it is easy to accentuate them. You can try to create these with processing but, if you begin with good performance dynamics it is always so much better. Strategy is where to begin. A good mix/master always begins with a plan. It is very difficult to compete with professional music when you screw up the very first step in the process. Mixing is not mastering.

Leaving your 2 buss alone may be the biggest mix move you've ever made. Now, if we're talking hip hop this may not be the way to gho but, if it is REAL music, played by REAL musicians on REAL instruments, do yourself a favor, and leave the 2 buss alone!

Mainly I've added the master track because if I was to send something to be mastered that's the output they would ask for. No effects and no clipping. So I've been mixing my latest tracks so that master fader track doesn't clip and I'm not adding anything to it on my present project. That being said I don't have anything worthy of mastering at this point but I'm working like I will some day. Demo's are a nice idea but Demo's for what? I'm just making my own music... because I can!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mostly what I do is get my mix where I like it. Listening at different levels on headphones and monitors. The best thing I've done for my mixes that I can remember is leaving myself headroom like Lzi suggests. You simply don't have to get things loud in the mixing stage. I aim for -12 to -18 maybe with my drums peaking just a scootch higher than that if it's a heavier tune.

Then I have my demo mix in a stereo .wav file. Then I do whatever I want with that. If it's just a really rough demo I might just toss a limiter on it to get the levels up. If it's something I've tried to polish a bit more I'll use a mastering suite like TRacks 3 which has all kinds of fun toys.

I then have my "master" mix. I know this isn't truly mastering, it just helps me keep track of which one has been processed for general consumption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mostly what I do is get my mix where I like it. Listening at different levels on headphones and monitors. The best thing I've done for my mixes that I can remember is leaving myself headroom like Lzi suggests. You simply don't have to get things loud in the mixing stage. I aim for -12 to -18 maybe with my drums peaking just a scootch higher than that if it's a heavier tune.

Then I have my demo mix in a stereo .wav file. Then I do whatever I want with that. If it's just a really rough demo I might just toss a limiter on it to get the levels up. If it's something I've tried to polish a bit more I'll use a mastering suite like TRacks 3 which has all kinds of fun toys.

I then have my "master" mix. I know this isn't truly mastering, it just helps me keep track of which one has been processed for general consumption.

TRacks has my very favorite eq plug! LOVE it.

If people want to do their own "Mastering" the first step is to finish your mix. Mastering is an entirely separate process. Get your 2 buss right first. Leave ample headroom and then try your hand at mastering but do not simply apply buss compression and believe you've actually done something. LOUD is easy. Properly LOUD is anything but easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my day job I work for a heavyweight company, and we tend to recommend heavyweight answers to every technical problem. Maybe we're "right", but our answers always seem to be the more expensive and complex path to take. And we sometimes ignore other great technical solutions until they leave us in the dust running to catch up. So as an analogy to recording: I'm not sure that the tradional position on mastering is as valid as it once was.

I'm not in favor of over-loud/over-compressing or anything. But I can drop Ozone5 on the master and - man. It won't magically fix problems in recording or playing, but if you've got a good product to start with you can make it sparkle. And no one is holding a gun to my head, forcing me to push the maximizer up to nuclear. I can add the amount of whatever type of treatment I think fits the artistic vision.

Nectar is another tool that I find interesting - and challenging probably. The idea that you can get a good start on a great vocal sound / vocal signal chain by dropping it in as a pre-built preset. Somewhere under the marketing is probably a truth - that some folks with a lot more experience can start me out with a pretty good chain and settings for a certain style.

Just my take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nectar is a collection of effects, much like Ozone, just geared more towards vocals. You can use it for one or all of those effects, though I'm sure most do exactly what you are talking about and start with a preset (I usually do). What they market is exactly what it is, a great all-around utility program for getting a good vocal sound. I'm a fan :) I really like the sound of the saturation in Nectar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?

There are some pop artists out there that have already lived this and have been successful as far as making some corporation money...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?

There are some pop artists out there that have already lived this and have been successful as far as making some corporation money...

Well, to some extent. To some extent editing takes us to this place already. Funk mentions Nectar, which amounts to a vocal chain in a box. What I'm speaking of here is, at this time, still science fiction... Plug in a horrible, already mixed version, and output some glossy sounding finished product in just minutes, no skill required.

Someone should create a program that does all of the eq work for you. LOL...

Music is fast becoming more homoginized than milk.

Jesus was dead-on correct (He must have made a few records)..."He who has ears, let him hear."

LOL he walked when he heard Kanye's record didn't he? Does anyone blame him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to pick on a particular artist but ummm OK yes I do. Its my guess that Brittany Spears can't really sing much. She's recorded, pitch corrected, plays no instruments, and lip syncs live while performing dace routines. Not the first or last time this has happened for sure. At least the Monkeys went out and tried to make their own album and learn their instruments. But I digress...

None of that has anything to do with the Master Fader... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to pick on a particular artist but ummm OK yes I do. Its my guess that Brittany Spears can't really sing much. She's recorded, pitch corrected, plays no instruments, and lip syncs live while performing dace routines. Not the first or last time this has happened for sure. At least the Monkeys went out and tried to make their own album and learn their instruments. But I digress...

None of that has anything to do with the Master Fader... ;)

Sure it does Scotto! It is a fantastic reason to turn the damed thing all the way down! :)

Wow...I never thought I would ever say this but...If THIS is the future...Technology sucks.

pssst. That is not the walls breathing...They are

sucking all of the air out of the room! You're tripping world-WAKE UP!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually put a very mild, medium-attack compression on the master fader as I'm mixing. No more than 3 or 4 db reduction. This gives the whole mix a bit of glue to hold it all together. It's quite subtle.

Then, for a finishing touch, sometimes I follow that up with a multi-band compressor - I don't fully understand these things, so I go with a preset and carefully adjust the thresholds of each band so it sounds tight and with a good step up in loudness. Sometimes an EQ to balance things out if needed, with very subtle settings example: a 40 hz HPF, a 2 db scoop out in the lower mid's, and a 1.5 db shelf on the highs.

The very final step is the limiter. I usually have at least 6 to 10 db of headroom to play with here. Again, just enough to lop off the peaks, no more than 3 to 4 db reduction.

The overall strategy here is get a good even performance - use clip gain to even out some parts if needed. Tracks get a mild compressor, busses get another mild compressor, master has a mild compression, multi-band mild compression, and then limiter to bring it all up. Gentle step up's in loudness seem to give the whole mix a good punch and oomph factor, but still remain dynamic. It's the tiny tweaks along the way that add up to awesome. At least that's what I've found for my music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW! A blast from the past! I was just trying to figure out my DAW and recording back then. Revisiting what I do now?

I leave the master fader at -4 dry no affects. I mix track by track till it sounds right adding any affects to the tracks to get it to sound like what I think is right. I bounce by best mix out as a wav and load it into another session template that I've created for mastering. I load the wav on one track and bounce it to another. I've found that the more I mess with it the more I screw it up so I just use the Maxim limiter/compressor in protools and sometimes a leveler and that is it. I try to avoid EQ. If I think it needs EQ I go back to the mixing session. I Arm the blank track and play it monitoring for clips with some built in meters in protools that you assign to effects on the record track. If it clips I adjust and start over. I use -4 because I sent a song off for mastering and that is what that mastering engineer asked me to do and I liked his results. If I'm struggling with getting it 'mastered' right I'll take a few DB off of every track equally across the board to give myself more headroom (master fader included) for mastering.

I'm always amazed at the engineering skills on this site. It takes me a long time of tinkering to get to something that I think is right (if at all). I listen and mix. Take a break to let my ears rest. Listen and mix some more take a break. Master then break. Master again if my ears defy me some more and on and on.

Also I miss Lzi. He was hugely helpful in getting me off the ground in home recording. For better or worse ha ha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.