How to Master Your Music in 5 Simple Steps


Hi I’m Michael Wynne. I’m a Scottish audio engineer and founder of In The Mix. In this video I show you an approach for clean and transparent audio mastering. Please watch my updated mastering video for 2021: 0:00 – Intro 2:00 – Have an Aim 3:30 – Final Check 5:05 – Tonal Balance 9:45 – Sweetening 14:12 – Loudness 1) Have an Aim. In this case I am using mastering as a final chance to catch any mistakes, trying to sweeten the song slightly and also make sure it is loud enough. I have an aim at all times in the process – even if it’s an experimental part, I still know that’s what I am doing. At each stage I ask myself “What am I trying to achieve by using this VST? I also take time to get my head in the right place so that I feel creative and motivated to finish the project – Often overlooked but the most important step in my opinion! 2) Final Check and adding fades Automate the master fader (this is after the effects chain) to fade the start and end of the song. Checking – Listen from start to finish without tweaking anything. Listen for : Clicks, pops, cut breaths, clipping, bad edits, resonances (especially in the low mids), consonance, overly harsh “sss” in vocals, is everything perfectly in time etc? The MIX must be good for a good master. Mastering is not a quick fix for a bad mix. 3)Adjusting the tonal balance. This will help it sound good on all systems. Use reference track and compare to professional releases. If you hear that your balance is off you can use subtle EQ or go back to the mix to fix big problems. I like using Tonal Balance Tool to help me get in the right sort of area but I always set the final levels to taste. I am not paid to promote this plugin but Izotope did send me a copy to use without pressure of showing it in videos. The EQ’s I like to use are – Custom Series EQ, TR5 EQual, Eiosis Earth for the high pass. 4) Trying any sweetening. Be careful here – we are not trying to FIX a problem, we are simply looking to give it that extra 1%. This could include saturation (Tape or Tube), Gentle stereo widening, Volume automation (macro dynamics), harmonic excitement and Bus compression. I would be very cautious if you are new to these effects, it’s best to experiment with them but don’t feel pressured to commit to them. In time, this practise will help you master these tools and before long you will feel in control and be able to use them to help your mastering. I demonstrate using the VBC to compress the mix. Many types of compressors can be used and multi band compressors are often used too. The aim here is the change the sound stage, “glue” things together and add some warmth. Immediately I was fooled by an increase in volume but after tweaking some dials it started to work. The threshold was adjusted until I could hear some gentle compression (I can’t remember what the screen was reading but I try not to look at the screen. I kept a slow attack so that the snare wasn’t being crushed, I adjusted the release to make it quicker so that it was more open and didn’t feel heavy. Then I adjusted the High Pass Filter to make sure that the Kick and Bass were not being compressed (turned down). This final step really opened the song back up. Please listen to the compression again and hear how the bass becomes HUGE after I turn the HPF Dial on the right! The reality is that there are not many “go to settings” that work for all mastering situations. It’s important to practise and get comfortable with the tools. 5)LOUDNESS- well sort of.. Mastering for online streaming makes life easier for us these days, we don’t need to slam tracks super loud to be heard! When exporting, check what the sites are currently asking for, sometimes these details change but most are asking for a 24 bit Wav file. I recommend getting a track up to at least -14 LUFS integrated and then pushing it as far as you can without damaging it. If you want to release your music after mastering, use my discount link for DistroKid here – The fastest way to get your music onto ALL streaming sites while keeping 100% of your streaming revenue 💸 Save money on DistroKid if you signup through my custom link – Plugins Used: Free Loudness Meter – Get 20% off for Youlean Loudness Meter 2 – PRO – Coupon Code: IN-THE-MIX Purchased: Compression – VBC Grey Limiting – Ozone 8 Limiter (Any mastering Limiter will work, I used a few and pick my favourite) 🌍 My Website / Contact / Hire me – 📱 Join My Discord – 🎧 My Sound Banks / Preset Packs – 💸 Save money on DistroKid if you signup through my custom link –
https://nhatkyradio.net/

46 bình luận cho “How to Master Your Music in 5 Simple Steps

  1. Please read the detailed steps below if you want to get the most out of this video- Especially in Section 4 🙂

    Tools used:
    Free Loudness Meter – http://bit.ly/youlean
    Get 20% off for Youlean Loudness Meter 2 – PRO – Coupon Code: IN-THE-MIX
    Free Loudness Penalty Analyzer – https://www.loudnesspenalty.com/

    1) Have an Aim.

    In this case I am using mastering as a final chance to catch any mistakes, trying to sweeten the song slightly and also make sure it is loud enough. I have an aim at all times in the process – even if it's an experimental part, I still know that's what I am doing. At each stage I ask myself "What am I trying to achieve by using this VST?
    I also take time to get my head in the right place so that I feel creative and motivated to finish the project – Often overlooked but the most important step in my opinion!

    2) Final Check and adding fades

    Automate the master fader (this is after the effects chain) to fade the start and end of the song.
    Checking – Listen from start to finish without tweaking anything.
    Listen for :
    Clicks, pops, cut breaths, clipping, bad edits, resonances (especially in the low mids), consonance, overly harsh "sss" in vocals, is everything perfectly in time etc?
    The MIX must be good for a good master. Mastering is not a quick fix for a bad mix.

    3)Adjusting the tonal balance.

    This will help it sound good on all systems. Use reference track and compare to professional releases. If you hear that your balance is off you can use subtle EQ or go back to the mix to fix big problems.
    I like using Tonal Balance Tool to help me get in the right sort of area but I always set the final levels to taste. I am not paid to promote this plugin but Izotope did send me a copy to use without pressure of showing it in videos.
    The EQ's I like to use are – Custom Series EQ, TR5 EQual, Eiosis Earth for the high pass.

    4) Trying any sweetening.

    Be careful here – we are not trying to FIX a problem, we are simply looking to give it that extra 1%. This could include saturation (Tape or Tube), Gentle stereo widening, Volume automation (macro dynamics), harmonic excitement and Bus compression.

    I would be very cautious if you are new to these effects, it's best to experiment with them but don't feel pressured to commit to them. In time, this practise will help you master these tools and before long you will feel in control and be able to use them to help your mastering.

    I demonstrate using the VBC to compress the mix.
    Many types of compressors can be used and multi band compressors are often used too.
    The aim here is the change the sound stage, "glue" things together and add some warmth. Immediately I was fooled by an increase in volume but after tweaking some dials it started to work. The threshold was adjusted until I could hear some gentle compression (I can't remember what the screen was reading but I try not to look at the screen. I kept a slow attack so that the snare wasn't being crushed, I adjusted the release to make it quicker so that it was more open and didn't feel heavy. Then I adjusted the High Pass Filter to make sure that the Kick and Bass were not being compressed (turned down).

    This final step really opened the song back up. Please listen to the compression again and hear how the bass becomes HUGE after I turn the HPF Dial on the right!

    The reality is that there are not many "go to settings" that work for all mastering situations. It's important to practise and get comfortable with the tools.

    5)LOUDNESS- well sort of..

    Mastering for online streaming makes life easier for us these days, we don't need to slam tracks super loud to be heard!
    When exporting, check what the sites are currently asking for, sometimes these details change but most are asking for a 24 bit Wav file.

  2. Ive been trying to learn to mix and master for around 2 years but I increasingly feel like I just dont have the ears for it. I have been a musician most of my life and I think there is something about this that makes it hard to listen to the nuances of tone or timbre. Still your videos are the best out there and have taught me to listen for things i didnt before. Anyone have any experience with this? Why are they such different skills?

  3. Thanks for this training
    Are you looking for trending music to listen to? If yes, check this one out.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPau0UE1hq8

    Provided to YouTube by DistroKid

    Breeze · Brozarti

    Breeze

    ℗ Brozarti Records

    Released on: 2021-08-26

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

    #musicvideo #music #musiclovers #youtubemusic #musician #MusicProducer

  4. Great video for a beginner like me who has just started to make covers on youtube. I wasn't even looking for any crazy mixing or mastering tips, what I needed was just a way to figure out how loud should my covers sound like, and I think I've gained much more than what I was looking for from this video. Will definitely play with the Youlean and Ozone stuff. Thanks mate.

  5. I get wanting to cut the frequencies on the low end because they're not useful but I thought humans typically don't pick up frequencies lower than 20Hz so whether or not your headphones go down to 5Hz does not even matter.

  6. Thanks so much! “Having an aim” sounds like common sense at first, but its so simple I could’ve EASILY overlooked it. Been taking notes and preparing for the mastering phase of my debut EP. thanks a lot, buddy! Edit: the LUFS stuff around 17:55 DEFINITELY caught my attention. Paused to Took notes 📝

  7. Great video on mastering! I have a channel where I share my tips and trick on how to improve your mixes at home. I recently uploaded a tutorial, where I demonstrate how you can apply EQ when mastering. Hopefully, my tutorial will expand your skills even further! Check it out.
                 https://youtu.be/k5PacnpNeA0

  8. And it makes sense to bring up to -14 LUFS with the Virtual Mix Rack and the compressor turned off, if it turns them on after it brings up to -14 LUFS. This means when he turns on those two plugins, it will be from or below -10 to -13 LUFS

  9. Nice job explaining a very complicated process potentially, this is an excellent tutorial for real world beginners that should minimize frustration and allow for fun learning as it should be🎸

  10. Just wached a video which kinda recommended making your tracks as loud as possible, so the sound wave looks like a brick. I couldn't believe people actually recommend this. Then watched this video and I was glad to see what I consider the better approach.

  11. Dude! Love your videos on mastering – one of the areas in which I'm still on a steep learning curve 🙂

    Questio: Is it recommended to master in a new/separate project with just a stereo mix of your song/project, or is also mastering within the actual DAW multitrack-session also good..?

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