DIY Mastering


Lesson Info


We just talked about speakers and they're cousins of course our headphones so you also want to develop a relationship with a pair of headphones as I discussed yesterday I do a lot of my music listening on headphones because I'm biking around the city or on the subway and I don't have a car um headphones are amazing because you will hear tons of details that you didn't normally hear inside them and uh your you know there's so many times that there's just a different perspective in way of hearing detail now also said this while we all love to glorify like oh you hear so much more on headphones there's also a lot you don't hear proper frequency span headphones because the speakers are small they don't produce a lot of bass when they do produce a lot of bass it's through fake dick you worry especially they uh beats over the year headphones I've never heard a more faked frequency curve in my life but it's also one of the most popular headphones and you know and truth be told while I'm makin...

g fun of them I actually kind of enjoyed with suma music on beats it's very interesting I hear new things the question I just got to say because like I have personal experience with this at one point I did not have studio monitors and I just had some sennheiser hd to eighties and I tried to just makes out of those on dh so I'm just kind of throwing in as a word of caution don't do that do not do that hell I would always mixed rums way too loud yeah um vocals way too quiet just kind of had to throw that in there because I made that mistake I'm actually doing the exact same thing with the exact same pair of headphones on and I have my own a pair too so yeah and that's you know, I use ah colleague teo, you know, kind of get a second opinion on things and and and those are the two things that are often mentioned is he's like the locals are way too quiet under a little bit too hot on dh so yeah that's I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only person I thought it was I thought it was a preference thing and so that's that's really enlightening to know that it's it's for the fact that I don't have monitors right now so yeah, well, so this is the thing I will say it's headphones are no substitute for monitors I wish they work is to be honest with you, I like working on them better, but they're sadly not there are great second way to reference something because we'll show you different details the speakers are showing you especially if you're years or fatigued there's so good to head over to um the other great thing about it is that you know, oftentimes we can't set up speakers ideally which was what something we're going to get to in a second oh no I was going to say yet pitch this to my girlfriend like this list those ron gets really crispy is list so pitching straight to her grouses girl you've got to go for this christmas is just two short weeks away um so uh you know um my big thing would be this is that you know then he becomes do you trust what you hear in the headphones mohr than what you hear on your speakers? I think that that's a really hard balance that's almost why I liketo have three things going of you know it becomes really tough because you have this relationship with your speakers at it then you hear something headphones you're like that's totally different I almost trust my headphones mohr than my speakers at this boy because I feel like when I'm in front of my speakers I've been doing all this tweaking and then I know a year from now whenever I regret something I still hear it on the headphones where is my speakers? I sometimes may just be blown away by the hi fi and awesomeness but these have dumbed it down that I almost trust my twenty dollars set of headphones because that's what I hear in the real world I hear that same difference on my laptop when I'm like that background vocals should've went up to d b um, it becomes a really weird thing toe balance, but specifically, though, I don't think you should always trust ah, how much you hear reverb on your headphones? You know, uh, you're always going to hear some more of the little details in the headphones now, if that will details, click shining through your vocal, you want to get rid of that because people would turn up their trouble or their car stereo too loud are going to hear that anybody with you know, as we talked about brian's dad with his audio file system, is going to hear that, um, you don't want that to happen, so headphones could be really enlightening for the small details. Um, consumer headphones like we're talking about the beats, the apple are you know, whatever new rapper has come out with his signature headphones like reserve, whoever they really e q those headphones hard, and while I think it's good to know those, I would not use those as your ultimate reference for your mix, I think they're great to say, hey, well, this is what it sounds like when it's in those maybe I should watch my trouble, but you want something will more neutral so to get to that, I used the same headphones you guys were talking about the seine isert ht to eighties. I also have a pair of five eighties for awhile that were, you know, the most amazing thing to listen to music on our sennheiser dummy has a very natural curve compared to a lot of other headphones, especially like consumer headphones. The ekgs with sony's sennheiser zeke just is very pleasant on my trouble hating years. Aiken turn them up without feeling your fatigue for a long time, especially if I'm taking a really long walk for brooklyn in a sunny day or something. Sennheiser hd tutu's while I use the two ladies for listen to get hold and enjoying music or laying around trying not to disturb anybody with loud sounds I used the two o two's all the time walk around, I love them for twenty dollars pair of headphones I think b s w has the five for one hundred dollars, so if you want to use them for your whole studio for everybody's headphones I basically by those every six months since the kids in my studio trashed. Um um they're an amazing deal. Um if you really want to go all out and you have to work on headphones and there's no choice because you have roommates who will murder you in your sleep ultra sewed pro died hundred so are some of the best sounding headphones I've ever heard in my entire life. I'm not the biggest trying on headphones and seeing what's great type of person, but of the ones I've tried, those are absolutely fantastic question from the chat room is yeah, from from sean is, does the quality of your interface affect the sound from bouncing a track? In other words, if you use a two thousand dollar and face and are two hundred fifty dollars interface and bounced the same file, will it sound any different? So here's an interesting debate is that, um, I see nerds on the internet saying no, but I tend to trust these nerds that I particularly see this from so that here's the other side of this is that I've then had fred's do that, and they sent me there mixes they sound different on, so I have a hard time. I don't want to give a definitive answer to this that because my answer is when I've trusted my ears, I've heard differences like I've got a friend who's, but like I have a d joe three I just bought this new apogee symphony I didn't bounces with both of them and I blind test and I blind test in front of him, my, uh, partner in my studio and I and we all blind test the same exact thing without bias saying if that sounds a lot better and we hear it but the watch chick on the internet tells me when I read the nerds I respect talk they say no, it doesn't seem like it should because I mean you can bounce a file with nothing with no interviews on the surface and that happens inside pro tools inside your dw so it shouldn't affect anything on paper but I guess so who knows if we were just all sipping the right kool aid that day or whatever but uh I'm going to give it up for the answer of no, but what I will say is is the big difference is is the reactions you making your mix so the real world answer this is you wanna work off a great interface because it's going to make you make better decisions? Um so, um I would say say if you're thinking about going over to your friend's house who has a better interface that's not something that you need to really I don't think you need to go there, but if you wanna work off for your mix a better converter absolutely borrow your friend's converter while he's out on tour or whatever and mics off that and you'll do much better work we have any other questions before I go on to ah monitor selectors yes so this is an interesting thing I'm I'm not personally familiar with this product but it sounds like could be interesting which is from alex in england focus right have a little interface bless you phocuswright have a little interface that uses I ours of monitors and different consumer speakers to simulate the sound of monitors over headphones any experience with that are they just snake oil salesman it's got from decent write ups but sounds too good to be true sounds to me like the physics of that simply wouldn't work but so here's what I will say say yeah, I am familiar with this product I have not personally used it, but my thing with eye ours is that sounds great for perspective but anybody you know in the olden days what a lot of people would do is they put a parametric e q before their monitor and they would just be cute the way they want to hear the problem with all this is is that you're messing with phase relationships and you're messing with you know you're doing another conversion in all that stuff and that's just not a smart thing to be doing um and like, I just feel like you're coloring the sound in a weird way that's not going to give you a true results and I don't know if I want to go down that road for my own stuff personally um so I would say I don't want to skip out on that product, but I'm also saying that without tried this and you never know maybe some nerve really was this great to make this happen and I'm just hypothesizing so I'm not going to give a definitive no I'm just going to say, ah, highly skeptical no um great this works again suddenly that truck that I was trying to play though doesn't um so, um, we get to input monitor selectors, so which is also a great time for me to shoot teo skip over to think of this enables you to do a speaker ay ay b, which I want to do before so let's talk about the difference between mars we're talking about, you know, kissing the ones that are pleasing here is, uh, something that we're going to play off these yeh maha hs inmates wait and then these with noise wait, so I'm curious what you guys heard and which ones of those you guys preferred base here? Yes on dumb I don't think I actually liked it as much as the tightness of the ah hs aids to be yeah, I feel like, uh, the noise we're also I'll really bass heavy and I feel like the ah, the entire mix was maybe being colored with a little bit like more low end than it should have been I love that you said colored with load as well because that's the exact you know it's funny because the low end sounded mohr cohesive and cool but I know it's not how it really sounds in the real world yeah there's a lot of people there's a little bit to you on it that I felt like it it felt like it was being it wasn't being brought up in a natural way yes that's a great way of putting it yeah, same thing you definitely noticed the base and it's got this boom unis to it that definitely seems kind of artificial so it sounds like you guys already would buy the two toys of thes where your two choices and some small backwoods town yeah, they're fun to listen to but um yeah maybe not the best choice for impartial you cool. So that brings us teo the monitor selector which you know, this is the type of bees piece of gear were a lot of audio interfaces could do this job for you. You know you haven't apogee duet or a lot of the cheaper and boxes they have a volume knob but this has a lot more bells and whistles as you could see while we're going live this has speaker trip so which are really important because you could blast of white noise and get your speakers with that thea sound meter we discussed yesterday, you couldn't make it so that they're both at the same exact volume, so that you're always listening at the same volume when you hit back and forth between your speakers and you don't have to sit like me and turn it down each time you turn this thing on, they give you tons of the ways to baby your stuff like this purse otis in particular allows you, teo, go between two sources from your jaw, which is great for the a being to the master tone mastered version and then as well you could put your eye, choose the knocks. This has a record player walks, which is actually what I use it for at home is tio, listen to my vinyl um, four different head for now pits which comes in a lot of handy for me. Um, it input selector is not the most necessary think we actually go back to the keynote really quick? Um, well, may seem like a glorified version of a volume knob it's actually really important for what reasons that a lot of the audio two faces don't put a lot of their development money into making a really nice, clean volume knob would I love about the sodas? Is that for the money it's, very clean and un colored, um you wanna have something, you know? Every piece of analog year has a color, but you want to have something that helps you monitor very accurately without distortions and colors that hinder your choices. The mix, the same thing we're talking about, the audio interfaces with bad color and, you know, just making you work harder because it's not as clear as it should be, is the same concept here. I actually don't use this model for my everyday work. I used the rack mounted central station, which is a little bit more expensive. This is for home and playing around mostly was singing netflix really loud. Um, but, uh, you don't you wantto have something like this so it's easier to work central station five hundred dollars, one of the things so we just talked about the second hand market. I am actually not the biggest believer and buying this stuff on the second hand market from bad experience. What the big thing with these gear, the scare is all day is all of these, and I don't care which one you buy, even if you buy as we're talking about, they're the creed saw gravis it or the dangerous monitor is we're bagging on buttons and turning dobbs and knobs and buttons gold bad really easily, especially volume knobs that u turn all day I've bought this stuff used before for like our editing stations and even my own control room and they die so fast and these air inevitably usually pieces a gear that you're sending back to your uh what do you call it tex or you're sending back to the company from time to time like, you know, got a down week you're going on vacation all of a sudden years getting shipped out I would recommend by the stuff new because it's just not gonna be durable and it gets so much work you know, I touched my volume knob like fifty a hundred times a day sometimes so I would not go there with this so central station it's what I use I love it but you know I will be upgrading to a crane song novice it when I get the money I think that that's one of the most amazing products I've used for the money the maki big knob is fantastic it gets the job done it's very, very durable, but yet again we're getting into that because of its a cheaper product there's a lot of color on it I actually gotta mak e big knob at one point and uh we were using it in one of the other rooms I did the a b and it gave me a sad to say the least it just there's a lot of color maki always has a lot of color but you know what they make products that you could hammer nails with and that's what's very nice about them as if you're on the go and hearing audiophile quality they make a great product we have any questions about input selectors or you think it's cool of what's the one on the desk this is opera sodas monitor station as compared to central station on dis still it sounds really clean it's just a dumbed down version of what they actually do with their main piece uh do you know what the general price range on that one is I think it's three hundred fifty dollars is what I bought it for him like one of those open box deals on ebay I gotta for everything okay yeah it's pretty affordable yeah it's good. So the next thing we're talking to talk about his cables so the first thing I'm gonna say is the best piece of advice I ever got and when I'm thankfully followed through once I actually started building a studio instead of just having some computer year weighing around that I'd play with was that you never want to buy a cheap cable no matter what. So but when I say cheap cable I am not talking about that you go out and buy these gold plated audiophile cables that some nerd claims he can hear a difference with there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying in fact it's great to buy more gami monster and red go in fact read co um is super super affordable they're not in your guitar center their company the contact chris stubbs there who's there salesman and he helps you build your studio with the right cable and the biggest thing I'll say about cable is is usually what the difference between a bad cable and a good cable is somewhere between five and ten dollars for the same one do not spend the money on this is like a bad disease that creeps in and start infecting your equipment we were talking about this color that makes you make bad decisions bad cable like jose uh that they sell at guitar center it's just you know the joke always is with cable is can your significant other here the difference yes your significant other can hear the difference even if they have one year um you don't want whether it no matter what it is I guarantee you if you take your bad hose a cable and you put a mike through it and you listen to that mike doing the same thing you're going to hear a difference cable makes a difference now like much of this other stuff do you get to a point where the cable doesn't make a difference to a dirty degree? Absolutely once you get past the mo gabi the monster the red co a lot of these people are selling you snake oil that you do not need you do not need gold plated connectors no matter what that guy in best buy said with the weird facial hair um you go out these three brands are great and the price difference is so small and you'll thank yourself that you built your studio on solid crowd wait those extra five days you know? So your sister a itunes gift card that you've got and get some money you know do whatever it takes the builder studio on good cable what about the what about the two thousand dollars cable conditioner? Oh man, I'm not I'm not touching that one for the eight hundred dollar volume knob yeah, you know all this that this stuff it's like it just gets toe a silly degree, you know, the power cable think the most interesting thing I keep seeing on the internet is now everybody keeps saying thing that for speaker cable uh that if you take networking cable for computers like you plug it in, I don't know that anybody still does that if you use that as your speaker cables supposedly it sounds justus good as a lot of the thousand dollar tables that's the thing I keep really that I've not tried it, but I keep seeing that one pop up on my twitter feed with a link so um so, yeah, you don't want to work against your equipment, because you couldn't scratch together ten dollars, because you got the double double at wendy's or whatever. Um, anyone who could hear the difference between sheep cable and midprice cable? So it's, not a myth, believe that hype bust. Don't believe the hype that you have to spend, you know, a thousand dollars a cable.

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.