Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes
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Old 29-11-2017, 05:54 PM   #1
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Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

Hi there,

I'm almost done with an album, and I'm seeking advice on specific plug-ins or techniques you guys use to ready your mixes either for publishing right away or just before mastering.

If you are mastering your tracks, do you guys use compression or limiting on the final mix or wait and allow the masterer to do all that? Also, what plug-ins do you prefer to use on entire tracks?

Personally, I always throw an exciter on. It seems to really make the tracks shine.

I do plan on mastering, and also pressing to vinyl, which I know is another story in and of itself. But I guess I just don't know how much I should really focus on polishing each individual track, if essentially that is the masterer's job.

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Old 29-11-2017, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

If I were going to pay for an actual professional to do it, I’d leave it mostly to them. If I wanted some kind of specific master saturation, exciting etc I would print a version for the ME so they had an idea of what I was looking for, but provide a “clean” version for them to work with. I wouldn’t do any comrpession or limiting. You could also potentially provide them with some reference songs.

Just provide the ME with the best overall mix you can.

That being said when I “finish” my tracks that usually involves a little master bus compression (U-he Presswerk for me) and I usually work with an instance of U-he Satin on the master buss through most of the process. Finally I bring the volume up to a reasonable level with Voxengo Elephant limiter. I keep it to a few db of gain reducation.

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Old 29-11-2017, 07:39 PM   #3
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

Let your ME do literally everything on the master. Just provide clean mixes and set it free.
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Old 30-11-2017, 07:44 AM   #4
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

I'm using iZotope Ozone 7 - the basic version is not too expensive and does a fantastic job.

I think in order to really get something out of second party mastering you'd have to spend quite a bit of money.
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Old 30-11-2017, 11:44 AM   #5
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

iZotope Ozone 7/8 is excellent. I have 7 Advanced and use it (or parts of it) almost every time on master.

There are other alternatives, but not something as integrated as Ozone. I like the ease of use and simplicity of Ozone.

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Old 30-11-2017, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

Also, I don't believe in mastering being some special art. It's like mixing, but done on a 2-track (or more if doing surround). All one has to do is to listen, figure out what one wants to do and then do those changes. For beginners mastering can be perceived as some sort of black art, but I find that it's just like mixing, but with fewer tracks.

Also, since algorithms (Landr and CloudBounce) can perform better than "professional" mastering "engineers", then I don't see that they are worth much.

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Old 30-11-2017, 11:57 AM   #7
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

blend in a little PSP Vintage Warmer before (or after!) Ozone
sometimes lkjb Luftikus does amazing things on the master buss

Takes a good mix for a good master, and some of the traditional mixing advice on e.g. drums/guitars/vocals simply isn't enough to cover the ground and challenges of more experimental music. "Just provide clean mixes" only seems easy. On the other hand, and unlike the master buss, individual mix elements can take a lot of beating into shape.

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Old 30-11-2017, 05:15 PM   #8
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

Quote:
Originally Posted by eesn View Post
blend in a little PSP Vintage Warmer before (or after!) Ozone
sometimes lkjb Luftikus does amazing things on the master buss

Takes a good mix for a good master, and some of the traditional mixing advice on e.g. drums/guitars/vocals simply isn't enough to cover the ground and challenges of more experimental music. "Just provide clean mixes" only seems easy. On the other hand, and unlike the master buss, individual mix elements can take a lot of beating into shape.
More and more I find that over-processing is really a problem in the mix most of the time these days I try to mix from a sound design sample choice Arrangement perspective I've been pretty happy with my tracks lately and I haven't even used an EQ on every track in the mix in fact I'm only averaging about 3 to 4 EQ instances in a project at this point

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Old 30-11-2017, 07:39 PM   #9
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
More and more I find that over-processing is really a problem in the mix
except when over-processing is at the heart of your sound (by itself a perfectly valid choice) the rule book goes out the window, which is what I'm trying to point out..

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Old 30-11-2017, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by soundmodel View Post
Also, since algorithms (Landr and CloudBounce) can perform better than "professional" mastering "engineers", then I don't see that they are worth much.
Sorry, but that's bullshit..pure and simple. There is no way for such services to perform better than "professional" mastering "engineers", as each track is different and requires a different approach to mastering. Although the AI involved in such services is improving all the time, the end results can be very "hit or miss", depending on the mix supplied in the first place.

Try telling an AI about the emotional impact you'd like reflected in the end master and see how far you'll get.

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Old 30-11-2017, 08:07 PM   #11
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
Sorry, but that's bullshit..pure and simple. There is no way for such services to perform better than "professional" mastering "engineers", as each track is different and requires a different approach to mastering. Although the AI involved in such services is improving all the time, the end results can be very "hit or miss", depending on the mix supplied in the first place.

Try telling an AI about the emotional impact you'd like reflected in the end master and see how far you'll get.
I heard a video that did comparison against professional ME and CloudBounce. I cannot find it (I don't remember if it was private video or not).

But the algorithmic mastering sounded a lot better than the professional ME, in almost all cases.

The geniusness of these AIs is specifically that they're able to do context-sensitive decisions. They use a database of similar music in order to interpret what to do.

Here's a comparison done with Landr that I found:

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And CloudBounce is a noticeable improvement over Landr.

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Old 30-11-2017, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by eesn View Post
except when over-processing is at the heart of your sound (by itself a perfectly valid choice) the rule book goes out the window, which is what I'm trying to point out..
I apologize, that wasn’t really my meaning. When I say “over processing” I mean so much processing that something just doesn’t sound good anymore. That line is fluid and changes with every sound, every channel on a mixer, every project : )

I’ve nothing against a lot of the modern dance music that uses tons of processing and resampling. I know I quoted your post, but my intention was to kind of add to what you said, not disagree in anyway. I was just suggesting another way to “beat your mix into shape”.

Is over working maybe a better term?

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Old 30-11-2017, 09:01 PM   #13
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
I was just suggesting another way to “beat your mix into shape”.
Great, as that's the point I'm making: either the source tracks don't need conforming and mastering is minimal, or they do and then delivering a neat mix is just as hard as mastering an unruly one.
Mastering a clean mix is quick and simple, but a clean mix is hard;
A master on a crazy mix ends up difficult and full of sacrifices.
And if you arrange crazy-sounding tracks, say you were too busy performing, to notice what would later become problems with the source recording; or if you liked the original sound and it inspired you; it ends up informing your arrangement. Then it takes a lot of beating for the mix to assist the master.
In the end, most of the time listeners not only have never heard the "original" tracks, but are very forgiving. Without making a cult of it, it's reasonable to treat mix and master with great respect..

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Old 30-11-2017, 09:30 PM   #14
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by soundmodel View Post
I heard a video that did comparison against professional ME and CloudBounce. I cannot find it (I don't remember if it was private video or not).

But the algorithmic mastering sounded a lot better than the professional ME, in almost all cases.

The geniusness of these AIs is specifically that they're able to do context-sensitive decisions. They use a database of similar music in order to interpret what to do.

Here's a comparison done with Landr that I found:

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And CloudBounce is a noticeable improvement over Landr.

Stop and think about what you're saying..based on a couple of videos expounding the virtues of these services, you're saying "the algorithmic mastering sounded a lot better than the professional ME, in almost all case".

What about all the countless other MEs out there, whose work wasn't used as a comparison? Are they all now redundant thanks to the geniusness (sic) of these AIs?

Practically all top artists the world over still pay for the services of MEs to work on their tracks and albums before release because they ARE the top artists and understand the role MEs play in the production of a great release. Even in the cases of those who self-master..they do it themselves and don't use services like the ones you're talking about..simply because those services aren't of a good enough standard yet.

Sure, they're fine if you're knocking out "beats" on an app on your phone and want to give they a little "umph" before you uploaded them to share with your mates..and they're pretty good for doing just that. But again, the end results DO depend largely on the genre of the music you upload and the quality of the mix in the first place.

At best, I'd rate such services as average to good..but certainly no where near good enough to claim they can take the place of a well-trained and experiences ME..that's just dumb and shows a totla lack of apprciation for just what goes into becoming a good ME and what it is that they do.

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Old 01-12-2017, 05:26 AM   #15
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Stop and think about what you're saying..based on a couple of videos expounding the virtues of these services, you're saying "the algorithmic mastering sounded a lot better than the professional ME, in almost all case".

What about all the countless other MEs out there, whose work wasn't used as a comparison? Are they all now redundant thanks to the geniusness (sic) of these AIs?

Practically all top artists the world over still pay for the services of MEs to work on their tracks and albums before release because they ARE the top artists and understand the role MEs play in the production of a great release. Even in the cases of those who self-master..they do it themselves and don't use services like the ones you're talking about..simply because those services aren't of a good enough standard yet.

Sure, they're fine if you're knocking out "beats" on an app on your phone and want to give they a little "umph" before you uploaded them to share with your mates..and they're pretty good for doing just that. But again, the end results DO depend largely on the genre of the music you upload and the quality of the mix in the first place.

At best, I'd rate such services as average to good..but certainly no where near good enough to claim they can take the place of a well-trained and experiences ME..that's just dumb and shows a totla lack of apprciation for just what goes into becoming a good ME and what it is that they do.
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:30 AM   #16
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Old 04-12-2017, 05:51 PM   #17
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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from Ian on the subject..more in line with the point I made about not comparing with enough MEs.

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Old 05-12-2017, 04:24 PM   #18
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
Stop and think about what you're saying..based on a couple of videos expounding the virtues of these services, you're saying "the algorithmic mastering sounded a lot better than the professional ME, in almost all case".

What about all the countless other MEs out there, whose work wasn't used as a comparison? Are they all now redundant thanks to the geniusness (sic) of these AIs?

Practically all top artists the world over still pay for the services of MEs to work on their tracks and albums before release because they ARE the top artists and understand the role MEs play in the production of a great release. Even in the cases of those who self-master..they do it themselves and don't use services like the ones you're talking about..simply because those services aren't of a good enough standard yet.

Sure, they're fine if you're knocking out "beats" on an app on your phone and want to give they a little "umph" before you uploaded them to share with your mates..and they're pretty good for doing just that. But again, the end results DO depend largely on the genre of the music you upload and the quality of the mix in the first place.

At best, I'd rate such services as average to good..but certainly no where near good enough to claim they can take the place of a well-trained and experiences ME..that's just dumb and shows a totla lack of apprciation for just what goes into becoming a good ME and what it is that they do.
I think it's still amazing, if a computer program can beat someone who is offering mastering services and has clients commercially. And for a lesser price.

It doesn't make MEs fully redundant, but it surely questions their craft and value.

And computers have doing this kind of thing for a long time. They're automating some people away.

It's possible that automatic mastering will grow to be very popular.

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Old 05-12-2017, 04:27 PM   #19
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

Also, a lot of good artists that I know do their own mastering. E.g. Vaetxh. It's entirely possible, if one's skilled in audio production.

I'd also do my own mastering.

But I've heard that one advantage of using a mastering engineer is that one gets another pair of ears so they may come up with a different sound than you. And it might turn out to be better.

I could consider using a professional ME only if I want some expensive gear to be applied that I cannot afford.

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Old 05-12-2017, 06:05 PM   #20
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Re: Best Plug-Ins for Final Mixes

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Also, a lot of good artists that I know do their own mastering. E.g. Vaetxh. It's entirely possible, if one's skilled in audio production.

I'd also do my own mastering.

But I've heard that one advantage of using a mastering engineer is that one gets another pair of ears so they may come up with a different sound than you. And it might turn out to be better.

I could consider using a professional ME only if I want some expensive gear to be applied that I cannot afford.

I never said a person needs an ME if they want their work mastered..of course people can master their own work..but MEs not only bring "trained ears" to a project, but also the vast amount of accumulated engineering knowledge that most artists don't have..which is what you're really paying for, when paying an ME to master your work.

I have to disagree with you about AIs being a cause to question the craft and value of MEs in general..one is software..the other is a living being with emotions and feelings, that play a bit part if what they do. And, while AIs will continue to become better, there will always be a place for a human ME when it comes to mastering, as an ME brings subtle elements that can't be factored into an AI's algorithms.

In short, you're obviously free to think and believe what you want..but I don't share your views on this..to each their own.

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