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Jens Bogren stem master comparison.

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Keregioz, May 15, 2014.

  1. Keregioz

    Keregioz Kimon Zeliotis

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    Hi guys, I thought that this could be interesting or even helpful to some of you, especially for the most inexperienced at mixing/mastering like me, and could maybe give you a sense of what mastering can do to your mix. I know some of this is information I wouldn't mind knowing while I was mixing my band's album.

    So anyway, a few months ago I sent the stems of our album to Jens Bogren for stem mastering. I also asked for some mixing feedback on a couple of songs. I consider myself a beginner at mixing compared to most of the guys in these forums and generally I do not have much confidence in my mixes so I decided to go with stem mastering instead of regular mastering in order for Bogren to have more flexibility processing the mix and potentially correct any mistakes I would make.

    It turned out the basic mistake I made was mixing using a limiter on the master bus to bring the mix volume to "mastering level". The basic problem caused by this was the volume of the snare. Here's what Bogren himself told me during the mix feedback:

    Unfortunately, at that stage it wasn't possible to mix everything again without the limiter, and to tell you the truth I wasn't sure I would do it right anyway. Instead, I suggested to Jens to give him the snare on a separate stem so he could adjust the volume accordingly during mastering and thankfully he agreed it was a good idea.

    So, here's how the track sounded before mastering, with the snare in the original volume and with a limiter (ozone) in the master bus to make it as loud as the master:
    WAV, mp3(320kbps)
    Here's without any compression on the master bus (had to lower the snare quite a bit cause it was too loud without the limiter):
    WAV, mp3(320Kbps)
    And here's the final master by Jens Bogren:
    WAV, mp3(320Kbps)
     
    #1 Keregioz, May 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
  2. Via Noctis

    Via Noctis Member

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    Thanks for posting, if he didn't use a limiter I wonder how he did it.
     
  3. Max Morton

    Max Morton Member

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    Thanks for the topic, that's interesting. Downloading the files right now.

    I think, it's mostly clipping (converters). Or using a clipper when mixing ITB.
     
  4. He's Dead, Jim

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    Sorry if I'm being dense, but isn't a clipper just a more extreme variant of a limiter? Which would make what Jens is talking about worse, not better?
     
  5. Max Morton

    Max Morton Member

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    Well, not exactly. Clipper doesn't kill the snare until you really slam it. But it's more dangerous in terms of digital crackling when toms, vocals or, say, subdrops reach it's threshold.

    Most wide-spread way to boost loudness without burying the snare is using a clipper until it's "almost there" and then adding a db or a bit more of your favourite limiter.

    Now, if the snare is too loud in the mix, it will remain too loud after applying a clipper, and the mastering engineer is forced to use tools which bury it's attack.
     
  6. AMS

    AMS Mastering Engineer

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    Great sounding track - well done!

    I would second Jens Bogren's advice on limiting. It reduces the mastering engineer's options quite significantly.
     
  7. Klosure

    Klosure Member

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    But.... You can mix into one and then just take it of at the end maybe give the mastering engineer a copy with your limiter on to hear your intention?
     
  8. DullElysium

    DullElysium Member

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    The whole point was that when you mix through a limiter you tend to push the snare (for an example) up so you can hear it. And when the limiter is off the snare track is too loud. And that might be a problem for the masterin engineer as he could've gotten the snare audible with less volume too.

    Please correct me if i'm wrong. I toi tend to push the snare.
     
  9. Donovan S.

    Donovan S. Member

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    Was just about to post this.

    This comparison was pretty eye-opening for me. I won't be mixing through an aggressive mastering chain any longer, as I have been having trouble with the snare drum in particular on my masters. Thanks for posting this Keregioz.
     
  10. CreptorStatus

    CreptorStatus New Metal Member

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    This was great and super helpful. Thanks for posting these!
     
  11. AMS

    AMS Mastering Engineer

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    Absolutely - there are no rules when it comes to mixing. I personally also don't have any issues with bus compression, if it creates the kind of sound you like. Basically, make the track sound as good as you can and leave the mastering engineer to worry about getting the loudness up to a competitive level.
     
  12. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    There's saturation and clipping. Clipping your drum bus or mix to tame the drum transients does NOT work like a compressor. If you have a loud snare, it triggers the compressor on the ENTIRE mix, creating pumping and killing the transient. The clipper just kinda shaves off the top without affecting the rest of the mix. You do have to be careful though with the toms and vocals hitting a clipper when they poke out. So many albums today have very audible clipping in these stages (Deftones, Alice in Chains) that sounds like it's caused by clipping and/ or excessive limiting.

    The good mastering engineers use a combination of everything in small steps, along with careful eqing, and I'm sure some magic pixie dust, to get what they get.

    It's pretty obvious here the difference between the Jens mastered track and the ozone one. Sounded pretty damn good before, but Jens gave it that extra presence in all the right places and just made the snare sit perfect. Awesome stuff!
     
  13. Klosure

    Klosure Member

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    WEll.... thats cool....


    I know one of my fav mixers users L3 multi and l2 and it works great but he takes it of for mastering. better too much than not enough i say!
     
  14. MultiM

    MultiM Member

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    When do You know when it's "almost there"?
     
  15. ForHerDeadEyes

    ForHerDeadEyes Señor Member

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    When this happens:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. ForHerDeadEyes

    ForHerDeadEyes Señor Member

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    And to add some info, Jens mixes with a compressor on the masterbus..
     
  17. Elethan

    Elethan New Metal Member

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    I was just about to ask that :headbang:

    Awesome, eye-opening info. Thanks for posting!
     
  18. cobhc

    cobhc Amiga Enthusiast

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    Any recommended reference reading for mastering using clipping?
     
  19. MultiM

    MultiM Member

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    +1
     
  20. HRdrummer

    HRdrummer Member

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