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sh73888 2012-10-30 12:04

House/Trance Mastering & Mastering Effects Chains - Advanced Users
Hey guys,

I am at a crossroads of sorts, as I have been doing things one way or another for a long time now, but realize now that since I have adequately upgraded my studio gear, its time to become much more proficient in my mastering know-how.

That being said, prior to now, I have done various things for "mastering" using sonar/cubase/audacity - and please dont have some one rant and rave about how mastering is for engineers only yadda yadda I DONT CARE WHAT HATERS HAVE TO SAY AND I AM NOT GOING TO SPEND GOOD MONEY FOR THIS WHEN I CAN DO IT MYSELF.

My interest in knowledge here is specifically to mastering chains, choice of plugins, steps in the process, this kind of thing. OBVIOUSLY every track is different - so please refrain from this kind of bullshit throw away commentary too - I have been producting for 12+ years so save the b.s. I need some new insight and unless you are an industry professional at this point, in music production school, or a released Trance/House producer, odds are I probably know what you are about to tell me. SO... That being said, I would like to open up a healthy discussion on the topic of Mastering & Mastering Effects Chains.

Up until recently, my "mastering" has always leaned on the light side, with minimal effects - equalization (I now prefer using the SSL mastering bus in Reason 6.5.1 with the ReQ-131, MCLASS, and occasionally Uhbik Q for this stage... as many as needed to shape properly), then exporting to 192000 wave/24bit, followed by a hard limit in Audacity (up to 6dB thresh but usually less - like around 1.7 - 3.5dB once I get the final mix levels just right), and then amplifying to -.3dB for safe clearance.

I brickwall filter each individual sound in my mixes, so dealing with highpassing the main mix wasnt even on my radar until recently, as it seems like a safe bet, and maybe im dealing with placebo, but it seems like even if I set my lowend limit in Reason manually to say 24hz at the low, still using a highpass filter on the end mix at 24hz in Audacity seems to clear the slightest tint of low end rumble. Or I am totally buying into b.s. there IDK..

I have read countless forums and sites on the topic - I am not sold on the normalization process, as it may or may not cause minimal undie distortion during its processing, which I would love for someone who actually KNOWS to clarify.

I have read the horror that entails from levelling type plugins and the distortion that ensues - obviously not in the cards, but worth mentioning as a bad idea for anyone reading who isnt up to speed on this stuff.

I understand the concept of hard vs. soft limiting - and I get that in this industry hard limiting seems to be the way to go - EXCEPT the hard limiter in Audacity for instance seems to cause a tinny distortion that The softclip limiter does not - Or is this my brain telling my ears something that isnt really there.


So please share your successes, failures, tips, suggestions, etc etc. And Keep the Condescending to a Minimum, oh wait.. this isnt yall are actually cool!

Cheers, Hope anyone on the eastcoast survived Hurricane Sandy btw.

Disregard the hostility above - I pasted this thread from my TA acct so I can get the most out of this topic and the people on that site are a. ignorant b. rude c. nevermind... haaha anyways looking forward to hearing from yall

devilfish 2012-10-30 13:40


I earn the best results at the moment with the UHE-Q and the Ozone Maximizer only!

that's it. (less is often more) ;)

otherwise I have many compressors or limiters and EQ's already in each Channel of the SSL mixer.

I hope we will soon get the group tracks (Busses)

Sipher 2012-10-30 14:27

Minimal is usually best. Ozone, or a good compressor chain, and eq, monitor all tracks to maintain equal level and balance of sound. Use the eq to clean up any noise mud, or rumble. Mastering is about finishing if you are working to hard to balance a track out in relation to other tracks on a release chances are it needs to be re worked on a per track level, balance out the elements that make the track up, before you try to master it. There are no quick fixes or magic bullets. If your unsure walk away let your ears rest come back a few hours later or a day later.

devilfish 2012-10-30 16:34


Originally Posted by Sipher (Post 1167125)
If your unsure walk away let your ears rest come back a few hours later or a day later.

I do that very often ;)

and there are days where I pull all the faders all the way down again :D
often I turn also off all the eq's / comp / gate and effect units in the SSL mixer.. except there are important style effects. but they are mostly involved directly in the rack and not the mixer. :)
and then i save it as version XY (Date)

which also plays a major:

is the brightness in the room!
when it is light, you feel the heights yet to be pleasant ..
the same mix can be perceived in a dark room as too sharp!
with light green / orange / red I made the best experience :)

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