Mastering Wtfs.

I have a ton of mastering questions. In the simplest way to ask.

What am I looking at?
What am I looking for?
Where does everything belong?
What tools do I use to bring things where they’re supposed to be?

The new spectrum analyzer will probably help a bunch with seeing if there is space between sounds.

How do I get rid of muddyness?

How do I get rid of pops and clicks?

I think that’s all the questions I have for now.


<----- I have a ton of mastering questions. In the simplest way to ask.

Hi mate, seems like a lot of your questions are actually mix questions. Mixing is creating the balance of audio in a track- volume levels, panning, compression, eq, as well as other effects like delay, reverb, etc. ( some of these things fall into sound design categories as well, but ignore that, for my reply here )

Mastering is the final stage of preparing a track, or a group of tracks, either for a cd, digital album, single, ep, etc, etc.

<----- What am I looking at?

when you are mixing, you are trying to create an imaginary book shelf, where each book ( audio ) is placed in its own spot, and you can, “see (hear),” each book clearly.

<----- What am I looking for?

to balance the audio, and make a great sounding mix…

<------- Where does everything belong?

totally varies, and depends on the track.

<----- What tools do I use to bring things where they’re supposed to be?

great mixes use volume, panning, compression, eq, and verb. simple in concept, but a dark art nontheless. delay, chorus, filters, automation, whatever; can all be part of a mix

<------ The new spectrum analyzer will probably help a bunch with seeing if there is space between sounds.

doubtful, and no… to be blunt.

<----- How do I get rid of muddyness?

try lowering the volume of your bass?

<------- How do I get rid of pops and clicks?

there are several ways to do this. the most simple way is to experiment with your latency in the ----> preferences —> audio. you may also try freezing tracks.

Mastering for me is about making a set of songs sound similar, all songs in a release should have the same volume and shine, the rest is mixing.

To reduce muddiness you could put a high-pass filter on everything that doesn’t need a low end.

Pops and clicks on samples can be found in the sample view editor, zoom in on the sample where you can hear it untill you find a spike, then select the draw tool and remove it, that usually works okay.

Like Garf said, first of all use highpass filters on everything that’s not a bass. Usually at 120-130Hz. There’s no right and wrong. Your ear decides. So, if it sounds better to you, when highpassing at 100Hz or what ever, just do so. Just keep in mind, things don’t have to sound great as a standalone instrument. They have to sound great as part of your arrangement. So it happens every now and then, that an instrument on his own might sound pretty crappy, but work very well within your whole track.

If there’s still mud after HP filtering, try to kill some dB at around 280 - 300Hz, with a tight Q. If the mud still remains, I’d think you have to fight frequency layers. There are several ways to do so, like changing instruments or changing one instruments octave, changing pan and so on. And of course EQing. So, if the problem resists, set a tight Q on a single EQ band, reduce its volume to minimum and then, while playing your track, slide through the whole frequency spectrum, from top to bottom and listen, where it sounds better. Do it slowly and carefully! “Better” means, if you arrive at the point that causes the layer, your sound will start to sound kinda wider, like opening up. Do not just listen to some crap playing, listen INTO it and you’ll find the point, that the problem causes. When you’ve found it, do your detailed adjustments. Reduce only as much as necessary, NOT as much as possible.

While EQing, in general try to avoid frequency boosts. Though, when you’ve made out a disturbing frequency layer, it might help to give one instrument a little boost on the frequency, where you reduced the other one. Golden rule: reducing frequencies = small Q, boosting frequencies = huge Q

Imagine two or more people with the excatly same voice, talking at the same time. You’d understand absolutely nothing of what they’re talking about. You’d just hear “Blaaaaaah…”. It’s the same with instruments. Give them room, where they can speak with their voice.

Hope, that helps a bit fighting your mud. :)

mixing is where you put everything in its right place.
mastering is where you make the song sound as best as possible, regardless of what system it is played on.
i agree with daze that you are asking more mixing then mastering questions. he answered most of them, i’ll give you some additional stuff.

like Garf said, to reduce muddyness, highpass everything except the things which need the bass. so cut out excessive, unneeded low-end (bass). i have 2 custom Filter presets for 0.03khz low-cut and 0.13khz low-cut. if you have a sound for which the high tones are the most dominant, i use my 0.13khz low-cut to remove all the low frequencies below 0.13khz. i might also adjust it even higher. i use the Spectogram to look at the original sound and then determine how much stuff i can cut away.
if i have a sound which needs low-end but not all-low sub-bass stuff, i use the 0.03khz filter. adjust to taste/needs.

what you need to essentially do is give everything its place in the song. that goes for mixing but also for EQ’ing. imagine you have 10 sounds. some of the are bass-sounds, some of them are higher sounds. all of these sounds have some mids in them too. what happens when you leave them all in the mix without EQ’ing/Filtering? the mid-frequencies become crowded and you will have a harder time discerning individual sounds. this is exactly what happens with muddyness, only it happens in the low-end, the bass-frequencies. that is why you need to give everything its proper place. the Spectrogram is a great tool for doing that, determining where the sound peaks. then use your ears to listen if your Filter takes away essentials from the sound or not, and adjust to taste. you can even try putting a Filter on really high settings so the sound is transformed a lot, then sliding it back, to help get a feeling for what part of the sound you actually need, and what part can be lost.

the Pulse Meter is useful for your mixing, because it will let you see the width etc of your mix. i once read that a good mix has a elliptical pulse-shape, so that’s what i kinda strive for. not always though. go with your ears too.

well that’s about all i have. good luck.