Main Forums >> Production - Mixing, Mastering, Gear & Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
MCP_Music



Joined: 21/11/10
Posts: 38
Pre Masters Query
      #1029356 - 19/01/13 11:03 AM
Hi,

I have been sent an email from a label asking for my songs in the following format:
16bit 44Khz, -3dB without mastering chain, uncompressed.

Obviously 44/16 I can do.

Does the -3db part mean the meters can't peak any higher than -3dbfs, and should I be aiming for that mark?

I also mix into a compressor which is a part of my sound, so when it says 'Uncompressed' does that mean I have to unbolt the compressor from my main mix bus or can I get away with using the compressor and just not slamming the [ ****** ] out of it?

And I'm assuming 'without mastering chain' means no limiter/exciters etc..

Thanks for your time,
_Luca


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8502
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029358 - 19/01/13 11:15 AM
If the compressor is for flavour and part of the sound then leave it on. If its for "loudness" take it off.


Peak at 3dB - yeah why not. Little high for me but still fine.

Without mastering chain - yes remove the limiter and enhancer. Anything that you're using to globally change your mix and makw it "more commercial" (because really your mix shoud do that on its own - the problem with relying on mix buss processing is that its the road to a quieter mix when you get up against the punchy stuff !)

Pre-master? We call it a mix (I dislike this - "pre mastering" phrase thats cropping up ).


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4469
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029361 - 19/01/13 11:26 AM
Yep...All it is is them asking for your mix in the format that their mastering guy would prefer...ie no brickwall limiting, ozone or any of that sort of thing, little bit of headroom. As Narcoman says, if you've mixed into a compressor and/or eq leave those on.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4469
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029362 - 19/01/13 11:28 AM
One thing that seems odd...If you've mixed it at 24bit, I'd expect they'd want the 24bit/44.1kHz mix, rather than letting you add dither and go to 16bit, and then have the mastering applying processes and have to re-dither it. I'd check that.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1616
Loc: UK
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: narcoman]
      #1029363 - 19/01/13 11:30 AM
Quote narcoman:

Pre-master? We call it a mix (I dislike this - "pre mastering" phrase thats cropping up ).




the way I understand it is: A 'Master' is the output from the mastering house. A 'Pre-Master' is what mix engineers send to the mastering house to be mastered.

So, when I've finished a mix I make a pre-master to be sent for mastering.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Daniel Davis



Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 873
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029376 - 19/01/13 06:09 PM
I still don't understand why they would want it -3dB (or any specified level). Don't they have an input gain control?
It almost begs the response of sending it back to you 3dB louder and claiming an improvement.

--------------------
Daniel Davis
Edinburgh Recording Studio Windmill Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4469
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029379 - 19/01/13 06:43 PM
I suppose it allows them to send it straight to analogue without any risk of inter sample clipping and without adding any numbers.

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3191
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029383 - 19/01/13 07:08 PM
Just a niggling thought here - could the term 'uncompressed' refer to the audio format rather than the mastering section - as in 'uncompressed audio'. I realise they've stipulated no mastering toys but it seems funny they've specifically spelt compression out again rather than limiting.

--------------------
Dear Mr God,
We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21551
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: Daniel Davis]
      #1029384 - 19/01/13 07:13 PM
Quote Daniel Davis:

I still don't understand why they would want it -3dB (or any specified level).




To make sure that you haven't clipped the mix (a problem they can't fix!). Furthermore, inter-sample peaks will exist whereby the fully reconstructed waveform will peak higher than the sample peak levels displayed on most DAW metering. 3dB of headroom will accommodate most, although tests have shown heavily processed material can have inter-sample peaks higher than that. I normally leave 6dB myself.

And yes, they do have a digital input and will probably use it... But by specifying a 3dB headroom margin they are hoping to receive a mix which isn't clipped and which they can do something creative with.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21551
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: shufflebeat]
      #1029386 - 19/01/13 07:14 PM
Quote shufflebeat:

Just a niggling thought here - could the term 'uncompressed' refer to the audio format rather than the mastering section...




Yes, absolutely. It's amazing, but some people really do often send mp3 files for mastering!

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Wease



Joined: 17/07/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: Sunny Walsall
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029388 - 19/01/13 07:20 PM
The op is sending the stuff to a label....not a mastering house....

I suppose this justifies the 16bit request

I'm going to bow to conjecture and suggest that they want tracks for a "sampler" cd.....and they'll do a quick levelling master "bodge" to all the tracks so none stand out.....probably hammering them all with a cheap software limiter

--------------------
http://soundcloud.com/seaapes


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8502
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: Bossman]
      #1029400 - 19/01/13 09:37 PM
Quote Bossman:

Quote narcoman:

Pre-master? We call it a mix (I dislike this - "pre mastering" phrase thats cropping up ).




the way I understand it is: A 'Master' is the output from the mastering house. A 'Pre-Master' is what mix engineers send to the mastering house to be mastered.

So, when I've finished a mix I make a pre-master to be sent for mastering.




well - i'm sidetracking now - but you shouldn't be changing a mix. You send the mix. The term "pre-master" has arisen from the oodles of home users who re-eq their mixes and generally fek up the mix even more for the unfortunate mastering engineer to fix!

The term pre- master started cropping up about 6 or 7 years ago.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8502
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: Daniel Davis]
      #1029401 - 19/01/13 09:38 PM
Quote Daniel Davis:

I still don't understand why they would want it -3dB (or any specified level). Don't they have an input gain control?
It almost begs the response of sending it back to you 3dB louder and claiming an improvement.




As others have said - it ensures no inter sample peaks above zero.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1616
Loc: UK
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: narcoman]
      #1029427 - 20/01/13 09:36 AM
Quote narcoman:

Quote Bossman:

Quote narcoman:

Pre-master? We call it a mix (I dislike this - "pre mastering" phrase thats cropping up ).




the way I understand it is: A 'Master' is the output from the mastering house. A 'Pre-Master' is what mix engineers send to the mastering house to be mastered.

So, when I've finished a mix I make a pre-master to be sent for mastering.




well - i'm sidetracking now - but you shouldn't be changing a mix. You send the mix. The term "pre-master" has arisen from the oodles of home users who re-eq their mixes and generally fek up the mix even more for the unfortunate mastering engineer to fix!

The term pre- master started cropping up about 6 or 7 years ago.




No, I didn't mean to change the mix in any way, or re-eq the mix before mastering... Just that the name of the final mix that is going to be sent for mastering is called a 'pre master'. I saw this term mentioned in Bob Katz Mastering Audio book - a Pre master is what the mastering engineer receives, and a Master is what he returns.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8502
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029430 - 20/01/13 11:14 AM
I know. I read it too. And it's "bogus" and a fine example of another "americanism". You mustn't say it in my place or i'll send you to the naughty corner.

I mentioned it to Bob and he just shrugged (he's a lovely man but not without faults and holes in his understanding of the biz).


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4469
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029431 - 20/01/13 11:21 AM
Yeah, Bob's book is an awesome technical guide, and provides a very interesting and insightful look at the technical side of (some people's) mastering. But if you talk about 'pre masters' here in the UK people may misunderstand you and wrongly assume that you've done something more than just send a mix. Normally, you send a mix, you get a master.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Daniel Davis



Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 873
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1029432 - 20/01/13 11:22 AM
I'm aware of inter-sampling peaks, and I didn't mean to advocate a high level. The same point presumably counts for the returned masters - and I don't see any mastering houses returning files which peak below -3dB. If the answer is brick wall limiting - well we can all do that.

And why would they specify 16-bit when most of us are quite capable of outputting 24-bit stereo mixes or stems?

Now if they had said... a stereo mix or stems of at least 16 bit uncompressed quality with no clipping or inter-sample peaks. Perhaps that is what they meant.

--------------------
Daniel Davis
Edinburgh Recording Studio Windmill Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1616
Loc: UK
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: narcoman]
      #1029435 - 20/01/13 11:53 AM
Quote narcoman:

I know. I read it too. And it's "bogus" and a fine example of another "americanism". You mustn't say it in my place or i'll send you to the naughty corner.

I mentioned it to Bob and he just shrugged (he's a lovely man but not without faults and holes in his understanding of the biz).




Ok, fair enough...

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8502
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: Daniel Davis]
      #1029436 - 20/01/13 12:07 PM
Quote Daniel Davis:

I'm aware of inter-sampling peaks, and I didn't mean to advocate a high level. The same point presumably counts for the returned masters - and I don't see any mastering houses returning files which peak below -3dB. If the answer is brick wall limiting - well we can all do that.

And why would they specify 16-bit when most of us are quite capable of outputting 24-bit stereo mixes or stems?

Now if they had said... a stereo mix or stems of at least 16 bit uncompressed quality with no clipping or inter-sample peaks. Perhaps that is what they meant.




Most modern masters are damaged piles of rubbish - but you don't want to deliver a mix that way. The old mastering maxim of "first do no harm" no longer applies in a competitive loudness war.

There are plenty of re-construction peaks above zero in a hard limited master. It's not possible to have peaks under zero with a ceiling set near zero. Even un limited files make re-construct above zero. The maximum sample value is not the peak of the curve.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
SafeandSound Masteri...



Joined: 23/03/08
Posts: 1041
Loc: London UK
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029576 - 21/01/13 12:50 PM
Amongst other things I most importantly recommend the file should not be clipped. By using an appropriate gain structure during recording and mixing plenty of headroom can be built into the mix. As long as it is not clipped everything else is ultimately arbitrary excluding extremes. Working at around -12dBFS can make sense as a nominal level when working with analogue gear (unless you are driving it for sonic effect)

cheers

SafeandSound
High end online mastering


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
MCP_Music



Joined: 21/11/10
Posts: 38
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029865 - 23/01/13 05:27 AM
Hi guys.

Wow I am always impressed at the wealth of information that pours from this forum.

I am working in the digital domain strictly at this point except for my mic pre.

I removed the limiter and had 12db of headroom. I am re balancing and as I go the level has crept up to -6db peak.

I will ad 3db of gain via gain plugin and I'm all set I think.

This is for a release of my songs and not a sample pack.

Thanks!!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4469
Re: Pre Masters Query new [Re: MCP_Music]
      #1029867 - 23/01/13 06:52 AM
You can use the master fader to trim the final level.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
2 registered and 16 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor 
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is enabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 1817

August 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for August 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media