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mastering.........is everything mastered?

I listen to a lot of indie bands who are unsigned........now do all these bands master or is that not true?

Is it safe to say if they released a cd it is mastered?

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #1
The relevant wikipedia article might give you some clues.

Some may do some form of basic mastering, while others may take a direct feed from the mixer bus and convert bit-depth and sampling rate to suit CD audio, which one could argue is barely worthy of the name mastering, though it could be called mastering in its broadest sense.
Dynamic – the artist formerly known as DickD

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #2
I guess where I am going with this is a lot of unsigned bands have a pro sounding sound........how?

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #3
I presume they also have volume levels comparable to modern commercial pop & rock CDs.

If so, then without doubt they're using some form of fairly severe dynamic compression and peak limiting and/or clipping, which serves to level out variations in playing loudness for each instrument and the vocals, and bring all these up to a high, relatively smooth level, it will suppress loud transient impacts like drums and remove much of the 'liveness' of the recording. A bit of EQ tinkering, stereo enhancement and reverberation can add 'polish' making it sound more 'produced' - perhaps shimmery, perhaps smoother.

Some of these processes can be applied to individual tracks before creating the final mixdown and may be applied again to the final mix to maximise the volume.
Dynamic – the artist formerly known as DickD

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #4
so when these bands posts demos on myspace are they mastered?

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #5
so when these bands posts demos on myspace are they mastered?

That depends on how you define the term.

No matter what, they will be mixed from a multitrack format to a two-channel mix, and in that process some post-processing is very likely.

There is a smooth transition from a home-user applying compression with his Cubase plugins, to a pro mastering studio with $$ outboard gear, skills and experience.


The important thing is what is done to the audiotrack, not what you call it. And professionals probably are able to do things to an audiotrack that home-users can not.

-k

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #6
I don't think that what many "professionals" do to audio these days is worthy of the term "mastering". It's more like "amateuring", where they pander to stupid trends instead of loving the music and making something that sounds great.

I record a local open mic night. I get precisely two channels of input, due to the strange set up, and one of those channels happens to be the main mono speaker out. Yet despite that, with just a little bit of trickery, I can pull out the vocals and instrumentation and set them on either side of the stereo image.

Other than that, I crop out an occasional mess-up, but generally leave the recording just as it was. And you know what? People are raving! The noise floor is atrocious, at maybe -60dB, not counting the crowd noise. But I don't dynamically compress it at all, and I barely even ensure that the vocals and instruments are near the same level. I also use track Replaygain to normalize the tracks. I was playing some for my mom the first night, and she asked what made the sound so "rich and deep". It made me realize that she's only ever really been exposed to hyper-compressed pop-style mastering.

When the industry has been screwed up so badly that even my mom (who's probably one of the most casual of listeners) can hear this sort of thing, I don't think that the "audio engineers" who put CDs together are worthy of calling that process "mastering".

Many of the indie producers may not have the skill of the professionals, but they understand more concretely what the artist wants the sound to sound like, and are often not drained of all their creativity from doing nothing but recording for the last N years. I don't think it's honest to say that one is better than the other, they just have different approaches.

That being said, just about any process that takes audio from the instruments to the produced copy could be considered mastering. The term itself comes from producing "master" copies, so any process that results in a master copy from other material would fit there.

mastering.........is everything mastered?

Reply #7
I don't think that what many "professionals" do to audio these days is worthy of the term "mastering". It's more like "amateuring", where they pander to stupid trends instead of loving the music and making something that sounds great.

That is a whole discussion in itself.

-k

 
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