Top Mastering Mistakes You Should Avoid
Many recording musicians, producers, and engineers know all too well the difference that a good mastering can make to their mixes. After all, mastering is a form of art in itself, and it is something that must be entrusted to the hands of a true specialist.
However, even the best mastering engineers can just achieve so much, and this is mainly dependent on raw materials were given to them to work with. Having said this, there are several common mistakes people usually make when preparing mixes for mastering.
Doing all the Limiting or Compression on the Master
Even though master limiting and compression can be very helpful to make a track loud, having too much of this can kill the track’s dynamics. You will be able to achieve something that sounds more natural if you will opt to compress in the stage. You can try to create or group bus tracks for various types of instruments and compress them. A very common example is putting the compressor on the drum bus in order to even out the drums’ volumes before the master. You can also try to deal with transients on the loud drum hits, such as kick and snare, prior to the master, such as through limiting them. This way, you can avoid distortion that results from overloading the master limiter.
Leaving the Stereo Sub-Frequencies
It doesn’t matter if you stereo enhances the bass or not, it is always good practice to do a hi-pass of side content at 100hz using EQ8 on the master. If you won’t do it and your sub frequencies are stereo, there is a chance that they are going to disappear on a mono system. It is really essential because the majority of the clubs have mono subwoofers.
Very High Limiter Ceiling or Master Fader
To avoid some problems caused by inter-sample peaks, you may just give you track more headroom. You may do this through reducing the limiter ceiling or drag down your master fader. Almost all mastering engineers tend to provide tracks 0.3 to 1 dB of headroom so it can be converted to mp3 safely through the streaming devices. You may know more about inter-sample peaks by researching.
Not Monitoring the Track or Reference Track Properly
To make wise mastering decisions, you require more than your ears. This is where monitoring tools will come in. You may have a monitoring tool that you can put at the end of your master track and on your reference track. Then, you may compare the values on reference track to yours to make your track sound closer to reference.
Repairing Mix Mistakes on Your Master
If only a single element of your track has to be processed differently, you should process it independently. Whenever you are doing it on the master, you will risk affecting some instruments. For instance, if you require more high end on your hi-hats, groups your hi-hats and improve the highs using an EQ on the group rather than boosting highs on the master.