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Soloman Tump

Mastering a group of tracks

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Tried searching for a thread / posts on this, couldn't find anything so sorry if its a tulpa

I am collecting recordings that I have made, with a vague aim of putting them out as a release at some point.

However, i'm interesting in how people master their tracks and how you go about getting different tracks sounding good next to each other for an album or an EP.

Do you have a set process that you run through every track to give them all the same "colour", then tweak for individual tracks? Or do you treat each track differently.

 

Or do you just level it all off at the same volume and hit upload

:idk:

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51 minutes ago, Soloman Tump said:

Tried searching for a thread / posts on this, couldn't find anything so sorry if its a tulpa

I am collecting recordings that I have made, with a vague aim of putting them out as a release at some point.

However, i'm interesting in how people master their tracks and how you go about getting different tracks sounding good next to each other for an album or an EP.

Do you have a set process that you run through every track to give them all the same "colour", then tweak for individual tracks? Or do you treat each track differently.

 

Or do you just level it all off at the same volume and hit upload

:idk:

I master as I go and then only go back and remaster a track if I feel like it's wrong after listening on a few systems. I do this cos I prefer slightly compressed tracks so prefer to here my own tracks that way.

 

If something's released I believe in a proper engineer tho. That being said I've started leaving my eq and stuff on even when it goes to a proper engineer. I just take off the compression shit.

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Good question and what you do obviously comes down to how seriously you want to take it. To get the absolute best result then for sure, sending it off to someone who is going to deploy their professional skills and gear will be the best way forward... but obviously comes at a significant cost.

For what its worth, i tend to generally work on my tracks individually and just try to make sure my gains of the different tracks are similar enough when i initially export. Once i have a bunch of tracks that i want to release together, i'll dump them all in another project file and start tinkering with compression etc on each track, then apply a basic chain of limiting, eq and compression on the master. Doing this allows me to cut up my tracks and apply different EQ settings to each movement if i want to accentuate certain phrases, whilst making sure that the overall sound of the release is consistent and cohesive throughout...

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I think if you can try and master them to the same RMS / loudness that's helpful to the listener definitely. A lot of my tunes are at different levels especially if they haven't been mastered which must annoy the heck out of the listener although its not intentional.

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It's generally a bad idea to treat every track with the same brush as the program content can vary wildly, but you can add individual stereo mixes and their mastering FX chains in the same project file with analysis tools and a limiter on the master, as you can then adjust the individual track outputs to maintain cohesion. A buss compressor can usually be used with slightly similar settings on multiple tracks to help glue mixes similarly. There are free intense analysers like Orban Loudness meter and Voxengo SPAN, but the most critical portion is to use your ears and compare on low volumes. Unless your speaker setup is top notch, any serious treatment is a bad idea and mastering services aren't that expensive these days. 

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Thanks for the replies.

 

I guess I just need more experience with this sort of this.

I can't afford to pay someone else to do it so I'll keep on tweakin'

 

My recordings are all Live in one take with hardware so I really have to pay attention to levels as I am going.  The annoying thing then with recordings such as the following is that there are a few "clips" such as 3:04 and elsewhere.  Not a lot I can do about that now other than digital editing I guess.  I am hoping to use the best of these recordings as a promo album to try and get some live gigs.

 

 

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I'd simply master all the tracks during one session, once I've settled on the right track selection and order. Having a global vision of where you want and can sonically take them is more crucial than the gear IMHO.

Then I'd use whatever works, on a track basis.

Now you can certainly do it all with a couple of units / plugins tops for each category of processor (a couple of EQs, a couple of compressors and a limiter should cover all your needs).

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I never wory if a track from a collection sounds a bit different then the rest. It all goes down to how the listener hears your work, just ask your mates what stands out and what they might be missing, sonically that is, not composition wise. Every artist mixes, eq's and masters tracks in their way, so there is not one single best way or right way to do it. Music is Art and Art is subjective.

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