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Best Sound mastering program

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Reinhardt  
23 Jun 2010 04:13 | Quote
Joined: 22 Sep 2009
South Africa
Karma: 8
Like the topic says, and it doesnt have to be free it can cost 100000$
Empirism  
23 Jun 2010 12:40 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Finland
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Clearly T-Racks 3 by IK multimedia

IK multimedia is one of the first in the Virtual Instruments and sound programming business. In my experience, they are over the top quality programs. Ive used T-Racks 24, which is older version and results been great. It not cost 100000$, only 379 euros.


Heres little adv from their site, where you can see little details.

The new T-RackS 3 raises the bar again in high-end DAW mastering and mixing, with a suite of 9 analog modeled and digital Dynamics/EQ processors, full metering suite, an audio quality that is unmatched in software, and scores of new and unique features. All processors and metering module can be combined within the plug-in/standalone suite or are also available as individual plug-ins for more convenient mixing within your DAW, for a truly complete bundle of 12 superior sounding tools (10 individual plug-ins, plug-in suite, standalone suite).

Modular High-End Mastering/Mixing Suite of Dynamics and EQ processors, including:

9 processors comprised of 3 new analog and vintage emulations (including models based on the Fairchild 670 and the Pultec EQP-1A), 2 new digital processors as well the 4 classic, award-winning T-RackS processors
New configurable mastering/mixing chain – run up to 12 parallel/series processors
New complete built-in metering section with Peak, Perceived Loudness, Phase, and RMS meters, plus a Spectrum analyzer with Peak, RMS and Averaging indicators
New standalone and plug-in versions available in the same package for use in all the most popular native DAWs
All module processors and metering are also available as individual plug-ins for more convenient mixing within your DAW
New high-fidelity oversampling with crystal clear transparency, for high quality audio processing throughout the entire signal path
New SCC™ technology coupled with IK’s unique DSM™ technology provides the most realistic software emulation of vintage gear to date
Extremely easy to use, with style-based presets, full chain visualization, one-click single module or chain bypass, “compare” function, multiple audio processing in standalone mode and much more

Cheers
Empirism
Phip  
25 Jun 2010 06:56 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Lessons: 1
Karma: 45
Moderator
Reinhardt,
Obviously you are interested in doing it right but here is my suspicion. It's important to have good gear, but perhaps more important to know what to do with that gear and I'm not the guy to answer that question. I do however know someone who can answer that.
As some of you know Carl Snow and I spend a fair amount of time chatting about all kinds of topics over coffee each morning and I'm constantly picking his brain about a variety of subjects (all music related). He's been a huge help to me in trying to understand how the process works. Carl does mastering as his profession so there is no better person to answer your question. You want to know how to fix a TV ask me; you want to know how to master a song ask Carl.
The other day he was showing me some pix of one of his sessions. I was astounded. I hope he doesn’t mind if I share a pix so take a look at this…………….
Start here with the mix



So what software? Better question is what do I do with it when i get it? LOL
I'll leave that answer to Carl if he sees this post.
Phip

carlsnow  
25 Jun 2010 15:32 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
Dang ! I Guess this post will be in two parts... (too many words)
---------
Okay Phip…. I’ll take a stab at this!

Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear.

That said;
When subjects/questions such as ‘what program works best for mastering’ comes along, even casually, I get “nervy”; …Very nervy, as the subject (Mastering) seems to be sliding down the same ‘slippery-slope’ that mixing, and recording are on, in this ‘ready-made’ digital age.

It should also be noted that the mastering information I am going to place here is the ‘tip of an enormous icebergat the least and would take a book to properly outline. So; I’ll do my best to pack as much info in as little space as possible and hope that if any of you are interested in this profession, you will pursue the needed knowledge, tutorage, etc-etc needed to begin engaging in this (seemingly)dying art.

Phip related a point along the lines of: ‘okay, I have the software, now what do I do with it?’
That’s a very good question …however; it is also a query into the final step(s) in the process, ‘the end of the line’ so to speak.

The answer to the “what software?” question = ‘whatever works best for you’

I have posted here awhile, and so, know that many of you are (to me) very young, just as I , at 44, make Phip look young, so please don’t take anything I say as “talking down” or bragging or ant such thing. These last two decades have, simply put, “changed everything” … so much of the old-school language used should be applied to software as well, just as any mention of ‘fame and glory’(lol) probably exists to illustrate a point. Dig?

Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear. pretty much sums it all up nicely for me , but I would wager Phip’s house that that is where everyone gets “stuck” (how do I know this? …Because back in 1978 when I saw my first 8-track reel, ‘real” board, and ½” ‘master’… it is where I got stuck! We all start at square one …Period.

Ears First!! …in the old days (prior to me being able to Master) I was a “runner” or to glorify the term … payless tape-op. this allowed me to do many fun things such as drive to get someone some smokes, run XLR cables in and out of rooms (rec set-up), get yelled at by the vocalist (they always whine, heck they make drummers seem happy) and during taping … (Ah! Here comes the good part!) I got to “shut up and listen!”, usually from the back corner of the control room. When I (my band, Koro, rather) recorded my1st 7” EP my friend/git-teacher and mentor Terry Hill Engineered the session. What did I get to do?
“Turn down!”, “Shut up and listen”, that’s what! …and thank God because at 18 I really didn’t know anything other than how to run a relatively small PA. T (Terry) was teaching me something. After a year or so of him(and others) ***ing over my shoulder at clubs, I had moved onto a new band AND was given the task of mixing HIS band when we opened (he’d mix us). This is were the ear learns to navigate difficult, often hostile, ‘sonic terrains’.
No one told me to shut up and listen after that year, I KNEW to do so.

So what does running PA’s in a clubs have to do with Mastering?

Everything!

Dealing with PA’s (some of you may have some experience there) will inform you more than any textbooks (and God knows they printed enough!) I could recommend, and here is why:
In a club (assume the PA) variables are abundant. Large (400) “house” = the need for more bass, but what about that brickwall sitting stage-left? What about the blown tweeter on the 2nd right stack? And what is wrong with this board?
And this is just one of the 50 or so clubs this year, every one of them unique in their sonic characteristics…
Still… All you want = great sound. What you must navigate = the terrains above.

Working a club will teach you a LOT (a practice space if Yer not gigging)! More than the simple “*57’s and 8’s right?” question (*Shure SM-57 and 58) …
Clubs force the ear to train itself via problem solving and changing environments. The instruments, songs and all are set, but each club is different: and therein lies the beauty!
You have a constant (the band) and a host of variables (club / PA), a fantastic equation to learn from. Since you want everything to sound great you think back to ‘the record’ and the practice space and using the constant/variables, sculpt the sound into the best approximation of the record you can; The more clubs/Pas the more variables. The more variables the more you learn.

(Sidestep a decade or so…)

Back at the studio
The stage teaches you more than I could ever type; one of these is Mic’ing.
Watching someone place THAT Mic THAT far from THAT source of sound is, like Mastering, a dying art, and one that is in desperate need of new ears and attention; I wnt go into Mic techniques (and brands etc) as that would be a book unto itself.
(so, Mastering being the topic, lets say “all the Mics are just perfect and we’re ready to roll tape”)
Moving to 2nd-chair engineer is much like learning to Box; you learn to take verbal punches from all comers as you hone your defense by listening to and watching your trainer, who sits front and center where you want to be. The control room does not offer the excuses of a live date. You can’t say “oh! God! This place is screwed and the board has a six-pack IN it!” …nope; conditions are optimal, time to learn to EQ, Comp, Etc x 1,000 (lol)
When I was learning the craft (still am!) “back in the day” sitting ‘second-chair’ was a path to sitting in the nice chair in the middle. So let’s skip 2nd and move on to 1st chair.
(Adding: a good teacher allows a student to sit 1st chair, to make mistakes, to learn .. after all, it’ll make their life easier.)
end part one
carlsnow  
25 Jun 2010 15:34 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
-> PART TWO

The big chair!
(…in trying to help you learn this stuff, lets say that the ‘big chair’ is the chair where YOU mix and such.)
I must admit that I did not serve many years (tours etc) in the big chair, nor did I serve many clients in that capacity.. I wasn’t ready enough. I had to grow better ears. I did, here’s how:
The center of the control room (or your chair at home) receives the clearest sonic-picture available to you, another ‘constant’ if you will, (much like the band at the club) to guide your ear as it sculpts the variables into a good, clean recording. The room is sound-treated, the Monitors are in a fixed position, and you know the board. Keep the band happy; always add verb/delay in the singers phones, it shuts them up. Just don’t print it to tape! Printing ‘wet’ (FX) tracks is a silly waste of time that offers no flexibility in Mix-down.
Gonna skip a thousand pages up to…..

Mixing the LP, err, I mean CD
(I’ll not get into much FX speak here, that’ll be last … think of this as more of a ‘how to mix’ thing than a ‘what gizmos to use’ thing)
“the Tom’s are way too loud”-Bring the Vox up”-“can I re-do my vocal”-“my solo blows”-etc…
When applying gain and EQ to a track our sub-group(drums) of tracks remember this (I’ll use a guitar track as the ‘for instance’ here) :
It is far better to reduce (pull down) unwanted frequencies than it is to raise (push up) the frequencies you want in the (guitar) track.
Why?
Because it is part of a larger whole, a cog in the wheel that will be the mixed song, and so any change in frequencies may affect the other tracks sharing that frequency range, thus, botching the mix.
Also: There is one frequency range that you cannot create using the board(or software) and it sits right there in the middle, yup! Ya can make bass, you can soar some highs but ‘ya cant shine sh!t’ and ya can’t create midrange on the board(yea, some will look Wikki “eq” and say BS but I’d bet Phip’s life on it!) and when you try you find only a giant gob of noise. So, using a guitar track lets EQ.
“Bump me at 300(Hz) !” – The cry of the session guy. He’s right. 300Hz aint MID (damn close) but its low-mid enough for a nice thick sound, just as a slight (1db) push around 12,000khz will pronounce the Pick-strikes and shimmer… anything above 16khz (1600) is a waste and will be lost in the Cymbals anyway. Want some of that non-intrusive Mid? Just roll-off from 150hz down and 16khz up. If you have a (NICE) compressor (Avalon etc) you can push a tad hotter but be careful you don’t crowd the vocal.
Now
You have a killer recording and a ton of stuff to Mix , Guitar #1 taken care of we move to … and then.
When each sound (individually) sounds good to you its time to bring them all together. You WILL, not “may” but “WILL” become unhappy with a few things, Cymbals too high, Bass lacks balls etc when you get to this stage. So ask your ears “what do I want?” and (more variables) begin to construct the sound in your head.

What has been the constant? …Monitors and position. Use this knowledge of the room to inform you during mixing.
(I could go pages on Mix too (lol) but we’re here for Mastering!)
SO … YOU MIXED IT !!!

Mastering 101 … some history .

It took (literally) decades for me to hang a shingle (charge money) saying Mastering Engineer on the wall. Decades and the help of some of the best; While recording a demo of my band (Whitey, at the time) for A&M Records, a friend of mine who was a co-founder and the brains behind many Waves-Ltd Plug-in’s (recently given a grant from the Grammy Foundation to re-master all of Robert Moog’s old stuff for the Library Of Congress) sat as first chair … it was 1990 and we still used tape, time was free, but we all were used to paying, and so got the 9 tunes down in one afternoon, we scuttled up to Recording Arts (Nash Or ATL I cant remember) and as John Hiatt walked out (lol) we walked in to mix/master (mix at the big place was THEN considered “rough” no matter how good). I watched Seva (David ‘Seva’ Ball …aka Dave or Commander Dave(his old radio name)) drool over two small outboard EQ’s each costing about 10 grand, he decided then/there that they would = Kick and Snare. He worked his magic and I watched. Nick R had sent word that he was 1st chairing a Tom Petty record and soon “some new guys Alice In Chains” (Nick was/is a metal guy)
.. Seva noticed something. He said: Tom wanted to FILL the room with 40 to 50 SM58’s and 57’s (no I don’t recall what record, aint a big fan) play live, and mix/eq by choosing mics rather than the old fashioned way.
When we hit Knoxville again Dave and I started doing crazy stuff with some of my electronic music, using the then NEW Logic-Pro program and his Mastering studio.
THIS IS WHEN I GOT SERIOUS
Yeah this is a seriously long reply but this is half (other than guitar teaching and gigging) of my income lol and a passion of mine.
Bear with me.

What can be learned from the “Tom Petty Mics” and the “zillion dollar eq’s”? …..

A LOT!!!

Mastering 101 … the short Cliff Notes Version .

A “Master” was first the final stage in (40’s etc) record production. A Mastering engineer would dutifully sit at the ‘cutting table’ and watch the master (From which they’d press the 78, 45, or LP) making sure the cutting needle properly cut the master.
Things change.
Today, a Mastering Engineer is the person who pulls all the elements of a final Mix together from a stereo source (I prefer Wav @ 24bit 48K due to various “plugs”) and make it shine as a ‘whole”
Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear.
I’ll say it again.
I’ll go over a few things that are needed for a good master.


1-Good ‘source’ (“ya can’t shine sh*t”)

2-Nice, Dependable, Monitors

3-Knowledge of the Monitors tendencies

4-Knowledge of what the ROOM does to change the above tendencies

5-Sound-treatment (from Bass-Traps, to Auralex Squares (I use ‘em) “fitted to the room” by someone qualified to do so… (lol) HINT , if Yer ready to Master Yer ready to ‘treat a room’

6-Consistency: make sure you mix, and master (if poss) in the same room in the same chair with the same monitors each time…I cannot stress this enough. I have used the (2 sets) monitors I use for almost 14 years now (1 set the Yamaha NS-10MS’s for 22) and in not changing THEM I have attenuated MY EARS to them, thereby allowing me to spot irregularities in sonic landscapes with ease.

7-(if Poss) Listen to your favorite music on the monitors, not an Ipod(lol)

8-If you have headphones, remember: Headphones are good when overdubbing a part but have absolutely no place in Mastering

9-Know your frequencies!!! Just as modes and chords are important to becoming a great guitarist, FREQUENCIES are to Mastering (and Rec and Mix). KNOW :
where, using HZ and kHz (Hertz Kilohertz) , the piano is (60-14,000) where the guitar is (150-8,000 mainly) , the Vocal, etc-etc

10-Do you have an album from the genre you are mastering, one you like? Play it a lot (reference).

REMEMBER
Mastering is much like Mixing, but rather than individual tracks, a stereo field is your instrument to “tune”.

You Mix by virtue of informed equalization, compression vs. un-compression, large-space, small-space, warm, cold, wet, all these things and more.

Its like putting a 10 piece multilayer puzzle together … in the end you want each layer(song) to have its own sonic merits, but not to the detriment of the piece as a whole.
The tracks will be individually, yet ‘the feel’, ‘the sound’, will be congruent unto itself.
In example: I once Mastered a ‘Tribute To Jaco Pastorius III’ Cd for JVC/Sony-Japan. On it where cuts from some jazz greats, great cuts at that, BUT, each was recorded at a different studio and each by a different engineer, Dig? The goal there was uniformity and difference. You can have both, it’s just rather difficult. But when I stepped back for a look (this is where that 1st chair experience came in handy lol) I looked at it like an unmixed song. So after Mastering each track (one w/ 8 accordions (Gil Goldstein), swear to god) I listened to the over and very as a whole THEN after feeling out the ‘space’ and the dynamics and the flow of it all I applied my final touches (and waited for the check lol). From Metal to Pop to Country and on and on, the Mixes I get are drastically different BUT very much alike.
The constant and the variable (just like at the beginning of the post) remain.
The constants = the chair, Monitors, Control Surfaces (software), Plug-in’s – “outboard” gear” and such
The Variable = Pitch and Tone (basically)

And YES it can (running a Mastering Studio) cost a mint but the pay is good and if you pursue it, being a Mastering Engineer is a LOT of fun too! :)

But, I have to throw this caution out.
A software program and a ‘how-to’ book will not a Mastering Engineer make, the only way to get there is the same way you become a professional musician, long hours, many many years, listening, observing, reading, making mistakes, etc…

I hope this helped … it sure made my fingers hurt

RAWK!
Cs


Global Disclaimer :
Carl Snow is an old, jaded & slightly bitter old man who cannot be held accountable for anything, much less his opinionatedly opinionated opinions or
AlexB  
26 Jun 2010 01:23 | Quote
Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Mexico
Licks: 2
Karma: 23
Excelent post Carl,thanks

Phip  
26 Jun 2010 08:12 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Lessons: 1
Karma: 45
Moderator
Carl you must have twenty fingers instead of ten! Staples is having a sale on keyboards this week in case you've worn yours out. lol
Seriously, there is so much insight in what you wrote above that i copied and saved it in my "Carl" folder. Thanks for sharing the importance of the human aspect of the process, it was fascinating.
Steva las Vegas
jcb3000  
26 Jun 2010 09:57 | Quote
Joined: 09 Jul 2008
United Kingdom
Karma: 4
Good post Carl. The recording and technology side of music is some what of a passion of mine and started out doing sound for gigs with my dad when i was 13. I couldn't agree with you more on the 90% ear, 10% equipment. I always find that when mixing and mastering its always good to keep bouncing it down as the best file quality as you can and play it in different scenarios (such as through a stereo or earphones etc) that way you can get perspective on where all the instruments are in the mix and a good idea of the EQ on each instrument. Generally most sound systems add alot of low end (low frequencies) to the piece so I find its good to cut as many of the lower end as i can without it feeling too tinny.

Number 1 of mastering 101 made me laugh alot. just goes to show that mic positioning and initial setup up is as important as the whole process! listening to some of my earlier songs and how it has progressed has really shown me how mic placement is key to any good song. a good way to do this is just experiment. some good places to start are:
- angle of the mic
- how far away it is from where the sound is coming from
- combination of mics
- the different type of mic (condenser or dynamic)
and take note of how good the sound is created.

an example of taking all of these into account is how i found a good sound for an acoustic guitar over the years. when recording i assumed the player was seated and placed an ambient mic (Rode M3 in this case) next to their head to get a perspective of what they can hear when they play. next a dynamic mic (good ol SM57) angled about 45 degrees facing the sound hole at the bridge. and finally a condenser mic facing down the neck toward the body at the 12th fret. this took a long time of experimenting but worked very well for me to get a nice rich warm sound.

I know i kind of went off topic of the whole mixing and mastering thing but hey useful information i hope :P
Empirism  
27 Jun 2010 01:01 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Finland
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Thanks for great post carl.

carlsnow says:
…Very nervy, as the subject (Mastering) seems to be sliding down the same ‘slippery-slope’ that mixing, and recording are on, in this ‘ready-made’ digital age.!


Yeah, these two things are often misunderstood as same subject. Which theyre not. While Analog is always the analog, I myself find many and more good things that came along with digital technology.

you said that "Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear." I agree, though it works better to concept mixing, does it?

here is my opinion why, because in the mixing you are not hooked as much to "sound quality" than in the "mastering" you are, there the "chassis" or gear have more meaning to maximize the sound quality for the final format for broadcast. Ofcourse if tracks are "clipped" or something, there not much to do in the mastering eh? :)...

uhm and can I have quick tip to next time,

We had a gig recently in a little pub. I mean LITTLE pub, room where the "stage" was around 25-30 square meters. We as a "rock band" had a little problem there XD. How you even can do live mix setup in space like that?

Cheers
Empirism



deefa  
27 Jun 2010 06:46 | Quote
Joined: 22 Dec 2007
United Kingdom
Karma: 8
Ace lesson Carl (it must have been 'cause "old thicko" here understood every word)!
carlsnow  
27 Jun 2010 09:27 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
The forum program may make this another two-pager… lets see
yup!
PART ONE
AlexB says:
Thanks for great post carl.


….Anytime Alex, mebbe some day you can give me some “video-pointers”! ;)

Phip says:
Carl you must have twenty fingers instead of ten! Staples is having a sale on keyboards this week in case you've worn yours out. lol
Seriously, there is so much insight in what you wrote above that i copied and saved it in my "Carl" folder. Thanks for sharing the importance of the human aspect of the process, it was fascinating.


I type with two fingers and a thumb Phipster, tell Staples to hold off…
A N D

Yes… the ‘Human Element’ is vanishing at an astonishing rate … I liken this ear-disappearance to the ‘good, healthy, home cooked meal’ dying at the hands of the fast food industry.
Simply put, its more time consuming to do things correctly (cook) than to drive-through some hamburger joint.

jcb3000 says:
Number 1 of mastering 101 made me laugh alot. just goes to show that mic positioning and initial setup up is as important as the whole process! listening to some of my earlier songs and how it has progressed has really shown me how mic placement is key to any good song. a good way to do this is just experiment. some good places to start are:
- angle of the mic
- how far away it is from where the sound is coming from
- combination of mics
- the different type of mic (condenser or dynamic)
and take note of how good the sound is created.

an example of taking all of these into account is how i found a good sound for an acoustic guitar over the years. when recording i assumed the player was seated and placed an ambient mic (Rode M3 in this case) next to their head to get a perspective of what they can hear when they play. next a dynamic mic (good ol SM57) angled about 45 degrees facing the sound hole at the bridge. and finally a condenser mic facing down the neck toward the body at the 12th fret. this took a long time of experimenting but worked very well for me to get a nice rich warm sound.


Good point!
This is the #1 most overlooked and dying of all recording arts. (and don’t get me started on “Pods”)

What you outline above is the basic “go-to” for acoustic guitar, apart from your (wise) placement of the ambient Mic. Of course distance/Mic/etc change a bit with each player/guitar, but that goes without saying.
When recording any acoustic instrument, my approach adheres to a “less is more” aesthetic where the ‘optimal sound’ is achieved via as few Mics as possible. I usually use two Mics (Large Diaphragm “aimed at” the body, and a 57(or other directional/dynamic Mic at the 12th fret or so) but also throw-up an ambient and/or “other” Mic, for the sole reason of having more choices during Mixing (many times I find myself ‘wiping’ all but the Large Diaphragm from the mix … other occasions beg for the addition of the near-field dynamic …or more. And that’s all a HUGE part of the “human process” discussed above: having many choices, and being aware enough to make the (for you) ‘right one’.

I looked at your profile and was VERY pleasantly surprised to read that these (Mic’ing) words of wisdom came from an 18yr old man! Should you continue at this rate you could end up the next Bob Ludwig:
Kudos!

END PART ONE
carlsnow  
27 Jun 2010 09:28 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
and
Part Two
jcb3000 says:
Yeah, these two things are often misunderstood as same subject. Which theyre not. While Analog is always the analog, I myself find many and more good things that came along with digital technology.


I’m not sure I ‘read you right’ but will do my best here:

Analog recording(etc) has (if you can find an analog studio these days) many advantages over digital recording, just as Digital recording has advantages over analog recording.
I used “tape” in my post due to the fact that when I was learning all this stuff (still learning, ya never stop) no-one knew of digital recording, as it had yet to be ‘invented’. In the 70’s, 80’s, and a large part of the 90’s Analog Tape was quite simply “the way it was”.
As ADAT machines, and a few years latter, Hard-Disc Multi-track machines, moved into studios they were met with suspicion and more than a little skepticism.
There were studios where the Bass, Kick, and other low frequencies, as well as Cymbals and high-high-frequency instruments were ‘captured on tape’, while all else was sent to a bank of ADATS or, later, an HD-recorder. The Analog and the digital signals were then ALL bussed to Digital, after Mixing. *(if you look carefully at the picture Phip posted there is a Sony HD 24-Track just to my left.)
Why?
Two (main) reasons:
For one, “we” were still learning how to deal with digital recording, especially the fact that unlike Analog Tape, Digital (which started as Digital tape) could NOT be “pushed into the red” … In the old days a bit of ‘red’ added warmth, with digital it added digital distortion. This was a huge deal for many as old habits are hard to break.
Secondly, when digital recording came into the fray, it, much like the advent and growth of the “Personal Computer” grew at a geometrical rate, each passing year making last years gear seem obsolete.
There are many-many advantages to digital recording (my studio is almost 100% digital now) but we lost a LOT during its growth, and in areas I did not expect.

The first “loss” was depth of field and warmth (back then…its much better now) as a digital signal = 1’s and 0’s only. An analog signal creates a wave that is smooth whereas a digital signal approximates this wave in tiny blocks … look at a sine-wave comparison sometime; no matter how deep the Bit-rate or how high the Frequency rate, zoom in deep enough and the digital wave will look like tiny steps on a wavy stairway.
This, problem has been nearly solved by advances in digital technology.
And YES
Digital recording DOES have MANY advantages over analog as well. Faster editing, Portability (no more “live-trucks”), Affordability (try buying a nice Studer ½” machine, or a reel of good tape these days…whoa!),
And on and on and on.

My post was not intended as any sort of ‘Analog Vs. Digital’ … But I do thank you for bringing it up.

I won’t go into the Firmware, Software, Plugs or anything like that as it would take a book, and I’ve written my fingers to nubs. (lol)

I will say this though... Digital recording HAS ‘hurt’ something I never saw coming:
It has hurt bands …
In the days of tape, you’d pay $250 or so a day (pricey back then) for your band to record a demo, etc. You and the band would save up Gig-money and practice your collective selves to death before entering the studio. Usually the band would record Live, with a **“scratch vocal” One to Three ‘takes’ was generally the Max for any one tune, as (heard/said this a zillion times) “if ya can’t get it right in three takes, ya don’t need to record it yet!”
**(“real”-vocals and leads or doubles were overdubbed later) .

When digital came into full bloom, bands slacked off. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.
Even when being paid, it is hard to sit in a session where everyone is recorded at separate times to a click, and each of the ‘takes’, takes the band a year to muddle through as they come in Un-rehearsed to the point of embarrassment.
The first thing you spot is the “lazy foot” .. the drummer and the bass player are not “on” BUT they know we can (I hate this phrase) “fix it in the mix” ..
Ugh.
BUT
There are still bands, young bands that practice and practice and practice, so that when THEY nail the tunes in a Take or two they have the flexibility to “mess around” with the recording, sculpting it, with new tools, into their shared vision.
Digital is much like Einstein and splitting the Atom.
Used in a good way, you can POWER the world.
Used improperly, you can destroy it.

Empirism says:
you said that "Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear." I agree, though it works better to concept mixing, does it?


Could you please re-phrase that? I don’t understand fully, what you are saying.

Empirism says:
in the mixing you are not hooked as much to "sound quality" than in the "mastering" you are, there the "chassis" or gear have more meaning to maximize the sound quality for the final format for broadcast


Actually, the opposite is true.
First the maximum quality of signal should be applied in the recording phase
Then when the rough mix is underway, more ‘tweaking’ is done and the source becomes more and more defined and deep.
In the Final Mix you SHOULD have what you think the Master SHOULD sound like.
In the Mastering stage, the less the Mastering Engineer has to do, the better.

.
Empirism says:
Of course if tracks are "clipped" or something, there not much to do in the mastering eh? :)...


Nope, not a thing … but any studio that sends out a clipped-mix doesn’t need to be in business, lol.

Empirism says:
We had a gig recently in a little pub. I mean LITTLE pub, room where the "stage" was around 25-30 square meters. We as a "rock band" had a little problem there XD. How you even can do live mix setup in space like that?


Oh man, it’s been awhile but I know how ya feel.
One of the greatest advances in live sound has been the advent of sturdy Mics and flexible PA’s. Use this to you advantage. I stopped touring (well mainly, lol, new CD out next week so lol) awhile ago due to illness BUT the BEST thing that ever happened to me re: stage and sound happened via two VERY dissimilar Bands/Performers. (and playing clubs clubs/venues fer decades)
One constant:
DRUMS
In a small club a snare can actually hurt the front row, AND the guitars and vocals must be heard WITH the drums not under them. The drummer will either have the skills to adapt and play lightly, and/or you will have a good-to-decent PA.
Here’s the dirty little secret(s): BIG amps are to much for a club, and are absolutely unneeded in larger venues with good PA’s (and Side-fills) Why? Thank the Microphone! Thank the Pa! I typically play a 30-watt amp (any size venue): with a Mic on it the 30-watt becomes as loud or as low as you wish, and a good monitor feed will allow you any comforts a larger amp would provide (if it’s a good amp that is). So my answer would be “use the PA”.
I did some of the sound work at one of SRV’s many shows here, each time he would have an array of amps onstage, turned on… with no signal running to them. Why? In a room near the dressing room sat a pair (in case one blew a tube) of Fender Twin’s Mic’ed well and such. That signal was then fed to the pa and a (one) F-Twin he used as a second monitor, the rest was mixed FOH (front of house) ! …Kinda like a magic trick huh? Same thing happened when my band (1990-92) opened for the Ramones, they had stacks and stacks of Marshall’s on each side of the stage, while I had one old Peavy-Tube head running a 4x12 Cab (I know I said small amps but crowd noise factors in when in a 1,000+ seat venue (or outdoors))
Seva (the genious in my 1st post) was running OUR FOH sound, and had simply SET the side-fills to a good level at soundcheck. I grew up worshipping the Ramones, but I didn’t get how 10 Marshall Stacks was “punk” (still don’t) BUT they did the same thing Stevie did, basically, they Mic’ed one speaker on one Cab stage-left and did the same stage-right … the rest was “show” and oddly enough, thanks to Seva, we were clearer, cleaner, and louder.
SO
Again I say: Trust the PA (and get a good soundman or learn it yourselves)

In a club nothing changes but the volume needed to reach the back of the venue. So in small clubs, after getting the drums “right’ … try to find a good balance of Pa/stage-volume, and you should be just fine!
:)

deefa says:
Ace lesson Carl (it must have been 'cause "old thicko" here understood every word)!


Thanks Man!!
Okay … Hope this helped someone.
(fingers = nubs again lol)

RAWK!
Cs


Global Disclaimer :
Carl Snow is an old, jaded & slightly bitter old man who cannot be held accountable for anything, much less his opinionatedly opinionated opinions or those of his imaginary friends. We sincerely apologize if this Carl Snow and/or its behavior have infected you or others with its ugly brain and its juices.
Empirism  
27 Jun 2010 11:16 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Finland
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Oh man, thanks again Carl, got many useful things there. Should be stickied to lessons :).

"Empirism says:
you said that "Mastering is 90% Ear and 10% Gear." I agree, though it works better to concept mixing, does it?

Could you please re-phrase that? I don’t understand fully, what you are saying."

Dun worry about this, I notice I had misleaded thinking in this. Thanks

Cheers
Empirism
carlsnow  
28 Jun 2010 12:30 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
Empirism says:
Oh man, thanks again Carl, got many useful things there. Should be stickied to lessons :).


thanks Empirism!...glad i helped ya out a bit :)

and YEAH! i thought about the lesson thing myself (esp it being so long AND un-finished(lol)) but i dont have a clue as how to do that...:(

RAWK!
Cs

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