illustrates two songs that have
been loaded into our "Source" computer - which then was played through
our analog processing console - which then was recorded into our
"Destination" mastering computer (this was in our
Solutions System). The blue waveform is the
original source, the white waveform has edits and level corrections,
and the yellow waveform is the mastered output.
Our current Sequoia mastering computer is much more sophisticated -
illustration just shows the difference in the waveform "before and
after" mastering. The "spiked"
shape of the original wave files show dynamics and peak information in
These songs were used in the project we mastered for Juice
Newton's acclaimed CD, "American Girl." The red edits in the first song
where the crash cymbals were too loud. Rather than use a mulit-band
compressor on this particular project, we felt it was cleaner to edit
certain crashes - one by one. Not exactly a common method, but it was
very effective. Both artist and producer loved the results. One
unexpected benefit of lowering the crashes was that the vocal seemed to
stand our more. This is due to the "teeter-totter principle" - when you
lower the volume of one sonic aspect, a different aspect will be easier
Check our Secrets of Mixing
article where you'll read about the way a drummer plays his/her cymbals
can effect the balance of the drum sound, and even some key balance
issues in the entier song.
Initial source file
starting 2-track (source) waveform(s) looked like this. (Often, today,
when we use Separations, the issues dicussed here don't apply.)
Edits and level corrections
line indicates an
edit where we were taking down the
volume of individual cymbal crashes. Rather than expect one hardware
"setting" to give the most musical sound, we felt the individually
tailored cuts gave more control for the desired enhancements.
Final audio output
eq, limiting and other sonic processing the mastered waveform is much
fatter. The sound
has more over-all level - it is fuller and cleaner sounding due to the
various mastering processes used. Keep in mind, our
goal isn't to make this wave "shape" - the goal is to make the music
sound better over a variety of speaker systems, have appropriate level,
and keep the dynamic impact of the music in tact.