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Audio Mastering Techniques
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Mastering professionally versus doing it yourself


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Audio Mastering Techniques

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Mastering professionally versus doing it yourself

It's interesting to note that just about all of the major record labels and most of the larger Indie labels still choose to master all of their projects with a major mastering house, even though extensive mastering resources are widely available to just about any engineer. Since you are watching this course to learn many of the tricks of pro-mastering engineers, let's look at some of the differences between the product that you might get from a mastering pro and what you might get from mastering at home. If we really break it down, a mastering pro usually has three things over what you do at home. A real pro-mastering house has many things available that you probably won't find in the simple home or small studio digital audio workstation room, such as high-end analog to digital, and digital to analog converters, a great sounding listening environment, and exceptional monitoring system.
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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

Mastering professionally versus doing it yourself

It's interesting to note that just about all of the major record labels and most of the larger Indie labels still choose to master all of their projects with a major mastering house, even though extensive mastering resources are widely available to just about any engineer. Since you are watching this course to learn many of the tricks of pro-mastering engineers, let's look at some of the differences between the product that you might get from a mastering pro and what you might get from mastering at home. If we really break it down, a mastering pro usually has three things over what you do at home. A real pro-mastering house has many things available that you probably won't find in the simple home or small studio digital audio workstation room, such as high-end analog to digital, and digital to analog converters, a great sounding listening environment, and exceptional monitoring system.

The monitoring system of these facilities some times cost far more than many entire home studios. Cost isn't the point here, but quality is. The commonly used near field monitors that most recording studios use, rarely allow you to hear what you need to in order to make the adjustments that you need to make while mastering. The vast majority of monitors in the rooms in which they reside are just not precise enough. The mastering engineer is the real key to the process. This is all he does day-in and day-out.

He has what audio pros call big ears, because he masters at least 8 hours every day and knows his monitors the way you know your favorite pair of sneakers. Plus, his reference point of what constitutes a good sounding mix is finely honed, thanks to working hours and hours on the best and worse sounding mixes of each genre of music. I don't know who said it, but this phrase rings true. The difference between a pro and an amateur is that a pro always has a backup. That's good advice for any part of recording, but especially for mastering. You wouldn't believe the number of times masters get lost.

This is the one thing that you can do just as well as a pro with no trouble at all. Now you know some of the advantages of using a mastering pro, but by following the tips outlined in this course, you can get your masters into the same ballpark. By doing the mastering yourself, you can save a ton of money and get your product out faster. And if you decide that your project warrants an A-list pro, this course will show you how to get the most out of that too.

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