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How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

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How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby samwashere » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:44 pm

Hey guys, I can't seem to get my master tracks to have that tight high end sound that you hear professional tracks having.

My target is streaming platforms and I've been using Ozone 8 to finish off my mixes. They sound great in my headphones and on my monitors, however when I bounce the final version to an mp3 or a WAV and play them side by side to a professional track (reference tracks I've used are mainly pop and hip hop like Drake, Future, Swae Lee etc.) my tracks seem to be lacking a high end quality to them...

I don't believe this is as simple as boosting my high end in an EQ on the master track, i've worked meticulously on beats and listened to them on a variety of sound systems before/after mastering them.

Here is a track i uploaded to spotify and apple music, if you guys could have a listen and give me some suggestions to get a more crispy high end final mix without too much sibilance or piercing high frequencies. Thank you!

https://open.spotify.com/album/3KxVvpZz ... ygBzTP2c3A

https://music.apple.com/ca/album/lakesi ... 1478546409
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:51 pm

Hoping this is not a ruse to get a couple more listens on Spotify or Apple Music ;-), what mp3 encoder do you use, and with which parameters?

Haven't listened because it makes no sense without knowing which references you are using..
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby samwashere » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:19 pm

Hey there, no ruse just figured this was the easiest way for people to have a listen and lend some advice.

I'm a bedroom producer with a good ear but not the greatest technical background, so by encoding i'm assuming you mean the parameters I have when i bounce my final master. In my case i'm using Logic Pro X and I've bounced the final master (with Ozone on it) to a Wave format, 24 bit, 44100 sample rate, no dithering and the file type is interleaved.

When i'm mastering in Ozone 8, I can upload reference tracks to Ozone and easily listen to them back to back with my track to reference certain frequencies. I've ensured that my final mix has a nearly identical frequency spectrum to my reference tracks (Drake, the weeknd, Future) however when I listen to them on a sound system back to back to my reference tracks my final master just seems to be lacking some sort of high end glue in my opinion.

Can anyone lend advice to their mastering process, or possibly their final plugin chain on their master to get that nice airy high end sound? I believe I've EQ'd all my instruments and vocals to their limit in the prior stages of mixing, which is leading me to believe there is something to be done in Ozone during the mastering process.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:38 pm

Cheers. Apologies, but sometimes people post one question and then disappears. :-)
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby mammy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:17 am

can you send your raw track to me ? maybe ı can help you. you should find the main problem. ı think you make something wrong .you should find it. over eq hypercompress or wrong mix balance or wrong recording technique etc.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby The Elf » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:00 am

I once again wonder if this is about headroom. Keep those recording levels down to -10dBFS peaks, and reduce plug-ins to the same (most are set FAR too loud), and everything will begin to sound less strained. Beyond that it's all about technique. EQ is 80% about removing frequencies that don't help and 20% gently encouraging those that do. If your EQ-ing is not in this ballpark, then try another run at it.

It's almost never about 'mastering'. Your mixes should sound 'right' well before that stage, and if you're leaving it to that point it's far too late.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby samwashere » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:52 pm

mammy wrote:can you send your raw track to me ? maybe ı can help you. you should find the main problem. ı think you make something wrong .you should find it. over eq hypercompress or wrong mix balance or wrong recording technique etc.

Sure I can send you my track. I'm new to SOS so I am not sure if I send it over on here, or would I send it to you via email? Thank you
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby samwashere » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:55 pm

The Elf wrote:I once again wonder if this is about headroom. Keep those recording levels down to -10dBFS peaks, and reduce plug-ins to the same (most are set FAR too loud), and everything will begin to sound less strained. Beyond that it's all about technique. EQ is 80% about removing frequencies that don't help and 20% gently encouraging those that do. If your EQ-ing is not in this ballpark, then try another run at it.

It's almost never about 'mastering'. Your mixes should sound 'right' well before that stage, and if you're leaving it to that point it's far too late.

I'm not entirely sure, I've watched tons of tutorials and been producing for the past few years so when I EQ hardly boost more than 0.5 to maybe 3 dB max ever. I always go through my instruments/vocals and hunt for harsh frequencies which i then reduce.

I am genuinely confused because my mixes sound good and so do my individual instruments prior to mastering, I always listen to them on large sound systems with subwoofers, in the car, on a variety of headphones, however my final product is lacking that shine.

A few more specs to include is that my mic is a Rode NT1-a and my pre-amp is a presonus audiobox iOne, however it is not the vocals that are lacking shine in the mix but rather the entire mix (so i don't think its the mic's fault or my vocal recording technique)
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby The Elf » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:29 pm

And what about that headroom? What levels are you recording at?
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:50 pm

samwashere wrote:I am genuinely confused because my mixes sound good and so do my individual instruments prior to mastering, I always listen to them on large sound systems with subwoofers, in the car, on a variety of headphones, however my final product is lacking that shine.
...

it is not the vocals that are lacking shine in the mix but rather the entire mix (so i don't think its the mic's fault or my vocal recording technique)

Do you "master" yourself? (I understand you do, via Ozone, but just to confirm)

Just for the record, using the same room as you mix for mastering (and the same ears) make little sense unless you're positive all you need to do is removing headroom... and in that case you can just as well put a limiter on the master bus and be done with it. If it were so however your master would sound exactly the same as the when you play the mix a little louder. Which it doesn't.

So I suspect it's something you're doing during this "mastering" stage. I use Ozone 5 occasionally to pseudomaster demos for the band, and with that version for example while the multiband compressor is very good, it's easy to go over the top with it.

Which processing do you apply as "mastering"?
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:50 pm

In the mastering part of the process it's very easy to add a hard/harsh top end by overdoing it with the limiter. Even a small amount of gain reduction when you're hitting 0db can do nasty things to the top end if you're not careful.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:51 pm

Sam: Both 'The Elf' and 'Zukan' can offer one-to-one tuition. The Elf is based up-North and Zukan dahn-South...

They both know what they're doing - in spades! - so a paid-for session with one of these guys could well be money exceedingly well-spent! :)
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Watchmaker » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:54 pm

I had similar things happen when I converted to mp3 and decided that I simply wouldn't do that anymore. My guess is that whatever comb filtering was happening, and invisible in my monitoring environment, didn't survive the conversion so on playback the problem was exposed. On a few mixes I spent a huge amount of time going back and making mixes that sounded almost identical in mono and stereo which helped significantly. But I am a rank amateur.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby mammy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:52 pm

You can send me your track via wetransfer . ;)

muhammetcevik@outlook.com
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:53 pm

I think your mix is basically good, but you're right, it's a bit soft-sounding compared with the references. I don't actually think this is really to do with the high frequencies, though. What I'm hearing is that most of the tracks you're referencing have a less pillowy low end, and more of a push in the mid-range. Try adding a broad shelving boost from maybe 800Hz - 3k, or something like that, and maybe try to tighten up that bottom end a bit -- add some saturation to the 808 or whatever it is that's providing the bass.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Zukan » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:21 am

Is it you rapping on those tracks?

Maybe it's me, and that wouldn't surprise me, but I hear a low end that is not defined. To me it is a little muddy and woolly, much what Sam has noted. The mids to highs are okayish but it's the low end that's letting you down.

Loved that first song even though I'm not into mumble rap.

Send it to Sam. Let him work his magic. Or, grab the Elf for a day. He'll enlighten you in ways others cannot.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:01 pm

Zukan wrote:Send it to Sam. Let him work his magic. Or, grab the Elf for a day. He'll enlighten you in ways others cannot.

Or send it to Zukan - he's being too modest here but he'll do a great job too.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby samwashere » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm

Hey guys, just woke up. Thank you for all your great feedback, a couple things I was wondering:

- can someone explain headroom?

Also I'm new to the forum, so I'm not sure how everything works here in terms of sharing work, can i just directly message wave files and mp3's? If so, let me know what parts you would like me to send. I could either send individual stems of a particular instrument (so for instance the muddy 808 with no plugins on it, and hear what its like before/after someone treated it).

I also could send the entire mix, prior to mastering it. I'll start sending some personal messages to find out exactly. Thank you so much again though, everybody on here has been very helpful :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby The Elf » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:50 pm

samwashere wrote:- can someone explain headroom?
The bottom line - what is the maximum level your recorded tracks (e.g. vocals) peak at?

Your DAW will tell you peak levels, either as a 'properties/information' option, or as a 'peak hold' number by each track's fader.
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Re: How do I get that professional sounding high end on my master?

Postby Kwackman » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:50 pm

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