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Author Topic: Mastering "Respect"  (Read 20069 times)
Oren
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« on: January 27, 2009, 03:46:13 PM »

Normally I would use Ardour and JAMin with the JACK audio connection kit and the LADSPA effects plugins to master an album, but for this album it seems more appropriate to use Audacity - because it can work on all three major operating systems. Audacity requires more listening skills than a professional mastering application, but the results can be equally successful, and the method I describe here will work well with any sound card and monitor speakers/headphones. Yes, even a laptop with "earbuds" Shocked.
(I'm using Audacity version 1.3.4, but only using features that are available in their current stable release - 1.2.6.)

http://ardour.org/
http://jamin.sourceforge.net/en/about.html
http://jackaudio.org/
http://www.ladspa.org/
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

First, select one or two professionally mastered recordings that sound the way you want your song/album to sound. For "Respect", I chose Chris Rea's "The Road to Hell" and "Your Warm and Tender Love" as my sonic models, and imported each of them into Audacity as a stereo track. This is known as a reference recording, and allows us to master our song to professional standards without expensive monitoring equipment and a lot of fancy software.(Some folks may consider this a breach of copyright law, but I'm just "borrowing" the recordings for their production values, not actually copying them.)
Now we can see the amplitude form as well as conveniently listen to the recording, and compare it to our song as we adjust our amplitude, compression, and tonal qualities. When our song looks and sounds like this reference recording - mission accomplished.

Edit: Below the original waveform, you'll see the mastered waveform, still with my reference recordings on the first two stereo tracks.





* Screenshot-Some Kind of Blue.png (95.69 KB, 1281x948 - viewed 453 times.)

* Some Kind of Blue mastered.png (98.98 KB, 1281x948 - viewed 426 times.)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 07:49:09 PM by Oren » Logged

folderol
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2009, 07:26:12 PM »

Ah, sound & vision. Very sneakly Cheesy

I can see I'll have to keep a close watch on your sir!
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If you have a poem, I have a tune, and we exchange these, we can both have a poem, a tune, and a song.
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kara
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 08:21:24 PM »

This will be VERY interesting 
Thanks for doing this Oren, again we will learn something important  Cool

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Wyatt
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2009, 09:17:38 PM »

Thanks Oren..very cool of you,man.   

Cool

Wyatt
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Oren
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 12:12:53 AM »

Hmmm....

....very sneakly Cheesy, very interesting, and very cool... We may just be on to something here. (thanks, guys) wOO
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 12:16:11 AM by Oren » Logged

Laguna Rising
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 06:49:07 PM »

again we will learn something important  Cool

Cool ! I must take mental note about the importance of using a reference song.
...and thanks for taking care of mastering duties

Cheers
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Wyatt
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2009, 06:54:22 PM »

As an Adobe Audition user, I am also looking forward to comparing
spectral views of frequency and phase to a reference track as well.

Cool

Wyatt
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Oren
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2009, 08:31:25 PM »

Cool ! I must take mental note about the importance of using a reference song.
...and thanks for taking care of mastering duties

You're welcome, L.R.
The idea of a "reference recording" is not original to me, but it is one of most valuable tools in my "kit"  Grin
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Oren
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 08:34:41 PM »

As an Adobe Audition user, I am also looking forward to comparing
spectral views of frequency and phase to a reference track as well.

Wyatt,

Those spectral views must come in handy for fine-tuning your mix/master. If your most recent productions are any indication, they're a useful tool, indeed... Grin Cool

Oren.
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 08:47:06 PM »

To use spectral views, somebody has to explain how to interprete those... I don't know a thing about those  Grin

Oren, you've taken on a BIG job here  Grin


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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 09:18:52 PM »

To use spectral views, somebody has to explain how to interprete those... I don't know a thing about those  Grin

Here is a picture below of a spectral display of frequencies.

The horizontal axis still represents time in minutes, (or beats if you would rather), but the vertical axis represents frequencies instead of amplitude as in a normal waveform.

The lowest freqs are at the bottom and get higher as you go upwards.

Amplitude in this case is represented by color. Yellow is the brightest/loudest and the least loud is represented by the duller blueish purple.

One specific use for this is:

When I am looking for a particular sonic artifact for instance, I look for a visual pattern in the correct freq range that has the same visual rhythm as the offending bit. Then I select just that part in only it's own freq range and copy it to a new file all by itself.

Then I listen to it to make sure it is what I want to remove, and go back and keep trying to make an accurate capture if necessary.

Once I am sure I have the offending part isolated, I can simply delete the selection in spectral view, or use the isolated file as a noise signature if I want to remove it and any other of it from the entire track.

There is also a spectral pan view and a spectral phase view as well.

I hope that makes it a little clearer.

Cool

Wyatt


* spectral display-crop.jpg (411.21 KB, 852x534 - viewed 434 times.)
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folderol
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2009, 09:51:26 PM »

Hey Wyatt. That's some kit you got there.

I dub thee: Sir Ubergeek of the month Grin
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If you have a poem, I have a tune, and we exchange these, we can both have a poem, a tune, and a song.
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Wyatt
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2009, 02:07:48 PM »

Hey Wyatt. That's some kit you got there.

Doing it this way is kind of the long way around, but I have done a lot of audio restoration work
and I don't EQ very well, so for me it is the path of least resistance.   Wink

Cool

Wyatt





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Laguna Rising
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2009, 07:36:19 PM »

I dub thee: Sir Ubergeek of the month Grin

A surgical work  Cool
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folderol
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2009, 07:58:26 PM »

Hey Wyatt. That's some kit you got there.

Doing it this way is kind of the long way around, but I have done a lot of audio restoration work
and I don't EQ very well, so for me it is the path of least resistance.   Wink

Cool

Wyatt
When it comes to creative work I'm a great believer in the idea that the correct way to do it is...











Whatever works for you Cheesy
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If you have a poem, I have a tune, and we exchange these, we can both have a poem, a tune, and a song.
- Will
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