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Before-and-After Display
 


This 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 former Sonic 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 - this 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 the audio.

These songs were used in the project we mastered for Juice Newton's acclaimed CD, "American Girl." The red edits in the first song were spots 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 to hear.

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 loaded in

Our 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

Each red 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

After 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.

Solutions for how to avoid mix problems!
Mastering procedures
Info about compression
Info about mastering loud audio
Visual example of creative mastering techniques
Rates and Policies

Mac!

Mastered For iTunes - Apple certified