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Creative Mastering in Ozone 7: (Master the Mix: Part 4)

Transcript
So now that we’ve taken care of issues in the mix like resonant frequencies, or harshness, or low end muddiness, we can walk into our mastering session confident that all we have to do there is focus on being creative. Having fun making choices, instead of troubleshooting and problem solving.

I’m going to show you my mastering setup for this song. It all started with the vocal richness preset, which can be found in the all purpose mastering folder.

As you can see, there’s an asterisk next to it, and that’s because like any preset, it’s a starting point, and I’ve made some changes.

Let’s walk backwards through our mastering chain. The first thing I did is increase the input gain by about 4dBs. It’s usually at unity gain right here at zero. I do this because I want our maximizer to be doing as little work as possible. I don’t want people to be hearing any limiting.

That being said, I’ve taken steps to make sure there’s absolutely no pumping occurring at the Maximizer stage by choosing the IRC-4, which is the latest release control algorithm in Ozone 7 Advanced.

I’ve decreased the threshold by about four dBs, and I’ve set the ceiling at about 1dB. This is the make sure that if I bounce down to mp3 and say, upload my track to SoundCloud, I’m not going to get any clipping distortion. I can make extra certain that won’t happen by choosing the codec preview going to 128 kilobits per second, mp3, and playing the track.

[mix]

So as we can see, we’re not going into the red, so I’ll be in the clear if I want to upload this to SoundCloud.

Next up is the Imager, which widens the stereo width in multiband way of all of the elements in the song. I introduced this module, because I really wanted to increase the stereography of this track.

Next up is multiband dynamics. I’m only using a three-band multiband compressor. I’ve chosen very sort of light settings, attack and release controls of about 100 milliseconds, 128 milliseconds, the same thing here. Attack of 100, 218 milliseconds.

I’m doing that because I want to have a very transparent multiband compressor. I don’t want to be catching any peaks, I want to be letting everything through, because the sound I came up with in mixing I’m very proud of, so I want to make sure that I keep that and just frame the song with multiband compression.

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At this point, I’m just tightening everything about this song.

Next up is the equalizer, and as the vocal richness preset suggests, I’m adding a bit of weight to the sides, I’m increasing them here, band seven is turning it up by about 2dBs at 2.5kHz, and I made a bit of a cut here on the sides with my second band, and this is just to make sure there’s not a lot of bass information occuring on the sides of the signal.

However, in mid, it’s very full. I’ve made a couple of little dips here, just to make sure we’re really steering clear of any muddiness, so what if I play this track before and after? I’m going to choose one of the loudest parts in the song.

So here’s before.

[mix, before processing]

[mix, after processing]

Now, just so we don’t get fooled by the loudness, I’m going to enable this gain matching feature, and let’s listen to that passage again.

So here it is bypassed, and I want you to listen for the sort of mono-like sound we’re hearing, and how it really spreads out once I unbypass it, and also how much more focused the bass and the kick drum is once I unbypass it too.

So here’s before.

[mix, before processing, then after]

So after solving problems in the mix, I’ve created a really smooth track to master, and now that it’s been through Ozone, I feel like it’s ready for the market.

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