I got it mastered and now I hate it

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wuff_miggler
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by wuff_miggler » Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:36 pm

i think a huge problem with why you're not liking things is listening on cans.
music is very very different when soundwaves fill up space :-)

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by naturligfunktion » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:31 am

When I first started to master my songs I noticed that they all sounded bad. Mainly because I sent the engineer songs that where not mixed good to start with.

It was very good to hear how my mix sounded, and I went through at least 7-8 songs, several mixing engineers (and a bit of money) before I got back a track that sounded like I intended, but better.

It can also be that your mixing engineer did a terrible job (that has happened to me too!).

Either case, you finished a track and sent it to mastering! Now it will be so much easier for you to do it for the next one :)

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by jorg » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:37 am

johny_gtr wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:25 pm
For my ambient project I dont care how its sounds in a car(hope than nobody listens my music during driving), big malls . It should sounds like I hear in a quite good speakers/phones and sound not bad in airbuds (to help some guys sleep like many uses ambient music)
This is sort of how I feel about it. The most important thing is to listen the same way you expect your listeners to do.

However, I also agree that we need to at least listen on both speakers and headphones - I have been startled on many occasions, how some element just disappears on speakers, or sounds horrible and shrill or something, on headphones.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Technologear? » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:04 pm

HIMA wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:39 pm
htor wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:22 pm
:hmm: did you never actually listen to the mix on a set of speakers before sending it off to mastering?
no, i still haven't heard it on speakers. :foul:
..
There are no speakers I 'know', so i haven't even tried.
..
Hard in an apartment
I agree that speakers would help. Viable in an apartment - you don't need to play the speakers loud to benefit from listening on them. Just normal tv watching volume can do. The quieter they are, the less interaction they have with your untreated room too. Just learn to disregard the bass levels (these tend to hit their sweet spot on speaker playback with a bit more volume) and use your headphones for that. Save your critical listening for when background noise is low so you don't need to turn them up to overcome other noise (Sunday mornings?)
Don't need expensive big monitors, use what you can get. As long as you listen to heaps of stuff through them, you'll 'learn' what they sound like and adapt to them when listening critically or mixing. Eg that kick is sounding a bit gutless, but I know that's the speaker not recreating the low freqs, so I'll resist the urge to go back and boost its level in my mix.
I've hooked up my monitors to my tv so everything goes through them, every day. Even when I'm playing lego video games with my kids, or I'm in kitchen and can hear kids watching a movie, my ears are learning my speakers unconsciously!

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Luke2020 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:19 pm

you should upload them both if you want serious advice, if possible.

mastering can really fuck with listener response, dependent on how immersive you are. right?

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by chai baba » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:48 pm

This is not about an technical approach. A very big point is the habbit of the mind. You listen to your piece over and over again. Attachement and the feeling of being baked into sound is getting stronger. Exaggeration can be without limits. Concentration on more singular aspects leave the abbility of having a bigger focus behind. After you finished it, sometimes surrender, because you can`t make it any better in your opinion, you will probably end it and leave it aside. After days and week i often saw the track getting really irrelevant and more and more a piece with less felt connection to me. That all affects the way you listen and care about what you hear. All the given tips and tricks can be important. Follow some and gather experience. Simply be amazed by a great work of mastering engineers and well done mixes. Keep your interest fueled.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by rhflame » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:08 pm

It sucks that music doesn't sound the same way when you're making it and then recording to mixing and mastering. I bet as AI and machine learning improve. These will be problems of the past.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by mritenburg » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:21 pm

rhflame wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:08 pm
It sucks that music doesn't sound the same way when you're making it and then recording to mixing and mastering. I bet as AI and machine learning improve. These will be problems of the past.
The degree to which music sounds the same as you record, mix, and master is largely dependent upon the degree to which your monitoring and mixing environment is configured and treated to be as transparent as possible. Investments in good monitors, room treatments, and selecting a room of reasonable dimensions that limit acoustical problems all contribute to that transparency.

It’s a sliding scale, but any investment in understanding theses concepts and implementing them as best you can will pay off.

They are largely problems of the past now if proper attention is paid to these factors.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Funky40 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:09 am

kind of OT, but nevertheless much related to the original post and the thread as such:


.......are we speaking here mastering at all ? ......i don´t think so.
"That point" has finally been mentioned by the OP himself, no ?

or is anybody here doing "mastering" on a track for 50$/€ ? ( looks, like we have here some pros present )


which brings up my question: ( which could be also interesting for the OP )
lets say i made a track, 3min long, electronic music but NOT techno which has NOT to work in the club,
how much would i have to spend typically for a "real" mastering ? ( i know, it would be case dependend i guess )
lets say i give the ME 3 tracks to listen to as a refenrence ( i mean, "that listening time" sums up too )...and my track to master.


how much would that cost ?
( above is just an example, ......and i´m myself under the opinion that "nowadays" the term "Mastering" is used for quite a wide spread type of services.
guess thats here a problem in this thread, ....and not just the "headphones only" situation of the OP ;))
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Richard deHove » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:36 am

I've used a few different mastering engineers. Generally I've been very happy. The latest one I used for three tracks I had to carefully A/B to see what the differences were ! And there were some of course, and all for the better. But I took that as a good sign about the mix.

I always thought mastering was more about getting tracks "release ready" than fixing or changing the track.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by naturligfunktion » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:24 am

Funky40 wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:09 am
kind of OT, but nevertheless much related to the original post and the thread as such:


.......are we speaking here mastering at all ? ......i don´t think so.
"That point" has finally been mentioned by the OP himself, no ?

or is anybody here doing "mastering" on a track for 50$/€ ? ( looks, like we have here some pros present )


which brings up my question: ( which could be also interesting for the OP )
lets say i made a track, 3min long, electronic music but NOT techno which has NOT to work in the club,
how much would i have to spend typically for a "real" mastering ? ( i know, it would be case dependend i guess )
lets say i give the ME 3 tracks to listen to as a refenrence ( i mean, "that listening time" sums up too )...and my track to master.


how much would that cost ?
( above is just an example, ......and i´m myself under the opinion that "nowadays" the term "Mastering" is used for quite a wide spread type of services.
guess thats here a problem in this thread, ....and not just the "headphones only" situation of the OP ;))
Mate I am not a pro by a long shot, but I do like to master stuff that I plan to release on vinyl or bandcamp or spotify etc (you know... the good stuff ;))
50 € per track is in my experience a little more than I usually pay, but I suppose that is the standard.

If I walked in your shoes, I would send some e-mails to some mastering studios. Take some that has mastered stuff you really like. Describe your situation, ask for a quote.

I generally use Curved Pressings. Really nice guys
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by ignatius » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:47 am

the mastering engineer should provide revisions until you are happy. it's how they learn. also, i send notes about each track when i send something off for mastering.

Also, you get what you pay for. there's a lot of people who are just trying to make a few $$$ but don't know what they're doing. I've used 3 different mastering engineers over the years and was really happy with all of them but there were still revisions sometimes.

worth mentioning.. if you don't like your mixes you probably won't like your mastering.

here's the 3 mastering engineers i have experience with. i recommend them all. they're talented and easy to work with.

https://www.panicstudios.com - John McCaig. he's great. has mastered most of my releases.

https://complete-usa.com/h/master.htm - dietrich schoenemann. did a few vinyl/digital releases. great dude. did a great job.

https://www.audibleoddities.com - - shawn hatfield. did a great job on some early releases i put out. really great to work with and hapily did any revisions we asked for. everyone was stoked on the results. he's a good dude too.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Funky40 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:20 am

naturligfunktion wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:24 am
50 € per track is in my experience a little more than I usually pay, but I suppose that is the standard.
ahhh, ok, .......i had NO idea ;)
Thanks ( and sorry for the derail)
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by svks » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:56 pm

rhflame wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:08 pm
It sucks that music doesn't sound the same way when you're making it and then recording to mixing and mastering. I bet as AI and machine learning improve. These will be problems of the past.
A machine cannot approach the process from an artistic point of view, so I highly doubt it can replace a human in this area.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by rhflame » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:24 pm

svks wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:56 pm
rhflame wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:08 pm
It sucks that music doesn't sound the same way when you're making it and then recording to mixing and mastering. I bet as AI and machine learning improve. These will be problems of the past.
A machine cannot approach the process from an artistic point of view, so I highly doubt it can replace a human in this area.
I don't think we can replicate real creativity anytime soon. But I think there are already primitive versions of auto mixing and mastering algorithms. I imagine that will get more and more automated

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by htor » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:34 pm

soon we will have soda machines and mastering machines standing besides each other. what an era that will be...

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by slumberjack » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:49 am

htor wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:34 pm
soon we will have soda machines and mastering machines standing besides each other. what an era that will be...
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by chaosick » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:04 am

Default1 wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:20 pm
This is an interesting thread. I was in a similar boat to yourself recently, having had my first mastering experience at the start of the year. I was quite happy with the result.

I also struggled in the beginning.

Here is what I do: Before you put down your final mix, try and listen to it on as many devices as possible. I take my mix up to my shitty car stereo and listen to it there - including with background noise driving - I listen to it on my phone speaker, I listen to it on headphones, I listen to it on good speakers. Once you have played it on a number of different systems, including shitty ones, and it sounds acceptable on all of them (will never sound great on all of them), then you know you are done. Stop and move on.

Everyone has had a similar problem to yourself. It sounds great on your cans or home monitors or whatever, and garbage everywhere else. I counselled a friend on this recently and now his mixes sound great. I had the same problem, my mixes would sound great at home, and then listening elsewhere just woolly and muddy - too much mid bass. I realised, that like most home composers, it was the room I was writing music in, which is just a bedroom. It has parallel walls, floors and ceiling/floor, which is a bad acoustic environment. There is a horrendous mid-bass suckout because of the standing waves. So, my tracks sounded great in one room in the world. Garbage elsewhere. So, I just started listening to it everywhere: trudging out to my car at night just to put it on another stereo.

There is nothing wrong with composing using cans per se. But, even after a days work, try listening to it on your phone speaker, your car stereo, take it to work and listen to it on your computer... whatever, just use it on a variety of different systems. They don't have to be super high fidelity (though it is nice to have access to such a system), remember that most listeners will be listening on their phones or with horrendous blue tooth ear bud speakers.
Good advice! I just commented on one of your YT videos. Very meditative.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by starthief » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:52 pm

From the sound of things, I think there should have been more communication from the engineer to make sure you were getting what you wanted. That's important.

Last year I had a couple of tracks mastered by Obsidian Sound, because I like Nathan Moody's music and several of the albums he's mastered. What really convinced me to do it was that he considers education a part of the service -- I learned a bunch of specific things about how to improve my mixes in a technical sense, all very respectful of my intent. There were a couple of minor tweaks I asked for from the first version he sent me -- the mastering process revealed some things I hadn't heard in my own music before, but it was all fixable. Overall, I feel like it was one of the best investments I've made, just for the things I learned. I mastered the rest of that album myself, feeling much more confident in it... and since then, the process has gotten much easier because I prevent most problems in my recordings before they become more difficult to fix (my "mix" is done live as part of the process).

I have a specific pair of semi-open headphones that I have used for years, which I know really well and love. I do everything on them, including mixing and mastering. The kind of music I make, I think of as made for headphones in the dark. But I usually at least check my "final" work on earbuds and in my car, just to make sure -- there have been a couple of cases where I skipped that step and regretted it.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:08 am

Should have sent it to me... ;)

If you are not happy with a professional service, you have every right to ask for a revision, or complain. But did you converse with them first about your preferences? I always say that clear communication is at least 50% of a great mastering job that both me and the client can be proud of.

I always try to have a discussion with the client before I start work, to gauge their knowledge level and loudness preference, ask about any references they might have etc. It makes for far less headaches later on.

-13dB (Peaks or average?) Either should be fine for any ME worth their salt to deal with.

I'd love to master your new track!

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by The_hitcher » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:36 am

jorg wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:54 pm
As electronic recording artists, we have such fine-grained control over every aspect of the material, that I believe we often end up with the track sounding pretty much the way we want it, without mastering. Sometimes I'll add a tiny bit of compression, and that's plenty.

If you send it to somebody who's embedded in the commercial industry, they will most likely follow today's standards, which demand two things:
(1) Over-compress to the point of losing all dynamic range.
(2) Use a side-chain to duck the audio in time with the kick drum, resulting in an extremely unpleasant breathing (or "can't breathe") effect.
Four Tet has gone on the record saying he rarely has his tracks mastered. After mixing, he's got it where he wants it. Not to say you shouldn't do it, but if it sounds good as is, what is the need?

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Fastus » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:56 am

Just to second the Ignatius recommendation, I got my masters back from Shawn Hatfield (audibleoddities.com) former Mille Plateaux recording artist "Twerk" and they sound *great*. In conversation he recommended a couple of software solutions for optimizing headphones for mixing. I have yet to try them but seems it might help in your situation.

https://goodhertz.co/canopener-studio/
https://www.sonarworks.com/reference/ho ... headphones

Might be useful to review this guide from another mastering engineer; https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?t=72222

Did I miss *why* you're not using speakers and bringing your levels up to -6dB in the mix? Mastering is great for having a second pair of professional ears review your mix and fix defects based on the anomalies of your recording space, but probably the best use of cash is to get some proper near-field monitors and start listening to other mixes on them - establish a list of reference mixes from your favorite artists - maybe the Orb, Boston - whatever, and develop a sense of what your mix should sound like on your monitors. Then try a new mastering engineer.
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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by Lokua » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:39 am

Make sure you mix sounds good on shitty headphones, too.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by mkdvb » Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:44 am

Seems like if you really want to get to the heart of it, you could post both your final mix & the mastered version so we could hear exactly what the problem is & give our opinions.

Barring that, the best mixing/mastering engineers are hired for their taste & grasp of aesthetics. If this is a mastering engineer who's worked with artists you respect & on tracks that you dig, then perhaps it's safer to assume that they know more about what final tracks need to sound like than you might (especially if this is your 1st completed track).

That said, I've had tracks come back from mastering that were borderline unlistenable (like weird phasey bass & shit). Hard to say what the case is without hearing the actual tracks.

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Re: I got it mastered and now I hate it

Post by ersatzplanet » Sat Oct 03, 2020 4:46 pm

I feel that with today predominantly digital distribution models, mastering is less important than it once was. If you plan on releasing your material on vinyl or on tape, then mastering become much more important. Material with too much bass content or dynamic range can be bad for vinyl recordings, causing groove clashing in worst cases, needle jumping. In the digital distribution model, all you are really dealing with is file conversions to different formats and bitrates which you can try out yourself.

The main thing to do is to play your material on as many different sound systems as possible. Play it on your friends stereos. Hear it on every one else's gear, as many as possible. You will hear what is lacking or what is too much pretty easily.

Back in the day, mastering engineers would compensate the mix's eq and dynamics for vinyl, cassette, 8-track, CD, AM radio and FM radio playing. Not so many different destinations nowadays.
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