Top 10 DIY Mastering Mistakes (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a two-part series by UK mastering engineer Ian Shepherd, who runs Mastering Media and the Production Advice website.. Check out part 1 here.

6. The Gaps don’t work

People usually fall into two camps – when you say “right, lets do the gaps”, they’re either the ones who say “huh ?” and look confused, or the ones who say “OK then!” and get out their notepads : )

Once you get into it though, everyone sees the point – and usually they agree on what the perfect gap is between any two songs ! Gaps play a crucial role shaping the flow and feel of an album. If a gap is right, you’ll never even notice it’s there – if it’s wrong, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb. (more…)

Headroom is NOT the Same Thing as Dynamic Range

headroom

This is something I used to believe. I had simply never given it much thought. Maybe you’re in the same boat?

I made the mistake of confusing headroom with dynamic range.

Put simply, when I looked at the master fader, if there was a lot of room between the loudest peak of my mix and 0 dBFS (clipping, the part where the red light comes on), then I assumed my mix had plenty of dynamic range. I imagined my mastering engineer opening up the mix, smiling to himself and saying, “Man, that Joe has done it again. Look at all this dynamic range!” Wrong.

It turns out I simply had a fundamental misunderstanding of dynamic range. I would hear engineers lament the fact that people were over-compressing their mixes, the so-called “loudness wars.” Everyone was in a craze of adding a big, fat limiter to their mixes to make them super-loud.

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Day 31 – Mastering [31DBR]

Welcome to Day 31 of 31 Days to Better Recordings.

For this final day of 31 Days to Better Recordings, I called in the big guns. This is a guest post by Ian Shepherd of the blogs Mastering Media and Production Advice. He is a professional mastering engineer in the UK.

Mastering is probably one of the most widely misunderstood aspects of audio production. So let’s start by getting this straight – what is mastering ? Well, here’s one answer:

Mastering is Photoshop for audio

And here’s another, more detailed attempt to answer the same question:

What is mastering ?

Great mastering can make all the difference to your music – as Tom Volpicelli said recently, it’s like finishing a painting – it isn’t ready to be viewed until it’s been framed.

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Tube Shoot-out! [HSC Podcast]

 

Topics Covered:

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Subscribe to the HSC Podcast in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed.

[Photo by Simone13 AKA John Pastorello]

Ask Joe #23 – DYNAMIC RANGE DAY! (WITH AUDIO EXAMPLES) [Podcast]

Image by DTGraphix

TODAY IS DYNAMIC RANGE DAY!

I’M TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT’S REALLY ANNOYING…AND SO IS RIDICULOUSLY, UNNECESSARILY LOUD MUSIC.

BACK OFF THE LIMITER, BOYS. YOU’RE KILLING THE MUSIC.

IN THIS EPISODE OF THE PODCAST, I TALK ABOUT DYNAMIC RANGE AND GIVE YOU SOME AUDIO EXAMPLES OF WHAT “TOO LOUD” SOUNDS LIKE. I ALSO ANSWER SOME READER QUESTIONS.

Enjoy!

LINKS FROM THE SHOW:

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE HSC PODCAST IN ITUNES.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST RSS FEED.

Thoughts on Mastering, and DYNAMIC RANGE DAY

Do you master your own tracks? Do you really know what mastering is? Do you think it’s all about making your mixes as ridiculously loud as possible?

We all could stand to learn more about mastering. It’s a mysterious topic and, sadly, one that gets overlooked. Most people think that mastering is simply throwing a limiter plug-in on your mix.

One and done, right? Wrong.

I’m nowhere near being an expert at mastering, but I know someone who is. Ian Shepherd (@ianshepherd) is a professional mastering engineer who runs a couple of great blogs:

If either the topics of music production or mastering interest you (and if you’re a fan of Home Studio Corner, then I bet they both do), you need to follow these blogs.

Dynamic Range Day

It won’t take you long to find out where Ian stands on the issue of over-compressed music, or the “Loudness Wars.” In an effort to raise awareness, Ian has announced “Dynamic Range Day.”

It’s March 20, 2010. You can find out more about Dynamic Range Day by reading this post over on Production Advice.

While your over there, be sure to sign up for Ian’s newsletter — great stuff from a guy who’s much smarter than I am. 😉

Ask Joe #19 – Recording and Money

I’ve got another round of questions for your weekend.

Thanks to everyone for your submissions. Good questions this week!

Topics covered:

  • Mixing & Mastering – Peak vs RMS levels
  • Dealing with USB latency
  • Monitor placement
  • 808 bass drops/mixing
  • Recording & money

Enjoy Listening!

[Photo by Horia Varlan]