Re: Bouncing and Mastering on the 900cd
- Thank you all for the responses - I'm most grateful, it seems that the ears are the clue to this question.
Any additional thoughts on the Mastering querey would be appreciated
--- In BossBr@yahoogroups.com, "Norman" <normanthomas2005@...> wrote:
> Any additional thoughts on the Mastering querey would be appreciated
I never master "twice" as you asked about.
In fact I never use P01, I just try a few of the various presets and see how they sound with my mix and pick the one that sounds best.
Since I'm not trying to make "radio-ready" masters I just use the presets and never bother to tweak any of the parameters in the toolkit.
BTW you really should avoid doing your final mix in headphones as spatial effects as well as EQ and levels sound a lot different through speakers.
Get used to how your speakers sound, I have two pairs...M-Audio BX5 powered monitors and some 70s-era Kenwood home stereo speakers driven by an old Harmon Kardon amp.
The Kenwoods put out much more low end and have a mellower tone overall than the BX5s, making them more pleasant to listen to. I sometimes use them for tracking but always mix on the BX5s (very clear and unflattering).
I listen to the mix on both speakers and tweak until it sounds good on both. I sometimes compare on phones just to be sure. I'm thinking of hooking up an old boombox I have lying around as yet a third listening reference.
- --- In BossBr@yahoogroups.com, "Norman" <normanthomas2005@...> wrote:
> BOUNCING. After bouncing multiple tracks onto the stereo tracks 7/8 on my 900cd and then burning from tracks 7/8 onto a cd on the machine, the resultant sound levels on the cd when played through another source can be very much different to those that were set when the song was mixed ie. the bass can overpower other tracks.As others have said, a mix can very different, depending on what speakers (and, to some extend, which amplifier) you use for playback. Headphones have a tendency to exaggerate the low end and hard panning, which would sound good through speakers, can sound unnatural on headphones.
> I'm using headphones (which are not of exceptionally high quality) to mix the tracks on the machine before bouncing.
So try to monitor your mix through at least two different sets of speakers and use headphones for listening to details. To make a sensible comparison take care that the levels on each speaker set are approximately equal, since the human ear (or our brain) reacts non-linearly to different frequency ranges at varying sound levels.
Unfortunately AFAIK there is no normalize function on the BR, which brings up the loudest level in a mix to +/-0dB, which would help to make different mixes better comparable.
If you follow the instructions in the BR manual with regards to setting levels for your inputs and when mixing, the BR tends to produces mixes, which are fairly low in level and have lots of headroom. Which isn't a bad thing, since it prevents digital clipping, which I never had any problems with on the BR. But if the headroom is too big and you subsequently need to bring up the level of your mix too much when mastering (or when normalizing it after exporting it from the BR), you are also raising the noise level of your mix, and this can often result in a noticeable hiss or background noise.
So my advice is to record everything as hot as possible and to bring up the levels of each track as high as still works without distortion. The manual says that the input overload LED should not (or only very rarely) light up when your input signal is at its loudest. In my experience you can often go a little bit higher than this. It is better to bring up the level of the input signal than to raise the input gain or record level control, since the pre-amps in the BR will introduce some noise when set too high. Also, when bouncing tracks, make sure that the master level control is at least at 0dB (the thick markers in the upper range) and often you can go a little higher here as well. Make sure that the loudest track is also at least at 0dB or even a little higher and adjust the levels of the other tracks accordingly. Of course, when driving up the levels like this, you have to watch out extra carefully for any clipping distortion. Unfortunately the level meters on the BR are very inconveniently located (at least on the BR-600, don't know about the BR-900), and not very accurate, so your ears are the best tools here.
> MASTERING. I have been mastering songs from track 7/8v1 as described in the owner's manual and used the "P01-Mix Down" from the Mastering Tool Kit list. For subsequent Mastering using other styles from the list do I master from the new "Mix Down" version (on track 7/8v2) or from the original bounced track (on 7/8v1)? My attempts on Mastering have been disappointing with barely any noticeable difference from the Mastered styles available from the list.Normally your workflow should be 1) record 2) mix down to stereo 3) master the stereo mix.
In step 1) it can be neccessary to create bounces of some tracks to a single mono or stereo track in between to free up tracks for new material.
In step 2), as explained above, try to maximize the levels without introducing distortion but still leaving some headroom for the mastering stage. The latter is rarely a practical problem in my experience, unless you have very high transient levels intermittently in your mix.
In step 3) I usually start by trying out the Preset "PreMastr". This preset only applies a little multi-band compression, which levels out the bottom end of the frequency range a bit and reduces spikes in the high end. If this sound good, you can leave it at that and do your mastering. Be sure to bring up the master level to 0dB again and bring up the level of track 7/8 as far as possible while watching for distortion again. you can leave a little headroom and compensate for this by normalizing the track with an audio editor after you have exported it to the computer. But don't leave too much headroom or the noise floor will be too high after normalizing.
If your mix sound quality is lacking in some respect, e.g. not enough clarity or the low or high end is to loud or too low, try out some of the other presets. The differences between those can sometimes be very subtle and whether you can hear them also depends very much on the type or your track, i.e. instruments used, how "busy" the arrangement is and so on.
I very rarely edit the mastering effect presets, but when I do it is usually to adjust the EQ and sometimes the multi-band compressor. Doing this requires some knowledge about frequency ranges and how compressors work, which is too complex to go into here. The library section on sixtyfourguitars' web site has links to a few good articles about mixing and mastering:
Sorry for the long post, I hope there was some useful information for you in it.