BRKOUT wrote:

I know the problem your talking about.. Its one of those common issues a lot of home studios face. Avantone's are great as a secondary reference but ultimately will still be affected by the rooms acoustics issues. My advice would be to own the best set of headphones you can afford and get others to give you feedback on your tracks as much as possible..

Sound advice. kachow...

BRKOUT wrote:
n00bstar wrote:

No offense, but that's one hell of a shit mastering job.

I think your entitled to your opinion, but do you have a technical reasoning to why you'd make a comment like that.?

I think it's a fair master that brings the track out in the way the artist asked for and when compared to digital mastering services like Landr or someone doing it themselves it allows the track to stand on it's own.

To be fair to anyone reading this you need to explain your comment..?

Well to begin with, presenting your work with a comparison between a -10db source and a damn-near 0db master is misleading as all hell. Louder volumes invariable screw the listener into thinking there's been a positive change. Both should be presented at the same relative loudness if you want people to judge the quality of your work. Makes me think you're either trying the oldest trick in the book of bad mastering by making your version so much louder than the source, or that you have actually started working on mastering without normalizing your source first. In either case, not a good sign. You should also have presented the exact same clips instead of flipping the switch mid-track.

As for the mastering itself. Overpowering mids and highs, and weak lows. Just riding the volume fader between the two parts to make them sensibly the same loudness will reveal that the original to have a much better balance between frequencies. It has some mixing problems, like the muddy snare, some annoying frequencies in the organ-ish sound, and the reverb (or release?) on the voice-like pad is a bit too strong but is still overall better than the second part. It's a mid-aggressive result and can't be listened to at relatively high volumes because the square wave and snare will come out and punch you in the teeth before any of the background comes up to support it.

The problems with the original should be fixed at the mix level. Mastering is a subtle thing that is meant to polish a good mix to a high gloss, not change it from day to night or fix mixing problems that shouldn't be addressed by mastering.

It's all good if the artist that commissioned the work is happy with the result. But yknow.. Lars Ulrich was happy with the bass levels on Justice For All......just saying.

BRKOUT wrote:

Surprisingly. People didn't really take me up on this offer. Two artist emailed me out of the 400+ who viewed it. I've got plenty of time to do some more tracks so for anyone who is keen let me know.

I sent an email just asking how long you are offering it for, dya know how long your gonna be this lovely and generous?

n00bstar wrote:

Well to begin with, presenting your work with a comparison between a -10db source and a damn-near 0db master is misleading as all hell. Louder volumes invariable screw the listener into thinking there's been a positive change. Both should be presented at the same relative loudness if you want people to judge the quality of your work. Makes me think you're either trying the oldest trick in the book of bad mastering by making your version so much louder than the source, or that you have actually started working on mastering without normalizing your source first. In either case, not a good sign. You should also have presented the exact same clips instead of flipping the switch mid-track.

As for the mastering itself. Overpowering mids and highs, and weak lows. Just riding the volume fader between the two parts to make them sensibly the same loudness will reveal that the original to have a much better balance between frequencies. It has some mixing problems, like the muddy snare, some annoying frequencies in the organ-ish sound, and the reverb (or release?) on the voice-like pad is a bit too strong but is still overall better than the second part. It's a mid-aggressive result and can't be listened to at relatively high volumes because the square wave and snare will come out and punch you in the teeth before any of the background comes up to support it.

The problems with the original should be fixed at the mix level. Mastering is a subtle thing that is meant to polish a good mix to a high gloss, not change it from day to night or fix mixing problems that shouldn't be addressed by mastering.

It's all good if the artist that commissioned the work is happy with the result. But yknow.. Lars Ulrich was happy with the bass levels on Justice For All......just saying.

Good to see you backing up your comments. But to be fair this is the very first chip music based track i've ever mastered so of course it's not going to be the most amazing work i've ever produced.

The overall level comparison between the two tracks is there to demonstrate two things, what a track should sound like before mastering and then to showcase that level that is made during mastering. I think your interpreting it as me trying to say I can make your music sound huge, which is not what i'm trying to illustrate here.

I'm of the strong belief that the trend to master to extreme loudness has its place in electronic music but loudness is less important than hearing the dynamics that make the music more interesting and less fatiguing on the ears. I would usually stick to around -0.5/-0.9dB to avoid a final output file reaching 0db or close to it. I'm well aware that there are plenty of chip musicians that push the music all the way to 0dB but it's unnecessary in my oppinion.

My original goal was to get really good at mastering chip music, hence i'm offering free mastering with no strings attached so I can try and achieve this. From your post it sounds like your calling me out on some malice to mislead people with some 'old tricks' which is not my goal. I think this sort of treament is a little unfair especially when you don't know me from a bar of soap.

I'm just working with what i had in front of me, I kept the mix fairly honest imo. The EQ could use some work but that's all part of the learning curve working with chip music and i'm sure i'll find my way to the right sound once i find a bunch of reference tracks that allow me to hone in on the right frequencies. (To be honest because most of the chip music i've heard is so loud it makes for a unreliable reference, i've found a few tracks by some dutch artist that work but I could use some more references that fit the bill).

Turns out i'm actually stoked you gave me this feedback, i'd prefer to hear truthful thoughts & comments than one line of negativity that leads to no growth so thanks for getting back to me and being honest in saying your piece.

I'll be up front and say "Justice" is actually one of my favourite Metallica albums, even if that album didn't have much bass I guess we learn from that album its not all about bass levels as it went 8 x platinum in the US alone. Lars Ulrich is a pretty picky dude, the artist in their oppinion is always right even if they are wrong, as a mastering engineer you need to learn that from day one and give them the sound they ask.

Thanks for your feedback.

JodyBigfoot wrote:
BRKOUT wrote:

Surprisingly. People didn't really take me up on this offer. Two artist emailed me out of the 400+ who viewed it. I've got plenty of time to do some more tracks so for anyone who is keen let me know.

I sent an email just asking how long you are offering it for, dya know how long your gonna be this lovely and generous?

For a while yet until I get to a happy place mastering chip music. I'll return your email with some links to info for preparing your final mix.

Cheers

Giving what the artist wants in terms of sound is the mixing engineer's work. People these days confuse the words "master mix" and "mastering". Mixing a song and maximizing its potential is done at the mix level, not mastering. This produces a master mix, which people have come to call a "master", then the internet happened and people are now confused between the two. Mastering is not a per-song process, it's an album process. Any time a guy offers "mastering per song" you can bet your ass it's a guy who will just run your stuff through a compressor and some EQ and give you a bombastic track. That has nothing to do with actual mastering. Mastering compression should be almost imperceptible. If there's something that requires extreme work in the track, then the mix is bad and mastering can do nothing about that in 99% of all cases. For example.. the muddy snare in that Jentu track. You cleaned it up nice via EQ, but there's so much going on in the same area of the mids in that track that the the rest of the mids are screwed up, square wave now overpowers the rest by a mile and the pads are brittle. This track needs to be sent back to the mixing stage first, and your work on it will only makes it sound worst even if you have the best intentions.

Again, mastering is an album process. Get 10 different tracks mastered individually, trying to correct mix mistakes, and you end up with an album that's uneven and all over the place.

A lot of electronic music doesn't have much dynamics to begin with, so there's not a lot to preserve. Whether you maximize at 0db or -0.5db is of very little consequence since the music is so undynamic from the get go. Me talking about your master being damn near 0db wasn't something about dynamics, it was to say that it screws up perception when compared with a -10db source. As far as my ear can tell from a youtube stream, you didn't go crazy on squashing compression or anything. I really just meant that it's close to impossible to tell if you made the track better if we get a 10db jump between A and B unless we ride the fader.

Justice in my favorite album of theirs, but I don't think it sold 8 millions on sound quality smile It sold that much because it's just fucking great tunes. If music sold on production quality, jazz quartets would be all the rage right now tongue Also.. I meant bass levels as in.. the volume of the actual instrument, not as in 'low end'. Justice has a plenty of low end, it's just on the wrong instrument. Ulrich didn't make that decision on sound preference, he made that decision on him hating Newsted. The whole bassgate debacle is pretty well documented. Ulrich has even come out many times speaking disfavorably about the mix on Justice. What I meant by that is that giving what the artist wants is by no means a measure for good sound. If you've ever been with a band trying to do a mix down you know what I mean. Each of the fuckers wants to have their shit sit front and center in the mix and bury the other guys so far down that they'll appear on the B side. Justice is terribly, terribly mixed. Amazing album.. but terrible mix nonetheless. Not that the shitty 'and justice for jason' fixed anything though smile

n00bstar wrote:

Mastering is not a per-song process, it's an album process. Any time a guy offers "mastering per song" you can bet your ass it's a guy who will just run your stuff through a compressor and some EQ and give you a bombastic track. That has nothing to do with actual mastering. Mastering compression should be almost imperceptible. If there's something that requires extreme work in the track, then the mix is bad and mastering can do nothing about that in 99% of all cases.

when I'm mixing an album that I know will be mastered by a different engineer I'll use very little, if any, master buss compression and EQ (i like to mix with a little bit of a high end bump on the master, but i usually take that off by the end). i feel like mastering engineers can be pretty heavy-handed while compressing to a desired loudness. I'd rather an engineer with nicer, more transparent gear handle the master buss processing than myself as the mix engineer..

Fudgers wrote:

when I'm mixing an album that I know will be mastered by a different engineer I'll use very little, if any, master buss compression and EQ (i like to mix with a little bit of a high end bump on the master, but i usually take that off by the end). i feel like mastering engineers can be pretty heavy-handed while compressing to a desired loudness. I'd rather an engineer with nicer, more transparent gear handle the master buss processing than myself as the mix engineer..

Aye. I pretty much work the same way. Except for some recording compression on overly dynamic instruments, I don't have anything on the master bus except some very steep shelves in the extreme lows and highs. I'm a firm believer that a mix should stand on its own without the apparent need for any more work.

I only do mastering once I have an album's worth of music. Load it all up into Cubase, load each channels with my favorite eqs and comps and leave them flat. After normalizing everything at -3db, I switch between all tracks to see if anything jumps out at me like "sweet baby jeebus track 3 is all mids compared to the rest". Once that fixed and everything pretty much sounds even, I start making everything bigger, better, faster, with cool flame decals and spinner mags and short shorts. Once I got a first master album, I listen to it non-stop for a day in the background while I do something else. Eventually something will jump at me... "arf.. this part here has boomy bass" etc etc. I take notes of all that and do a second pass to fix these problems. Rinse and repeat a few times until I think I've done the best I can.