In The Studio P.T. 19!! Once again I was in the studio with my mentor to cover the final chapter of the course curriculum. This chapter is all about Mastering and the main objectives were Crash Course in Mastering, Red Book CD Standard, Mastering in Pro Tools and a Final Mix Assignment. We begin with the definition of Mastering, is the art of sweetening the mix and preparing the mixdown for duplication. Crash course in mastering, Mastering is all about subtlety, finesse, and perfection. There are many different ways to approach a mastering session and a lot of different factors come into play when conducting a mastering session. The major difference between mixing and mastering is that during the mix process we are examining the relationships between instruments, effects, vocals, soft synths, etc. When mixing the engineers will have an arsenal of tools to accomplish the balance he/she is looking for. The engineer will have access to channel fader to the inserts, to the sends, we try to accomplish the task of balancing special elements, amplitudes, frequencies and dynamic range. The mastering engineer has limited options as to what he/she can use to accomplish his/her goals. All the mastering has is frequencies. Relative loudness is a term that refers to how loud a song is compared to other songs. There are two versions of metering regards to relative loudness a song. Peak metering is the type you see on your tracks in Pro Tools. Peak metering measures the volume in, basically, real time. RMS is another type of metering that stands for Root Mean Square. RMS uses a mathematical formula that calulates an averages an average volume level. Loudness is achieved during the mastering process by running audio through compression and limiting effectively reducing the dynamic range of the song, and then increasing the overall volume of the performance, at different gain stages. This makes the softer parts of the song as loud as the buildups. The master engineer has the responsibility to put together an album in the right song order/sequence. Red Book CD Standard, data is encoded on a CD using LPCM or Linear Pulse Code Modulation. In addition to the actual music data there is order information encoded that tells the CD player what to do. Things like start and stop time, table of contents, ISRC codes, index information, and more. The CD standard reserves a total of 8 subcode channels that run alongside the audio data for this purpose. The bit depth and sample rate foe Red Book CD standard is 16-bit, 44.1 KHz. Mastering in Pro Tools, it is possible to accomplish some of the mastering signal processing using Pro Tools. What Pro Tools does not allow is input of metadata and album information such as ISRC codes or SKU codes. So technically you can "pre-master" with Pro Tools, but you would not be able to get an album 100% ready for duplication. Finally, we were given a final mix assignment to work on and complete for it to be upload to the student wedsite.
Jermaine Gibbs — Yorktown Heights Recording Connection
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