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Master Fader I R Smert...

#1 User is offline   Scotto Icon

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:19 PM

Yeah so most of my recordings to date.... I never bothered with the master fader. Mainly because I just didn't know. My last recording, an instrumental experiment, I put it on after the fact and added a limiter to keep everything from clipping at 0. I don't think this is wise either. If I revisit it I'll remove the limiter and turn everything down naturally.
So now I am running the master fader as a stereo track from the start of the recording and keeping everything so it doesn't clip with the master fader at 0 (after some googling).

I know that I could run compression on that fader as well as some mastering EQ presets to color the overall recording now that I'm thinking about master faders and their impact on my recordings.

Just wondering how others use the master fader and if there are specific techniques and how much they vary.

Thanks and sorry if this is a rather basic question but setting out on this home recording adventure sure has been humbling. I can only get better!

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:25 PM

View PostScotto, on 15 February 2012 - 11:19 AM, said:

Yeah so most of my recordings to date.... I never bothered with the master fader. Mainly because I just didn't know. My last recording, an instrumental experiment, I put it on after the fact and added a limiter to keep everything from clipping at 0. I don't think this is wise either. If I revisit it I'll remove the limiter and turn everything down naturally.
So now I am running the master fader as a stereo track from the start of the recording and keeping everything so it doesn't clip with the master fader at 0 (after some googling).

I know that I could run compression on that fader as well as some mastering EQ presets to color the overall recording now that I'm thinking about master faders and their impact on my recordings.

Just wondering how others use the master fader and if there are specific techniques and how much they vary.

Thanks and sorry if this is a rather basic question but setting out on this home recording adventure sure has been humbling. I can only get better!

I usually leave the master fader alone, because I'm not a big fan of fadeouts to end songs.

As far as effects to put on the master bus, a limiter is a natural choice if you are going to self "master" your songs. That is, if you aren't sending the mix out to a mastering house, you should probably do your own "pretend" mastering. I normally have an instance of BaxterEQ cutting out the lows, especially out of the sides (it's a MID/SIDE EQ intended for basic, simple mastering tasks). I'll cut the stuff under 40 Hz or so from the middle, cut the stuff under 53 from the sides and reduce the mid lows in the sides from about 200 Hz and down. I may also brighten the mids and sides a bit, generally brightening the sides a touch more than the mids, then cut out everything above 21k or maybe 15k.

I might add in another single band EQ to scoop out some mud, (300 Hz or so), but it's often something that should be dealt with the track level.

Once I've EQed it, I may throw in a multiband compressor. I rarely use a regular compressor. I may also throw in a soft-clipper, depending on the song. Then I pretty much always have a limiter as the "last" link in my chain. I have it set to output at a max of -0.1 dBFS so that in conversion to mp3 I won't have clipping problems. TT Dynamics meter goes at the end if I'm curious about the loudness, but usually I just set it based on what sounds right compared to a reference track.

I never put reverb on the master track. Even if I want everything in the mix to go through the same reverb, I'll use different levels of wet/dry and different pre-delays, so I just do that on reverb busses.

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:12 PM

My Master Fader is part of my software mixer embedded in my DAW Cubase.
I never touch it.
When I first started putting my songs on the Internet I did notice that they were at much lower volume levels than most other folks.
A few years ago, I went out and purchased a limiter, Xenon, from PSP.
That's about the only Insert added to that buss.
While at a Steinberg User's workshop, Bob Katz was there talking about how transparent it is and how he uses it.
At the time, PSP was offering it for 1/2 price so I grabbed it.
I try to use as little as possible when I do use it because, for my type of music, I want as much dynamics left in the final product as possible.
I had a listen to some of your music and it is definitely more in-your-face than mine is. B)
So i will defer to others here on the Muse who might write in that same style.
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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:26 AM

To slam the 2 buss or not to slam the 2 buss...

IMHO you are much better off leaving the 2 buss alone.

It's one of the wonders of the world as far as I am concerned that, many people when placed within a recording senario immeadiately begin thinking that they are working on a TOP 40 record rather than a humble demo. Unfortunately, when it comes time to mix, it is mistakenly believed that a "final mix" is somehow well, FINAL so they start trying to squeeze out every drop of volume thay can grab. This IS NOT the way you should do things. I know it is tempting to do so just because, you can but, it is a mistake. It may sound good to your clients BUT, what does this rewally mean? It is important to ask yourself this question. Do you really want your name on a record that sounds like Fido's dinner smells tywenty minutes after he eats it?

Even if, you intend to do your own mastering, at least try to do it correctly. A final mix is a final mix. A master is a master, they are not the same thing. Mixing is NOT thew stage where you bring the volume to 0dbfs. Mix your music leaving ample headroom for the mastering process. Me, I like -10. Then, I have headroom to play with. If you slam your 2 buss while you mix, you've just tied your hands. All the mastering in the world will not be able to help you once you've eaten up all of your headroom.

One thing which drives me nuts is, everyone is always talking about dynamics this, and dynamics that but, most of those talking fail to realize the recording process is where you should begin thinking in terms of dynamics, mix time is a little too late. Performance dynamics are extremely important. When you have good performance dynamics it is easy to accentuate them. You can try to create these with processing but, if you begin with good performance dynamics it is always so much better. Strategy is where to begin. A good mix/master always begins with a plan. It is very difficult to compete with professional music when you screw up the very first step in the process. Mixing is not mastering.

Leaving your 2 buss alone may be the biggest mix move you've ever made. Now, if we're talking hip hop this may not be the way to gho but, if it is REAL music, played by REAL musicians on REAL instruments, do yourself a favor, and leave the 2 buss alone!
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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:14 AM

View PostLzi, on 16 February 2012 - 09:26 AM, said:

To slam the 2 buss or not to slam the 2 buss...

IMHO you are much better off leaving the 2 buss alone.

It's one of the wonders of the world as far as I am concerned that, many people when placed within a recording senario immeadiately begin thinking that they are working on a TOP 40 record rather than a humble demo. Unfortunately, when it comes time to mix, it is mistakenly believed that a "final mix" is somehow well, FINAL so they start trying to squeeze out every drop of volume thay can grab. This IS NOT the way you should do things. I know it is tempting to do so just because, you can but, it is a mistake. It may sound good to your clients BUT, what does this rewally mean? It is important to ask yourself this question. Do you really want your name on a record that sounds like Fido's dinner smells tywenty minutes after he eats it?

Even if, you intend to do your own mastering, at least try to do it correctly. A final mix is a final mix. A master is a master, they are not the same thing. Mixing is NOT thew stage where you bring the volume to 0dbfs. Mix your music leaving ample headroom for the mastering process. Me, I like -10. Then, I have headroom to play with. If you slam your 2 buss while you mix, you've just tied your hands. All the mastering in the world will not be able to help you once you've eaten up all of your headroom.

One thing which drives me nuts is, everyone is always talking about dynamics this, and dynamics that but, most of those talking fail to realize the recording process is where you should begin thinking in terms of dynamics, mix time is a little too late. Performance dynamics are extremely important. When you have good performance dynamics it is easy to accentuate them. You can try to create these with processing but, if you begin with good performance dynamics it is always so much better. Strategy is where to begin. A good mix/master always begins with a plan. It is very difficult to compete with professional music when you screw up the very first step in the process. Mixing is not mastering.

Leaving your 2 buss alone may be the biggest mix move you've ever made. Now, if we're talking hip hop this may not be the way to gho but, if it is REAL music, played by REAL musicians on REAL instruments, do yourself a favor, and leave the 2 buss alone!


Mainly I've added the master track because if I was to send something to be mastered that's the output they would ask for. No effects and no clipping. So I've been mixing my latest tracks so that master fader track doesn't clip and I'm not adding anything to it on my present project. That being said I don't have anything worthy of mastering at this point but I'm working like I will some day. Demo's are a nice idea but Demo's for what? I'm just making my own music... because I can!

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:55 PM

Mostly what I do is get my mix where I like it. Listening at different levels on headphones and monitors. The best thing I've done for my mixes that I can remember is leaving myself headroom like Lzi suggests. You simply don't have to get things loud in the mixing stage. I aim for -12 to -18 maybe with my drums peaking just a scootch higher than that if it's a heavier tune.

Then I have my demo mix in a stereo .wav file. Then I do whatever I want with that. If it's just a really rough demo I might just toss a limiter on it to get the levels up. If it's something I've tried to polish a bit more I'll use a mastering suite like TRacks 3 which has all kinds of fun toys.

I then have my "master" mix. I know this isn't truly mastering, it just helps me keep track of which one has been processed for general consumption.
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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:05 AM

View PostFunkDaddy, on 16 February 2012 - 02:55 PM, said:

Mostly what I do is get my mix where I like it. Listening at different levels on headphones and monitors. The best thing I've done for my mixes that I can remember is leaving myself headroom like Lzi suggests. You simply don't have to get things loud in the mixing stage. I aim for -12 to -18 maybe with my drums peaking just a scootch higher than that if it's a heavier tune.

Then I have my demo mix in a stereo .wav file. Then I do whatever I want with that. If it's just a really rough demo I might just toss a limiter on it to get the levels up. If it's something I've tried to polish a bit more I'll use a mastering suite like TRacks 3 which has all kinds of fun toys.

I then have my "master" mix. I know this isn't truly mastering, it just helps me keep track of which one has been processed for general consumption.


TRacks has my very favorite eq plug! LOVE it.

If people want to do their own "Mastering" the first step is to finish your mix. Mastering is an entirely separate process. Get your 2 buss right first. Leave ample headroom and then try your hand at mastering but do not simply apply buss compression and believe you've actually done something. LOUD is easy. Properly LOUD is anything but easy.
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:15 PM

In my day job I work for a heavyweight company, and we tend to recommend heavyweight answers to every technical problem. Maybe we're "right", but our answers always seem to be the more expensive and complex path to take. And we sometimes ignore other great technical solutions until they leave us in the dust running to catch up. So as an analogy to recording: I'm not sure that the tradional position on mastering is as valid as it once was.

I'm not in favor of over-loud/over-compressing or anything. But I can drop Ozone5 on the master and - man. It won't magically fix problems in recording or playing, but if you've got a good product to start with you can make it sparkle. And no one is holding a gun to my head, forcing me to push the maximizer up to nuclear. I can add the amount of whatever type of treatment I think fits the artistic vision.

Nectar is another tool that I find interesting - and challenging probably. The idea that you can get a good start on a great vocal sound / vocal signal chain by dropping it in as a pre-built preset. Somewhere under the marketing is probably a truth - that some folks with a lot more experience can start me out with a pretty good chain and settings for a certain style.

Just my take.

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:05 AM

Nectar is a collection of effects, much like Ozone, just geared more towards vocals. You can use it for one or all of those effects, though I'm sure most do exactly what you are talking about and start with a preset (I usually do). What they market is exactly what it is, a great all-around utility program for getting a good vocal sound. I'm a fan :) I really like the sound of the saturation in Nectar.
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#10 User is offline   Lzi Icon

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:38 PM

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?
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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:53 PM

View PostLzi, on 13 April 2012 - 02:38 PM, said:

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?


There are some pop artists out there that have already lived this and have been successful as far as making some corporation money...

#12 User is offline   Lzi Icon

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:03 AM

View PostScotto, on 13 April 2012 - 03:53 PM, said:

View PostLzi, on 13 April 2012 - 02:38 PM, said:

Pretty soon all we will have to do is play a rhorrible, out-of-tune rendition of our music into our home computer and it will, in a matter of minutes, return to us a fully mixed and mastered record. Ears no longer required. Sounds like a pipe dream but, then again, protools would have sounded like a pipe dream before it came to be. I remember everyone talking about digital recording before it came to be. I shrugged it off as...whatever, not here now.

There will come a day when skill will no longer be required for making records. Think, we have what amounts to a vocal chain in a box already, we even have band in a box! Mastering? Go grab yourself a TC Electronic FINALIZER and let it do your mastering for you.

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?


There are some pop artists out there that have already lived this and have been successful as far as making some corporation money...


Well, to some extent. To some extent editing takes us to this place already. Funk mentions Nectar, which amounts to a vocal chain in a box. What I'm speaking of here is, at this time, still science fiction... Plug in a horrible, already mixed version, and output some glossy sounding finished product in just minutes, no skill required.

Someone should create a program that does all of the eq work for you. LOL...

Music is fast becoming more homoginized than milk.

Jesus was dead-on correct (He must have made a few records)..."He who has ears, let him hear."
LOL he walked when he heard Kanye's record didn't he? Does anyone blame him?
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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:13 PM

I don't want to pick on a particular artist but ummm OK yes I do. Its my guess that Brittany Spears can't really sing much. She's recorded, pitch corrected, plays no instruments, and lip syncs live while performing dace routines. Not the first or last time this has happened for sure. At least the Monkeys went out and tried to make their own album and learn their instruments. But I digress...

None of that has anything to do with the Master Fader... ;)

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:09 PM

View PostLzi, on 13 April 2012 - 03:38 PM, said:

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?

http://latimesblogs....d-hologram.html

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:34 AM

View PostScotto, on 15 April 2012 - 05:13 PM, said:

I don't want to pick on a particular artist but ummm OK yes I do. Its my guess that Brittany Spears can't really sing much. She's recorded, pitch corrected, plays no instruments, and lip syncs live while performing dace routines. Not the first or last time this has happened for sure. At least the Monkeys went out and tried to make their own album and learn their instruments. But I digress...

None of that has anything to do with the Master Fader... ;)


Sure it does Scotto! It is a fantastic reason to turn the damed thing all the way down! :)


View Postm24p, on 16 April 2012 - 01:09 PM, said:

View PostLzi, on 13 April 2012 - 03:38 PM, said:

Won't it be awesome when we don't even have to sing anymore?

http://latimesblogs....d-hologram.html


Wow...I never thought I would ever say this but...If THIS is the future...Technology sucks.

pssst. That is not the walls breathing...They are
sucking all of the air out of the room! You're tripping world-WAKE UP!
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