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Mastering tips (basic knowledge for beginners)

There are many amateur musicians who fall in love with professional live recordings and want to convert their live recordings to CDs and DVDs. However, the sound recorded at a live house is often shocked because the sound is unbalanced and rough. Mastering is a big difference from professional sound sources, so if you get the hang of mastering, the sound source will be dramatically revived. Below, we will introduce mastering tips as a minimum background knowledge.

Adjust the sound quality to get the sound you want

  Equalizers, also known as guitar and bass effectors, allow you to add strength to specific frequency components. In mastering, the equalizer can raise a specific band or cut unnecessary bands, so it is indispensable for sound quality adjustment. For example, when adjusting the sound quality of vocals, you can eliminate waste of sound by cutting the bass range of 100hz or less and raising the part where the voice is firm.

This is common sense in sound quality adjustment, but adjusting the frequency of each part improves the sound quality of the entire sound source. Recently, a plug-in called Neutron 2 that automatically sets them with AI according to the characteristics of each instrument is also commonly used. Match EQ has a function that analyzes the EQ characteristics of the reference sound source (the sound source you want to refer to) and matches the sound source you want to process.

Sound pressure adjustment is for each part

  Since there is a strong image of "mastering = making the sound louder", there are many people who want to maximize the sound pressure in the process of mastering. It is certainly important to raise the sound pressure, but raising the sound pressure in the dark clouds will cause sound cracking, and the sound will worsen. In order to adjust the sound of the entire sound source in a well-balanced manner, it is important to adjust the sound pressure after setting the EQ precisely while considering which band the instrument is in. In addition, it is a basic technique to improve the omission even in the low cut of 30kHz or less, which is almost inaudible.

This will increase the relative average volume level of the song, resulting in a crisp sound. In recent years, it's a good idea to do a good job before passing it through a maximizer that can emphasize sound pressure.

The latest version of iZotope's Ozone , which is also used by the world's top engineers , can automatically make difficult settings for these beginners. If you have a budget, it is a shortcut to learn the technique by introducing it and experiencing the delicate feeling while playing with the parameters.

There are two types of meters that check the volume: peak meters and RMS meters. Most of the meters on the mixer are peak meters, which indicate the maximum waveform. It is mainly useful when checking that the sound is not distorted beyond (clip) 0 dBfs.

However, the human ear cannot keep up with the momentary loud volume, and the peak meter may not sound loud enough for a moment. Therefore, it is useful for monitoring clips, but not for so-called sound pressure monitoring. On the other hand, the RMS meter (sometimes called the VU meter) is designed to move in a manner similar to the change in loudness that humans perceive. This shows the change in sound intensity = sound pressure, not the maximum value like the peak meter.

The importance of recording level

Recording is a process that affects the quality of sound, and although amateur musicians rarely have the opportunity to do it in the best possible condition, good or bad recording can affect mastering. First of all, it is important to record with a high signal-to-noise ratio at a sufficiently large level. The signal-to-noise ratio represents the ratio of signal and noise, and the expression "high signal-to-noise ratio" means less noise.

When producing with only a DAW, you don't often notice noise, but there are times when you cannot avoid noise with instruments that are recorded live. At that time, if you record at a low volume and try to raise the volume at the stage of mixing etc., the accompanying noise will also become loud. However, if you record the sound of an instrument loudly, the noise will be relatively small, making it easier to mix and master.

Improvement of monitoring environment

In mastering, sound pressure and sound quality adjustment technology is important, but it is also very important to prepare a monitoring environment. For example, if you have an environment where you can master at home, you may feel that the sound is not what you want. There are various causes for this, but one of the causes is that the monitoring environment is not in place. If the left and right monitor speakers are below your ears, the true sound will not reach your ears and you will not be able to make adjustments. Similarly, if the monitor speakers are placed on a soft material such as carpet, the outline of the sound will not be stable and a completely different sound will reach your ears. It is very important to have the equipment in the mastering at home, but prepare the basic settings such as aligning the speakers to the ear positions, installing the speakers on a stable base, and keeping the speakers away from the wall. Is also important.

The sound reform provided by HybridSoundReform.com guides music content that is not blessed with the recording environment of amateur musicians to a sound source that can be listened to comfortably with careful noise removal and detailed sound image editing. Not only live sound sources, but also video content can be made into high-quality and clean sound. Please use it if you are thinking of posting to YouTube or Nico Nico Douga. If you have any questions about prices or plans , please feel free to contact us.

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