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Audio Mastering Techniques
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Making a loud master


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Audio Mastering Techniques

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Making a loud master

One of the things that mastering strives to achieve is increase the overall program level of the mix. This is done by a combination of two of the mastering engineer's primary tools, the compressor and the limiter. The compressor is used to increase the small and medium level signals, while a limiter controls the instantaneous peaks. Remember that the sound of both compressor and limiter will have an effect on the final audio quality, especially if you push them hard, here's how you do it. Set the master level on the Limiter to -0.1 or -0.2 dB to contain the peaks and avoid digital overs.
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  1. 1m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 39s
  2. 7m 7s
    1. Introducing mastering
      1m 22s
    2. The history of audio mastering
      3m 30s
    3. Mastering professionally versus doing it yourself
      2m 15s
  3. 10m 10s
    1. Mixing with mastering in mind
      6m 41s
    2. Mastering session documentation
      53s
    3. Printing alternative mixes
      2m 36s
  4. 6m 21s
    1. Evaluating your listening environment
      1m 33s
    2. Beginning with the basic listening technique
      3m 19s
    3. Deciding between monitors and headphones
      1m 29s
  5. 18m 13s
    1. Overview of mastering tools
      22s
    2. Exploring the dynamic ranges of different music genres
      2m 40s
    3. Understanding compression
      3m 20s
    4. Understanding limiting
      1m 25s
    5. Understanding equalization (EQ)
      1m 44s
    6. Using a de-esser
      1m 14s
    7. Metering while mastering
      3m 57s
    8. Exploring the mastering signal path
      1m 11s
    9. Listening in your digital audio workstation (DAW) using the A/B method
      2m 20s
  6. 33m 10s
    1. Making a loud master
      3m 7s
    2. Compression tips and tricks
      2m 4s
    3. Achieving competitive level
      2m 2s
    4. Understanding the pitfalls of hypercompression
      2m 10s
    5. Balancing frequencies
      3m 20s
    6. Reducing sibilance with a de-esser
      2m 2s
    7. Inserting fades
      1m 37s
    8. Eliminating noise and distortion
      43s
    9. Using multiband limiting
      4m 23s
    10. Adjusting the stereo image
      3m 24s
    11. Bringing out specific elements in a mix
      8m 18s
  7. 8m 17s
    1. Using dither
      1m 40s
    2. Using the appropriate workstation
      1m 27s
    3. Adjusting the spreads
      1m 28s
    4. Using International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC)
      1m 14s
    5. Using Universal Product Codes (UPC)
      1m 10s
    6. Creating CD-text discs
      33s
    7. Delivering or receiving a DDP master
      45s
  8. 12m 44s
    1. Encoding using the MP3 format
      3m 43s
    2. Understanding MP3 metadata
      1m 44s
    3. Creating a great-sounding MP3
      2m 46s
    4. Generating a FLAC file
      1m 18s
    5. Submitting music to online stores and services
      48s
    6. Submitting music to online song databases
      2m 25s
  9. 17m 23s
    1. Understanding AAC, the iTunes file format
      2m 28s
    2. Mastering for iTunes tips and tricks
      1m 36s
    3. The Mastered for iTunes format
      1m 29s
    4. The Mastered for iTunes tool package
      54s
    5. Using the iTunes Plus tools: iTunes Droplet
      1m 51s
    6. Using the Mastered for iTunes Audio To WAVE Droplet
      49s
    7. Using the Mastered for iTunes AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit tool
      6m 48s
    8. Using The Mastered for iTunes tools Test Pressing Feature
      1m 28s
  10. 3m 30s
    1. Mastering for high resolution
      1m 36s
    2. Mastering for television
      1m 54s
  11. 1m 19s
    1. Delivering the master to the replicator
      28s
    2. Archiving the project
      51s
  12. 50s
    1. Next steps
      50s

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Audio Mastering Techniques
2h 0m Appropriate for all Jan 23, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • What is mastering?
  • Preparing your tracks for mastering
  • Deciding between monitors and headphones
  • Exploring the dynamic range of different music genres
  • Adjusting song balances
  • Compressing the tracks
  • Balancing frequency
  • Reducing sibilance with a de-esser
  • Inserting fades
  • Eliminating noise
  • Mastering CDs, MP3s, and AACs for iTunes
  • Archiving masters
Subjects:
Audio + Music DAWs Mixing Music Production Audio Plug-Ins Mastering
Software:
iTunes Pro Tools
Author:
Bobby Owsinski

Making a loud master

One of the things that mastering strives to achieve is increase the overall program level of the mix. This is done by a combination of two of the mastering engineer's primary tools, the compressor and the limiter. The compressor is used to increase the small and medium level signals, while a limiter controls the instantaneous peaks. Remember that the sound of both compressor and limiter will have an effect on the final audio quality, especially if you push them hard, here's how you do it. Set the master level on the Limiter to -0.1 or -0.2 dB to contain the peaks and avoid digital overs.

Set a compressor at a ratio of 2:1 or 4:1 to increase the apparent level. Adjust the attack time to let the desired amount of transients through, the slower the attack time generally speaking the punchier the sound will be. (music playing) Adjust the release time to keep the track punchy sounding. A trick with compression in mastering is to use a release time that's set on the slow side, be careful not to set it too slow or the life will be sucked out of the track, set it too fast and the track will pump or distort.

(music playing) Decrease the threshold, you increase the amount of compression, which is usually less than about 5 dB. (music playing) Increase the level of the program to the desired level by increasing the output control of the compressor.

Be sure not to go beyond clipping. (music playing) Increase the Limiter threshold to increase the limiting and final level of the program. The more you increase the limiting the louder the program will get, but the more compressed it'll get as well, which generally doesn't sound that good. (music playing) Note that some mastering engineers utilize multiple stages of compression, that is more than one compressor in the signal path, so they can spread out the gain increase over several devices.

This technique can create simultaneously a smoother yet more powerful sound. (music playing) Remember that much of the gain and punch that come from the compressor, the more limiting you add the worse it'll usually sound.

There are currently no FAQs about Audio Mastering Techniques.

 
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