DAW & Meters


DIY Mastering


Lesson Info

DAW & Meters

So as we just said, we're going to get into some more fun stuff, which is software and hardware, but mostly we'll talk to you about how you can use the hardware equivalents to software and make your stuff sounds awesome and what goes into all this so first up let's get this out of the way dawn digital audio workstation a k you're pro tools your logic, you're able to turn your reason no record his reasons one uh q base pretty looks you get the point, you don't necessarily need a separate door for mastering. Yes, the big guys who charged ten thousand dollars record do use a separate door for their mastering. That does not mean you don't hear records every day made in whichever doll you're using. Um, while I would not say I think able to meet the greatest music making software and it's amazing to use and I love it, it does do some weird things to the sound I don't know if that's the one that's the best, but do people still use it? Absolutely the rest of them are designed for this. Um they...

're all capable. So don't waste your time arguing about the allen daughters from west west side music whose the best mastering engineer I know in the wisest man I've ever met has this great saying called pick a format and get to work what he's basically saying is is just is somewhere thing that what we've been saying to this entire thing is that what it's about is learning and being good at your instrument and your biggest instrument when you're do recording is what is your dog start working on it do it, you're gonna be able to make a great record with it. I don't care if you're using some cheap software from ten years ago on your computer is a, you know, g three macintosh, you can figure out how to make great music with it all the time and you just need to start to work and learn how to do it. You can have the most expensive software in the world. That doesn't mean you're going to be any good with mastering specific dawes their sample itude, sequoia wave lab wave lab's very cheap sequoias very not, but I'm gonna be the first to tell you I've never touched the three of those and I mastered a lot of records. Um so when we get into our mastering workflow yesterday, we would over allowed the mix and a lot of the vision. Now we get tau queueing, which is shaping the frequencies we're gonna talk about some queuing tools since we're going to keep with our thought the theme of not doing the funnest thing first paying it forward, everyone paying it forward let's talk about spectrum analyzers so a spectrum analyzer is a visual way of seeing what's in your frequency span this can be great to tell you and this is kind of our meters there the whole time is when you're like I've lost track of what the hell's going on confirmed my suspicions um they'll tell you what you're hearing is correct but there's a big big mean that keeps getting bigger each year is that if you imitate the curve on somebody else's makes in every mix has this curve your mixes get sound fantastic that is not true you need thio use that and that could give you some clues of what you need to do but if you match a curve, you're not going to be all of a sudden put to the hot top of hype machine with the number one track and all of a sudden you're number one on deport or whatever and I feel like special needy m this is becoming this humongous trend that you need to get this right. What people are a lot more interested in your imitation is good art that you thought about and conceived properly not your awesome imitation of a frequency curve that no one's ever going to look at um you can compare your spectrum against professionally mastered track and get some perspective but that's all it is is perspective you don't want to do an imitation you just want to say wow there's a lot more trouble there maybe I should consider more trouble in sea out sounds that might not be right for you you know, if everybody did this throughout the spare time records would get extremely generic and if you want to talk about why there's so much generic music, I think it's that too many people are adhering to these conventions you should make what's right for your song just because a wiki uses a really dark high end and so does justice does not mean that you're can't can't be the person who innovates a beautiful high end every soldier's different but it could give you perspective the poor ethical area shoes yet again use your ears not your eyes so let's talk about what I use for this my multi band compressor of choices flux alchemist coincidentally, it has a spectrum analyzer built right into it what's great about the the flux outcome a spectrum analyzer I like too is that it goes up really high and frequencies I can see when somebody's cut off the sampling great at forty four one and there's no information about twenty eight killers I actually can always watch when I create more harmonics and see that it's doing it but I will be honest with you I don't use my spectrum analyzer sometimes for a whole week I am nine times out of ten just using my years and using my reaction to music, I think this is a great tool and especially when you're starting out when you're starting to get a grasp of what frequencies air like, it can give you a correlation but it does not give you a causation to get really nerdy with it you wantto use your ears over and over and over again so with that if we could shoot over to the computer I'm in port my folks are chemists and this time is going to that wonderful band hey ana from new jersey since now this truck is working um so let's take a look at what this looks like with wade I'm going to play you another track so you could see how much difference could sound when you hear something totally different. So this is another bad from new jersey called said dig for bashes which we've been listening to a little bit of totally different but you could see how this all works you wait what is creating all of that um in between two hundred, five hundred that it is just crushing um there's a lot of guitar and bass there on then the drums are very compressed and lieutenant lee when you bring up the drums one of the reasons you have to cut for hundred a lot to get rid the boxing this is that it really brings out that part of the drums so compression and also you are the way we dial those guitar tones. You know, a lot of people when you read the nor courting nerd things like turned up five hundred year tar I take the right five hundred sounds awesome on guitars I take a different approach is I turned up five hundred by doing it at the source and getting a tart tones with strong five hundred because to get into some recording theory that can apply to your master is the better source you have the easier life is so um so the question I would have is I think where the funniest things I always see what you would do the spectrum analyzer thinks is there really wasn't that big a difference in this frequency spend between those two songs even though they you know, if you saw a show with those two bands and be pretty shocking. Um so, um, did you guys notice anything else looking at that not to make a required question, but starting any insight cool. So I'm gonna do this? I'm gonna show it to the next part if we could go back to the keynote um the next part we're going talk about is meters so meters are super super important um this is something I do we use every day is as we talked about yesterday especially when I'm trying to gauge how loud a song should be we can all get wrapped up in the energy of making a song loud and not knowing that we've went oh cool too far what I love about v readers and dural meters and peek meters is they can tell me you might want to reconsider that decision you just made um so view meters are originally and same thing with dural meters that use um it could be hot in the digital and analog domain both of them originally started in the analog domain as if you haven't seen a million movies where they're on top of the console moving around they let you know we're overall level is that I don't want to call it not uh yeah overall level was better I don't want to call it specifically our masks that's not fully accurate but it's closer to in our mess than peak like we discussed yesterday when working on getting your record loud it's easy to lose track career out so this is like if you get to know where on the view meters is a good place to be this could be a reality check of if you're overdoing it I know some of my clients from working with them so much I know that if I hit a certain point of these view meters that they never like their masters if it's that loud so I know if I see this second guess what I'm doing and go let's, bump it down and see if it still can work better or if I could do something else that makes it sound good without having to pump the volume that loud? Um, obviously you want to keep that I have this and if you're clipping, you need to fix something as we discussed yesterday with head room, we don't want to clip so getting into the what we use, I used the waves juro and the bomb factory analog bu meter um, that you see here, analog view meters as you've seen this, you could see these all the time, so to give a little demonstration and let me also say that the waves one comes with waves bug and set the bomb factory comes with pro tools, and every dog usually has one of these for free, and if not a lot of the plug ins that you have will usually have one of these, they're very easy to come by and very essential as we went through yesterday in the part where we're talking about getting your record consistence in sequencing, I give a look just to make sure that they're all the same volume, and I'm not being tricked. I haven't worked too many hours every time before I put a record down I just wanna double check and make sure I don't have to reconsider a thing by making sure by view meters read that they're all at about the same vibe sometimes I want you know there'd be a quiet that song in the middle of the crushing metal record I don't need that view meter to read out the same you're not doing a test where you have to make it right but you want to make sure that there what you want them to be so um if we could shoot over the computer we could take a look this year is a dural meter this is what pretty much every professional is using its a really fun time and really clear way tio um read out your ah levels um I also use as I said, this bomb factory I tend to use this more because I'm comfortable the door oh, I love it too and I use it a lot but for a quick scan I like this but you know, to give you the idea here is that sending from ashes again and we could see what they're reading out wait so as you can see that's peaking at about three d b minus three d b with a minus six calibration so teo put that a non really nerdy terms um that's very loud for a record, um, on the door o meter. So as you could see the dural meter and never actually hit that minus three. So a lot of this is about developing standards. You could do if you want develop standards of seeing this and seeing the loudest yes, sorry question from any e v h fifty one fifty. What channel is that? On output or master that's on my master it's. The last thing after my brick wall. But when I bounced down my masters, I rip all of these off and get rid of them because there's, no reason for the signal to go through it. So if you think of it this way after my brick wall, liberty or I would have that, and then I would get rid of it right before the end of the truck. You want to measure your overall process, but at times too you may want to look at if you have any trouble master to track and keeping your record consistent sometimes. It's. Good to see if somebody handed you, uh source material. That's way too done. Where I have happened a lot of the time is we're talking about how when you mix a, you could bother with master. I myself make this mistake all the time when I said stuff to alan jamal, alan and and jamal west west side is I forget to take the mastering off one song and then they called me up and they say idiot there's still mastering on this one and I have to take my brick wall women are often send it to them a second time the view meters could be a really if your ears don't give you the clue what's wrong it could be the easy clue that something is not set right and that's why you're having trouble getting a consistent you could then do makeup gain at the beginning of your process to do it so it's hitting the compressors similarly to the songs that you uh did have that process on um so the point I want to make is as you could see the door oh didn't show the same thing off peking as the view was showing us and that's because it's a different type of measurement it's a different way of measuring a lot of this is about is getting to know what it looks like when you do it. So would I love to do two is you know, especially if I'm working on a genre music and somebody says, you know, I had one the other week that they said I really want this to be like fifty cent in the club and I think wow I haven't heard that song in ten years I have no idea how loud that is there anything I thought like I was a banker or something now um so I throw fifty seven the club on my door o meter and I walk out and I try to get it to be a similar value but I had no clue that in the club was going to be peeking so much you've got to get to know what's the standards for your genre and then what's the standards you can get your stuff too and it could show you an attainable goal in a measurement place but yet again this is not our absolute goal to show you how different this could be we will go back to our contrast which is going from ascending your ashes back to hey ana um so hey honest stuff wait wait so as you could see that's quite a bit bit of difference but in my eyes bastard hey ana that volume was very appropriate there's no loudness war for those pretty little angelique vocals those girls saying there's no reason to overly push the volume and I know that if I put up pierre bjorn and john's ah young folks track which I was comparing on that one that's about where that was a cz well um so to make the point these meters are all about developing a standard we're in the standards and then use those toe. Give you a perspective, but don't just make it match that. Exactly. Find a way and let it give you a perspective.

Class Description

Mastering is often the difference between a good recording and a bad one, but mastering is notoriously difficult to understand. In this two-day workshop, sound engineer Jesse Cannon — who’s worked with the likes of Ross Robinson, Saves the Day, Animal Collective, The Misfits and Man Overboard — shares what he’s learned about mastering from working at top-tier studios like WestWestSide Music and Cannon Found Soundation. 

While there’s no substitute for having an engineer master your music, that’s just not feasible for many artists. This class is the next best thing: a comprehensive guide to DIY mastering.

Jesse breaks down the mastering process from start to finish. You’ll discover the basic principles behind mastering, and learn about the processes and tools at your disposal. Jesse will identify and troubleshoot basic rookie mistakes, discuss lesser-known essential concepts as well as share his essential behind-the-board tools as he takes you through a few real-life examples.

After two days with Jesse, you’ll have everything you need to master your tracks with affordable tools.


Michael Pena

This class was awesome. Jesse goes into detail about the mastering process and best practices for mastering in an easy to understand way. The live mastering session was very informative and educational.