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14 Top Tuts on Mastering - Tutorial Wrap-up

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Mastering is a large and tricky topic. Many opt to hire a professional mastering engineer, others decide to do it themselves. We've recently covered a lot about mastering on Audiotuts+ - from Mo Volans' series on Mastering Elements to Björgvin Benediktsson's interview with Michael Romanowski. Here are 14 Top Tuts on Mastering.


Mastering Elements

  • Part 1: The Buss Compressor

    Part 1: The Buss Compressor

    Mastering is a pretty big subject, so instead of tackling it in one tutorial I thought it might be easier, for those new to the subject, if I split it up into bite sized pieces. Each tutorial will look at a separate process used in a typical mastering set up, why we use it and what it achieves.

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  • Part 2: The Mastering Equalizer

    Part 2: The Mastering Equalizer

    As many of you will know by now mastering is a subject with many facets. Learning how to successfully treat your tracks after your mix is complete generally requires a good amount of experience but some solid technique will get you going in the right direction.

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  • Part 3: Multi-band Compression

    Part 3: Multi-band Compression

    As many of you will know by now mastering is a subject with many facets. Learning how to successfully treat your tracks after your mix is complete generally requires a good amount of experience but some solid technique will get you going in the right direction.

    To get this essential theory embedded I have decided to chop a typical mastering chain into nice bite-sized pieces. This way we can focus on each processor one at a time. At the end of the series we’ll look at the whole chain in action. This tutorial looks at multi-band compression and what it can do for you during a mastering session.

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  • Part 4: Stereo Enhancement

    Part 4: Stereo Enhancement

    When it comes to mastering treatments stereo enhancement is a tricky one. Beginners often make the mistake of overusing it or using the wrong plug-ins for the job. The good news is, with the right technique in place, there is a place for stereo processing in your mastering chain.

    In this tutorial I’ll go through a few examples of different stereo processing that can be used in mastering and highlight some of the pitfalls that you might come across. I’ve tried to cover processors from as many different DAWs and manufacturers as possible.

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  • Part 5: Mastering Limiters

    Part 5: Mastering Limiters

    As we have learnt in the last four sections of this series, there can be many parts to a mastering chain. When I am mastering a track for a client or teaching the subject on a one to one basis, limiting and volume are often the first things I’m asked about.

    Many people still seem to want ‘super hot’, ear bleedingly loud masters. Limiting is often how this effect is achieved, so let’s take a look at how these processor produce these levels and what the side effects of excessive volume are.

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  • Part 6: Export and Dithering

    Part 6: Export and Dithering

    In this series we’ve covered just about every process used in a typical mastering chain from buss compression and mastering equalisers right through to stereo enhancement and brick wall limiting. Now as we come to the end of the process we’ll take a step by step look at how to export your master ready for distribution.

    Although the screenshots in this tutorial maybe from a few different DAWs the techniques used are 100% generic and can be used in any software. I haven’t included any audio clips here as these techniques are mainly related to workflow and extremely subtle audio treatments. Think of this more as a final checklist for your mastering sessions.

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Creative Mastering: Interview with Michael Romanowski

  • Part 1

    Part 1

    Mastering is the voodo magic of audio production. Everybody knows of it but few hazard themselves into the subject, leaving mastering up to the professionals. Michael Romanowski is one such professional. He’s been mastering in the Bay area for almost 20 years, doing work with clients such as Norton Buffalo, The Radiators and Dredg to name a few. I had the opportunity to discuss the creative aspect of mastering, the quality of analog as well as the evolution of the home studio.
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  • Part 2

    Part 2

    Continuing from last week’s interview with Michael Romanowski, we continue discussing the creative aspects of mastering. Michael Romanowski is a professional mastering engineer working out of the Bay area in California. He’s been mastering for the better part of two decades and has worked with a multitude of high profile clients. In this second part we discuss the different aspects of the home studio revolution as well the experience with working with creative rock-groups such as Dredg.

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Six More Excellent Tutorials

  • How to Master a Track in 15 Minutes or Less

    How to Master a Track in 15 Minutes or Less

    Mastering your tracks can be a bit of a minefield and is often seen as the domain of the professional. However, if your tracks are just for demo purposes, a DJ set or even use on the net, you may want to tackle the job yourself. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to master a track quickly and easily. Mo Volans shows you how…

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  • The Beginner’s Guide to Compression

    The Beginner’s Guide to Compression

    Compression is one of those studio processes that is all too often taken for granted and not used to its full potential. Today’s producers think nothing of inserting compressors on every single channel of their DAW when mixing, but old school engineers had to learn to make the most of only a few units of compression—and this made us learn them inside out.

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  • Producing and Mastering a DJ Set

    Producing and Mastering a DJ Set

    So you have your beat mixing down to a fine art and you have a great collection of tunes. You have recorded your latest live show or have put the finishing touches on a promotional set in the studio. The question is what do you do now?

    To turn the recording into a really listenable product it’s a good idea to apply some basic mastering and ensure that it’s in the right format. It’s also important to be able to insert track markers if you intend to burn to CD. Here are a few tips to get you going.

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  • How to Use M/S Processing in Mastering

    How to Use M/S Processing in Mastering

    Mastering is always a hot topic. Most of us love to use the latest technique to make our masters bigger, badder and usually louder. Unfortunately, not all mastering techniques get as much airtime as others, and M/S processing is one of these lesser known subjects.

    It’s likely that a lot of budding producers who do their own mastering won’t be aware of M/S processing and its benefits. If you’re not taking advantage of what this technique has to offer you could be missing out, so let’s take a look at how it works and its practical applications.

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  • How to Use Multi-band Compression in Mixing and Mastering

    How to Use Multi-band Compression in Mixing and Mastering

    In some of my recent tutorials I have been breaking down the processors used in a typical mastering chain into individual subjects. So far we have looked at buss compression, M/S processing and stereo enhancement. In this tutorial we are going to look at multi-band compression.

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  • So You Think You’ve Finished Mixing? A Guide to Preparing Your Mix for Mastering

    So You Think You’ve Finished Mixing? A Guide to Preparing Your Mix for Mastering

    You know what it feels like to finish a mix. Having spent hours, possibly days, perfecting your track to the nth degree, it feels great to finally have a song to be proud of after all the hard work and effort.

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About Adrian Try
Adrian is the Music & Audio Editor for Tuts+. He's been playing keys and acoustic guitar for three decades, and has six kids. Follow him on Twitter at @audiotuts.View Full Profile
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