View Full Version : Of Former Fame - Help me master

09-08-2010, 10:13 AM
All the mixing is done for this project. It will be mastered twice: By the in-house mastering facility of the Label and by me. Just so the band has a choice.

My listening environment is far from ideal, so I was hoping I could get some feedback on the general frequency balance and dynamics. But any and all feedback is appreciated. If anyone feels like commenting, it would be great if you could mention what you listened on (cans, speakers, what species).

The sound we're going for is modern US-style heavy rock... So yes, it's pretty squashed.

Three songs (out of the eleven that make up the album):


With the friendly request not to distribute these in any way :)

09-08-2010, 11:35 AM
I really like this and I am not usually a big fan of heavyish rock music.

My only criticism on the mix for the first song is the following:

1) Kick is a bit tubby sounding
2) Haromny vocals are too low
3) Cymbals could be brought up a bit as well

I like the sound you got on the main vocal and guitars. Very good job.

I haven't listened to the second track yet.

09-09-2010, 12:47 AM
Thanks for listening, your feedback is appreciated.

I've never heard the term 'tubby' before when it comes to describing sound. Could you explain what that means?

09-09-2010, 01:04 AM
In my experience, 'tubby' is an easier way to say that there's too much 300-500Hz content in a signal.
The exact frequency varies, but the thought is the same: there's a 'roundness' or 'fatness' that's unpleasant, out of place, and distracting.
I don't hear it, though. It's a thick kick, to be sure, but it doesn't sound out of place IMO.

Now, my opinion:
The heavy guitars are too loud; they drown out the vocals everywhere except the verses.
Which is a shame, because this vocal is awesome. He should be the main focus; I'd have mixed the rest of the band around him.
Which is not to say the mix is bad. It certainly isn't; it's just not as balanced as I think it could be.

Then again, I know how guitar players are; they have to be the loudest, always. Their Mesas and Marshalls demand it. ;)

As far as the master is concerned: it sounds good here. Pretty squashed, but I was too busy listening to the tune to notice much. Good work.

09-09-2010, 03:09 AM
Very true about the vocals. It's actually an unwanted side-effect of the mastering process that I only noticed the next day with fresh ears (funny how that works) I've already compensated for it in a later version. Hurray for stems!

Thanks for listening and offering your opinion!

09-09-2010, 05:03 AM
I thought I might as well upload those newer versions then:


And one more song while I'm at it (Last one! But keep an eye on http://www.facebook.com/OfFormerFame if you like the music):


09-09-2010, 06:24 AM
Just listening to the first tune over phones. Great song! The mix seems to suffer from separate-itis! LOL. The mix doesn't quite sound cohesive with some elements sounding like they're in different spaces.
Great vocal.

09-09-2010, 11:35 AM
Got a new set of mains in the mastering side a day or so back... will pop em up there maybe this weekend. Initial listen, drums are buried with the exception to the kick. frequency wise i can't really comment as I am listening on junk. I have a hunch there is a hole in 8-12k or so and maybe too much going on in 2-5 k. Not sure though. Almost bet a nickel your monitors cross over at 2-2.5k. The snare clickyness from over compression is gone from earlier mixes which is a good thing.

09-09-2010, 11:55 AM
I've always been very generous with drums in the mix in the past, maybe I'm overcompensating these days.

I'm beginning to think the guitars get pushed forward more then the other instruments in the mastering process. Probably the drum transients getting cut of... I'll have another listen...

I'm very interested in what you find on your new speakers Bubba, thanks for listening again and thanks for the feedback so far.

09-09-2010, 12:06 PM
Explain to me the "mastering process" as you do it. Really, a good master is the mix + more betterness... so ideally you make it loud and that is it as your mix is already as good as you will ever get. One major side effect of "make loud" is things distorting or disappearing. Some limiters eat bass, some fug up the mids, etc etc. Also the danger of self mastering as you just end up tinkering on things you should have gotten right earlier or are plagued by the same room/speaker problems. (If you have a nasty null at 100hz, whatever stage you are at, you are going to have a nasty null at 100hz for instance.) Here's an idea.. post the pre and post for comparison.

09-09-2010, 12:23 PM
Oh I'd much rather seen someone else do the master to be honest. Hopefully the label's mastering facility will surprise me and do a much better job then me. This is a 'just in case' I only offered because I heard some of the other products they had online (the quality of which varied greatly)...

A before and after could be fun indeed, I'll see what I can do.

EDIT: My mastering process in this case is just some eq and limiting, but I mixed with a compressor on the 2-buss as well.

09-09-2010, 12:41 PM
Ok, glad you are looking out. The "in house" mastering was one of my major concerns when talking with them way back as I know how those deals inevitably go down. The record co's brother in-law has some cracked plugs and SoundForge and a really bumpin' stereo and you get back a mess for all your hard work.

09-09-2010, 01:16 PM
I backed up the limiting a few notches and I must say that I think it's breathing a lot better this way. Drums are punchy again and the guitars seem more in place. Then again... I've heard this music way way way too often, I might just be going insane! No wait... The unicorn said it was all good...Must hold on to that...



And for comparison a non mastered version:


Thanks for all the help!

09-09-2010, 01:42 PM
In my experience, 'tubby' is an easier way to say that there's too much 300-500Hz content in a signal...

That's exactly what I meant!

Just listened to the most recent version. Definitely an improvement over the original (although the original was not bad to begin with).

09-10-2010, 05:06 AM
I like the name tubby! I think I used to call it boxy, but you sold me!

Or maybe 'tubby' could sort of be the positive 'boxy'. Like: "Your kick sounds like crap, way to boxy!" and "That's a nice tubby kick you have there!"

That's probably because I like the kick's sound though ;)

09-10-2010, 04:30 PM
Again this is not my genre but superb recording and performances.

You really shouldn't leave raw mp3s around tho<grin> :D

I can't help practising mastering.I'm sure I'm not as good as your guys but it helps me to work on genres that aren't my norm.Will remove file if and when you wish,


forgot to change my Render rate so it's at 192k ABR.

09-10-2010, 08:44 PM
Glad to see the reviews are positive so far! I'm not going to listen to any until they're all ready and done. I've heard them too much too lol.

We're having a hell of a time trying to narrow down an album cover now. It's always something...

09-29-2010, 10:23 AM
You fellers want to post the finals for the Reaperites?

09-29-2010, 12:11 PM
I have no objections, but Omni's call I guess...

For those that are wondering: Bubba offered to do the mastering for this project and I'm very glad he did: The results are great!

10-06-2010, 11:38 AM
I will make a "teaser" track but I'd rather not drop the whole song on here for all to steal :)

Prior to this album, sales didn't really matter. But since our tour is dependent on sales, I need to be a little stingy. lol

10-06-2010, 06:08 PM
I will make a "teaser" track but I'd rather not drop the whole song on here for all to steal :)

Good deal, let them pet the puppy... but pay up to keep it. Wait, is that dirty?