Mastering and check lists...

k. I’m close. REAL close to being done with my first project. A year in the making. But before I haul off and say “I’m done”, what are the gotcha’s to self mastering? I’ve played it on every stereo I can find, and I think I’m pretty happy with it, but still not sure I’ve mastered (pardon the pun) the list of questions I should be asking.

Here’s my list so far:
1. Is it hot enough?
2. Sonically clear and not too bright/muddy
3. Consistent across all songs (sounds cohesive).

What would YOU add to the list?

Thanks for sharing.

Off the top of my head:

-check it in mono
-check it at a volume so low that you can barely hear it - you should still be able to hear the vocals.
-check it on a system with a sub-woofer.

-make sure that you are happy with the order of the tracks - put one of your better upbeat songs at track one.
-check the sections before and after the song to make sure you removed all unwanted noises (string pops, chair squeaks, coughing, etc…) and that the track begins and ends with with absolute silence.
-if you are going to press a CD, remeber that you don’t have to use all of the songs that you’ve recorded - stick with the best ones and don’t be afraid to leave out one that is so-so (wish I would have done this myself!)

:cool:

Find someone (or sometwo) with ears that you trust. And listen to what they say…

Quote (John @ Jan. 23 2006,15:28)
stick with the best ones and don't be afraid to leave out one that is so-so (wish I would have done this myself!)

:cool:

Or if you have something like CD Architect, you can put your so so songs as hidden tracks or in "tracks" between the tracks.

-Play it on a real crappy stereo.
-Play it at someone else’s house, with people there. Nothing like other ears to ‘take it away from you’.

That’s all I can think of to add.

Play it for your wife. She can hear better than you and she’s more objective. She’ll find any faults that are there. Mine found a phone ringing on one of mine. I had spent weeks recording and days mixing, and I didn’t notice it.

Don

If you have a spare $25.00, you can order a book called “The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook” by Bobby Owsinkowski. He interviewed the Mastering guru’s to find out what they had to say. Alot of good info in that book. You’ll find it at Amazon.com I bought mine from the seller “Imagine-This”. Got it pretty quick too.

Jeff

Quote (dontuck @ Jan. 23 2006,23:22)
Play it for your wife. She can hear better than you and she's more objective. She'll find any faults that are there. Mine found a phone ringing on one of mine. I had spent weeks recording and days mixing, and I didn't notice it.

Don

Shoulda thought of that. This is correct- I actually covet my recording scene at the house, and won't let her get more knowledgeable or adept at actually doing than I am.
Fortunately for me, she doesn't want to... :laugh:

Another thing I like to do (in addition to most of the above) is walk out of the room and listen to it from another room.

A lot of music is heard by people who have the stereo on in one room and are wlaking about the house doing things… not many people listen to a song sitting dead centre all the time.

It obviouly won’t sound as good from the other room but shoudl still sound “right”. Also knowing what commercial material sounds like from the other room also helps give you a reference…

Rich

Quote (RichLum @ Jan. 24 2006,07:50)
Another thing I like to do (in addition to most of the above) is walk out of the room and listen to it from another room.

Funny... As I was reading through the other replies, I was actually thinking that I was going to add that very same suggestion.

So then... yeah... what Rich said.

:cool:

I don’t know if this was mentioned…but try listening to it through several different sets of headphones, too. Especially if there are plans for digital distribution. :)

Great ideas. Anyone else? (BTW, I just bumped the troll off the first page…)

Got a friend who DJ’s at a club? If it’s the right venue, that is.

Try to make sure it sounds good in headphones, a lot of pro recordings sound extra great in headphones, and you know how these crazy kids love music on the go these days(ipods etc.) :)

Quote (Obie @ Jan. 27 2006,18:55)
Try to make sure it sounds good in headphones, a lot of pro recordings sound extra great in headphones, and you know how these crazy kids love music on the go these days(ipods etc.) :)

Yeah, Pete Townsend says it’s making them deaf. Or something to that effect.

Just thought it was time to veer off-topic for a second.



O.k., carry on…! :)

So, then is the point to make the mix sound as good as possible on cruddy equipment or just passable on cruddy equipment and good on everything else? If I make it “good” on the bad stuff, am I just asking for a huge drop out in the mids (or what ever – that’s just an example)? I understand the concept I think: make it sound good on everything, but what happens if it sounds lousy on my mains but good in the cans? Who wins? ???

discuss. :;):

Music played on cruddy equipment will sound cruddy. But the balance of the song within the cruddiness is the thing. If you can still hear the relationships- such as they might exist within the cruddy environment- then YOU win!

Far as the cans, I am of the opinion that headphones is not a natural way to hear music. It’s fun, though- like the day I listened to “Physical Graffiti” on ‘phones. John Paul-Jones’ snarling, woofy bass! Great. I wonder if the mix just has to have a lot of depth in it to pass on headphones… you hear differently with 'em on- the stereo field just goes right through your head, instead of around the room you’re sitting in. I have no description for how to actually get around that.

In “The Recording Studio Handbook”, John Woram describes in accurate detail how Binaural stereo recording (for instance, using a ‘Dummy Head’ with mics attatched to either side) gives a real good stereo image for headphones, but lousy for the world of speakers and actual moving air around your head: That Dummy Head gets in the way of the sound from opposite sides of either mic- sound from the right gets to the right mic, not to the left mic, and vice-versa. So it’s great for phones, but bad for speakers. Stupid Dummy Head…

I figure that changes a few things about the way you hear the mix on the cans. But I don’t guess this has helped you much.

Sorry. :)

I hardly use haedphones for mixing except at teh end to check.

Mixing with monitors should be a lot easier on your ears for long sessoins and should also give you a better overall picture.
The bass on enclosed headphones seems too hyped for me - good for checking the actual sound of the bass guitar etc, but not so good for getting a good mix for me.

Once I’ve got a good mix on the monitors it should still sound good in the headphones. If it doesn’t I probably stuffed something up…

Also as for listening on cruddy equipment, it depends on what you mean by “cruddy”… if you just mean cheap then yes it shold still sound pretty well balanced and decent enough to listen to. Lots of people listen to the radio and CD’s on cheap portable stereo’s with tiny speakers and whilst they don’t sound like a hom hi-fi system songs still sound like the song and don’t sound drastically different.
Even though they are cheap they are still designed to produce a decent enough sound to be acceptable to the person who bought it.

If by cruddy you mean broken or something then who knows… if something isbusted so that no frequencies above or below a certain range are being reproduced then anything will probably sound crap.

Rich