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Mastering & Mixing

Articles on mastering, sound editing, mixing, synthesizers, FX use  and music production


Mastering - it's meaning and the goal

Mastering is the final, last improvement of the sound before the reproduction of recordings in thousands of copies on compact discs or cassettes. Mastering is done on the finished, mixed down material. Mastering is the next step after mixing the tracks. It's aim is to obtain the highest possible technical quality of the material contained on the media so that it can compete and win over other recordings, already present on the market. Actually, a mastered recording must be not only technically excellent, but also emphasize the concept of an artist in an optimum manner. This is actually the main role of mastering. Only a combination of those two factors, the technical and artistic makes mastered recording  a true work of art, time frozen on...

Added: 2008-09-30

The history of Mastering

Mastering is now a very important step in the music production. Mastering acquired a new, much broader dimension in an era of digital technology, becoming part of the production of music, which restores music's lost depth and beauty.
In the eighties  such artists as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston widely used on their recordings certain sound improving devices, giving them precisely this type of sound, such as the notorious BBE processor or Aphex Aural Exciter. It is in the Eighties when the digital technology came to recording studios around the world for good. The digital recording technology came through various types of digital recorders, initially tape using DAT's, later as recorders using various optical discs and finally the hard disks...

Added: 2008-09-30

Mastering - preparing the material for mastering

To make sure the final mastering of music has met all the expectations and requirements of the source material it is essential to do the proper preparation of the material for mastering. With regard to achieving the best results for your audio CDs you should observe certain rules, when it comes to mixing down your music.
Avoid using compression or a limiter on the master bus at the stage of the mix. It is easy to make mistakes over here. The bus compression results often in poor sound and causes irreversible damage to the material and binds the hands of a mastering specialist, limiting the full potential of the mastering. Professional mastering engineers have excellent gear processors and use special techniques, which give far better results...

Added: 2008-09-30

Mixing of instrument and vocal tracks

The final mastering is preceded by a musical mixing. Mix is an art that combines individual pieces of music tracks, so as to complement each other and to form one single unity, which is something more than just the sum of individual tracks. Each piece of music tracks should be shaped and sculptured using processors, to provide the best of the whole sound.
However, the common mistake is following the desire to obtain such an effect, that each of the tracks sound just as powerful as possible. When playing all the tracks such treatment leads to mutual extinction in the frequency, loss of level and the whole mix sound flat and lifeless...

Added: 2008-09-30

The gear- hardware and software - The secrets of obtaining good sound of your music

Properly constructing the sound of tracks  making up the mix of a song using equalization and compression is just as important as the choice of palette of colors used by the painter while he is painting the picture. A true master never painted over contrasted  works, sometimes deliberately use the somewhat fuzzy contours, soft lines, dark shades of light. Similarly is with the sound of the song. Not necessarily all, which is very strongly contrasted or very clear is musically good-most often human ear is more likely to assimilate sounds, which are complementary to each other in sonic spectrum and dynamics than those that are competing against each other, trying to be very up front, loud and bright...

Added: 2008-09-30

Equalizer - more info on it's use in the mix

For those who want more detailed, technical knowledge on the use of equalizers in the mix here are the little secrets and terminology from the studio kitchen. After applying them your mix will be much better. At the beginning let's get familiar with the technical jargon used in equalizers. A typical parametric equalizer has the ability to choose the 3 parameters for each of its filters...

Added: 2008-09-30

Compressor - what is audio compression

The compressor is a device used to control the spread of dynamic range of recordings. It's name suggests compression and so it is. It is like the equivalent of an automatic sound engineer, who slightly turns down the level of the recording, when it begins to overdrive the recording device, and turns it up when very quiet sounds are poorly audible. It improves the overall sound of recordings. A typical compressor has 5-knob regulators: Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release,  Gain Make Up...

Added: 2008-09-30

Reverb processor - effect's origin and it's application

Originally recordings in studios were performed through the microphone quite remote from the sound source. The microphone, like the human ear picked up the sound waves reflected from the walls of this room, and enrolled much of the natural reverb of a studio to tape. The effect was even more pronounced, when the sound engineers began to use several microphones, respectively mixed with each other, this way of recording could produce even better results. For example, the studio of famous label Tamla Motown in Detroit, recording such great soul and funk artists as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Jackson Five, The Supremes with Diana Ross, Wilson Pickett and many, many others has mastered the sound of rhythmic section perfectly - Drums and bass... 

Added: 2008-09-30

Monitors used in recording studios. What monitors are best, how to configure your monitors to achieve professional results in your studio?

The monitoring system in the studio is the same thing for sound engineer as eyes and lighting for  an artist painting a picture. It is the most important element of his equipment, because the decisions he makes are made on the basis of what he hears out of the system. If the monitors are in any way underdeveloped, faulty, dull or too bright they will not be able to faithfully present the situation in a mix or master, they will not present the sound engineer what is going on in sound, and the sound engineer will take the wrong decisions...

Added: 2008-09-30

Synthesizers and samplers used in music recording industry. History of synthesizers and samplers development - Part I

What is the synthesizer? Synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument, which includes various modules, such as oscillators, filters, amplifiers controlling voltage (voltage control amplifiers), which are used to produce sounds impossible to obtain by traditional instruments.
The word "synthesizer" is derived from the word "synthesis". And that word means joining various elements into one thing. Synthesizer  contains just 3 the most basic modules: a module that produces sound, that is oscillator; module that is used to control the sound in the musical way, ie keyboard; and the module that filters and processes the sound to change it's nature. An important element of synthesizer's structure is so called Envelope Amplifier, which allows you to set different characteristics for attack and decay of sound as well as the Envelope Filter, which can change the characteristics of filter actions depending on the time...

Added: 2008-09-30

History of synthesizers and samplers development - Part II

Moog remedied the problem of huge quantities of cables by the use of permanent connections between the modules and large-scale switches, through which  similarly large number of combinations could be obtained, just like using cables. This allowed the extensive use of synthesizers during live performances like concerts. The synthesizers became smaller, easier to program and portable. 
Another very important synthesizer-sampler opening new horizons in the development of music is Emu Emulator. Emu in the early Seventies, was a company that produced modular synthesizers. However, Dave Rossum, founder of Emu Systems, completely changed its approach when he first saw Fairlight CMI in 1980 (...)
Another important step in the history of synthesizer is Yamaha DX7, released in 1983 

Added: 2008-09-30
Is arrangement in music production important at all? - The psychology of creating music and the psychology of music arrangement

Is the arrangement important and actually what does it mean? After all, why to care about it when we already have recorded a good composition and it sounds great? And how the arrangement looks like on famous, world-class musicians albums?

This article will answer these questions and will give you many suggestions as how to achieve a great sound by arrangement alone. 

Added: 2009-24-01

Best Recording Engineers And Producers. Legendary Albums. Absolutely best sounding recording consoles and mixing desks. 

What makes a recording an icon and legendary part of music history?

I believe there is a connection between the great sound and a great recording. That belief dates back from eighties when I was listening to the great records of Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Doors, Frank Zappa or Black Sabbath. I always noticed, that there is something more to the great impact of those recordings then just artistic performance or the composition alone. It was the specific, very pleasing to the ear sound that was both natural and somehow better then nature at the same time.


Added: 2009-07-09




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