DIY Mastering

Lesson 10/26 - Sequencing and Track Spacing


DIY Mastering


Lesson Info

Sequencing and Track Spacing

Consistency and clean up seems like we should be doing this last but I think we decided to do this because you need to know where you're going in order to know why to go down a good path basically um so um this is our last real concept of the overall view of what mastering is as we said ladder clear more consistent this is where we get to the more consistent and then also sequencing transitions track order obviously you get to the end you did not record all of your songs and the proper spacings between each other and all that fun stuff you want to do some cool transitions put him in a different order than you recorded him and that was the time to do it. We also have to even out the volume between tracks which is crucial and as well, sometimes the frequencies between tracks as we discussed your offering is gonna be referencing the best sounding track um you know, I make a choice when I start doing a master teo which mix I feel like sums up the body of it if it's died verse of matt progr...

amme material I might pick the song that's in the middle of everything and has a lot of different things if it's not so diverse I'll pick the mix that I think works best and try to get them all the work as good as that one um so when I say value between tracks that's the best case scenario um worst case scenario it's gonna be volume q compression clipping all sorts of things between tracks to get them all worked well, then we get to the funnest part of it all which is entering the meta data and writing the song titles and the inside jokes that you and your band think they're going to be funny to everybody else the call outs to the guy you hated the other bad and all those other fun things people do with song titles making sure your album title signs shows up in itunes making sure that there's these nice things called src codes would help get you your royalties collected when you play it played on internet radio and other places all this stuff you have to enter it in at the end if you want make your life easy um with getting paid which we all want to do so we could afford more mastering plug ins. Well, not as interesting is perfecting the sounds in which plug ins you do it knowing this stuff makes one life easy and to its pretty essential that you may have figured out some ways to do it but I'm going to probably show you a little bit of it easier hopefully better work method than you're used to up for the stuff so the first thing we're going to talk about is um sequencing and tracks basic so obviously you want your record toe um flow very smoothly and you know have it all feel good as it goes through all your favorite records you know when you're listening you're not you don't sit there going wow twenty seconds before the next song hit you go well, that record felt great you want other people to feel that way about your record? Well, you may have heard that two seconds is the standard between songs if you ever have paid attention to most of your favorite records you know this is an absolute lie and that's the standard for when you're making a really unprofessional record that you spent no time on um in general you want to feel out, you know, big, uneducated listening just as we're talking about your reference material what I did when I first started working for alan dotrice the west west side is I went on and I looked up my favorite records through all of my life and I literally did measurements of I'd listened like you know how long before um the last kick drum hit of the song where the cymbals ring out before the next song comes on typically on my favorite punk records, how long are the songs between on ok computer? How long are they on echoed away like some of my favorite records ever um and then you get to learn what's the right choices for this record and then you listen to your own record and think about are these good choices for my record, like sometimes a full fade out on the court is necessary and you need a breath before you go to a totally different mood or a different song. Sometimes you have to keep the energy up and you want four stick clicks before the next song to keep that punk rock and vibe going so I think it's really important toe not just say when this song is over the next song starts you wantto make a conscious decision and think about what feels good between the tracks. Another method to do which is really apparent these days really is happening a lot maurine every john racy but it's particularly important medium is sequencing to the beat. So what I mean by that is is let's say track one is ah hundred forty beats per minute um when truck one ends a wire time it's a good good idea to put it one bar two bar is a half a bar right after the next one or haven't seamlessly cross fade in with the other one and use a meat matching um this is gets more and more common I hear it on every hardcore punk and metal record these days and as well if that weren't enough, then a lot of time, if you want your courts to wring out, you have to make sure their keys transition well, so then you have a really fun time. And now you need to start thinking about that in the pre production. If you're gonna do your order based on that, all these things require planning and sometimes improvisation cause the other big thing that I have happened a lot of time is the band sends me an order, and I go. This is the absolute worst thing I've ever heard in my entire life, because yet again, they also have lost objectivity. The drummer wants the first song on the record to be the one where he does the two bar phil, because he's awesome! The singer wants it to be the one where he hits the hideout at that the guitarist wants it to be the one that they did most recently cause his favorite song is always the last one they recorded. As you can all tell by the laughter, this is utterly moronic, so I come in and I say, hey, guys, you don't track nine out of eleven really sounds like a single toby, I think, can we want to show that two people little earlier, though drac nine and ill sometimes just as I described before I bounced down here's your bad idea here's an idea I thinks a little better oftentimes we then have a nice little compromise they say well, jesse truck five as track to really is not working for us let's keep that as five and the rest of yours is great. Um this is a poi one of the most popular articles I've written on the internet talks about this is a place I think objectivity really helps, especially if you're your own um uh what do you call your recording? Your own band? It could be really tough to make this decision of what makes the first impression because the fact of the matter is when people hear your record today they're going to go to it on spotify or audio and we're beats music or whatever and they're going to hit play and they're going to make a judgement in twenty seconds about you they're going to hear the vocal in there basically good to go this sucks or this rules. So having that song not be your twelve minute intro track of wind while indian chance of the back not reference again the record I worked on really that's not the best idea, especially if you're a new artist it's one thing, if you're established, everyone knows who you are and you can get away with the twelve minute indian chance because everybody knows after that comes the most crushing metal song of all time um it's another thing if you're just new to the world and you have twenty, fans, I really think it's a bad idea to sequence your record as your favorite song to your least favorite song would I advise though, that everybody could do without objectivity is think about moods like I specifically really like to do the thing of like making the brightest, happiest songs come first and then go down toa the more mellow songs like you know you think about your listening to record on your way home from work, you're getting a little more mellow as the sun goes down and you know your day goes on, you get a little more tired so that one works for me particularly, but everybody's their own artists and could do it sometimes it's good to wind down, put your ballot at the end but, you know, putting your ballad first and then after that, having your crushing double bass second is not always thie smoothest way I've ever heard a record be sequenced when I get that one ever inevitably once a month um so this is ahh one of the things that I advise is a lot of times you wantto get some outside perspective think about ways and also like don't write. Ah, hypothetical order down in your head of just like oh, this song is cool. This song is cool, what's great with the method that we're about to go through is you can listen to the songs back to back to back and see how they work together and decide if they actually do, in fact, rule one. Next, the other three keys clash, the tempos clash. Are you making a good first impression? Um, any questions on sequencing before going awesome question came in from dave andrews, who said, would you suggest building up a track list from least energetic to most or build up the energy for the middle of the album and lesson it toward the end? I guess we kind of talked about that, but yeah, no, I mean, but that is an interesting way of looking at it. I think it depends on the album. I think that both of those hypothesis have worked, and those methods work on different records, like, I think there's a lot of records that, like, buildup by shock five and then kind of deflate that actually worked really well. But I think you need to find how your record worse, I think there's a couple different methods you can think about, and then really figure out which one's yours like I you know, I really think this is another place where it's it's great to do a couple different orders and sometimes see especially if you're doing this yourself you're not paying a mastering place one hundred eighty dollars an hour in order to our you know that's the best case scenario one hundred eighty dollars now are a lot of time to decide if your order was in fact a great idea or not you put this together in the way we're about to show you you see which one's working you come back confer with the five guys tell your drum a reason that he had for one of the first song first cousin his drum fill and then you move on all right and one more from the kevin spencer who asked on track order what would you suggest on a compilation album so that's ah that's a really rough one on a compilation I tend to think when you're making a compilation this is somebody had a hypothesis about what this company shows and put your best feet forward and that might be actually the place where you do want to put that person decided to record their deb oh, that sounds like it was recorded in a shoebox that might be good for the last song sometimes I'm sure finn and I can count to count on all of our heads and tails of times we heard nineties hardcore compilation sequence best song, the worst saw god back in the day, you know, there's there's a lot of that going around, and I don't think that's the worst idea, so it may be that is the exception to my hypothesis of best of worse is sometimes a good idea when it comes to compilations. Another good question I know this is something that the guys that audio hammer feel extremely strongly about is schmaltzy says how long in a debut record should've banned weight to get into a hook? Specifically, I'm trying to convince the rest of my band to not start a record with two minutes of many strings. Theo audio hammer guys have a very strict policy about not doing the, you know, two minutes of some machine sounding machine and hell sounding thing before your song starts, yes, I'm I am totally, totally with that so here's an interesting thing is there's, this fantastic book by j frank called future hit dna and what jae does in this book and I will you know, I wrote a music business book because I hate every music business book, and I thought they were all so terrible, I felt like I'd write one his books are the exception, he has a future in today and hack your hit and after you buy my book, I highly suggest you buy hiss, but so this book has this really interesting thing that most people will turn out tune out a new artist if they hear it and it takes more than thirty seconds to get the vocal in most genres. But on the radio today there is no song has been number one in like the last I'm gonna get the amount of years wrong. But what say five years that hasn't gotten to the vocal in four seconds, so increasingly two on the charts over time, he shows in this book that people have less patience for in the pop world getting to a vocal, but in general, I even before I ever read the thirty second thing I know for me like when we went through that period in the nineties where the emo band would do, though like clean guitar thing for a minute and a half I go, can I hear if the cigarette sounds like a dying dog so I could just know if I like this or not, but that you know you get there? And if the singer sounds great, you forgive them for that emitted in thirty, but sometimes I didn't get there to find out if that singer did sound like the dying dog that we're all used to in the nineties, we know you you you couched all of that in the term in in terms of the pop world but think it important point to note is that for other kinds of music like you know medium or heavy music or whatever a lot of those things still apply in our ears have the way that we look at those kinds of non pop music has been influenced by how we think about pop music too so you shouldn't think that just because well that's what pop music does that doesn't apply to me it might apply to you what pop music is it's just a greater measurable per capita to get really nerdy since that's the most popular music what really has happened is that we're so used to being a little sample things so fast on the internet we've going more impatient so that does work in old genres just the studies on pop music is that's where the body is absolutely I just want to throw in the kevin spencer says don't bore us get to the course oh very nice kevin very nice to touch base on ah you know if the hook grabs your something in four seconds just from experience and from friends and the like trying these a community with websites like sound club where you can see the way form that's that's kind of really kind of turned it on its head where people will go to the breakdown or they'll go to the the first the first drop as a cz you've mentioned earlier so I kind of just skip the whole beginning and then go straight for the and pay off I'm the total person with that is you know what I do all the time is the second if it's not really getting any but somebody gave me like I have like one or two friends who I really trust about music recommendations and if they're like this band's created I'm getting a little bored aye aye skip till I hear of course and then I decide if I like that band or not and I know somewhere around a minute there's usually a chorus so but yeah, there is a big thing that especially for mohr album based talk like you know the other thing we're choose we're discussing songs right now there's a lot of genres that are very dependent on albums like you know e m especially is much more single dependent alien you know you think of this way so to get back to skrillex. Skrillex in two thousand twelve was the high one of the highest paid music live musicians and the most streamed artists in all of two thousand twelve he's never put out a full length record ever it's all dependent on songs and that's increasingly so for so many genres of music is that we're seeing a song consumption basis we're seeing in the pop charts for singles so more and more but then there's the wilco's of the world, the black keys who make albums and what people care about are these albums and it's even the same thing in the metal in the pop punk world to is that you can't get established if you don't have a solid album to go with it, you can get some headway off singles and singles really, really help you have to have great songs that get turned into singles by fans consuming him, sharing him, but people, at the end of the day, we're going to go, okay, I heard this album is good and they're going to hit play and they odds are your two minute midi string intro is not going to be the thing that really impresses everybody, but I know you want to impress your professor that you paid the seventy thousand dollars to at berkeley he's, not your target demographic, so I advise against that just one more thing before we move on. Can you just tell people once again what the name of your book is and where people could find it? Yes, it's called get more fans, the d I y guide to the new music business and it's that get more fans book dot com or the lovely amazon dot com, which I do most of myself through all right, thanks so much

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.