by Jett Galindo, iZotope Contributor June 29, 2020
Today’s innovations in music technology have empowered everyday creators to explore more complex production techniques. One thing, however, has remained a seemingly intimidating task for many: mastering. To the non-mastering engineer, it’s a discipline still shrouded in mystery, with many “how-to” resources overwhelming the everyday reader with technical jargon and difficult-to-digest techniques. And within the fast-growing DIY community, there still lies the challenge of not having easy access to state-of-the-art listening environments or professional mastering studios.
by Nick Messitte, iZotope Contributor October 21, 2019
Growing up, I was always told by amateurs and pros alike—you can’t master a song you’ve mixed. It was interesting then to see engineers like Luca Pretolesi and Don Gehman break that rule. Could I do both too?
With technology like Ozone 9 and the improved Tonal Balance Control, I find it’s more possible than before—provided I follow concrete rules of thumb. The following are the rules I live by when I’m asked to master my own mixes, which is more and more often these days.
Low End Focus is a new module in Ozone 9 Advanced designed to take the low end of your track and minimize muddiness, increase clarity, and address common low end issues that may not be easily mitigated with traditional tools, such as EQ or Dynamics. Learn more about the new module in the video below.
by Ian Stewart, iZotope Contributor October 9, 2019
With the arrival of Ozone 9, the powerful Vintage modules—previously only available in Advanced versions—are now part of Standard. Whether these modules are brand new to you, or you’ve had them in your back pocket for a while, but have been unsure about how and when to use them, this article is for you!
Automation isn’t just for mixing engineers. Neither is automation strictly limited to volume rides. Whether you’re working in the analog or digital world—or relying on a hybrid audio mastering setup—there are a handful of circumstances where time-based adjustments on your mastering chain can help you achieve your desired results. Let’s look into a few practical examples of automation being used in recent mastering sessions.
I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of material made in home recording studios. And while a lot of the raw sounds coming my way are great, many recordings sport flaws that impart a palpably “cheap” sound to the material. These flaws have many root causes, such as interfaces that don’t do well for dynamic range or harmonic content; rooms that impart comb filtering to vocals; basses recorded without definition; and badly mic’d drums.
It’s my task, among others, to make these “cheap” sounds feel more “expensive”—that is, to help these mixes play nicely against their better-recorded references. They need to work in a Spotify playlist. They cannot be trounced by the competition. This is my fundamental meaning when I use terms like “cheap” and “expensive.”
The audio in my room doesn’t sound “cheap”, but sometimes I mix it that way by accident.
I want to check this one out…
3. Your snare sounds like someone flicking a piece of paper
Try a cut around 6 kHz, and a boost between 100–200 Hz to see if that adds some body. If you’re lacking impact on snare hits—if it feels a bit flat—try some compression next, emphasizing the transient with a medium attack and a medium-fast release.
You may still hear that dreaded papery noise. If so, solo the snare and see if it goes away. You may be surprised: one of the first things I look for in dealing with a papery snare is whether that sound is actually coming from the kick; often it is. In this case, attenuate that frequency in the kick track with a dynamic equalizer that’s sidechained to the snare. You can easily set this up in Neutron 2, as shown below.