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Topic: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

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  1. #1

    Arrow OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    Hello everybody,
    I'm curious as to what equipment you all are using for mixing and mastering your music. My family and I are creating an original multimedia project and are looking to be as self-reliant as possible in terms of audio. We will probably will go to a mastering house for finals, but we would like to do as much as we can in-house, literally

    So I'm wondering, what are you guys using to do the job? Any external gear, mixing plugins, etc? How about a great pair of monitors? Price is not an option, rather quality. Of course I will be researching each suggestion further, so this post is mainly to get advice, recommendations and/or warnings.

    In case it helps, we are currently using Logic 6 Pro on a G5 (soon to be Logic 7) with a mixture of external and internal sample instruments, MOTU 2408 audio interface, Alesis Monitor Ones passive (w/ amp of course), and a TC Helicon VoiceWorks for vocals.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice/suggestions you can offer, it is very much appreciated! On a side note, we are also researching becoming a corporation, and any info on this topic would be helpful as well (should I start a new thread?)

    Thanks again for sharing your willingness to share information. Its people helping people that makes this world a wonderful place! I hope to be able to contribute more on that end in the future.

    -Jon

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    This is something everyone does differently, but my $0.2 .... (forgive me if I'm stating the obvious in parts)

    Personally, I do all my mixing inside Logic - I have a Mackie mixer, but these days it tends to serve more as a monitoring device/patchbay. I also have a MOTU 2408 and Alesis Monitor Ones, although the M1s are in the closet as I just bought some Tannoy Reveal Actives... Anyway, I digress.

    All my work is for TV shows at eh moment (mostly Discovery Channel documentaries and stuff) so I have to submit mastered music. I tend to mix in Logic as I mentioned, using a combination of Logic's own plugins (particularly compression) and Waves (reverb, compression, EQ) when I've got a mix I'm fairly happy with I put a compressor (usually Waves or Sonalksis at this stage) and Waves L2 on the master output. I set the L2 (limiter) to brickwall limit at -0.3dB but I don't use the limiter to add gain. Instead, if it's needed, I just apply some light compression to the overall mix before the signal enters the limiter. I'm sure some people would frown on this method, but for me it's quick, which is key when you've got deadlines looming... You just have to be careful not to overdo it and kill the dynamics in your music.

    I should also mention dithering. If your audio is destined for CD you'll need to end up with a 16 bit 44.1k master. If your project contains 24bit audio (or a mix of 24 and 16 bit - quite common), once you're happy with your mix you need to dither it down to 16 bit. Logic has a great dithering algorithm as I'm sure you know - POW-r dither. I usually use the third setting. Dither should always be the last process applied to your audio.

    Avoid "normalisation" like the plague. When using a limiter, be careful not to squash the life out of the music. Don't try to use the mastering stage to fix mix problems. It's usually impossible and so you're better off getting a mix that you think sounds as good as possible and then *enhancing* it with a little tasteful mastering. I generally even avoid using EQ if I can possibly help it, and never use it on the overall mix. IMHO, avoid multi-channel compressors too.

    I also work at a colleagues studio occasionally with Pro Tools HD, but that's another story.

    Of course, if you've got the time and budget, get the best mix you can and send it to a mastering professional!

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    My studio uses Sound Forge 5.0 and Waves Native Power Pack. Simple and versatile. We love it- though eventually we need to get going with some VST plugins and not just Direct-X...

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    I think SteveB said it best. However, I am currently working on a project using Samplitude to mix and master. I am about to put V8 on order (it comes out in January). It has a lot of built in plugins that sound awesome. It is worth the price just for the plugins. I highly recommend it. I used Sonar to track - but after the fiasco I had, I won't use it again for such a high-end project.

    Bottom line: Mastering won't help out a bad mix. The mastering is just fine-tuning it.
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    If you're really going to use an outside house for mastering, then forget about putting significant money into finishing tools and focus on a good quality monitoring system and acoustic treatment for your room. You'll get a lot more mileage from an Auralex roominator kit, a Radio Shack SPL meter and a Behringer ECM 8000 microphone than on a handful of software tools that will never get used. I just heard a demo of a Blue Sky surround system that's really great for the $1000 price tag, and would work very well in a 10X12 room for nearfield monitoring purposes. I personally use the M-Audio LX4 and BX5 systems, and find them plenty acceptable - and more than that my clients like my mixes on their bigger systems.

    As far as hardware goes, I use a TASCAM FW-1884 as a mixing surface and iZotope's Ozone 3 as a mastering plug, which I understand from my collaborator that it works very well with Logic on the Mac, although I don't know if there's any issue with finessing the version of the app or OS.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    I've actually used Ozone too, it's a pretty handy plugin for mastering when you don't have time/money to send it to a mastering studio.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Mixing/Mastering Equipment-What are you using to get the job done?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkerr
    Bottom line: Mastering won't help out a bad mix. The mastering is just fine-tuning it.
    Well, Bruce R. should be along to say something in a minute. And he'll be right...

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