The Final Master

In order to achieve the creation of an EP with a coherant sound the final master was key. To attain this I began by bouncing down each individual session to a single wav file. I then collated these sessions into one logic session with each song on it’s own individual track as shown below.

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I applied Logics own MultiMeter on the master fader so I could analyse the exact levels of each track.

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I soloed the individual tracks and began to work one by one on each whilst maintaining similar setting for each effect I used to create a well rounded piece. I began with the first song Fireworks and applied a small touch of E.Q, adding a bit more high end and mids around 5khz to help the song cut through more.

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Following this I applied some Kramer Tape to emulate tape saturation and give the track a warm feel.

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Finally I provided the channel with a maximiser to help get the best level possible for the track.

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I applied similar methods to the next song Tell Me Lies, and I began by applying a small notch just under 200 hz as there was a frequency there that felt like it was crowding the mix. This helped greatly and it was also driven from my research. As White states,

‘Often it is necessary to dip the lower mids slightly in the 150-300 Hz range to reduce congestion.’ (White, 2012)

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This song had a much greater dynamic range than the first song so it was in greater need of compression. I used the easy to use interface of the Kramer PIE compressor to provide some soft compression which reduced the dynamic range slightly without losing all life.

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After applying a maximiser to the channel and adjusting accordingly my second track had been mastered!

I then moved on to my third song Mason-Dixon Line. I had already mixed this track to what I felt was a high standard and it needed little mastering compared to the first two tracks. A touch of EQ, saturation and maximisation had the song sounding great and coherent with the previous two songs.

The next track was Quicksand. This required similar work to Mason-Dixon Line, just a few changes in terms of EQ, Compression, tape saturation and maximisation were enough to get it sounding much tighter. However this track felt like it was missing something that the others had. I compared and contrasted the different songs and realised it felt too cramped and could do with some widening. I applied a stereo spreader on the track and this really bought it to life. I made sure I only spread the high frequencies as the lows would be effected negatively. 

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The final song was Wind In Our Sails. Many of the tracks had already received tape saturation so it did not require much of that but a bit of EQ on the mid highs and the application of a maximiser helped the track to match with the others on the EP.

To ensure I had not made any glaring mistakes I listened through the whole EP a number of times but to my ears it was sounding better than ever and much more coherent compared to before the master.

To round things off I automated each track with appropriate fade ins and outs.

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I then bounced each track individually, using markers to dictate where the songs started and finished – making sure that the end of one marker would coincide with the start of another so the timings of each song was accurate.

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I bounced each track as a 24 bit Wav, at the sample rate of 44100 (along with an mp3 if also required)

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My mastering was complete! It would have been great to get into the studio for the final master but unfortunately the hard drive had crashed amongst a number of other isssues so I was not able to attend my booked session. However, I was extremely satisfied with the sound I had managed to sculpt considering I was using my monitors at home.

 

References:

White, P. (2012). The Producer’s Manual. London: Sample Magic.

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