Class-A parametric equalization
multiband compression, expansion
Class-A limiting and pultec-style EQ
width and spatial processing
Class-A customized precision EQ
compression, limiting, expansion
and phase correction
peak limiting, outboard tube limiting
analog audio, 2-Track Ampex analog tape
/ ISRC / UPC
codes, CD Text
|Discrete Class-A monitor control referencing
Certified MP3/AAC conversions
Compression, M-S equalization
Declicking, Decrackling, Denoising
enhancement, selectable dithering
or special processing effects
and tape transfers, tape baking/transfer
eq, vintage gear emulation, tape emulation, center channel focus
mixing - Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Logic, Sequoia
ID3 tags - add images, lyrics, ISRC codes and more to your MP3's
For iTunes files
sounding music by using higher standards.
Resolution from beginning to final master begins with upsampling
to 96k-24 bit audio - prior to processing via our analog gear.
to detail to prevent clipping distortion. Vestman
Mastering masters has been at that exact standard for years. It makes
standard: Final output audio masters are high resolution 24-bit
at either 96k or 88.2k.
means we monitor the Apple AAC conversion IN REAL TIME. We hear the
results, and so do you.
A huge benefit:
DYNAMIC AUDIO doesn't get blown away by slammed mastering in all
situations. In fact, better dynamics will sound punchier, more open,
and more distinct. MFiT is about creating better master audio files so
that music will move you - the way it
wanted to move you in the first place.
We make Certified High-Quality MP3's
for website audio, promotion, etc.
not utilizing the MFiT format, "record label quality" MP3's don't just
take 30 seconds the way they do
in iTunes. We have been ahead of the trends for years now to ensure the
best sound. The MP3's are played in real time to
certify that the file doesn't clip. We can also add images, ISRC Codes,
lyrics and more.
it takes 2 or 3 conversions to be sure the level is properly adjusted.
All loud files that are straight transfers via iTunes are clipped and
distorted. We do real-time evaluation to ensure that the file is
Audio Workstation Tips
ago, we offered an alternative to the
procedure of traditional mastering: Bring-in-your-DAW mastering!
Having your whole computer (or all-in-one portable recording system) in
the mastering room offered amazing flexibility to make mix adjustments
in the mastering studio. The sound coming directly from the
stereo buss output of the computer's virtual console sounded more open
and musical than a typical bounced or re-recorded-into-the-box
(loop-back) stereo mix. When reclocked, the "source" computer
that the client brought in sounded warmer and fuller.
of the primary advantages of this method was that we could raise up
kic drums to a much punchier level than before when the client only
brought in 2-track masters. We could really A/B compare our
client's sound with any commercial CD and hear what could be done
on-the-spot to optimize the sound. But let's face it.... t's just a pain
to lug in that computer
-- especially if you don't live in the Los Angels area!!!!!
course... if you
change the kic drum, you may want to change the bass... and you may
want to change the vocal... etc. The better one element got, the
better you wanted to make other elements! With every single
solitary track at your finger tips we sometimes found ourselves
involved in mixing. Too
many tracks, too many options.
A word about punch
- be sure your waveforms are polarity-correct!
still offer this method for mastering, but we don't recommend it
unless you have a Roland, Yamaha, Tascam, AKAI etc. all-in-one digital
recording setup. (Even then making Separations from these systems
is excellent.) The advantages of submitting Separations far outweighs
the bring-in-the-DAW method.
you have an all-in-one setup, you
can make Separations! Simply put a sharp, snappy CLICK at the
beginning of your song (a bright count-off works so long as there are
stick-clicks that are easily heard). When you make each
Separation, simply be sure to include the same exact count at the
beginning of the stereo mix and the Separations. We'll sync up your
Separations using the click as a visual guide. Separations are
easier, they sound better, and they are flexible in the ways you really
need. Separations keep the mastering process all about
REFINEMENT, not REMIXING.
a cutting edge format which includes the
stereo mix as reference. All options are available.
See how to
make Separations - and how we can
use Separations Mastering
to practically transform your CD master!
Quick tip: Always record in the highest sampling rate
possible. And after you have checked to be sure that your stereo mix
does not ever go into clipping (digital overs) and in fact has
2-3 dB of headroom, remove your master fader (so long as
you are not using stereo buss processing) - your mix will sound better!
Use the 3-D's - Document, Describe and Detail!
you still feel it will be to your advantage to bring in your
computer or all-in-one.... here are some suggestions to help things go
smoothly and efficiently.
1) Be fast on your computer/hard
system. Know your stuff - we move fast in mixing situations, so be
ready to cook!
2) Have cue points or markers where you can instantly go to a certain
area. So if we say "Please play verse 2 again" you don't have to hunt
on a screen - you press whatever your hot-key is to cue to verse 2 and
zap! it's playing. Mark all the verses, chorus', bridges, solos, etc.,
but not more than 10 cue points.
3) Know which tracks are automated and (if so) which tracks aren't.
4) Be able to "select all" tracks in the waveform editing window
(envelop window) so that you can bring all the tracks down 2 to 4 dB
without disturbing the balance between everything in the mix - sort of
like bringing all faders down proportionately. Be able to do the same
thing on an entire individual track too. Headroom in digital is a
good thing. Those pesky red lights are not.
5) Know your pluggins and screens well. Sometimes we'll ask to play
with the eq or compression parameters - be able to get back and forth
quickly. Be sure you know how to save a plugin setting so it can be
called up again easily. When you name a pluggin setting, like a new eq
setting, make a short name that can include an abbreviated song title,
instrument reference, and number. Like "Some Kic 3" would be the 3rd
kic drum eq setting used in the song "Somewhere."
6) Know how to set your clock source to digital in (could be called
AES/EBU in, Optical in, or S/PDIF in). This is so we can send you a
signal from a high-precision digital clock -- which then makes your DAW
sound more solid, spacious, and cleaner on the top end. Some systems
can do this for the whole system, some you have to change it for each
7) Once you're mixdown sessions are all saved and you're ready to go,
do a "Save As" for every song and give each song a new name in case we
need to refer back to what you did originally. For instance, if your
song is called "Peace Train," - save as "Peace Train.2" or something
like that, perhaps in a new folder.
8) Make sure your computer is running smoothly and isn't so fragile
that a ride in the back seat of your car is going to make it wig out.
Back up your hard drive - bring an audio CD burnt from your mixes so we
can compare what were doing with what you had before. If
you're hesitant about hauling your computer in the car.... make
9) Know how to remove the master stereo mix fader from your virtual
"console." Pro Tools, Digital Performer and Cubase can do this, we're
not sure about Nuendo. If you have used the master fader to bring down
the overall levels so you aren't getting digital "overs," see item #4
and bring all your track levels down to accomplish the same goal.
10) Learn how to reduce the demand on your computer's CPU.
Drop-outs from processing power shortages are time consuming. Start by
minimizing the amount of stuff on the virtual console that has to be
redrawn on the screen. Once your pan's are set, remove the pan
"knob" from the "console." Once your input-outputs are set,
remove them from the screen if possible, etc.
Q) In mastering, are you working with the
original 16 tracks? -Jon
We us Separations, not a full-blown mixing session.
If you're fine-tuning the original tracks,
should I go back and automate each track on every song?
system is different. Hard disc systems like Roland's VS series are
more difficult to work with because they use snapshots - computer
workstations tend to be easier. Be sure you know how to modify fader
levels, eq settings etc. whether you've automated them or not. You just
want to be sure that the mix you heard at home is the mix you're going
to start out with when we plug in your system here.
isn't the only answer to pro sound - some folks hare a
misconception that if it's recorded digitally, it's perfect and it will
sound like the majors. In many cases digital is used by the majors, but
all of the elements starting
from the ground up
go into what
makes the smooth, big sound you hear on a commercial CD (hey just
singing in tune is a big plus).
of digital pluggins and such are trying to emulate the "old" sound
of vintage compressors and equalizers and analog tape, just because it
all sounded so good! Straight digital tends to be a little cold and
harsh unless you've paid the price of great converters and other
hardware, like the big studios have...
What I have now are my own 2-track stereo
masters using the Roland mastering function,
careful about a "Mastering" function. That could just be a word for
"stereo audio CD" or it could mean more digital processing applied to
the stereo buss in order to "enhance" your mix or overall output level.
Additional stereo processing to the stereo buss recalculates the
numbers and can shrink down the sound image and punch if you're not
careful. Generally, it's best to do your eq, compression, reverb, fx
etc. to the individual tracks and leave the stereo buss alone.
also had several clients who just don't like the sound of the CDRs
that the Roland makes for them (that may improve with time). They
prefer the sound that comes straight from the mixdown mode. Therefore
you'd need to be able to recall them all from whatever drive they
reside on - be that external or internal.
I suspect you need to work with original
tracks, so automating the mixes is probably better.
is great if you can bring in the computer or hard disc
system, but we don't need
to do it that way. Allow for
some setup time needed with all-in-one systems. We've had good
luck with this method so remember, we're here to assist you in
achieving your goals.
Can I take a Pro
session and import it into Reaper in order to recall it in my own
computer? Will there be any deterioration to the sound?
Reaper looks like a good program. I seriously doubt that it can import
a Pro Tools session and open the waveforms edited, placed and
crossfaded in place just as they appeared in Pro Tools. Even if you had
Pro Tools, you'd need the same exact plugins to do the same processing
that's there in your current Pro Tools project. The automation in Pro
Tools would mostly likely not be able to be read by Reaper. Your Pro
files would have to recorded using broadcast wav files that have time
code information embedded in them, and even that doesn't work when
edited wave forms are cloned and moved to different locations.
If you have access to your current Pro
session, you can consolidate any edited audio into "beginning-to-end"
single-track contiguous audio files. These can then be reassembled in a
new DAW. If you are thrilled with the plugin processing in your
current Pro Tools session,
then you can do (what Digital Performer calls) a Freeze, where the
edited-fragmented waveforms are assembled (including the plugin
processing) into a new waveform with everything "locked" into the new
single-file wav(eform). This is yet another way some people create
"stems" - by freezing, or bouncing, or capturing,... all processing and
automated moves on to a new track... which then can be imported into a
Importing PT files into a new DAW wouldn't be hugely detrimental
to the sound, but it's probably not able to be done.... unless you have
an import feature in Reaper that I don't know about!
whenever you make any mix in any facility other than your own system,
you should always always make a full mix, an instrumental mix, and an a
cappella vocal mix. This is stock procedure for any artist who might
perform live using a tracks version. A TV version (one that includes
backup vocals but no lead vocal) is another mixing standard.
In the days of yesteryear, engineers made 4 or 5 alternate mixes -
vocal up, vocal down, kic up, snare down, vocal/snare up, etc. for the
time when all the songs were brought into mastering. That way if the
"objective" recommendation of the mastering engineer called for a
louder vocal on a song, there was an alternate take available for just
that reason. Nowadays, 2 short passes with instruments and vocals
relieves the need for multiple alternate takes because of our ability
to recombine them in mastering.