More Mastering Tips For Home Studios

Mastering just won’t go away, and more and more people (myself included) want to do it in the depths of a DAW. Although it is possible to achieve decent results at home, it’s better to leave mastering to someone with really good monitors and experienced ears. But who am I kidding…

Quick Mastering Tips

I recently mentioned a very good music production thread on the Reaper forum, and it seems that Yep has also left his mark over at Cakewalk with this down and dirty guide to home mastering. Sensible advice that is well worth a read.

Mastering should make your album sit nicely together, with no track seeming out of place. As such, the extremely important art of level-matching must be exercised extensively. Always remember that louder only seems better – hence the loudness wars that have flattened songs to painful pancakes.

Mastering In The ‘Zone

If you need a neat package for all your mastering DIY, then T-Racks and Ozone are popular and capable choices. Izotope have just released Ozone version 4, which brings a few enhancements from Ozone 3.

As well as some new algorithmic updates, such as the ‘Intelligent II’ mode for the loudness maximiser, it also boasts an interesting ‘Mid-Side’ processing option. This allows you, for example, to compress or EQ the stereo information separately from the mono content of a recording.

Of course, it’s very easy to overdo these effects – just listen to the excess of harmonic excitation on the album version of ‘Secret First Move‘… and read Yep’s guide to moderation in mastering above.


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