Mastering with Cubase 7.0.7

Hi Everybody: I’m in the process of making edits to compositions that will become my first album. I would like to know if anyone knows of tutorials regarding mastering with Cubase are available?

In general I use a lot of Omnisphere and EastWest QLSO and other EW virtual instruments and very little audio. My feeling is that once I have panned and mixed to the point where I can hear everything, what else can you do? EastWest and Omnisphere have such good sounds already. What will mastering do? And is this something that I can do myself with Cubase?

Many thanks for your input!!

Ask video seems to have some very good tutorials.

Most project/home studios have bad acoustics where different frequencies will either be emphasized or de-emphasized often drastically. Then add in the coloration that your speakers impart making the matter worse. When trying to master in such an environment what mostly ends up happening is that you adjust the sound to compensate for the deficiencies of your specific listening environment. This is the exact opposite of what mastering is supposed to do - make the recording sound good across a wide variety of listening situations.

In college I took a course in mastering audio taught by an excellent mastering engineer. For our final, we were each given some time in his studio to master a track using his rig (which was great fun). But my big take away from the course was “don’t do this at home.” The 2 most important tools for mastering are having great ears (which takes tons of experience) and a great flat room that introduces no coloration. If I’m being honest, I have neither of those to the extent required - and the majority of musicians don’t either (despite what they might believe).

You’d be better served by having a pro master it. You can find reasonably priced mastering houses online. If you can’t afford that you are probably better off not doing anything instead of making it worse. FYI mastering studios, unlike recording studios, are pretty spartan places without big mixing boards and racks overflowing with equipment. Instead they will have a handful of carefully selected hardware and a variety of different monitors to listen to like where I got to play (and not a budget facility).

Hi Raino. Thanks for that insightful reply. I guess I hadn’t thought about the room where I record and listen
I was thinking about getting the tutorials mentioned earlier in this post and seeing what I could do.
But I hear what you’re saying. There is an engineer here that was recommended. I can perhaps give him one composition and let him work with that. And if I like it, then give him more.
Many thanks. Jeff

Excellent Plan! :wink:
Too many assume having mixed a piece, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to master it as well - it can’t be that difficult.
Very few are those that can pull it off! I would always recommend someone, if they can afford to make this test, do an A/B comp of a piece they’ve mastered themselves and the same piece mastered by a pro and then judge for themselves.
Just remember to remove all mastering utilities (everything in fact, even compression) from the final mix-bus before sending the mixdown to the ME.

That being said, if the goal is a simple EP for demo or other non-commercial use, then by all means give it your best shot.

Go watch both Saher Galt’s video on mastering and the Mastering Using FabFilter tools (parts 1 and 2). They are great sources of information.

But if you do that make sure to play your results in a variety of different environments (several different friends stereos, cars, portable players, etc.) to double check how it sounds. A good set of flat over-ear headphones (not buds) is a good investment. Most headphones are not flat. They are designed to make the music sound "better’ with say more low end. You don’t want that. A flat response curve allows you to accurately hear the material and honestly assess how it sounds.

Also I highly recommend pulling together a set of reference tracks on your DAW. These would be commercial recordings of songs in different styles (hip-hop, pop, folk, whatever you typically record) which you think are good examples of how that style should sound. Then while working, especially mixing, listen to the appropriate reference track(s) and compare it to your own work. Does the reference track have more (or less) bottom end than yours? How does the reverb compare? Mix levels between different musical components (e.g. vocals vs. guitars)? The goal being to make the 2 tracks sound similar when A/B-ing between them. Doing this will help mitigate some of distortions caused by your room.