What Metering Tools Do You Need for Successful Mastering?
One AES convention I went to, I met a manufacturing rep for a very prestigious equipment company.
He was demoing a piece of equipment for me, showing me all the great knobs and buttons that it had to offer.
Then he said something along the lines of, “We don’t include a screen for these things since you’re supposed to mix with your ears.”
Although that is very true, metering plug-ins are still a crucial part of making your masters sound as loud AND dynamic as possible.
They’re not as sexy as fancy linear-phase EQ or multi-band compressors, but they are incredibly important to use every time you master your mixes.
Although they don’t DO anything to your audio, they help you navigate the process so well that without them you would be flying blind.
Audio metering is such an important tool, one that I’ve talked about extensively before, but it doesn’t get enough support.
Simply put, metering keeps your tracks on track.
No mastering course would be complete without a discussion about metering, so I wanted to give you a sneak peek into Master Your Mixes where I talk about the most important metering tools I use that I can’t master without.
If you’d like to continue on the journey with me and listen to how I master the track in the video from start to finish, head on over here and join us inside Master Your Mixes before it closes tonight.
These are the tools I rely on whenever I’m mixing and mastering:
- Voxengo Span – Having a frequency analyzer is invaluable when mastering. It allows you to see exactly what the frequency response of a track is and helps you spot any problem areas in the frequency spectrum. I use SPAN to see any weird frequency build-ups or if the track is lacking in a specific frequency range. It’s been a lifesaver multiple, helping me spot where my tracks are sounding muddy or when I’m adding too much harshness in the high-end. It doesn’t matter which frequency analyzer you use. Any of the built-in stock analyzers will do the job.
- The Dynameter from Meterplugs – I use this to check the overall dynamic range of my masters.
- The Loudness Penalty plug-in from Meterplugs – I use this to make sure my masters aren’t being turned down too much on streaming services like Spotify or iTunes.
- WLM Loudness Meter from Waves – I use this to check my loudness using the LUFS measurement.
- Sonarworks Reference 4 – I use this to calibrate the frequency response of my monitors in my room so that I can hear as flat a frequency response as possible.
- Perception from Meterplugs – I use this to check my mastering chain to make sure I’m actually making my master sound better, not just louder.
You may notice that I’m a bit of a fan of Meterplugs, but that’s because those plug-ins are developed by my good friend and mastering mentor, Ian Shepherd, who taught me a lot about mastering throughout the years. I highly recommend those plug-ins because I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them.
Sure, my metering plug-ins might not actively do anything, but they help me do my job better.
Metering helps in every part of the production process. It helps you see the gain of your instruments when you record, the loudness of your tracks when you mix and the dynamic range of your mixes when you master.
So even if you think they’re unsexy and boring, they’re invaluable in making your productions better.
Remember to join Master Your Mixes here before the doors close tonight.
I’m not sure when I’ll be opening the course up again, so if you’re ready to learn how to use master bus processing to make your mixes loud AND dynamic so that they sound professional next to your favorite records, hit the link below to get started: