Old 05-07-2021, 07:26 AM   #1
Peterk312
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Default Mastering all your tracks in one project?

I have an album of 10 songs. In order to get them to sound right together during the mastering phase, the logical thing would be to place the stereo mixdowns rendered from each multi-track into the same project for easy comparisons. This means you can't put the processing plugins on the master track and they need to go on the individual song tracks. What you can do is place meters on the master and check the levels for each song.

This way can also makes it easy to check all the songs against the same commercially made reference track(s).

However, before I go too far with this, is there some reason this is a bad idea? Some kind of pre vs post metering issue I don't know about? Everywhere I read about mastering plugins "on the master track," and modules made for mastering like Ozone 9 Elements are assumed to go on the master track, even though I hear no sonic difference if the plugin is on the individual track or at the master.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:44 AM   #2
domzy
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No, in fact some people recommend not to have your FX on the master as there can be CPU benefits in some cases.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:01 AM   #3
RJHollins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterk312 View Post
I have an album of 10 songs. In order to get them to sound right together during the mastering phase, the logical thing would be to place the stereo mixdowns rendered from each multi-track into the same project for easy comparisons. This means you can't put the processing plugins on the master track and they need to go on the individual song tracks. What you can do is place meters on the master and check the levels for each song.

This way can also makes it easy to check all the songs against the same commercially made reference track(s).

However, before I go too far with this, is there some reason this is a bad idea? Some kind of pre vs post metering issue I don't know about? Everywhere I read about mastering plugins "on the master track," and modules made for mastering like Ozone 9 Elements are assumed to go on the master track, even though I hear no sonic difference if the plugin is on the individual track or at the master.
For Mastering, the only plugins on the Master BUS are Metering, ADPTR-A/B, Span. No 'sonic' processing.

Each Song is placed on separate tracks, spaced appropriately to allow separate REGIONS.

In my typical workflow ... a single Song can comprise several Tracks that I use as sub-busses. For the Songs 'end' Bus, it contains the Final Limiter for example.

note: using several Tracks as specific BUSes allows better CPU Core loading/distribution, as some of my plugs have heavy demands.

hope that helps ...
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:46 AM   #4
Peterk312
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Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
For Mastering, the only plugins on the Master BUS are Metering, ADPTR-A/B, Span. No 'sonic' processing.

Each Song is placed on separate tracks, spaced appropriately to allow separate REGIONS.

In my typical workflow ... a single Song can comprise several Tracks that I use as sub-busses. For the Songs 'end' Bus, it contains the Final Limiter for example.

note: using several Tracks as specific BUSes allows better CPU Core loading/distribution, as some of my plugs have heavy demands.

hope that helps ...
Yes. And if you have many songs in the same project, as long as you work on one song at a time and mute the other tracks, there shouldn't be a heavy CPU load. Muted tracks in REAPER don't add to a CPU load.

What is ADPTR-A/B ?
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Old 05-07-2021, 12:38 PM   #5
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I usually do put some stuff on the master track. While it’s not exactly tape emulation, it is some gentle final squish and saturation and a bit of overall eq just to give the whole record a sort of dynamic and spectral signature. Then I do what need to do on the individual tracks to make them work going into that. But that stuff that’s on the master is often the same sort of stuff I slapped on each individual project at the very end of the actual mix process, so that I have usually already adjusted the mix to work into that kind of thing. I remove that stuff before I render those mixes of course, but the mixes already sort of expect what’s going to happen. Individual pieces end up getting just a little bit of EQ and level adjustment, rarely much in the way of extra dynamic control (usually better done in the mix). I end up jumping around randomly on the timeline while playing and listening to the transitions, gently massaging to make sure that everything feels like it’s coming from the same place or lives in the same general worldscape.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:27 PM   #6
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What is ADPTR-A/B ?
Metric AB plugin enables you to compare your mix to any reference mix with a simple click of the A/B button.
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:34 PM   #7
DarrenH
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I don't see an issue with it, I've worked on projects this way, whether it's "orthodox" or not I can't comment.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:58 AM   #8
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I do something similar. I have an "album" project and then each song is inserted as a subproject. Put each song on its own track as a subproject item. Then move the songs/items to the order you want for the album.

This is nice because:

Playback the album to check if the order/transitions to songs works.

Double click the song/item to open the song to edit it.

Use master FX to process the album as a whole and track TX to adjust individual songs.

User Reaper's batch converter to render the songs/items to mp3, etc.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:03 AM   #9
Ann-82
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Hi Peter,

in Mastering all my songs shares one master buss, where i have my global eq (needed more for coloration) a compressor and the limiter. All the other process (corrective eqs, dynamic and more) i do directly on the items. One single track with all the songs and a master buss.

I set my global comps/eqs in my master buss according to the music, deciding which color i want to give to the album. Sharing this last part of the chain helps me to glue the whole thing together (like feeding everything in one mastering chain) instead of having tausend limiters across the individual tracks. Doing this also helps you to do less.

After that it's all about gain staging with your songs/items and cohesive tonal balance. I'll also automate my comps setting if necessary.

If you ask me, i think it's worth having a master buss in mastering stage. I hope this can help you.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:39 PM   #10
Peterk312
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Originally Posted by Ann-82 View Post
Hi Peter,

in Mastering all my songs shares one master buss, where i have my global eq (needed more for coloration) a compressor and the limiter. All the other process (corrective eqs, dynamic and more) i do directly on the items. One single track with all the songs and a master buss.

I set my global comps/eqs in my master buss according to the music, deciding which color i want to give to the album. Sharing this last part of the chain helps me to glue the whole thing together (like feeding everything in one mastering chain) instead of having tausend limiters across the individual tracks. Doing this also helps you to do less.

After that it's all about gain staging with your songs/items and cohesive tonal balance. I'll also automate my comps setting if necessary.

If you ask me, i think it's worth having a master buss in mastering stage. I hope this can help you.

This is the complete antithesis of what I'm saying makes the most logical sense to do, which is to place all mastering plugins on the individual tracks and not the master track.

Clearly, there's no one right way to do this in the digital realm.
Recall I asked the question:

"is there some reason this is a bad idea? Some kind of pre vs post metering issue I don't know about? Everywhere I read about mastering plugins "on the master track," and modules made for mastering like Ozone 9 Elements are assumed to go on the master track, even though I hear no sonic difference if the plugin is on the individual track or at the master"
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Old 05-15-2021, 12:33 AM   #11
Ann-82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterk312 View Post
This is the complete antithesis of what I'm saying makes the most logical sense to do, which is to place all mastering plugins on the individual tracks and not the master track.

Clearly, there's no one right way to do this in the digital realm.
Recall I asked the question:

"is there some reason this is a bad idea? Some kind of pre vs post metering issue I don't know about? Everywhere I read about mastering plugins "on the master track," and modules made for mastering like Ozone 9 Elements are assumed to go on the master track, even though I hear no sonic difference if the plugin is on the individual track or at the master"
Hi Peter,

i misunderstand your point. Of course, if this workflow works best for you then go for it, why it should be bad idea? In digital era there are no wrong way, just leave the limiter at the end of your chain of your individual track. In your position i would take advantage of the monitor FX for metering and other utility plugins, so you don't have to worry about anything when exporting. In your case remember to work in Pre FX when you do volume automation.

I personally like to have clean workflow in my mix and mastering projects, and i don't like to see dozens plugins on each individual track and push my cpu like crazy, especially with plugin such as acustica audio. I prefer to have a digital chain of my choice according to the music and go for it.
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