Blues Guitar Forum - Rock, Country, Funk, etc

Guitars Talk => Guitar Talk In General => : reb December 22, 2015, 07:41:09 PM

: mastering
: reb December 22, 2015, 07:41:09 PM
i subscribed to tape op; it's free. can't find a legit reason not to subscribe. they sometimes have articles i don't want to miss. i learn a lot, but i seem to struggle applying thiings like 'mastering':
: Re: mastering
: Vladan December 22, 2015, 09:38:12 PM
Reb, I don't know what is the difficulty you are facing, but in general, "Mastering" is a number of procedures that occure after the mixing of music is finished and before the music is transfered to distribution media. Distribution media is determining factor in choice of mastering procedures to be applied, although some artistic  considerations play the role, too. For example, mastering process differs from vinyle to CD, from compressed to uncompressed formats, streaming to downloading ...
While mixing, you make it sound the way you like it, with technical correctness being a second thaught.
In mastering you make it technically apropriate for distribution, while retaining as much ressemblance as possible to how you mixed it.

I'm not subscribed and can not read the whole article, but from what is available to me ...
- That article is from 1997, many things have changed since
- (Proverbial) Nobody mixes to DAT any more, although there may be some masochist out there.
- Relation btw as 0VU and dB(FS) is program related. It'd be way unnatural to have it equal for R'n'B and solo violin, for example.
- Considering general Pop/ Rock, 0VU being aligned to -14dBFS is way conservative these days.
My own "rock" mixes are more at -12dB to -9dB. As far as I can tell, the last time I've checked,
modern commercial mixes were at about -8db=0VU, but you'll easilly find people who think even
-6 is a lot, trying to squeeze it even more.
: Re: mastering
: reb December 24, 2015, 11:56:28 AM
hey, thanks, Vladan!

the difficulty i am facing is 'in my own mind'. i want to put together a cd to send a couple friends. digging up my wav files, i listen to them and they are not 'close' in overal volume, so i got to go thru and try to pump 'em up a little or bring a few down. since i only got the daw meters to judge by, i'm gonna say i am '-6 db', which is what i am shooting for to give al ittle cushion with digital.

if i were to get serious, i think i would have to find a vu meter that i could run the mixed tracks back thru. i'm not sure i want to get that serious.

i tried using audacity's compression on a vocal track. so far, i haven't used compression on hardly anything, but i also found out by reading that my daw meters are not that accurate. i could not tell that the vocal compression i used (only 1.5 to 1 ratio, and not much of any attack or release) did much of anything. didn't make me a 'better singer', didn't make the track sound 'better', but it raised a few vocal peaks...and my ears couldn't tell anything different on the song.....heck, i don't use compression when i play bass for that matter. i am a dang luddite! hahaha

as far as 'in my own mind', i don't have a bit of trouble sitting down to make a track and song; i have a WORLD of trouble sitting at the computer to actually work for an hour on some tedious (to my mind) thing like tinkering with db. see what i mean? it really is a 'head' problem..not tape head, by my head. i did too many years of working staring at a computer screen i think, and it's simple 'avoidance'.
: Re: mastering
: Vladan December 24, 2015, 05:38:17 PM
... try to pump 'em up a little or bring a few down. since i only got the daw meters to judge by, i'm gonna say i am '-6 db', which is what i am shooting for to give al ittle cushion with digital.

The only way is UP!!! BTW, if you really need to bring some average levels down, better use expander (oposite of compressor). How did you come to that -6dB estimation? Your DAW meters should have both peak and average reading. With 0FS as max value, having in mind your music as iremember it, average should be btw -16 and -10, IMO, peaks as close to 0 as possible, but not above -0.5 to -0.2.

if i were to get serious, i think i would have to find a vu meter that i could run the mixed tracks back thru. i'm not sure i want to get that serious.

Average meter in your DAW is more than good. Real VUs are ridiculously expensive these days. Fake VUs, cosmeticaly ressembling the real thing, needle and VU markings, are cheaper, but pretty useless. If by some odd chance there is no average meter in your DAW, you can always use analyse function, or what is analogue to it, and see all the data about your file, including maximum and average values.

i ... i also found out by reading that my daw meters are not that accurate. ...

??? !
: Re: mastering
: reb December 26, 2015, 05:31:14 PM
ahaha...i got to the scrinched up face and hadda laugh, Vladan.

my daw is 'audacity'.  the meters stop at -12 and the next division is '0'.  so i try to get the mix level (after messing with all the tracks to get them to sound like i want) to 'in the middle between -12 and 0'.  the meters do have a 'maximum' mark that remains for the duration of the last playing....that's what i try to stick in the middle. as far as i know, there is no expansion 'effect' in audacity. then again, i don't ever hook the music computer to the internet, so i don't have a manual. learn as you go, kinda like roping sheep ;)

audacity will right quick show any clipping. it's surprising how clipping occurs, really.  when it does, there is a 'mixer function' board to pull up. if i have already got levels of tracks about like they sound good to me, i go thru and pull every track down 'a skosh' (old swedish term, my swedish friends told me-means 'a very little bit'). shortly, there will be no clipping shown.

really, when i think about some of the music i hear on fm or on cd, i think i don't want anything to sound as blurred and full as that does. not my 'thing'. have been messing with the electric piano today.  the keys by themselves...just one note at a time...sound sexy/tawny/full/deep/something or other...anyway... i like that sound.

the analyse function in audacity shows frequencies and '-db' down from zero.  i work it somewhere near the end of the mixing process to see are the frequencies balanced.

sometime (not today) i will hav eto get my '.wav' storage and listen to the whole mess i want to put on cd to see if anything is way out of whack.  honestly, i'm not sure i will ever do that (make a cd), but maybe i will.  i'm tryin' to loaf today...lotta wind, tore the brackets off the hay barn door, so i got welding to do whenever the dang 'storm' passes.

so, in sum, i am having to guess between meters that show '-12 to zero', the meters on my mixer board, the analyze function ears. when i n doubt, i trust my ears.
: Re: mastering
: Vladan December 27, 2015, 07:55:15 PM
You really need to RTFM (Read The Fuckin' Manual) for that audacity thing. At least try reading all the offerings in drop down menues, drag those meters arround, mess arround with it ...
: Re: mastering
: reb December 28, 2015, 12:06:23 PM
i probably do, but....why start now?? (hahaha) i have pulled nearly all the drop downs down. if the drop down menus were a female cheerleading squad, i'da got a look at all their pearls of great price.

i've took most of the functions and played with them, and found that i'd rather use my own ability to play a track, rather than to use their compression or echo; i've tried the 'quantize' clock, and i can't tell a difference. if there's something outta time, it's ME...and quantize aint gonna fix it. once in awhile, i imagine 'i hear something here....'.

what i really really like is 'copy/paste', do/undo/redo (man! what a mixing tool!)

someday, i will read the manual...someday, i tell you!  i just know i will!

in all seriousness, i may go take a look sometime this week, but in order to make the silly thing 'work for me', i got to print it...and i can tell ya, i KNOW i aint gonna print the whole thing. i avoid printing large documents...and it's a hassle to download it and then put it on this computer....and have to pull it up. and i am definitely not sure i want to download it and put it on the music computer. all my aup files are on there!

nah, i think i am a proud luddite, Vladan. if i can't track stuff relatively clean or get it like it ought to be without a bunch of computer knowledge, then i don't deserve to record....
: Re: mastering
: Vladan December 28, 2015, 05:43:28 PM
I don't read manuals my self, but I'm not afraid to install, uninstall, drag, drop, mess, **ck up thngs (badly), ... Though, the older I get, less I have patience for such stuff, so I may be reading some manulas soon enough.
: Re: mastering
: reb December 30, 2015, 01:05:44 PM
well, i got to thinkin' 'Vladan may have a good idea' i went and looked at the manual.  it must serve a newer version of audacity than i have, coz their meters are more detailed.  if there is a clicker that i can click to make mine stretch to include the -6db hashmark, i can't find it.

it looks to me like there are a lot of features in the newer version that would be 'cool', but wouldnot necessarily make me able to make better music.   since i am just overjoyed to have found a rig that actually works and doesn't have terrible latency, i'm going to do like my dad used to tell me 'if it works, by god, son, don't go fixin' it!'.

like you, i do all that draggin' and droppin', but i always save a current version of my aup file to a removable hard drive first....i surely do hear ya about having less patience for some of this stuff. i recently turned off my telephone answering machine-it's an election year, and i don't wanna listen to any bs. i know all my friends' phone numbers. if some other number shows up inthe call log, they can kiss my honey booboo. so, yeah, i got a lot less patience every day older i get ;)

after we talked about vu meters, i ran my cheap piano thru an old tube mp studio to see if the vu meter wold help any-heck no, but i found out the tube mp studio lends just a touch of grit to the piano. i kinda liked it....and had forgot i had the thing till we brought up vu meters.

just have to find that sweet spot on the audacity meter where it don't distort, but has plenty of db to replay.

Happy New Year, Vladan!
: Re: mastering
: Vladan January 01, 2016, 08:02:53 AM
Thanks Reb, all the best to you and to all who may read this. Happy New Year!!!