First Attempt at Mastering

I asked Tom Zartler to have a listen but realized that the rest of the community could offer some valuable commentary.

(Edit: removed links since the work is now done. Bandcamp has been updated. You can listen here.)

I don’t really know what I’m looking for in terms of feedback, but I do know that I’m not looking for performance specific comments. I’m trying to get a decent handle on the process of mastering so that I can elevate the production of my material to a higher level.

So comment away!

I know you dont want performance related comments… but- wonderful track… just please remove the noise… (snare rattle?) its distracting me and not letting me relax and indulge…

It’s “stir fry,” brushes rubbing on the snare. Typical jazz technique, though the execution here left something to be desired as was noted when I first released this song to the community here.

I’ve listened to this and done several A/B comparisons, so I know I’m suffering some from aural fatigue. However, I’m starting to think that I was a bit too successful in opening up the EQ. Now the bass is a bit overpowering, and Kenny’s amazing Rhodes track got buried a bit as a result.

Nothing? :frowning:

They seem mostly the same, although the original seems louder to me, so that makes it hard to judge. The vocal seems a little less up front in the mastered version. What were you hoping to achieve? I wouldn’t say I know what I’m doing, but I’m usually trying to equalize comparing to favorite reference mixes in whatever style (and that’s usually to get the “mud” out and brighten a little), add a little stereo widening, and make it a little louder (compared to reference mixes).

Yeah the original is louder because there was a mass of lower-mids in that mix. I did a lot of M/S EQ’ing to remove the b.s. from it. As a result, things are less loud because of the lack of energy in that section of the spectrum.

However, mastering really requires that the mixing engineer know what they are doing based on their (the mixing engineer) knowledge of what mastering will do. As a result, I do need to tweak either the mix or account for it in the mastering EQ step.

Follow up to you: does the mix breathe better in the mastered version? I’m asking more because the EQ stuff is the least “automatic” part of the process that I followed.

Thanks for the listen!

Aloha Larry,

Very nice song.
Sensitive with sincere lyrics.

1-The mastered version while a bit ‘softer’ in volume is much cleaner
and has a bit more ‘separation’ between elements. Good job.

2-In both versions at certain points the ‘stir fry’ brushes and the ride cymbal ‘clash’ a bit but
the mastered version shows much less of it.

3- Is there no ‘kik’ drum? Could not hear much (if any) in both versions.

Mahalo for sharing. Sending much Aloha.
{’-’}

Thanks for the commentary. As I read your response:

  1. Some tweaking of the original mix is needed. (Most notably to lower the stir fry further and possibly up the kick.)

  2. Better separation is present, so the mastering work that I did seems to have had its intended effect.

Both of these items are not unexpected, so I will iterate again and then move on to another jazz piece that I did and released a long time ago.

I was going to give another listen and try to adjust for the volume, but it’s not there now… I think I may have been favoring the original because it was louder. In any case, I didn’t think the difference was very stark, obviously reflecting your caution. Either way, I felt the mix was clear, although agreeing with comment about cymbals (more than brushes).

I updated the first post to link to the finished product.

The loudness issue, embarrassingly, was due to me looking at the wrong meter in the limiter. Stupid is as stupid does, I suppose.

And if you decide to share, I for one am looking forward to hearing it.
{’-’}

I always share with the community here. :slight_smile: You guys have all shared so much with me that it’s the least I can do.

In fact, in a very real way the credit for what I’ve been able to accomplish in the last 5 years belongs to all of you. Before I truly became active in here and started paying attention to what everyone was saying, I didn’t know wtf I was doing when it came to tracking, mixing, and now mastering. You guys are all awesome!