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Mastering audio is the final stage in music production, where the final set of mixed songs are turned into a cohesive album through a variety of processes that make the music sound the best it can, wherever it's played. Join author and producer Bobby Owsinski in this course, as he teaches essential mastering concepts and techniques used by experienced audio engineers. Follow along as he works at Oasis Mastering, a real-world mastering facility, and learn how to apply these techniques to your home or studio setup and make your projects sound better than ever.
First, discover how to configure your monitoring setup, optimize your listening environment, and prepare and print alternative mixes that will allow you to make quick fixes during mastering. Bobby then reviews a selection of dedicated mastering tools that give you precise control over select signal parameters, from compressors to de-essers. He'll discuss the differences between mastering for CD, online distribution, and specifically for iTunes, and how to achieve the best results for each medium. The course wraps with lessons on mastering for high-resolution formats like Blu-ray, as well as delivering and archiving the master recording once the project is complete.
If you're mastering on a normal digital audio workstation like Pro Tools, Cubase, or Logic, it's difficult to quickly bypass multiple plug-ins for a quick A-B test. Here is an easy way to set up this function in any workstation by using subgroups. The first thing we're going to do is we're going to add at least two subgroups. In this case we're in Pro Tools, so these are actually called Aux channels, but there are the same thing. What we're going to do is we're going to assign our final mix channels, so we've imported our final mix, and it's right here, and this is our 48 K or 96 K, 24-bit file, it's a high-res file, it comes from the mix and what we're going to do is assign it, via busses, to all of the subgroups.
In this case, it's Bus 1 and 2, and it's assigned to 1 subgroup, you can see Bus 1 and 2 here, and that one doesn't have any processing. Here is the second subgroup channel and again, you can see it's assigned bus 2, and in this case, it has our mastering process, it has compressor, and it has a limiter. And now we have also set up a third one here and of course you can see the input is Bus 1 and 2, and we have a compressor and a second compressor and a limiter.
So there is three processors on this channel, so it's a little more compressed sense or a little more processed, and if we play we can hear all three of them, and you can hear the difference. (music playing) I can see we can quickly go back and forth between the unprocessed and the processed signal.
The good part about that is in Pro Tools or any other digital audio workstation, you couldn't easily do that, because you would have to actually go up to the plug-in that you'd have to say bypass, and you have to do it on audio plug-ins and then play, and it's hard to make an AB comparison when there is that much time in between the original pass and the process pass. So this is the way you set up an AB listening test in any digital audio workstation using subgroups.
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