Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by ThePez, Nov 23, 2000.

  1. Ok....what's the deal with mastering? We just got our CD back from being mastered and I can't tell much diffrence between what we sent them and what we got back. But I know it's something that needs to be done.

    The only major diffrences I've noticed so far is that they shortend some of song spacing and in one song there is now a loud hiss. Alot of the songs sound "brighter" and the vocals are louder it seems, but that Isn't really what we wanted....we mixed it the way we liked it, but now it's really bright.

    What is actually done when a CD is mastered?

    Just curious....even though it's a little diffrent, the CD still is pretty GOOD.
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    a good mastering engineer will "normalize" the eq on the recording, meaning he will find areas in the freq spectrum that the mixing engineer might have missed that are either too loud or too quiet, and even them out. furthermore, they can minimize noise and make the songs all the same volume, song to song.

    since it is impossible to mix a recording for every set of speakers, and since every set of speakers is unique in how it reproduces sound and different frequencies, this normalization is essential for a recording to sound good on all types of stereo setups.

    if you are not pleased with the results from mastering, you need to go back to the guy who did it and point it out to him, and have him fix it.

  3. Thanks John,

    The person who did the mastering said that there was not enough "sample" of "hiss" on the one song to isolate that frequency to deleat it. It's not very noticable, but I hear it. If there is nothing that could be done, I can live with it. BTW, the CD was mastered by the same company who is duping, printing, and packageing the CD. I don't know if that makes a diffrence.
  4. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Its generally a good idea to be present when the engineer is mastering. He has to make a lot of judgement calls that could differ from yours.
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i agree with brewer there.

    whenever anyone does something with our music like mastering, at least one of us, most likely me, will be present.
  6. I would have loved to have been there too. But the company that is doing all this is in Canada. And being in a rush for time (we've been recording this for a year already) we had to get it finished quickly (for stocking stuffer sales). With my full time job and the expense involved, none of us could go up there. All that being said, I have the mastered copy, and they did a pretty good job with it overall.
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well that's cool, then. and congrats on getting your cd done :D
  8. I do the mastering for our band, and it works fine for our purposes so far. I use Sound Forge 4.5 with a couple of Direct X plugins like Waves L1 ultramaximizer+ (yeah whatta name) and different Eq's and stuff. It works great and the result is almost always the way we want it, if it isnt then I will have to do it all over again ;) The downside is that it is pretty time consuming.. finding that sweet eq-setting when you have a _lot_ of parameters to fiddle around with.. But it works and it works fine. :)
  9. Thanks :)
  10. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I think I would more or less agree with John's explanation of mastering, although I may have a slightly more expansive view. I'd say they provide the finishing touches to a recording. They work mainly with e.q. and compression to normalize your tracks and generally make your recording "professional" or "air play" quality. Some mastering engineers may even add touches of reverb, too --although I've found most to be very conservative in their approach to altering a recording. A professional will often have the ability to transfer your recording to analog tape and back, use digital and analog/tube mixers, compressors, etc. in order to get the "right" sound for your recording.

    FYI - One great tip I've gotten from a mastering engineer is to minimize the use of compression when recording and to focus mainly on recording tracks well and providing the mastering engineer with the best possible mix.

    [Edited by Saint on 12-01-2000 at 11:10 AM]