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What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

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What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:54 am

I'm 47 and a bit tinnitussy, I'm worried that if I try and mix a track I may not be able to perceive some high end detail or something else. (In fact I'm fairly sure this is the case as I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

Question is can the Mastering Engineer identify that in a mix and add maybe some sparkle/ repair to the overall master?
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:33 pm

I wouldn't be too concerned about the differences you couldn't perceive in the tutorial unless you are sure you were listening to lossless and unprocessed audio. (It it was on YouTube then all bets are off!)

The mastering technician should do what you ask them to do. So if you ask them to check for 'sparkle' and adjust as they see fit then that's just what they should do. (But beware the 'I know best; I brook no discussion' ones! :) )

Of course, one person's 'sparkle' is another's 'over-brightness'... it's a subjective process with no easily-applied metrics.
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Andy McBain » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:45 pm

I'm not a mastering engineer but the guy I use regularly will tell me if he's had to do any sort of repair work.

There's definitely stuff that can be done to the top end, be that processes to enhance it or fix any issues - and your mastering engineer should have the ears, monitoring and monitoring environment to hear this.

One thing I usually get asked is to try and keep the top end as consistent as possible - so there's no stray elements (a rogue crash cymbal, vocal sibilance etc) that jump out of the mix if he's applying a nice high shelf with a fancy analogue EQ or similar enhancement. If you're not able to hear much in the upper frequencies then a decent spectrum analyser can help with this. I use RME Digicheck on a small external monitor :)
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:46 pm

Hazer wrote:I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

I wouldn't get too worried about that -- the lossy encoding of most online videos tends to either reduce, remove, or otherwise mangle the signal quality fairly comprehensively, and especially so at the high-end.

If you're genuinely worried about your HF response, there are more reliable online testing systems that will give you a better idea and allow you to keep track of any changes over time. In practice though, it's remarkable how well we all learn to accommodate the natural vagaries of our hearing! Comparative referencing is a very useful tool!

Question is can the Mastering Engineer identify that in a mix and add maybe some sparkle/ repair to the overall master?

Yes, to a degree... but typically it's only possible to change the overall high-end level of the mix as a whole relative to the mid-range, rather than to alter the internal balance of high-end contributions of different sources within the mix.

So it's obviously always better to get that aspect right in the mix stage... and if in doubt I'd share mixes-in-progress with someone who's hearing you trust and ask for feedback.
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby RichardT » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:12 pm

Hazer wrote:I'm 47 and a bit tinnitussy, I'm worried that if I try and mix a track I may not be able to perceive some high end detail or something else. (In fact I'm fairly sure this is the case as I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

Question is can the Mastering Engineer identify that in a mix and add maybe some sparkle/ repair to the overall master?

In my experience of mastering, mastering engineers are quite limited in what they can do simply because they are working on a single stereo file. They can apply some EQ cuts and boosts, compression, and even distortion and exciters if they want to, but the more they do, the more the whole track will be seem to be affected, not just the HF problem areas. My mastering engineer refers to this as ‘yin and yang’. Plus, as Hugh says, they can only change the HF as a whole, not individual elements of it.

I would ask your mastering engineer for specific feedback on the HF when they listen to your tracks. That way they can point you towards adjustments you can make in the mix.

As other have said, referencing is vital if you are worried about hearing loss.

Good luck
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby zenguitar » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:22 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Hazer wrote:I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

I wouldn't get too worried about that -- the lossy encoding of most online videos tends to either reduce, remove, or otherwise mangle the signal quality fairly comprehensively, and especially so at the high-end.

You might question whether someone is qualified to give a tutorial if they don't understand the impact of the delivery medium they are using. ;)

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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:36 pm

zenguitar wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Hazer wrote:I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

I wouldn't get too worried about that -- the lossy encoding of most online videos tends to either reduce, remove, or otherwise mangle the signal quality fairly comprehensively, and especially so at the high-end.

You might question whether someone is qualified to give a tutorial if they don't understand the impact of the delivery medium they are using. ;)

Andy :beamup:

Don't get me started! The dross that I've come across on YouTube purporting to be a 'review' and explanation that's simply wrong, wrong, wrong! And if you point it out in the comments they can get very very cross indeed. And yet they have thousands of views and hundreds of subscribers patting them on the back...

Last night's little :headbang: was looking for reviews and example footage of the HD video from a specific camcorder. Found some in 640x480... :roll:

:?
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:44 pm

zenguitar wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Hazer wrote:I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)

I wouldn't get too worried about that -- the lossy encoding of most online videos tends to either reduce, remove, or otherwise mangle the signal quality fairly comprehensively, and especially so at the high-end.

You might question whether someone is qualified to give a tutorial if they don't understand the impact of the delivery medium they are using. ;)

Andy :beamup:

It wasn't Youtube it was a purchased mix thing downloaded which is the worrying thing sonically.

I'll get as good a mix done myself, and then I was wondering if I could pay someone £10-£20 to give some feedback and notes on a mix privately if I needed?
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:46 pm

I was wondering about comparing with pro releases, if I have some kind of high frequency loss would I just not hear that in a pro mix and therefore not be able to correct in my mix? Am I overthinking this
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:39 pm

Hazer wrote:
I'll get as good a mix done myself, and then I was wondering if I could pay someone £10-£20 to give some feedback and notes on a mix privately if I needed?

I have no idea about his rates... but send The Elf of this parish a PM. He really knows his stuff and will give you superb advice without being patronising or making you feel inadequate.

Recommended!
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:59 pm

Thanks I know of The Elf, I am actually a former forumite returned under a new guise :headbang: :mrgreen:
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:58 pm

Hazer wrote:I was wondering about comparing with pro releases, if I have some kind of high frequency loss would I just not hear that in a pro mix and therefore not be able to correct in my mix? Am I overthinking this

Not much to worry about. First, most of the meaningful stuff is in the midrange. Second, if it sounds good to you, it sounds good the way you are hearing it. And finally, yeah the mastering engineer can brighten a dark mix if it's needed - usually the problem is the opposite - and a multiband compressor can be a very effective tool at that.

Ask him/her for an opinion, explaining the problem (not in general terms, as in "is the mix good" because - beyond truly glaring mistakes - a good mastering engineer assumes the mix you give is the mix you want).
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:34 pm

Thanks again !
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:33 am

Hazer wrote:I'm 47 and a bit tinnitussy, I'm worried that if I try and mix a track I may not be able to perceive some high end detail or something else. (In fact I'm fairly sure this is the case as I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)
...

Any chance we could have the link to the mix tutorial? Your hearing may be a factor but maybe not.
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Re: What can the Mastering stage repair in a mix?

Postby Hazer » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:03 am

Tim Gillett wrote:
Hazer wrote:I'm 47 and a bit tinnitussy, I'm worried that if I try and mix a track I may not be able to perceive some high end detail or something else. (In fact I'm fairly sure this is the case as I was watching a mix tutorial and a guy was A/Bing some plugin that was affecting the higher frequencies and I could not hear any difference whatsoever :shocked: :sick:)
...

Any chance we could have the link to the mix tutorial? Your hearing may be a factor but maybe not.

Hey it was purchased and downloaded there's no link by a guy called Matthew Weiss a while back.
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