Room and Acoustics


DIY Mastering


Lesson Info

Room and Acoustics

There's another part of the year a luminosity that really has a great rocket which is you need to spend three thousand dollars have some nerd measure your room and put weird I saw seles triangles all over it of poking out things that will poke your dog's eye out if it licks it wrong and all this weird spiky stuff everywhere and I'm going to tell you the same thing that um I kind of told you about uh, speakers your room is about a relationship now I will say this if your room sounds terrible, you're weren't gonna work harder than you have to and that's why we do acoustic so we have to work less hard when you do see these crazy try angled spiky things like if you ever if you google blackbird studio surprise those beautiful control room on earth and it looks insane and I can't tell you how great it sounds there when I pass through but you don't need that to make great records when you need to do is you need toe know your room and know how it sounds and know the flaws acoustics help not de...

termine your choices if you know that your room is wolfing you know that it's two dead you know that the high is there muted you could begin to compensate when you hear things in the real world and go back and forth and were in these things makes the biggest difference is knowing your room how your room sounds and your relationship with your speakers. Now, um, I'm gonna give a big caveat to that. Uh, if you are working in a warehouse hall in your room is echoing everywhere you are goingto have the worst time mixing, and you're probably up against odds that won't give you a good outcome. I really like, as you'll see this next picture that are nice iphone shots that I think my assistant was drunk when he took on the left here or I don't know how that works in computer land, but the one with the two computer screens is where I work all day, as you could see the empty wine bottle that I fill with water, I swear, um, this room literally has carpet on the four carpet on the walls where I sit has some wood, but it is possibly the dentist room you will ever hear it there is, you know, as you could here, there's a nice natural echo in this room. This is not where I would want to work even know wade around in the day we're going to be master, get some tracks that I'm gonna attempt to do some work um, in my opinion, it's better to make a room dead than live, especially if you want you know, uh, to do accurate monitoring, you don't want to hear a reverb in your room. You don't want to hear flutter echo in the roof here in my room there's all sorts of clouds filled with insulation that are randomly placed all over the room. There's weird miss shaped objects in the back room that dissipate the sound all over the place. As you can see, these walls are totally weird shaped and coming on weird quarters and everything. Um, I put a lot of work into my room because I have to sit there for the last eight years, eight years, one hundred hours a week. Sometimes you do not need to get this crazy as you could see in the er room of the side. This is our studio b where we do a lot of guitar track again, some mixing and where I have to work when our studios to book for me to even get into it in there, you know, it's sheet rock walls we have a little bit of fabric on one wall, and then a whole lot of we call sound clouds all over the place. There are insulation filled fabric well, uh, fabric over some insulation, they dead in the room, but really, what you need to do is like, you know, not everybody could afford tto run out of by this very overpriced foam stuff I actually don't prefer the sound of phone um you want to get your room to just be dead so you can listen without a color now the other think everybody's gonna tell you is you know, rooms with parallel walls some terrible they are right that doesn't mean that there hasn't been thousands of great records made in rooms with parallel walls. The fact of the matter is every day somebody is making a record in their bedroom that's on the radio there is seventeen year old kids in france who produced lady gaga records their bed for now and that's a fact I'd like they're not just going out and spending five thousand dollars of treatment does the treatment help? Absolutely itjust doesn't determine it. So what makes a good satya grube dead room's better than bligh? Verbs don't work in your warehouse or I hope you don't have a warehouse but if your uncle does that's not where you want to set up your studio west you got a lot of foam and some sheet rocking to do acoustics could get complicated quickly mostly what also a eliminating extraneous noise if you are some weird hipster with what mason jar collection of nails in the back that's gonna rattle that's going to be really annoyed the work and you want to silence city creaks and crawls I have are a tt alarm system got placed in my room for so reason that I had to stuff the whole thing with cotton so I'd stop rattling when I worked on hip hop. Um, so you want to get your speakers at optimal listening position to see what works in your room? I also recommend experimenting. There is two dead in a room it can get to dead, and everything sounds boxy and stuffy of the high end gets too absorbed. So while I said deads better than live there's always the happy medium that we keep talking about with all these things that you don't need to go so far, you just he did do some work. Um, there's, lots of free test toads and methods to testing your infighting trouble spots. I don't want to get into that because I'm not acoustician would I do for my room is, you know, I have a pointless I used the service are d'oh, and when I built my room, I really did a lot of work on it last year is I just had a five song playlist of my five favorite songs, and I would listen to him, I'd lessen the entire playlist, I'd put something up wants to do it, I take it back down, see if I liked it better, I did that every day for about an hour. You know, each day for a couple of months I got my room to sound to a point where I was really, really happy I feel really, really comfortable working in it every day um so speaker positioning this is ah, another crucial crucial part of your room. So while this isn't the absolute rule it's the best rule to start to follow um you want a forward equilateral triangle with your speakers and that's the best starting point so when you say equilateral triangle there's a lot of variables of that because that equal trying if you're sitting back further, you keep getting wide this depth. So one of the most interesting things I word from the best book on recording of all time that's also incidentally, like you know, would you sees things like what are the secrets people always say it like you're recording tell me your secrets this book's a secret only because you khun can't even get it on amazon you have to order it from its website it's called mixing with your mind I think it's the best book on recording ever written if you've read books on recording and your past that beginner stage, I can't recommend this book enough this guy has this great theory about how you widen your monitors where, um if you're getting too much kickin stare and vocal and things that have had to the centre if you widen your monitors, you'll get less of that so if you find your mixes aren't translating properly the length of that equal lateral triangle that you're trying to form by winding or closing it is going to either make the stuff of the center louder or quieter so I've balance it's perfectly why speakers where I find that when I put on my headphones or I go out into the real world or I waste it on a laptop I hear that my kick it stared vocal levels are transferring properly because I know how many feet apart my monitors are and I didn't just put it where they're pretty because that kind of lean off of the desk a little bit and it kind of scares me when we get them really loud there's another great trick for this which is this fantastic ap general lack who coincidentally are you know my favorite speaker company also make this app which is called speaker angle it's a real wallop breaker at ninety nine cents this will literally show you the angle that your speakers should be at so thatyou conform that equal to lateral trying all give not just the studio audience as well ninety nine cents you literally hit a button and it will show you the angle that your speakers should be sitting up it is very well worth it and I'm so happy they made that up this is just a a rule. And like any other rule, they're meant to be broken. I would set your speakers up like this. But if it's not working like for bright for you, feel free to break it. You don't. As you can see, we curve with easy emma's ha's in for me to work. I do like my spear saying some people like him flattened just straight out. You can figure out your own personal preferences, there's. No reason that you have to listen to this rule. It's not the end of the world. Whatever you makes you comfortable, you could d'oh. So put simply everyday people make great records and mildly treated rooms these days, he is knowing your room. Just got to do the work. Build that relationship with your equipment of your speakers. We have questions. Any questions in the studio audience? I think we've made a lot of the ah, the gear. Illuminati. Very upset today. I like doing that. So as faras ah, treatment of a room and other things like that. Is there other recommendations of things not tohave in a room? I mean, obviously things that shakaar, but anything that would color the mix, so, um, I have a good amount of plywood. If you see what's back of fit and susan to the shots I have would look that's like that in the back of my room for some reflection there's a theory called live and dead end in a room construction um I would say this glass is a terrible sounding surface even though you see that in every fancy control rube I actually don't have it we use a really cool system by way of the tv and that we have the camera into the drug room because some bands also liketo rock out and not have it feel like some losers staring at them while I'm checking my e mail and then I killed the vibe he's like wow we're rocking out so hard and he's just checking his email so glass sounds terrible I really like so I buy the fabric that sub by walls is a felt I did not go to the hardware store and put up twelve different fabrics in my wall I will confess I walked into a studio in new york I really liked the way there could trover decided that I called the studio manager about twelve times till you told me with fabric he bought and I used it by that really scientific method um rocks all seven o four is the insulation when you see the pillows let me see if I could get back to this side so I could actually point this out there we go so the pillows you see on the wall and the studio b diagram that's stuffed with rocks all seven oh for that's the most common acoustic they actually like there's a name for it like you know it's the highest rated sound insulation when you see what's between studio walls which I could see a little label of it out here which even the studios built with in between the walls the way you secure sound is rocks all seven o for that is it's not really much of a secret I'm putting that in pegboard in back of it and whenever fabric you think looks cool if you want to you know use your superman sheets for when you were three years old put it over it's not gonna affect the sound that much carpet on the floor um and then ah lot of people use bamboo um would these days for under their chair since that way it doesn't mark up your carpet and it gives a nice reflection under it um other than that yeah I mean um definitely avoiding glass and tile in your control room whereas tile sounds fantastic and alive room in my opinion we have tiled walls all over my life now you mentioned you want to really get too into it because you're not acoustician but if you're working in a room you're unfamiliar with is there anything you do to kind of assess the reflections you mentioned like there's some tess tons of freeways available test can you elaborate? So I traveled to awad's through. So this is a great question is so what I get into a studio that I'm unfamiliar with is I have a couple songs, and then usually whatever mix I've been working on, I'll download off my phone and I listened to those mixes on the speakers that I tried to really gets away. I will show up to work even a half hour early just so I don't eat into the band's time and get to know my speakers in that room. I will say this, my speakers or my relationship and most important relationships. So I travel with my speakers anywhere I go west, very lucky to have common speakers. So a lot of studios have them when I traveled, but I will spend a lot of time getting used to and going. You know what? This room's a little too fuzzy at the top, it's a little too bright, like I just worked out a fantastic studio in syracuse called sub cat that had amazing sounding control room. But the one thing was is there was so much more base bloom in that room compared to mind his mind, so muchmore dead and I had to really I was dialing bayside of pop on headphones a lot of times and really check us I know these headphones as well what's great about headphones is they get rid of your acoustic environment what's bad about them is that they're not as accurate as our monitors with all the movement of the speakers well anything else I think we're good cool going one small question because this is this is the end of segment here so and I think there's a good time to revisit our little chart which had believe is the next slide so we have a question from uh mr e vh fifty one fifty I think I think I know what his favorite guitar amp is ah I agree I'm about to start master and my first track what sort of process for look at performing I realized this entire course about mastering but are there any go to procedures that are a must in any particular orders that's probably a good time for us to revisit this and talk about what's next so the next thing we're gonna get into after this quick little break is thie plug ids and the order that I do these plug ins and all that fun stuff so basically you should just come back in fifteen minutes but as we did go through yesterday is a lot of time it's compression que les I'm cutting base that I really like you first that, uh, multi bad kam pressured that distortion brick wall them in and get that dither. Uh, that's, my general go to with a five percent ty. I'm so I have to improvise away from that. Well, so, just to be clear to everybody at home, this is your blueprint for mastering. This is, obviously, every project has its own idiosyncrasies, and what not. But this is your temple. It. This is the order to do everything these air. The tools does the goal of each each step of the workflow in the middle, and then at the bottom, the kind of core tools that you'll be using during each step of the process. So memorize this and follow along as we go through the rest of these process. These steps later today.

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.