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8 ways to improve your home mastering

Pro mastering services can be great. They take the guesswork out of what is sometimes perceived as a bit of a dark art. But, for reasons of convenience and cost, more and more of us are choosing to take matters into our own hands and, more often than not, this means mastering at home, in the box.

It’s now totally viable to work this way, but getting the best possible results isn’t necessarily easy. So, here are eight things you can try to improve your DIY mastering efforts.

For a guide to mastering at home check out Future Music issue 280, which is on sale now.

 


Limit your limiting

The loudness war is now old news and is probably nearing an end due to new metering and legislation. However, this metering is currently strictly for broadcast, and there are no restrictions on the independent producer. This means that many continue to master loud and proud, but this can be bad for your music on a few different levels.

If you hit your limiter too hard you reduce your dynamic range to the point where the differences between loud and quiet sections in your tracks become imperceptible. By limiting hard you can also introduce inter-sample clipping, and this becomes even more evident when you encode your music to a lossy format for distribution.

To avoid this you can obviously lay off the limiting and set sensible output peaks, but also, investing in a limiter with oversampling built-in can help. Try the excellent AOM Invisible Limiter. It’s clean, loud and will help detect ISP.

Template for success

Prepare a mastering template in your DAW with your full mastering chain and zoomed tracks. This will give you a headstart when you’re starting a new session and take the leg work out of setting up your software.

Set up parallel mastering channels

Using parallel channels in mastering is not really common practice, but when the technique is used correctly it can help you add control, increase signal density and will also allow you to mix extreme processes at sensible levels.

Start by either duplicating your audio or setting up a send return channel. Now apply your M/S processing, limiting, saturation or compression to the copied channel. You can mix in your newly-processed audio to taste whilst retaining the tone and dynamics of your original mix. This is a perfect way to widen strings or add aggressive compression to your master.

Pleased to meter

If you find that the metering included in your DAW is not sufficient, then you can get hold of a third-party solution. Everything is available from straightforward level metering to full suites like iZotope’s excellent Insight.

Use cascaded compression

Sometimes a single round of compression isn’t enough to control the wayward dynamics in a mix. You could use multi-band compression or simply turn up the ratio of your single band model, but we are aiming for transparency here.

Try using a number of compressors in your project: you can insert a compressor at the start of your chain followed by some EQ and then use a second compressor. Setting these two compressors at half the workload of a single unit will result in a more transparent effect with less predicable ‘pumping’. This transparency will only work in your favour as you add more processors.

Encode to lossy formats correctly

Moving from your final master to a compressed lossy format is necessary to ensure your music can be distributed and stored online. Most DAWs give you the option of exporting to MP3, AAC, etc, but there are a few problems you can encounter. You may end up with an MP3 that’s not trimmed correctly, so it can be better to perform this part of the process after further editing or directly from a dedicated editor.

After your trims are completed, consider the excellent Sonnox Codex Toolbox app. This converts using any popular Codec and also ensures your final output has no clipping or overs embedded into the file.

System addict

Once you have finished your first batch of masters, play them back on as many systems as you can get your hands on. This diversity will help you to find out if you have achieved good translation.

Practise good mastering workflow

Good mastering workflow is not just about solid gain structuring, watching dynamic range and transparency. It’s also about staying organised and ensuring you have a productive and efficient session. Try to use templates and presets for your favourite default starting positions to save time.

Also, try to separate the mixing and mastering processes as much as possible. It’s never a good idea to master in your mixing project – things get cluttered and CPUs get hot! Finally, have any extra tools you need – like converters, audio editors and music players that you use – ready to go. That way you’ll fly through your session.

Source: Future Music

Adele- Rolling In The Deep (Bender Remix)

Deep House: Adele- Rolling In The Deep (Bender Remix) [Free Download]

He’s backkkkk!!! After popular demand, the monster under my bed and I have teamed up yet again to bring you another deeep & sexy remix! This time, we take on Adele’s classic, Rolling In The Deep. -Blender

Blender‘s take on Rolling in the Deep is exactly the direction that EDM is moving towards.  Deep House is what’s trending and this track has all the groovy baselines and soft beats that masters the definition of Deep House.

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Nu-Disco: Morgan Page – In The Air (SNBRN Remix) [Free Download]

SBNRN keeps you out in the sun and off your feet with his remix of Morgan Page’s “In the Air.” SNBRN weaves in nu disco and deep house sounds to turn the classic original into a summer paradigm. “

I’m kicking off the summer with a pool friendly remix of Morgan Page’s classic, “In The Air.” Enjoy this free remix on the beach, in your cubical, or wherever you may be. #stillwet” – SBNRN

Free Download Link: smarturl.it/InTheAirSNBRN

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Dannic presents Front Of House Radio 017

Dannic presents Front of House Radio 017
Download & Subscribe on iTunes: bit.ly/DannicFOH

Tracklist:
001 – Jesse Hiis – The Heist
002 – Beauriche – Every Woman
003 – Michael Brun vs. Eurythmics – Sweet Zenith (Dannic MashUp)
004 – Tom Staar & Kryder – Big Momma’s House
005 – Steve Angello vs. AN21 & Sebjak vs. One Republic – Lose Myself With Gods (Dannic MashUp)
006 – Tom Swoon vs. Adrian Lux – Teenage Holika
007 – Calvin Harris vs. Regi & Sem Thomasson – Reckless Summer (Dannic Bootleg)
008 – Dallas K – Superfuture (Dannic Festival Edit)
009 – Mako – Beam (Dannic Mix)
010 – Daft Punk & Avicii – Derezzed (DANK Remix)
011 – Jordy Dazz & Jimi Frew – Vortex
012 – Dannic – Viper
013 – Revolvr vs. Tove Lo – High On Quantum (Dannic EDC MashUp)
014 – Jus Jack & Tom Swoon, Lush & Simon vs. Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin vs. John Dish – Stars Don’t Worry Flamme Of Us (Swanky Tunes vs. Dannic Bootleg)
015 – Dyro & Dannic – Radical (Dannic EDC Hype Edit)

For more info:
djdannic.com
www.facebook.com/djdannic
www.twitter.com/dannicdj

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The new social media superstar.

In this day and age, it takes more than just good music to make a career.  Our current generation is constantly using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to express themselves and to stay in the loop with current media.

This new style of social media has changed the music industry.  Artist’s are now competing for “Page likes” and the amount of “Repost’s” they get to gauge their popularity instead of album sales.

Some are doing it better than others.  Artists like Dillon Francis for example , he’ll share a meme daily , post constant funny twitter status’s and engage his fans in any way possible .  A lot of the time these methods of engagement have nothing to do with music.  Deadmau5 is another good example with his constant twitter antics and arguments, he gets in with other members of the scene through these platforms.  One must ask, is he only doing this so people will talk about him on social media and raise his fan engagement? Either way, it’s working.

Artist’s can engage their audiences and connect with fans, announce shows and line-ups, post photos in real time and hold contests and giveaways all from the comfort of there smart-phone or laptop.  It’s the new age of music marketing.