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Two World-Class Methods of Mastering an Amazing Album


I got this great advice yesterday about mastering that I have to share with you.

It was in the form of a comment to last Wednesday’s post.

Glen Stephan of IndependentRecording.net shared two great methods of approaching a mastering session.

His first method is starting with the quiet song:

The first method, and the one I personally prefer, is to start with the “quietest” RMS or other metered measurement.).

The other, not surprisingly, is starting with the loudest and then matching everything from there.

The second method is identical, except to start with the “loudest” anthem song instead of the “quietest” ballad, and then match apparent listening loudness to that mastered song.

Once you have the loudest song sounding smokin’ hot you can go on and match the other songs to it.

It’s simple but invaluable advice. Using a random reference track can only go so far, but when you’ve got one of your songs sounding bad-ass you can use that as the reference track instead. That gives you a great reference for all the other songs in your session while still keeping everything in context with each other.

I usually find the song that sounds best to me, mix-wise, and master around that song. If I can get an already great mix really well mastered, I usually find that it’s more enjoyable to use that as the go-to reference track.

There’s been a lot of talk about mastering this week, and for a good reason.

Home Mastering Masterclass from Ian Shepherd, mastering engineer high-elder wizard warlock just came out.

If you’re mastering in your home studio and want to make your masters sound even better I recommend you check it out.

An 8 week course on mastering for less than $2 a day? Yes please!

I will never, ever, be able to teach you mastering as well as Ian. I wish I could, but did I mention the wizard warlock thing? Yeah, that’s why. That’s why I’m recommending it, because it’s black magic voodoo stuff from the gods.

Check it out here

Image by: pmonaghan


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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  • Thanks a bunch for the props, brother! I think it might be important to re-state here that while the first option is my personal favorite, the second one is the one that many of the real pro mastering engineers I know prefer (I am primarily a mix engineer/producer, and make no pretensions to being a pro mastering engineer myself.) I don’t quite understand their reasoning, but I shared this conversation on may Facebook, and maybe one of them will reply with a better explanation. If so, I’ll pass it along…

  • Thanks a bunch for the props, brother! I think it might be important to re-state here that while the first option is my personal favorite, the second one is the one that many of the real pro mastering engineers I know prefer (I am primarily a mix engineer/producer, and make no pretensions to being a pro mastering engineer myself.) I don’t quite understand their reasoning, but I shared this conversation on may Facebook, and maybe one of them will reply with a better explanation. If so, I’ll pass it along…

  • Hey there! I link to your pages a LOT on my FB page and really appreciate all the great info you provide. BUT… sometimes when I post, a thumbnail image doesn’t come up and the page’s title doesn’t either so I end up not posting those links.

    This page is one of those instances (if you wanted an example for troubleshooting).

    I don’t know if that concerns you or not, but I know guys check out your site from the links I post so worst case scenario, you’re missing out on some relevant site traffic.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll look forward to being able to post links to more great content!

    Dave

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Hey, I sometimes get those problems as well. Where are you pulling the links from? Because when I post on Facebook through Twitter the thumbnails don’t show either so then I have to go to the original page/link and copy that into the Facebook post. Are you having different problems than that? If not then grabbing the original link probably fixes the problem.

      • I get the link directly from the page itself =/

  • Hey there! I link to your pages a LOT on my FB page and really appreciate all the great info you provide. BUT… sometimes when I post, a thumbnail image doesn’t come up and the page’s title doesn’t either so I end up not posting those links.

    This page is one of those instances (if you wanted an example for troubleshooting).

    I don’t know if that concerns you or not, but I know guys check out your site from the links I post so worst case scenario, you’re missing out on some relevant site traffic.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll look forward to being able to post links to more great content!

    Dave

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Hey, I sometimes get those problems as well. Where are you pulling the links from? Because when I post on Facebook through Twitter the thumbnails don’t show either so then I have to go to the original page/link and copy that into the Facebook post. Are you having different problems than that? If not then grabbing the original link probably fixes the problem.

      • I get the link directly from the page itself =/