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Joined: 13 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:56 am    Post subject: Quick Question Reply with quote

Hi there.. Ive been very impressed by what XARC has to offer and am definatley considering getting some stuff mastered by you....just a few things i wanted to know (which may or may not be answerable without hearing the material i guess) ...but here goes -

1) My material is generally speaking quite extreme in the sonic sense....lots and lots of distortion applyed to almost all tracks in the "busiest" parts and there fore some unwanted distortion may have sneaked in (despite being mixed properly)....... ??Will Mastering take the Harshness/Extremeity out of the distortion i do want while getting rid of any unwanted stuff and

2)Is it really possible to make White Noises sound more aggressive in nature without compromising other more ambient aspects (as well as very distorted drums)...basically will Mastering Ensure that ALL sounds and textures stand out in a finished mix regardless of how Loud they are in the mix (if that makes sense?) ............ essentially Is it possible to both make very aggressive sounds stand out more and have lots of impact while still retaining all the quieter/more layered or ambient sounds stand out just as much??

3) Many of my tracks have been mixed to be as balanced as possible, which has unfortunatley meant turning the drums down on some tracks while turning them up on others...is this something that mastering can balance out or something that needs to be adressed in the mixing stage

Sorry if these questions sound a bit daft!

Many thanks for any feedback
Rik @ The PCP Principle
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
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Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi PCP Principle,

thank you for the interest in XARC Mastering and your friendly words, much appreciated!

As to your questions:

1) As you already assumed right, it is really hard to say what can be done without having heard your material. However, in general, as you might have heard in the before / after demos on this site, I can go into a lot "directions" in the mastering. So I am sure I can do something for your music as well. It would be best if you would fill out the contact-form at http://www.xarcmastering.com/contact/ so that I can create you an account on our server so that you can upload your material. Afterwards I will have a listen and we can discuss what can be done.

2 & 3) Answer number one somewhat applies here as well since it really depends on your mix on how much further I can bring out certain sounds or give them more presence without compromising the other elements of the song (since for example a change in EQ to bring out one sound more will also affect all the other sounds that have content in this frequency range). In general, and while I can "clue" all sounds more together through the compression (they will be more equal in loudness) I use during the mastering, you should make sure that the mix that you deliver to me is good as you can make it and that it is already very close to what you are looking for in the end. The better your initial mix is, the better will the belonging master be since I will not have to make a lot of compromises. You should see mastering as "the cream on the pie" - the pie itself already tastes really good, but the cream gives it this last missing bit to a perfect taste.

I hope my answer did help you somehwat and I didnīt create to much confusion. Once I have heard your mix(es) I am sure that things are a lot less complicated to achieve than you might think now.

Thank you!

Best Regards,
Lorenz Vauck
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:35 pm    Post subject: Quick Answer (sort of) Reply with quote

Let me try to answer:

1- If you aimed at distortion at the tracking stage but distorted at your mixing stage, you blew it.

No mastering will un-distort wanted or unwanted distortion. Got that?
But, There are instances where the distortion can be "smoothed out" with notch filters (very narrow eq's). That's why Lorenz said that he would have to hear the material first.

In some instances distortion is a lucky accident.

2- As far as white noise goes, that is probably not the term you would want to use (or have your music associated with) to describe your question. But I think I know what you mean. Mastering will ensure that your textures are optimized at the frequency level. It doesn't mean that we can raise individual sounds.

But the perception of them will be improved. How much improvement depends on the mix itself.

3- Most mixers today offer built in automation. Automation is good if you don't know how to use compressors. You need to control the individual levels of a drum mix at all times. If you can't , then have someone help you.

Mixing drums is critical, if you failed, don't expect the mastering guy to fix your drum mix. Nevertheless, I've been able to correct drum levels through frequency alignment to music whose multi-track masters where destroyed in a fire.

But do what Lorenz says, let him listen to what you've got!

Rule of thumb, you are better of having a high kick drum level in reference to the bass line than the other way around, since bringing up the kick's "punch" would also mean raising the level of the bass line.

Hope this helps,

The Real McCoy
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