Hermetech Mastering

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MSCMpls
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Post by MSCMpls » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:47 pm

I'm getting close to finishing a track that I'd like to have mastered. I've never done that before - and I've been following this thread a little thinking I would like to send this track to you when it's done. One question I have though, you mentioned something about leaving enough head room and you threw out some numbers with "DB" following it. I know DB probably means decibels, but I'm not sure what the rest of it means. I guess what I'm saying is that I wouldn't know if what I was sending you met that requirement. I've read up a little on it but I'm still not sure. :help:

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Post by ben_hex » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:51 am

Be cool if people keep questions in the thread (specific or not, gear, general etc).

It makes a good read. :)
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Post by Babaluma » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:05 am

Thanks for the interest. Yes, dB is short for Decibel.

The short answer is:

Work in 24 (or 32) bit from start to finish (tracking and mixing), and never hit digital zero (dBFS). If you ARE hitting zero, turn down input gain, individual track faders, or the master fader until you are not clipping/hitting zero. I can work with a file like that, no problem. :)

The long answer is:

If it's all digital/in the box mastering, it's not really a problem at all, as long as you stick to the short answer above (work in 24 bit and never clip). But when a mastering engineer is using an "analogue loop" via DAC/ADC conversion, then the IDEAL level for most gear has been set in stone since the 50's, which is 0dB VU (very similar to RMS), which on most converters these days is calibrated to around -18dBFS RMS. Therefore, if your final mix ends up around -18dBFS RMS with no digital overs, it will be at the perfect level already to hit the mastering engineer's analogue outboard chain with the best possible distortion/signal/noise ratio, i.e. the "best" or cleanest the analogue gear can sound, and the range within which it was designed to be used most successfully. I digitally reduce the volume of many of the mixes I receive, so that they "play more nicely" with the analogue side, as one of the very first things I do (after listening and checking for clicks, glitches, pops etc.). I have over a 120 dB of analogue gain later in the chain, so there's no shortage ! ;)

Your next question may be, "Well, how do I know if my mix is at 0 dB VU/-18dBFS RMS (or anything else, for that matter)?", and the answer is to use a good meter that shows you both Peak AND RMS levels at the same time. There are loads of good ones out there, just search around. I personally love the RME Digicheck Meters and Sonoris Meter. Any meter capable of accurately representing the K System will also be able to do it.

Don't get too hung up on it being exact though. The idea with a VU (or RMS) meter is that it hovers around 0 VU (or -18 FS) the majority of the time. There will probably be times when it's way lower, and a bit higher, but if it hovers around 0 (or -18dBFS RMS in digital) for most of the track, and you never PEAK at digital full scale, then that's great, the ideal situation! This is often quite a bit lower than many people are recording/mixing at these days, but that's a hangover from analogue recording (where hitting tape harder gave the best signal to noise ratio), and the early days of digital recording in 16 bit, where "using up all the bits" (getting as close to 0 dBFS as possible without clipping), was also necessary in order to get the best signal to noise ratio. With 24 bit recording and mixing, it's not necessary and can actually make things sounds worse (whole other subject/debate).

TBH, you can ignore the last three paragraphs, but I like trying to explain things as it helps me to learn it better! ;)

Hope that was helpful, and look forward to working with you soon!
Last edited by Babaluma on Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:09 am

Also, to clarify, in digital PEAK means the actual highest sample value, whilst RMS is a mathematical averaging which closer represents percieved loudness (but it still quite a way off of that). VU is a mechanical specification which is also similar to RMS and perceived loudness. dB doesn't really mean anything unless it's referenced to something else (Full Scale FS, Volume Unit VU, Loudness Unit LU, Sound Pressure Level SPL etc.)

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Post by MSCMpls » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:07 am

Excellent! Thank you for explaining that! :tu:

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:42 am

no worries!

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:23 am

Little bump as it involves fellow Wiggler, Dog Of Tears, whose debut album has just been released. Free download, mastered by me, loads more details in the thread here:

viewtopic.php?p=1328262

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Post by tonnu » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:18 am

Babaluma wrote:Thanks for the interest. Yes, dB is short for Decibel.

The short answer is:

Work in 24 (or 32) bit from start to finish (tracking and mixing), and never hit digital zero (dBFS). If you ARE hitting zero, turn down input gain, individual track faders, or the master fader until you are not clipping/hitting zero. I can work with a file like that, no problem. :)

The long answer is:

If it's all digital/in the box mastering, it's not really a problem at all, as long as you stick to the short answer above (work in 24 bit and never clip). But when a mastering engineer is using an "analogue loop" via DAC/ADC conversion, then the IDEAL level for most gear has been set in stone since the 50's, which is 0dB VU (very similar to RMS), which on most converters these days is calibrated to around -18dBFS RMS. Therefore, if your final mix ends up around -18dBFS RMS with no digital overs, it will be at the perfect level already to hit the mastering engineer's analogue outboard chain with the best possible distortion/signal/noise ratio, i.e. the "best" or cleanest the analogue gear can sound, and the range within which it was designed to be used most successfully. I digitally reduce the volume of many of the mixes I receive, so that they "play more nicely" with the analogue side, as one of the very first things I do (after listening and checking for clicks, glitches, pops etc.). I have over a 120 dB of analogue gain later in the chain, so there's no shortage ! ;)

Your next question may be, "Well, how do I know if my mix is at 0 dB VU/-18dBFS RMS (or anything else, for that matter)?", and the answer is to use a good meter that shows you both Peak AND RMS levels at the same time. There are loads of good ones out there, just search around. I personally love the RME Digicheck Meters and Sonoris Meter. Any meter capable of accurately representing the K System will also be able to do it.

Don't get too hung up on it being exact though. The idea with a VU (or RMS) meter is that it hovers around 0 VU (or -18 FS) the majority of the time. There will probably be times when it's way lower, and a bit higher, but if it hovers around 0 (or -18dBFS RMS in digital) for most of the track, and you never PEAK at digital full scale, then that's great, the ideal situation! This is often quite a bit lower than many people are recording/mixing at these days, but that's a hangover from analogue recording (where hitting tape harder gave the best signal to noise ratio), and the early days of digital recording in 16 bit, where "using up all the bits" (getting as close to 0 dBFS as possible without clipping), was also necessary in order to get the best signal to noise ratio. With 24 bit recording and mixing, it's not necessary and can actually make things sounds worse (whole other subject/debate).

TBH, you can ignore the last three paragraphs, but I like trying to explain things as it helps me to learn it better! ;)

Hope that was helpful, and look forward to working with you soon!
sorry just a small question here: does -18 dbfs correspond to the -18db on DAW meters?

thank ou

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:25 am

Yes, FS stands for digital Full Scale, but remember that's RMS not peak levels we are talking about.

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:11 pm

[video][/video]

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:29 am

I also have a Facebook page now, love to see some of you there:

https://www.facebook.com/HermetechMasteringOfficial

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Post by Milkweg » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:21 pm

This all sounds very interesting. Never had anything mastered before, you have a website too (i just quit facebook)?

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:34 am

http://hermetechmastering.com

just finished mastering new comp for interchill records!

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Post by yewtreemagic » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:24 pm

Hermetech Mastering wrote:http://hermetechmastering.com

just finished mastering new comp for interchill records!
Nice!

Interchill is a great label 8_)

Well done Gregg!


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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:44 am

Thanks Martin, your album is a stunner too!

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Post by solaris » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:51 am

just had seven tracks mastered by Gregg for a vinyl release that will come out next month (I am waiting for the test pressing) - he did an amazing job.
▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈□ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ t r a n s f e k t i o n ▔▔▔▔╲▂▂▁▂▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈▂▁▁
▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈□ □ ▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈□ ▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈▔╲▂̥̥̊̊̊̊▂ ‬::.:::.h++p://z.x-xx---x.info □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □‬

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:13 am

Thanks for the kind words! It was a pleasure to work on too!

Other things I mastered coming out soon:

1) The new album from Another Fine Day/Tom Green on Interchill Records, first album in 12 years, and a perfect fusion of classical piano, jazz, Eno-style ambience and Electronica

2) The newly rediscovered (by MoveD on an old DAT) 90's album from my old buddy Ibrahim Alfa, crazy jazzy minimal Detroit Techno. Should be a launch event at The Boiler Room in London and various articles in the press

3) The new Bioshifter album from Bali based Japanese artist Supercozi/Cozi Till, on Hyper-Espresso Records, downtempo chilled beats

4) The final album recorded by John Everall/Tactile, 'D.I.E.', which he recorded near the end last year and I mastered after he had passed away

5) Two more albums from Makyo on Dakini Records (one usual ethnic beats style, one ambient).

I've also been working on repairing and restoring a hip-hop mix-tape from Capital STEEZ, for a possible release, and am continuing work with Dublin's insanely talented hip-hop/pop teen trio, Hare Squead.

Been a busy boy! Would like to thank the whole MuffWiggler forum and community, for helping to get my mastering career off the ground over the last five years!

Gregg

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Post by Bendu » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:21 am

I just wanted to give a shout out to Gregg. He's very easy to work with and the results are impeccable. I couldn't be any happier with the results. Thank you sir. :tu:

[bandcamp width=400 height=120 album=4217877395 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=e99708 tracklist=false artwork=small]
+++++++++++++++++++++
bendu blog bandcamp soundcloud

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:05 am

My pleasure, and thanks for the bump! :miley:

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Post by spinach_pizza » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:40 pm

Another thumbs up for Gregg. :tu: He just finished a project of mine, and I couldn't be happier with his work. And as has already been mentioned several times, he is very professional and is just great to work with.

If anyone here is considering who should master their recordings, or even whether to master them at all, I can recommend Hermetech without reservation.

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:48 pm

Thank you! 8-)

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:59 am

Just a quick note, Hermetech Mastering celebrates it's 10th anniversary today. I got my start on MuffWiggler, and still continue to receive a lot of projects from members of this site. A huge thank you to everyone who has trusted me with their music over the last decade!

This week I am finishing up an album for Justin3AM. ;)

All the best from Paris,

Gregg

:drinking:

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Post by Soy Sos » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:35 am

Ya, one of the greats!

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Post by cebec » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:02 am

Congratulations, Gregg!! Here's to 10 more! :guinness: :sb:

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Post by Be Sandy? » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:25 am

Time flies.
It feels like yesterday that you set this up.
Congratulations on 10 years Gregg.

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