Join Yeuda Ben-Atar for an in-depth discussion in this video Mastering, bouncing, and sharing the song, part of Learning Songwriting: Ableton Live.
Now that we have a basic balanced mix, we can add a few more effects to the master track to add more clarity and loudness to our song. If you play your project and your CPU meter does not exceed 50%, you can skip this next step and apply the effects directly to the master track in your current project. If your computer is a bit slower and your project is taking a lot of CPU, you'll first need to export your project and then create a new master link project.
To do so, I'm going to set the loop bracket around my entire song, and I'm going to give it some extra time at the end for any reverb and delay that might need that extra time to decay to silence. Now before we move to the Export menu, we gotta make sure that we are not clipping through the master track. So, I am going to place my playhead at the loudest section of the song which is with the vocals. Let's switch to the session view to see the mixer better and I am going to play it and let's look the master track. So, I can see without clipping.
To solve this, we can select all the tracks, by choosing the first one, holding shift, selecting the last. And then dragging one of the tracks volume slightly down, it will take all the tracks together, but still keeping the same relationship between the tracks. >> Baby it is time, we can say goodbye, without crying Excellent. And around minus 6 DB is a good place to be, when you want to master your tracks. I'm going to switch back to the arrangement view, and click on the loop bracket, to tell Ableton that I want to export from the arrangement, and not from the session.
I'm going to go to File. Export Audio Video. And I would recommend copying the settings that you see on the screen. Let's hit Export, and I'm going to save it under my desktop, and I'm going to call it song. Let's hit Save. Okay, now I'm going to go File > New Live Set, and don't want to save this. I'm going to switch to the arrangement view, and I'm going to drag my song directly from the desktop to the arrangement view. I zoom out. Now, double click on the clip and make sure that the warp is off.
We dont' want any time stretching to be applied. Also make sure that the start marker is actually starting from the beginning. And that your global BPM is set to the original tempo of the project. Now like before, I'm going to use live audio effect track presets as a starting point. Let's go to the Browser Audio Effects. Expand the Audio Effect Rack and I am going to choose the category Mix & Mastering. There are a lot of great presets here for mastering you can test out on your songs.
I am going to go with Parallel Punch Master. And I am going to drop it on my master track. Now because this is a mastering project, I only need one audio track. So, I am going to delete the rest. And I also don't really need the return tracks so I'm going to delete those as well. Now back to the master, here I would recommend closing your eyes and start turning the knobs while listening to your song to fine tune the rack to best fit with your song. Remember you are going for more clarity and loudness.
Jump to a later section of the song. Excellent. And if we turn it off and listen to it. Turn it back on. Nice, we get a lot more volume and a lot more clarity. Now let's export this master project. What I'm going to do like before, I'm going to set the loop bracket around the song. Now you can actually set it to exactly the clip length. Just click on the clip, and hit Cmd+L. Let's turn off the loop, let's click on the loop bracket to focus on it.
Go to File. Export Audio Video and you can use the same settings as before. Let's hit Export. I'm going to call it song mix down. Hit Save. Now if you have a Soundcloud account you can choose to upload directly from Ableton to SoundCloud. And if you do so, after you hit Export, Ableton will prompt a login window and will allow you to upload it to your SoundCloud account. Because Live only allows you to export audio in non-compressed formats, like WAV and AIFF, you can use third party services to convert to MP3 like the free media.io.
If you want to try a free mastering service, check out landr.com which offers free MP3 masters. This service might go out in the future, might go down. I'm not sure it's going to last. So hopefully we can keep the option to take it down, from the course, delete it, cut it out, if it's actually taken down. And now if I go, and load our song mix down to the project we can compare the two wave forms and we can see that the second wave form just visually looking at it, looks a lot louder.
Which is excellent, that's what we wanted with our mastering process.
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