Moin Ich habe mir diesen einfachen Newsletter von Ian Shepherd reingezogen, in der er die Mastering-Chain ganz jkurz und übersichtlich erklärt in einem 5-Tage-Newsletter. Coole Idee - habe auch noch ein bisschen was dazu gelernt. Den ersten Schritt, ein Gain-Plugin zu laden und die Levels einzustellen, habe ich aber irgendwie nicht zu 100% verstanden - vieleicht kann mir wer auf die Sprünge helfen! Hier der Inhalt: Right back in the first lesson of this series, I mentioned that I deliberately choose to use input gain as a separate “process” in the mastering chain. In this lesson I’ll discuss why. All the other processes we use in the mastering chain – EQ, compression, limiting etc – have the ability to alter the gain. So, why do we need it as a separate element, right in the begining ? 1 – First things first – set the level The VERY first thing I do when starting work mastering a new song is to adjust the level. The most basic master in the world needs to at least balance the levels of the different songs, so that the user isn’t constantly reaching for the volume control. Remember the limiter is there at the end of the chain to stop clipping distortion when you do this – so keep an eye on it, and if there’s more than a few dB of gain reduction taking place, you may want to consider using some compression so that it doesn’t have to work too hard. Pure hard limiting is seldom the best way to achieve a level-boost. (By the way, it’s not especially important how you adjust the gain. Be careful about using a channel fader, though – these are often configured post-insert, so they won’t do what you need. They’ll boost the level after any EQ and compression you have on the channel, whereas you want to boost the level going in. So, lots of DAWs offer “utility” inserts for changing gain, phase and balance – this is an ideal way to achieve what you need.) 2 – Easy comparisons – loudness-matching (again…!) Once the levels are balanced, you’ll almost certainly notice some EQ differences that you may want to fix – and probably experiment with some compression. Processing like this can radically change the sound of a mix, especially using powerful techniques like multiband compression. So it’s important to keep checking at every stage that those changes improve – or at least don’t damage – the mix. To do that, you can simply bypass the EQ or compression – and because you adjusted the level first, when you bypass these processes, you won’t hear such a dramatic change in level, so the comparision will be more meaningful. Whereas if you don’t adjust the gain first as I’m suggesting here, it will be lifted in a processing plugin, and when you hit bypass on that plugin, the level will change and you can’t make a fair comparison. In fact, loudness-matching is so crucial to objectively assessing mastering decisions, that I’ve developed a plugin, in collaboration with MeterPlugs, specifically designed to make the process faster, easier and more flexible. It’s called Perception, and I’m delighted to say it’s getting rave reviews – to find out more about it and see videos of Perception in action, click here. 3 – How loud ? (NOT level-matching !) So you’re going to change the level – how far should you change it ? The answer of course is “it depends” – but also remember my rule-of-thumb of “no louder than -10 LUFS (short-term)” from Lesson 2. And another question that’s just as important is – what should the level be of each song, in comparison to the others in the album, EP or whatever ? An answer I often see online is that the level should be matched to the other songs. But that’s not what I recommend. In fact, my answer to what you should do instead is so important, I call it: The heart and soul of mastering (In a nutshell: mastering is about balance, not matching) 4 – Remember – EQ and compression change the apparent gain If you add lots of bass to your music, making it “loud” will be harder – bass frequencies contribute more to the power of the the signal, and needs careful control. If your music is distorting but doesn’t sound loud, it may have too much bass. If you add lots of 2kHz to your music, it’ll sound louder – this is the ear’s most sensitive frequency area. And, the opposite applies. Compression can make music sound louder – or softer. In fact, any processing can affect the apparent (or actual) level. So whenever I make any changes, I always re-check the gain afterwards, and again keeping it as a separate process is valuable. Partly as a a quick and easy sanity-check of exactly what you’re doing to the original signal (and how it compares to other songs) but also because it keeps you thinking about the gain in general, and makes it easier to spot if you’re going round in circles. Again, this is something that Perception was designed to help with.