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Topic: Mastering Software

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    235

    Question Mastering Software

    Hello,

    I have a question for all you pro's out there. Do you use mastering software (such as CD Architect) after you have mixed in your sequencer? If so, why? Does it mater what kind of music you are mixing?

    Thanks,

    Christiaan

  2. #2

    Re: Mastering Software

    I've been a CD Architect user for a while, but have just started getting into Wavelab 5 - mainly for DVD-Audio, but I'm finding it can replace both Sound Forge and CD Architect. With all of that said, if you don't do a lot of mastering, I'm not sure that it's any more advantageous to use a piece of software like that compared to cutting a red book audio CD using the burning features that your OS offers. There are also programs like Nero, Cyberlink Power2Go, and myriad other disc burning apps that can get the job done.

    The key would be to check out the features in the app in question (by downloading and trying the demo) and see if it "speaks" to you.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  3. #3

    Re: Mastering Software

    For professional audio mastering Waves L3 and Izotope Ozone 3 are the best imo.


    T- racks beats them both for Rock and hard edge urban stuff.

    Ars

  4. #4

    Re: Mastering Software

    I've used Ozone since version 1 - love it - but it's not mastering software. It's pre-mastering software. The line has been blurred with software applications, but when people talk about CD Architect, they're most definitely talking about mastering in the proper sense. It allows you to do things like set up intervals between songs other than the red book standard (such as gapless transitions for remixes and such) as well as other features like CD text so that track and album information displays on various players. Again, it really depends on your needs.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  5. #5

    Re: Mastering Software

    I use T-Racks and Waves Rennaisance for my own songs, but I use them as plugins within my sequencer (FLStudio), not in a separate application.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  6. #6

    Re: Mastering Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    The line has been blurred with software applications, but when people talk about CD Architect, they're most definitely talking about mastering in the proper sense. It allows you to do things like set up intervals between songs other than the red book standard (such as gapless transitions for remixes and such) as well as other features like CD text so that track and album information displays on various players.
    Setting track marks and intervals is also part of the premastering process. Mastering is the technical part done at the duplication plant.

    Wavelab is really good for mastering (yes, we can call it mastering as that is what it is generally called just as we keep calling English horn English even if the original translation is 'a horn with an angle') but it isn't cheap for occasional needs. For affordable plugins I would recommend Voxengo products. Waves plugins might be slightly better but Voxengo has a better bang for the buck.

  7. #7

    Re: Mastering Software

    The term mastering seems to have different definition depending on which group you talk to. For some, it's what comes after the mix, where you apply a final compression/exciter/maximizer to a track. To some, it's the preparation for reproduction at the plant. So, is there a definitive answer to what is the more accurate definition?

  8. #8

    Re: Mastering Software

    As I just said. Mastering is the technical process which is done at the duplication plant. The process between mixing and mastering is called premastering. There the tracks of an album are made sonically compatible with each other and are laid out in right order with the right amount of empty space between them. In general we call premastering mastering for simplicity as there usually isn't much to discuss about the actual mastering.

  9. #9

    Re: Mastering Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunatique
    The term mastering seems to have different definition depending on which group you talk to. For some, it's what comes after the mix, where you apply a final compression/exciter/maximizer to a track. To some, it's the preparation for reproduction at the plant. So, is there a definitive answer to what is the more accurate definition?
    In a word - no. There are people who think that mastering begins as soon as the song is first rendered down to stereo or surround, and sonic changes are made to the mix as a whole. There are others that believe you're not mastering until the replicator is cutting the actual glass master from which all other derivative CDs will be created (see above). As we all know, there are LOTS of tasks in between. Several of those tasks were at one time the sole province of the replicator, but now some of them can be done at the studio or in a specialist's "mastering" studio, thus the reason that there is much debate and confusion over what constitutes a "mastering" task.

    I choose to think of it as I was taught - that is - as soon as you're no longer making creative decisions about the work but rather preparing it for replication (i.e. track markers, intervals between songs, adding metadata [as well as images and menus in the case of DVD-Audio]) then it should be considered "mastering". Since CD Architect can perform tasks that can change the sonic character of a song, I consider it to reside in that "gray area" between pre-mastering and mastering, but it would take Sound Forge plus CD Architect to span the same ground covered by Wavelab 5, and Wavelab 5 is the only app in the discussion that can do DVD-Audio. (Sound Forge has a great synthsizer for generating test tones and such, and also does a spiffy job with ACIDizing audio files, so there are things that SF does that no other app can match - just FYI)

    If your goal is to really nail down post-mix processing, I think that any number of DAWs can do that job (I have used Nuendo to do all of the final gain changes and other pre-mastering tasks, but will probably switch to Wavelab as I gain more familiarity with it) and try out different plugin sets to see which one does the best job of finalizing a track for your tastes. But if you're looking for an app that will do slip-trimming, crossfades, and other things outside of red book standard audio CD, then you should look into the apps that can do that sort of thing and find which one is right for you.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Sep 1999
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    5,755

    Re: Mastering Software

    When I got started, mastering was what you did to keep the needle from jumping off the record, among other concerns.

    So, the entire concept and role of mastering has changed dramatically. It's fairly accepted practice that mastering involves some artistic decisions, i.e., taking a set of mixes and emerging with a cohesive "album."

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