Old 11-19-2021, 11:20 AM   #1
Schlimby
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 5
Default Mastering an album question.

Please forgive my basic knowledge. I have 11 tracks finished for an album, all have been mastered individually (EQ, 2 types of compression and limiter) and I am happy with their sound/levels. My question is: now that I've loaded them all into a new project as an album, should I master the whole thing, or will that have the effect of the tracks being mastered twice and not sound good?
Schlimby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2021, 12:59 PM   #2
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,581
Default

What prompted the EQ, 2 types of compression and limiter?
I'd suggest that if the multitracks still exist that you should consider that eq and dynamics work as mix notes and now go finish the mixes to sound as finished as possible. Then the final "mastering" will just be sequencing (track order and segue spacing) and maybe some level adjustment song to song.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2021, 06:26 PM   #3
jamesp
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 268
Default

I would just make sure that the levels match - I find that it is best to adjust these by ear although you can use the SWS Loudness extension to give you a rough idea of the levels. If the sound of one or two songs is different to the rest of the album then by all means use some corrective processing but don't go overboard. If you find yourself wanting to use processing on everything then maybe you need to go back and revisit the original mixes or mastering.
__________________
JRP Music - audio mastering and restoration. http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/JRPMus/
jamesp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2021, 06:31 PM   #4
Coachz
Human being with feelings
 
Coachz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 10,485
Default

Each project starts at -12.5 lufs and then I use my ears.

I throw all mine in foobar2000 and jump around playing each and then adjust the volumes in Reaper for each project as needed.
__________________
www.chucktownband.com
Coachz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 02:31 AM   #5
TomL
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: London, U.K
Posts: 57
Default

You are in a typical mastering situation. A collection of mixes that are each how they need to be. Now, the task is to make them sit together and run as a performance when played back in one go, and also stand up as individual tracks for download.

Typically a little EQ to tailor one tracks run into another and maybe a little light compression, nudging a track up or down by a db so it sits with the tracks either side.

Do whatever it takes but be aware that if you find yourself doing too much you are probably wrong (or the mix isn't as good as you thought).

Welcome to a world of paranoia and self doubt. I have lived here for twenty eight years now, sometimes it is really quite sunny.
TomL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 06:48 AM   #6
Schlimby
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 5
Default

Thanks for your replies - very helpful.
Schlimby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 07:51 AM   #7
Lynx_TWO
Human being with feelings
 
Lynx_TWO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: St Petersburg FL
Posts: 368
Default COS Pro - try it!

Usually, you won't need any further compression to master an album since all the tracks are already mastered. The one thing you may want to consider is using Ceilings of Sound Pro (they have a 30-day trial) - have it listen to all the tracks, tell it to create a ceiling (which will be based on the average EQ print of all tracks), then have it listen to each track and have it adjust the 50-band parametric EQ to the average ceiling you created from all tracks. Use your ears, but a Wet value of 50% is a good place to start since you probably don't want to brute-force the parametric EQ to match the average ceiling. Or maybe you do. Again, just use your ears

This process can sonically "glue" your tracks together so they sound homogenous on the album.

Other than this though, as everyone else has said, you'll simply be making volume adjustments and using a limiter to make sure your entire album doesn't clip. I would highly recommend doing a dry-run render of the entire album when done and adjusting the Master Volume (or using JS Volume on the master track before your master limiter) so you are either at -12.5 LUFS with 0dB True Peak, or -14 LUFS with a true peak of -1.5dB (they will both result in the same loudness when uploaded to a streaming service, it will depend on how your limiter works. For example, with FabFilter L2 you can set the limiter with an output of -1.5dB).

So for example, let's say you get the volume and EQ of all tracks set the way you want, then do a dry render and it ends up being -16 LUFS. You'd simply turn up the Volume before your limiter by 3.5dB or, if using FabFilter L2, you'd turn up the Clipper by 3.5dB with an output of -1.5dB to meet the Streaming standard of -14 LUFS with a True Peak of -1.5dB. The reason for a True Peak of -1.5dB is to give all the lossy encoders headroom to avoid clipping internally when encoding your music. If you export audio at -12.5 LUFS with a True Peak of 0dB, the streaming service will turn it down by -1.5dB and the end result is essentially the same: -14 LUFS with a True Peak of -1.5dB.

This will ensure you meet streaming standards for overall Album loudness, but each track can have its own volume within the context of the entire mix.

Last edited by Lynx_TWO; 11-20-2021 at 08:10 AM. Reason: more information
Lynx_TWO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 12:20 PM   #8
beingmf
Human being with feelings
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Jazz City
Posts: 4,658
Default

As I stumbled upon it:
https://youtu.be/DHpZsPuoWMc
I̵ ̵h̵a̵v̵e̵n̵'̵t̵ ̵w̵a̵t̵c̵h̵e̵d̵ ̵i̵t̵,̵ ̵b̵u̵t̵ ̵9̵9̵%̵ ̵i̵t̵'̵s̵ ̵v̵e̵r̵y̵ ̵g̵o̵o̵d̵!̵

EDIT: Now I have, and as expected it's VERY good. It probably covers everything the OP is asking about and then some.
__________________
Windows 10x64 | AMD Ryzen 3700X | ATI FirePro 2100 | Marian Seraph AD2, 4.1.2.0 | Yamaha Steinberg MR816x
Experience the Blunzeworscht!

Last edited by beingmf; 11-21-2021 at 02:58 AM.
beingmf is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 01:16 PM   #9
Coachz
Human being with feelings
 
Coachz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 10,485
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by beingmf View Post
As I stumbled upon it:
https://youtu.be/DHpZsPuoWMc
I haven't watched it, but 99% it's very good!
How can it be 99% good if you didn't watch it ?
__________________
www.chucktownband.com
Coachz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 01:47 PM   #10
beingmf
Human being with feelings
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Jazz City
Posts: 4,658
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coachz View Post
How can it be 99% good if you didn't watch it ?
Because of the 2 or 3 videos I've watched (or rather: listened to) from that channel were pretty well researched. I guess, and I hope, that the rest of the content isn't your average youtube BS either.

EDIT: Yes, I was not disappointed.
__________________
Windows 10x64 | AMD Ryzen 3700X | ATI FirePro 2100 | Marian Seraph AD2, 4.1.2.0 | Yamaha Steinberg MR816x
Experience the Blunzeworscht!

Last edited by beingmf; 11-21-2021 at 02:59 AM.
beingmf is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2021, 04:55 PM   #11
The Kid
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 254
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlimby View Post
Please forgive my basic knowledge. I have 11 tracks finished for an album, all have been mastered individually (EQ, 2 types of compression and limiter) and I am happy with their sound/levels. My question is: now that I've loaded them all into a new project as an album, should I master the whole thing, or will that have the effect of the tracks being mastered twice and not sound good?
Haven't read the whole thread,but you are good to go, just use the project to listen and take notes to correct anything you don't like on the individual mixes
The Kid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2021, 03:17 PM   #12
jnorman34
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 274
Default

The advice TomL gives - “ if you find yourself doing too much you are probably wrong…” is the best thing in this thread.
jnorman34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2021, 06:00 AM   #13
carbon
Human being with feelings
 
carbon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Eesti
Posts: 2,575
Default

What I did with mastering my albums, was to import the tracks without mastering along with the mastering chain and settings I initially used to a new project to separate tracks and then adjust the effect chains for each song as needed in the album context.
__________________
KasparTORN - projeKTorn
carbon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2021, 11:20 PM   #14
bigtop
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 931
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlimby View Post
Please forgive my basic knowledge. I have 11 tracks finished for an album, all have been mastered individually (EQ, 2 types of compression and limiter) and I am happy with their sound/levels. My question is: now that I've loaded them all into a new project as an album, should I master the whole thing, or will that have the effect of the tracks being mastered twice and not sound good?
I am not a mastering engineer but I’ve read enough to know that the art of mastering is not something you learn quickly. By all means have a go yourself but if it was my album I would ask a mastering engineer to do this.

However I appreciate that may not be an option if budget won’t stretch that far.

Good luck.
__________________
It's never too late and you only have to get lucky once.
bigtop is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2021, 05:33 AM   #15
Andreya
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 6
Default

Hey there! Basic knowledge is nothing to apologize for. We've all been there.

Good advice here already.

I'm assuming you're like me (and many) and your interest in learning mastering is goal-oriented; you made songs, you want the songs to reach people, and then they need mastering. Maybe you have other reasons for pursuing this learning, in which case my experience may not be of much help.


But if that's you, I'll tell you something I would've benefited from being told like 8 years ago: Don't do it! Save yourself the paranoia and self-doubt. Thankfully nowadays you don't need them, I'll get to that.



I've worked hard learning to master my own music. There's one release up on Spotify etc under my own name ("A.Liv - Turnaround" if anyone's curious), that I mastered at home and am happy with. I'm no pro ME, but I have what I need.

The thing is though, this has taken EFFORT and TIME that I now realize I could've put into things like nailing some better vocal takes, or editing some groove timings, or finishing lyrics to more of my songs, or f%#€&g marketing (ugh...) or... you know... maybe taking a goddang *break* and resting my ears and soul a little in between the long studio hours.

I'm not bitter about it, no regrets. The learning was fun for me, and a lot of mastering skills translate back into the mixing situation, so I'm definitely seeing the benefits. But I'm very sure that I would've seen better results if I chose differently. My goal was to make music that actually reaches people, and with respect to that there were other places that needed my attention more.

And you know, if you're working even slightly outside of an established genre, then your specific personality is important, right? And in my perception there's a lot more room for your personality (doing things "wrong" if you will) in the previous stages of production than there is in mastering. Yes, mastering is also a musical art. But it's something you get, or don't get, "right" to a completely different extent IMHO.

Like: Did you achieve consistency, and hit your target loudness, without messing up your frequency response and/or your dynamics, or didn't you?

Felt real fricking sucky the first like five times I put something out online that I'd worked hard on only to realize the answer to that question was no, I didn't.

And while it is very rewarding now to be able to play those A.Liv tunes in Spotify playlists and actually feel proud of the sound, I also am the first to point out that I have (*checks spotify for artists*) a little under 1000
plays/month since release, and there are definitely things I could've done to get this music into the ears of more folks.
Not self-deprecating nor expecting miracles here, the fact that the music is reaching anyone at all is precious and I'm thankful. It's just clear to me that I've spent some time and energy in ways that didn't serve my purpose.



TL;DR: If you're at the stage where you're asking this kind of question, the cheapest online mastering that you can get is gonna be just fine for you. It's pretty good nowadays.

Yeah I know, it's money. But you're just not gonna get good mastering for cheaper, unless you're counting your own time as valueless (which it isn't).

The master can only ever be as good as your mix (and song) was anyway. And there's always more to learn about mixing (and songwriting/performing/arranging etc).

Still good reasons to learn it though. Just not in the domain of the immediate results.

Whatever you do, good luck with the release!
Andreya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2021, 05:39 AM   #16
Andreya
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 6
Default

P.S. Btw, I realise from what you wrote that your mastering process is already underway and my perspective might not help you in your immediate situation. I figure I'd still speak my mind though, I know there are many who are struggling with this particular thing and maybe someone else reads this and can benefit somehow. Peace all! <3
Andreya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2021, 12:40 PM   #17
Lynx_TWO
Human being with feelings
 
Lynx_TWO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: St Petersburg FL
Posts: 368
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreya View Post
The master can only ever be as good as your mix (and song) was anyway. And there's always more to learn about mixing (and songwriting/performing/arranging etc.
Very well stated. It’s annoying when you get a bad mix from a client and they expect you to make magic happen! At the same time, it’s certainly not a bad thing to approach a mix from a mastering perspective as you pointed out.

I had a client ask me to mix and master their songs, but they didn’t like my mix since they wanted a “live” sound, so I had them do the mix and I did the master. Then they were like, “it sounds OK but how did you get THAT sound on your mix?” (on my original mix and master) I told them “experience”, but yea, it was a tad frustrating

Last edited by Lynx_TWO; 11-26-2021 at 12:46 PM.
Lynx_TWO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2021, 05:52 AM   #18
Andreya
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 6
Default

Heh, I know those. If I had a dime for every time a client made a request that didn't actually align with their own vision... Well, I'd have a some dimes I guess. It's not like I've done all that much of this kind of work. But enough to realize how common situations like you described are.
Andreya is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.