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#1
Soon my band will be going to a studio to record maybe 2 songs. We are pretty short on cash as we are only 15 and 16 years old. Is mastering something that is definately needed?
#2
Nope.

If you're just recording a song or two for your friends and family to listen to, it's not worth the money to master the recordings.

However, if you want it to sound professional for a wider audience or as demo tracks, then I would lean toward yes.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#4
Home recording gear. Get some.
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#6
Nah, not really. You can get some sweet sounding songs without mastering them. However, you MIGHT wanna compress/limit them a bit, especially if it's metal. The compression might also give the songs a more coherent sound. Check out REAPER, it's free and pretty good.
#7
you can master the songs yourselves with programs such as Audacity or Reaper.
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#8
Mastering is definitely essential! It brings out all the little nuances of the track and really make it come alive.

Until you hear your track mastered vs. an unmastered version you won't appreciate how much of a difference it can make.
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#9
good compressing and limiting will definitely improve the quality of your music, as will correct eqing, but i'd reccommend leaving this stuff to the professionals.

if you don't have the cash for it, don't hire someone for it. if you do, go right ahead.
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#10
Quote by goth clash
Home recording gear. Get some.

Wow...

You think home recording equates to mastering quality? Tsk tsk tsk.


Quote by Laces Out Danny
you can master the songs yourselves with programs such as Audacity or Reaper.

It takes much more than just the programs to properly master. It takes a completely dedicated set of ears.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#11
oh, and please don't try to do it yourself. it usually ends up sounding like really, really, loud and dynamic-less (static?) garbage.

unless you just do little touch ups. in that case, go for it
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#12
Quote by ep1kz
oh, and please don't try to do it yourself. it usually ends up sounding like really, really, loud and dynamic-less (static?) garbage.


unless you know what buttons to push

It doesn't hurt to try.


I think there is some thread lying around in here about how to home record and DIY master.


edit: here it is: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283 Quite worth checking out.
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Last edited by Laces Out Danny at Jul 24, 2009,
#13
Quote by Xiaoxi
Wow...

You think home recording equates to mastering quality? Tsk tsk tsk.



It takes much more than just the programs to properly master. It takes a completely dedicated set of ears.


wait... mastering is a process that comes after recording, what does that have to do with the recording gear? you can master music that's home recorded, too.

the last sentance I fully agree with, though. mastering is an art for itself.
#14
Quote by CoreysMonster
wait... mastering is a process that comes after recording, what does that have to do with the recording gear? you can master music that's home recorded, too.

Well, assuming that the home studio is a humble one, it will not be the adequate environment for mastering.

Proper mastering takes place in sound controlled and proofed rooms, with walls/floors/ceilings tiled with special wood and panels to achieve the best acoustically tuned space. The placement of speakers are also carefully calibrated at specific distances for accurate listening.

The average home studio is none of that. It makes a big difference for the people in charge of mixing and mastering.


Edit: I misunderstood your question. Yes, you can record at home first, and then take it to be mastered. It's not as effective as doing the whole thing in the studio. But what I meant was that it's usually not effective to master by yourself at home.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Jul 24, 2009,
#15
Quote by Xiaoxi
Well, assuming that the home studio is a humble one, it will not be the adequate environment for mastering.

Proper mastering takes place in sound controlled and proofed rooms, with walls/floors/ceilings tiled with special wood and panels to achieve the best acoustically tuned space. The placement of speakers are also carefully calibrated at specific distances for accurate listening.

The average home studio is none of that. It makes a big difference for the people in charge of mixing and mastering.

oh, that's what you meant. okay, I agree.
#16
Whats mastering?
Originally Posted by smb
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Quote by MetalBass 77
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#20
Quote by sonsie
Whats mastering?

Mastering is commonly referred to as the "sheen" on the product that gives it the distinct professional sound.

It uses four tools to add final touch-ups and enhancement to the mix: reverb, eq, limit, and compression. Now the recording mixing stage already has these things, but the mastering stage solely focus on these components to make the recording sound better.

The person mastering is usually dedicated to just mastering because he's trained in just this process and offers an outside and fresh perspective to the recording.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#21
Quote by Xiaoxi
Mastering is commonly referred to as the "sheen" on the product that gives it the distinct professional sound.

It uses four tools to add final touch-ups and enhancement to the mix: reverb, eq, limit, and compression. Now the recording mixing stage already has these things, but the mastering stage solely focus on these components to make the recording sound better.

The person mastering is usually dedicated to just mastering because he's trained in just this process and offers an outside and fresh perspective to the recording.

also, because when people from the band try to master they only really have an ear for their instruments. I know next to nothing about drum and vocal tone, and drummers usually don't know anything other than drum sounds (which is understandable, considering drums are the hardest instrument to record), and bassist and vocalists know jack-shit about anything.
#22
Quote by Xiaoxi
Wow...

You think home recording equates to mastering quality? Tsk tsk tsk.


No, I'm just saying, it would be much cheaper than paying to go to a studio when you could get the same result by doing it yourself. All of my bands recordings so far are done on home equipment and they sound decent for an amateur band.
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#23
a little bit of bating would be usefull as well.
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#24
Quote by goth clash
No, I'm just saying, it would be much cheaper than paying to go to a studio when you could get the same result by doing it yourself. All of my bands recordings so far are done on home equipment and they sound decent for an amateur band.

The same result? Maybe it's adequate for you, but there's definitely a difference.

"They sound decent for an amateur band"

Exactly. The studio is for when you want to sound professional.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#25
Quote by Xiaoxi
The same result? Maybe it's adequate for you, but there's definitely a difference.

"They sound decent for an amateur band"

Exactly. The studio is for when you want to sound professional.

BUT be careful, not all studios sound professional. A friend's band once spent 2000 bucks on studio time and it sounded ATROCIOUS afterwards.
#26
Quote by CoreysMonster
BUT be careful, not all studios sound professional. A friend's band once spent 2000 bucks on studio time and it sounded ATROCIOUS afterwards.

Yea true...

Some studios are a disgrace. One should always get a tour and even a sample before committing.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#27
Quote by Xiaoxi
The same result? Maybe it's adequate for you, but there's definitely a difference.

"They sound decent for an amateur band"

Exactly. The studio is for when you want to sound professional.


Trent Reznor said in a recent interview that a home recording can sound better than a studio recording. But then again, it depends what kind of sound you want and if you have any knowledge of mixing and mastering.
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#28
Quote by Xiaoxi
Yea true...

Some studios are a disgrace. One should always get a tour and even a sample before committing.

definately a sample. going into a studio without a sample is like hiring an artist without looking at a single painting of his.

Quote by goth clash
Trent Reznor said in a recent interview that a TRENT REZNOR home recording can sound better than a studio recording. But then again, it depends what kind of sound you want and if you have any knowledge of mixing and mastering.

fixed
#29
Quote by goth clash
Trent Reznor said in a recent interview that a home recording can sound better than a studio recording. But then again, it depends what kind of sound you want and if you have any knowledge of mixing and mastering.

Trent Reznor is also famous, has a lot of connections to the production industry, and has a lot of money. He didn't outright say that though I bet.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#31
Quote by Xiaoxi
Trent Reznor is also famous, has a lot of connections to the production industry, and has a lot of money. He didn't outright say that though I bet.


His exact words were "You can record an album on your laptop that's way better quality than what I had [when I was starting out]..." (pg 28, Kerraang! magazine, issue 1270, July 18 2009). I'm not sure if I got the right meaning but it's what I took from it.
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#32
Quote by goth clash
His exact words were "You can record an album on your laptop that's way better quality than what I had [when I was starting out]..." (pg 28, Kerraang! magazine, issue 1270, July 18 2009). I'm not sure if I got the right meaning but it's what I took from it.

Hmm...I'm going to assume that he started out in the late 70s or 80s...

They didn't even have laptops then.

I think you're taking things out of context a bit.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#33
Quote by Xiaoxi
Mastering is commonly referred to as the "sheen" on the product that gives it the distinct professional sound.

It uses four tools to add final touch-ups and enhancement to the mix: reverb, eq, limit, and compression. Now the recording mixing stage already has these things, but the mastering stage solely focus on these components to make the recording sound better.

The person mastering is usually dedicated to just mastering because he's trained in just this process and offers an outside and fresh perspective to the recording.


ok how do you master? because our band uses the schools recording studio, which we find to be pretty good. It uses Cubase and external sound cards. How do you master with cubase?
Originally Posted by smb
I'm an arrogant bastard - I thought I was good before I'd plucked a note. I was right, of course.

Quote by MetalBass 77
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#34
Quote by sonsie
ok how do you master? because our band uses the schools recording studio, which we find to be pretty good. It uses Cubase and external sound cards. How do you master with cubase?

Well this is getting a little specific, but read carefully what I said...it takes a specialized pair of ears to master. It's not a good idea for you guys to do it yourself.

Using Cubase and external sound cards has nothing to do with mastering.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#35
Quote by sonsie
ok how do you master? because our band uses the schools recording studio, which we find to be pretty good. It uses Cubase and external sound cards. How do you master with cubase?

that's like asking "how to I compose like Beethoven?"

it requires years and years of experience.
#36
There's a few things I'd like to add to what's already been said. I'm currently doing a degree in 'Sound Engineering & Production', with emphasis on the 'currently' as I can't claim to be the greatest really and I'm sure there's many great sound engineers and producers on here.

Anyway, firstly it's always best to get the recording itself done decently, way before any mastering comes into effect. If you get things sounding good at the source, and set a mic up nice enough you won't have to change too much in the mastering stage as far as EQ is concerned, other than maybe altering a few instruments in different frequency bands to bring them a bit more into the mix without muddying up the rest of the sound.

Secondly, home recording will almost never be as good as a professional studio unless the person doing the home recording actually knows what they're doing. Sounds simple enough, but it's far too easy to just download Audacity or Reaper, plug in a mic to a crappy soundcard or cheap interface, hit record and then wonder why it sounds like turd is flying through your speakers. A professional is someone paid to do such a job and should have tons of knowledge and experience to help you achieve your sound (not their sound) if they are as qualified as they should be.

But beware... a lot of rehearsal studios will double as a recording studio, offering 'package recordings' where you pay something like £200 for 12 hours recording and they claim it's great value as you get an engineer to help you, and 12 hours is a long time right? Wrong. These are quite often just a big con. I know of places where the 'engineer' is little more than one of the guys that works on the bookings desk, who then sits behind a mixing console offering little advice, not really paying any attention to the recording and they're perfectly happy to leave you to your own devices as it's their business that will benefit when you have to pay for extra studio time to get the job done. They also rarely spend long mastering the track, just giving you a fairly rough mix and knowing you'll not really be able to do much about it. A lot of amateur bands assume the recording is crap because they aren't the greatest of musicians, but it's surprisingly easy to even make a crap band sound good on record - reproducing that quality live is where the weaker bands fall down.

If you don't have the cash to go to a well-respected producer then I would say you probably aren't ready yet and maybe you'd be better off buying some cheap home recording gear and learning how to use it from all the marvelous information on the interweb unless you're serious about sounding professional.


Tl;dr = I think I can help, but it's probably stating the obvious or already been said by the time I wrote the wall of text.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 24, 2009,
#37
lol sorry i thinking im understanding mastering a bit better. Could i ask my music teacher to do the mastering for us?
Originally Posted by smb
I'm an arrogant bastard - I thought I was good before I'd plucked a note. I was right, of course.

Quote by MetalBass 77
sonsie knows all
#38
Quote by sonsie
lol sorry i thinking im understanding mastering a bit better. Could i ask my music teacher to do the mastering for us?

I doubt he's a very good masterer, but maybe he is you could always ask. although, if your music teacher is a classical musician, I find that they master to clean. I like rock tracks to have a little dirt in them.
#39
He's a bit of everything jazz, funk, rock, classical etc. everythings in his blood, il ask him if he could do it someday
thanks guys
Originally Posted by smb
I'm an arrogant bastard - I thought I was good before I'd plucked a note. I was right, of course.

Quote by MetalBass 77
sonsie knows all
#40
My advice is to spend your budget on the recording if it's just a 2 song demo. Basically, a professional recording/mix will sound better than an amateur recording/mix with pro master.

IF your recording comes out really well and you'd like to take it a step further and release a single or something, then by all means send it to a mastering studio to make an already good recording sound great.

There are a few ways to approach mastering your stuff.

1). Do it yourself on free software (or anything you may buy - cubase/pro tools, etc) with online tutorials as a guide. I don't recommend this, because your ears are probably ****e, and it also takes quite a while to get used to the process.

2). Get a student from a sound course to do it for free (or cheap). This is potentially a viable option, but you won't get Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik out of it. Even if they do a crap job, you've lost nothing but time, and a student (or a few) have gotten some experience out of it. If you're not happy, then try one of the next 2 options.

3). Local semi-pros. They have developed a pretty good ear, and mainly master from the box (just plug-ins, no analog equipment). Depending on who you go with, you may get a really good result, but always ask for samples. The advantage of mastering close by is that you can chat with the engineer and sit in on some of the process.

4). Big pro studios. Sterling is the name in mastering, along with a few others (do the research if you're interested). Essentially, it's production line mastering. They know the current trends and unless told otherwise, just make stuff loud and like everything else out.

My advice is, if you want to master, know what you want.
Bring references (these are CDs that you love the sound of and want to use as a basis).
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