mastering tutorial mentioned in magazine


Jacob Longoria via Twitter"Your information has taken me from trying to figure it out, to getting it done with repeat clients. Thank you!"
Erwin Steijlen"Just wanted to say thanks for a great website. Lots of tips here and all very useful. I'm a composer/producer and always struggling with eq., compression and mastering.. getting better at it and your information helps. Also i teach at the ArtEZ conservatory in the Netherlands and think my students will benefit alot too! Thanks!"
Phil Davies"What a FANTASTIC resource this has been for me and a huge help as I am planning my first mastering session soon" "I like the way you cut a wide bandwidth at about 450 Hz to allow the vox to stand out more!"

Real Life Audio Mastering Appraisals:

Hi John

To answer your first question, I don't use a specialist mastering DAW, I use Logic. Logic does everything that is required. In fact, pretty much any DAW will be fine. All you need is something to drop waveforms into and insert plugins/hardware over. Cubase, ProTools, anything like that will be fine.

So let's look at 'I Don't Care'.

You were concerned about the balance of the guitar and vocal in the mix. I can tell you that the artist balanced the mix like this with intention. The vocals are supposed to sit a little back.

I've had the advantage of speaking with the artist before mastering his album so my master has took a slightly different direction than yours. I've attached my version as an mp3 to this email.

The dynamics/transients in your master are nice. Punchy and not squashed. However, the loudness is not quite up to the level that was intended by the artist. I know loudness is something us mastering engineers should be against but we are also obliged to fulfil the customers desires. In this case, the customer was keen to achieve a certain loudness level.

As loudness was more of a theme, my direction went more towards retaining the original sound but with a dramatic increase in loudness.

EQ wise, the only notch I applied was at around 250Hz I think. Other than that, I used analogue EQ to slightly lift a wide area at 270Hz and to raise the lows a tad. This kept the warmth and thickness having lost some of this due to layers of compression/limiting.

The original mix is very well recorded and mixed in my opinion. It doesn't really need any corrective adjustments - not like the MariaSins track. The only things I did was EQ (as mentioned) parallel comp, Ultra Depth, two layers of limiting, low cut in the side channel to centre lows below around 100Hz and that's it.

Your master sounds very nice and I wouldn't be disappointed if I received it as a final master. If anything, it's just a little bright/lacking in the mids. Rich mid range content helps music translate to inferior systems like laptop speakers and the like. But very good attempt John, you're definitely getting the hang of it!

The reality is, not all the material you receive will be the same. Some mixes will need attention in terms of balance and clarity and some will be very nice and well balanced. Distinguishing a good mix from a bad one is easy but being able to identify what techniques are required can be tricky at first. It's vey tempting to keep using the same techniques on all as they've worked in the past. Sometimes less is more!

Thank You

David Eley

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