Audio Mastering

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  • Topic: Audio engineering, Sound, Audio mastering
  • Pages : 26 (9603 words )
  • Download(s) : 65
  • Published : May 28, 2013
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by bob katz
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
Table of contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

TUTORIAL
Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Your Room Your Monitors . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Metering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Dynamics Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Sequencing: Relative Levels, Loudness and Normalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Recipe for Radio Success . . . . . . . . . . 11 Dither . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Equalization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Sibilance Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Noise reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Monitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Advanced Mastering Techniques . . . . . 17

APPENDIX
Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

4

WELCOME

Congratulations on your purchase of a TC Electronics Finalizer. You now own the audio equivalent of a Formula One Racing Car. Have you ever ridden in a finely-tuned racecar on a cross-country track with a professional driver? I have. It's more exhilarating than any theme park ride. Every corner is carefully calculated. Every tap on the brake is just enough to make it around the curve without going off the road. Such great power requires great responsibility, and the same is true for owners of the Finalizer. Now you're the driver, you can do an audio "wheelie" any time you want. You can take every musical curve at 100 mph....but ask yourself: "is this the right thing for my music"? This booklet is about both audio philosophy and technology. A good engineer must be musical. Knowing "what's right for the music" is an essential part of the mastering process. Mastering is a fine craft learned over years of practice, study and careful listening. I hope that this booklet will help you on that journey.

Bob Katz

6

GETTING STARTED
Mastering vs. Mixing Mastering requires an entirely different "head" than mixing. I once had an assistant who was a great mix engineer and who wanted to get into mastering. So I left her alone to equalize a rock album. After three hours, she was still working on the snare drum, which didn't have enough "crack"! But as soon as I walked in the room, I could hear something was wrong with the vocal. Which brings us to the first principle of mastering: Every action affects everything. Even touching the low bass affects the perception of the extreme highs. Mastering is the art of compromise; knowing what's possible and impossible, and making decisions about what's most important in the music. When you work on the bass drum, you'll affect the bass for sure, sometimes for the better, sometimes worse. If the bass drum is light, you may be able to fix it by "getting under the bass" at somewhere under 60 Hz, with careful, selective equalization. You may be able to counteract a problem in the bass instrument by dipping around 80, 90, 100; but this can affect the low end of the vocal or the piano or the guitar - be on the lookout for such interactions. Sometimes you can't tell if a problem can be fixed until you try; don't promise your client miracles. Experience is the best teacher. Think Holistically Before mastering, listen carefully to the performance, the message of the music. In many music genres, the vocals message is most important. In other styles, it's the rhythm, in some it's intended distortion, and so on. With rhythmic music, ask yourself, "what can I do to make this music more exciting?" With ballads, ask "is this music about intimacy, space, depth, emotion, charisma, or all of the above"? Ask, "How can I help this music to communicate better to the audience?" Always start by learning the emotion and the message of the client's music. After that, you can break it down into details such as the high...
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