DIY Mastering


Lesson Info


So the last stage of this is finalized, putting it all together. Yesterday we talked about secret sagan putting in tracks in order we didn't quite get into dithering. We definitely talked about mata data and most of you fell asleep and then distribute, which is when we get it out to the world so let's get through some did the rig, since this is while it's not super super interesting, you should know this and it's going to be quick and painless. So what is dithering nationals shaping its adding noise to make a little trade? A little? Well, well, little toys for a big reduction in the way digital files process. So this is specifically helpful it digital files today is that if digital goes down tau zero volume and doesn't have a little bit of his, it doesn't represent, and the curves need to be modified in order to give it accurate representation. So basically, some scientists figured out that when cds and all this first came out, everybody obviously went wow, this sounds terrible compare...

d to vinyl, but we have to make this work is the gear industrial complex overman adi told us we need to pay our bills so they figured this solution out um the great news is, is our years like the way this sounds? It makes digital sound better thiss tidy bit of noise allows signals to translate properly and it's the last process I know we keep saying the brick wall lovers last process, but in that brick wall limiter that's technically, the last thing that happens and we use this when we're going to go down a bit rate or a sample, right? So if you're just making a twenty four bit master and ninety six courts you recording your song in twenty four bit ninety six killer hurts, you don't need to use dither noise shaping one of the things we didn't get to address yesterday I wanted just to when we talked about making twenty four bit ninety six killers masters is that, yes, that's future proofing your tracks and that you're in the future. Everybody is going to be listening in twenty four but ninety six, but also, if you're making vinyl all the good vinyl hut cutting houses now khun master of twenty four bit ninety six you don't have to master from sixty, sixty but forty four one and you could make much better sounding vinyl. I work with a couple labels where I make final masters for and we've been seeing really great results from cutting from twenty four but ninety six killer ts so I highly highly suggest. When you do make twenty four bit ninety six killers, you don't use dithering, but if you're going down to your sixteen bit wave that you're going to deliver toe to core bad cap itunes cd, baby, everything else that's when you want together. So what do you use together if you're using a waves? L three maximize er they all have this cool little thing called idee are on. Their idea is they're dithering, uh, program, they also have a separate one just for this um there's also some tourist dither, which is much cheaper, and then most dawes come with a dither now, do they come with the really good one? No, is this something most people can hear? Really? Well, no, not unless they're on brian's father's system it takes a really nice system. You definitely don't hear the did there as much on the laptop, but you want to do it right because we're hoping a large audience of audio file dirt they're going to hear your music one day um, so you could do this for free. I'm going to show you really quick on the computer with the various settings on dither do so down here is my I d r and as you can see, kwan ties how many bits you'd like to quantifies too, so if you're going down to sixteen it's so simple as long as this is the last plugging in your chain, you go down to sixteen bits you khun truncate it right like that with a really nice sounding I d r did their type one or type too I'm going to be very straight with you I play with the settings and a lot of time I go well those both some really nice it's a very subtle thing, especially when you're dealing with heavy music I have noticed it a little bit more when I do deal with like a sensitive acoustic pop singer recorded really well that yes, the high end does sound a little smoother or something with that, but in general I go with type one um for noise shaping there's moderate, normal or ultra um I tend to find that the ultra setting suns a little bit more modern to my ear than the moderate or normal I don't know if that's me imposing some view on it because this is all so subtle that I I have a hard time putting a definitive opinion on this. I know other people have written on this subject are like this is the biggest difference in the world I tend to find what I'm doing heavy, dense music like what we're talking about in this course that this is a pretty small thing but ultra sure sounds nice to me so that is dithering um if we could go back to the key no, we can get away from this boring subject. So the key takeaways for the section is there's a lot of tools out there you want to find the ones that work for you and then get to work just start playing with, um start learning do not believe the gear a woman adi that you can't do it with some cheap here people make great records every day with cheap here it's about knowing the instrument not, you know, having the most expensive one and august adoption butts fighting door will be completely digital. And if anything, when I'm starting to notice today is that a lot of people I talked to our started prefer more digital sound in a lot of genres of music especially the really ultra digital new style of metal or edie em all like a lot of digital stuff it itself I would not sweat too much if you have to go all digital I go all digital all the time so that's the end of this section is there any questions before we go ahead? I think we are good with questions you guys have, you know, we have a question our studio audience yeah, I I have one, I guess kind of overarching question we talked about you want to prepare your mixes in several ways right with just instrument instrumental tracks separate from vocals on dh like stem mixes differently um would you apply most of these mastering techniques to those tracks that you're making stems of or so the stems for what purpose? I guess I'm asking so you talked about preparing those tracks in case you're going to license them in some way okay, so here's what I normally do as a producer a self I get done with the mix the bad says this mix is done so what? I didn't say that because I say what do you teach instrumentals stems backing tracks for your live show, whatever and I make all those bounces so what I tend to do is I make all those babs is not through a brick wall limiter but through my mastering change everything but that so what we're talking about that we're talking about all the players we see the compression all that will do that because that way that they will somewhat translate better. But the one problem that that could become is that it's rebic stems or if they're making steps for a guitar bad or a uh surround sound movie is that they then go through my mastering process um and they're not hitting it the same way because obviously anything that's dynamic it's not getting as much compression if we don't have all the instruments blood dig that way so with a lot of the time didn't do is I'll just do it a non bounce, a bouts with nothing on the master fader, and then do a separate bouts with that if it's really going to a movie. It's going for rebic steps that I just bounced through, what I have minus brick wall of it, if they're going to master the instrumentals now, a lot of bands, I will say this don't master there instrumentals with if we send the west west side, they don't master, whether because it's sometimes too expensive, we'll do it, but if I'm sending out usually, yeah, I'm just taking off the brick wall limiter, if they want an instrumental with, uh, that I've been a master, that I put it through the brick wall of insurance just the same as their mix. The one thing I will caution with a lot of instrumentals is that I've been had call up sometimes let's say this is too mastered for what we want to do. It's too loud against the track. Can you give us a non mastered version? I tend to find that it's a weird call on the licensing, if the band doesn't know what they want to do, I give them a master track for the mastering, but if they have a licensing house that they're working with already I asked them with their licensing house preferences because some of them want to give on master track so there's room to work, especially if you're doing lighter music and you know you're gonna be the background in a commercial that could be a big deal. So but nine times out of ten mastered instrumentals, especially because, you know, if you think about what happens when you're if you're doing music for licensing, this is some ad guy, a creative or music supervisor who's clicking through songs, waiting for the one that makes a good impression on them for the commercial, your master music is going to make a much bigger impression on a licensing music supervisor. So anything else question did come up from rabbit, who wanted to know it? If you can go before we finish this section, if you can go over your usual plug in order and signal level at each step of the chain, what input level is ideal for each plug in? We're going to get to that right way section so they could hang out out for a little bit. We're going to go over some proper common problems and how to fix them perfect, let me ask one more question, I think we've I think it is good to kind of back out and give us a view of all this. What is the difference between the d I y process in the pro studio process? That's. A great question. So with the pro studio process compared to d ie wise, obviously, like one of the things I love and like. Like I said, a lot of time where I could afford it, I send alan doubt just jamal maria west, west side because they give me an objectivity that I appreciate about my mixes. And they have a really cool gear. The difference of their processes. They'll do a lot of analog chain, but they can also do a digital chain if we feel like it's sounding too warm. But what I'd like is it's, another educated, your pair of ears playing backup. But the main differences is they have a lot of things. Like, you know, in at west west side, they have a massive pass of anna massenburg, so they want a lot of color on the q or no color. They could do it. They have a couple of different compressors, depending on what type of color compression they want. They have so many different tools that you know, in addition to all these great digital tools and more expensive versions that they could do a lot we're playing al it has a half inch tape deck. It is sometimes bounces the tape instead of using a simulator because he's a pro, it could do that. It's a great half a static deck and so that's the difference between paying a lot of the body and these d I y tools now is the difference big. I think that I will always say this that alan and jamal could get a record louder than I can. And in general, you know, I like what they do. Are there times that I have heard their masters, and I said, you know what? I think we nailed it? Absolutely. Because every once in a while you nail a record and like, one out of ten records, I send them. I go, you know what? I think we just got this right? We didn't need objectivity. None of us like any difference to this, but that's a great perspective, the have to is sometimes to know that, you know, you did do it right. And, you know, as faras access to the gear it, I think you're paying them not only for that gear, but the knowledge and experience of knowing when it when you need to use it now, I think we're the best things I like from alan and ball is that they both have a different reaction, that I'll have a lot of time. It's. Sometimes I say, you know what? That reaction, I think I actually dale this I didn't need it and did. A lot of times I say, I did not think of the trouble that way. I'm so glad you thought of it that way. That's, the usual thing that happens, you know, usually what's really nice about setting out to them is that a lot of times I go, wow, that makes me look so muchmore also, that I really was so and that's worth it for, you know, a couple hundred dollars, they charge.

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.