Free Logic Pro X Presets from Jake Masca.Check Out These 6 FREE Plugins For Mastering In | Production Expert
Microphone Basics is supported by readers. When you buy with our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more. Regardless of who is mastering your tracks, there are a couple of important things to have tied up before you commit your track to the mastering phase. This is an important tenet of mixing — leaving headroom for mastering.
The truth is that like mixing, mastering, can also be done in any DAW, so long as you have access to a few important tools. This 6 step guide will give you everything you need to start mastering in Logic, but remember, at the end of the day this is a creative endeavour.
So, by no means should you stick to the rules. That said, certain aspects of mastering will help get your mixes to that next level, so rest assured you still have some room to work. Import your finished mix or mixes to a new audio track in Logic, accompanied by 3 different reference tracks. Listen and compare the 4 tracks, and make a few notes literally write them down :.
Create a new audio track and load up 3 instances of Match EQ on it one for each of your reference tracks. Hit F to bring up the Project Browser on the right hand side, giving you access to your 4 audio tracks. Drag your mix file onto the Current tab in Match EQ, and one of the reference tracks onto the Reference tab. Then, on the EQ Curve, hit Match. The plugin will create an EQ curve that visually demonstrates the differences in frequency spectrum between your mix, and your reference.
Now go ahead and do the same for the other 2 references, using the other 2 instances of Match EQ. For example, it appears our mix has quite a few challenges in the low end. Compared to the references, we have a lot of energy around 80Hz, and not a lot in the Hz range.
Our mix also appears to be lacking a lot of high end, dropping off significantly around 12kHz. The golden rule, as with mixing, is to use your ears, not your eyes. You should compare any trends noted from Match EQ to the notes you took when listening and comparing. This is simply an example, and is actually using an unfinished mix to demonstrate how you can use Match EQ to level up your music production.
One of the principles in mastering is measuring. That is, using tools to measure things such as:. The Analyzer section in MultiMeter is a real time frequency analyzer, which shows you changes in frequency as they happen.
There is no set goal for what this should look like across a mix; think about the different frequency settings on your car radio, iPod or in Spotify.
For example in our mix, Hz is coming through really strong. We might use an EQ to cut a little in this area. Loudness is a contentious topic in mastering, as it has been the subject of abuse for many years now. Remember how the human ear identifies louder sounds as subjectively better? Well, mastering engineers or more accurately the record labels that hired them learned how to use this to their advantage by using a limiter to make finished tracks louder and louder.
This resulted in something called the Loudness War, which ended up sacrificing the beauty in music and its dynamic range in favour of overly compressed or squashed tracks that appeared louder. Loudness is still an issue in contemporary music, though it has been stamped down by new limitations enforced by streaming and broadcast companies.
All the way, seeking to retain the nuance and dynamic range that makes music music. Tricky, huh? We are going to do some more comparison to our reference tracks here; load the MultiMeter onto the Stereo Output, and listen to the loudest section of your reference tracks one by one. Note down the value it will change over time so find an average value or note down a range e.
Do this for all 3 reference tracks and compare the values, this will give you an indication as to how much squash or compression is acceptable for the genre you are working in, and what the loudness level of your master should look like. For example, heavy rock tracks will typically feature a lot more compression and therefore be a lot louder , than say, a 20 minute free form jazz odyssey,.
Phase shift is a natural by-product of EQ and is something you can get away with on individual tracks, but it can cause problems for the master. Not only does the Linear EQ look great in black, it has a higher resolution than the standard EQ, giving you the ability to make finer adjustments — important in mastering.
You should use the Linear EQ to make small adjustments based on your notes, but try not to boost or cut any more than 3dB. If you need to make more severe adjustments, you should consider going back to the mix. This is especially the case when the frequency you want to tame is quite dynamic. For example, certain notes on a bass guitar might create unwanted boosts in the low end, but only when that note is played.
If you are finding the mix has too much dynamic range, that is, certain sections are much louder or softer than others, you may wish to apply a little compression to the track. Of course, let your ears be the judge here, but these are some pretty universal guidelines for using compression in mastering.
Applying compression to the mix can help tighten up the dynamics of your track, allowing you to employ more limiting to bring up the loudness in your mix. Multi band compressors are exactly what they sound like, compressors that operate in several bands, split across the frequency spectrum. Whilst traditional compressors apply compressors across the entire frequency range, multi band compressors allow you to isolate particular areas of the range that are particularly dynamic.
For example, you might have an overly dynamic mid-range, where guitars, vocals, and keys are all fighting for the same space, and as they come together, they make the mid-range honky, nasal, and fatiguing. The Multipressor has 4 bands, which you can tweak as desired by dragging the lines that designate the band boundaries. This is because we have an overly dynamic low end, where certain bass notes, when combined with the kick drum, are pushing through louder than others.
As with a regular compressor, you have access to controls such as ratio, threshold, attack and release, to fine-tune the compression to your needs. You also have the ability to solo or bypass a band, so you can hear it in isolation and listen to the applied compression. At the top of the GUI, you will see a blue band moving as the compressor works.
This demonstrates the gain reduction applied by the compressor. The first thing we are going to do is set the Output Ceiling to This gives us a little bit of a safety net. When it comes to digital audio, overloads are something you want to avoid like the plague. Whereas analog gear can overload and create a subtle distortion that is often desirable, digital distortion sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Or rubbing polystyrene together.
Or a poorly played violin. Or, a polystyrene violin scraping across a chalkboard. We do this because although plugins are extremely quick, they are never infinitely quick.
Even computers need time to process. So, to be extra safe from overloads, give yourself a little safety net. This basically filters out anything below 20Hz, which is below our hearing range anyway, and prevents anything weird from happening to your speakers.
This is an important part of mastering, as you need to be able to determine whether your limiting is creating any negative artefacts such as distortion or over-compression. Now, turn up the gain until your loudness matches the notes you made when you compared your references and your mix. When you mixed your track, you worked in the stereo field using pan, panning instruments left and right and creating space for each of them.
Well, you can play in this field in mastering too, using stereo widening tools. Remember how we said mastering engineers stripped off their lab coats in the 80s and became part of the creative team?
The standard format for mastered tracks is a 16 Bit WAV file at Dither is a way to hide these side effects. Logic offers three different types, check them all out and see which you prefer. As a mastering engineer, mixing engineer, recording artists or bedroom producer, you never stop learning.
Why not leave a comment below, and share some of your mastering tips? We would love to hear about your own experiences! This post was most recently updated on June 5th,
How to Master in Logic Pro X — Sage Audio.Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins (And 2 FREE Plugins)
When mastering in Logic Pro X, I like to separate the signal into 3 frequency ranges by using auxiliary sends and linear phase EQs.
Although unorthodox this gives us the opportunity to process each range separately. The first filter will make our lows more mono and focused, the filter on the mids will help the mono aspects of the vocal cut through, and the cut on the highs helps control sibilance.
On the lows, I used a super-fast attack, 40ms release, hard knee, and high ratio, and achieved only about a dB of compression. Additionally, I enabled the clipper on the output — all of these settings created a punchy low-frequency range. On the highs, I used a softer knee, slightly longer attack, and very low ratio to capture only the sibilance — in turn, de-essing the mix. If you need to add some presence and clarity to your master, boost somewhere between kHz.
This will also make the master sound louder, reducing the need for more aggressive limiting later on. This will help the lows stay mono. This gives it a nice sound and sets us up well from more aggressive limiting later on. Logic offers a good emulation of a Pultec EQ, which works well when mastering since the curves it imparts are really gradual and natural sounding.
Logic Pro X offers 2 stock limiters — the adaptive limiter has a smoother sound due to its built-in lookahead and adaptive release, which reduces transients but also helps control distortion.
The regular limiter helps perceive transients and has a more detailed sound, but with more distortion. I think either one will work and it comes down to preference and the genre. How to Master in Logic Pro X.
10 Best Free Mastering Software & VST Plugins – Create Professional Sounding Tracks.10 Best Free Mastering Software & VST Plugins – Create Professional Sounding Tracks
The truth is, even the mastering engineers at Abbey Road Studios are working in-the-box, as we found out recently. And why should it cost an arm and a leg? Here are six of our favourite freeware mastering tools that can help you add the finishing touches to that brilliant mix of yours. Youlean Loudness Meter 2 also has an attractive, scalable GUI, which is much desirable for paid plug-ins, let alone a free one.
Download at youlean. Stereo expansion is often used in moderation during the mastering stage to give tracks more width and depth across the stereo field. Although width is warmly welcomed in audio, the lower end of the frequency spectrum is often best left in the centre. A1StereoControl lets you keep your bass pumping through the left and right sides equally with the Safe Bass button. Upon activation, all frequencies under a user-defined threshold are locked to the middle.
Download at alexhilton. This clever little bundle contains five plug-ins that you can master your whole project with. Download at homestudiomastering. One of the perils of producing music in the digital domain is the clean and clinical sound resulting from computerised processing. The imperfections that came with recording to tape often provided colouration that is now desirable, and often emulated, in Some people try to reintroduce this warmth by adding saturation at the mixing or mastering stage.
IVGI reacts dynamically to the input signal and can produce subtle saturation when applied to a master signal. It can also be used to distort tracks.
The Controlled Randomness feature introduces drift and variance, and lets you alter the frequency dependency of the saturation with the response control. This linear-phase band graphic equalizer is impressive in both functionality and sound. Being able to work in mid-side mode allows the user to treat information in the center separately from the sides, which, when used properly, can result in a much clearer stereo spread, and a more defined space amongst individual elements.
I generally believe that in audio, you get what you pay for, but each of the aforementioned plugins are exceptions to this rule. As I cover in my new course Mastering in the Box, there are some incredible plugins available for anyone interested in computer-based mastering.
Although nothing can replace an experienced engineer, working in an expertly designed room, on high-end equipment, there are some fantastic free tools avai Play Video. Train Your Ears Become a Member.
Search for:. Articles Mixing Recording Producing Mastering. Share Tweet. Mastering in the Box with Ian Vargo As I cover in my new course Mastering in the Box, there are some incredible plugins available for anyone interested in computer-based mastering.
He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch on his website or learn more from him in Mastering in the Box and Mixing Pop.
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