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Old July 24th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #1
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What software for audio mastering

Hi,

I would like to take a course in audio mastering and I found several places that teach it but they all teach different software so I don't know what to learn. There is ProTools, Logic, Audition, I am editing using Final Cut X, what would be the most beneficial to learn?
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Old July 24th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Mastering for music and audio for picture are quite different. As are the target playback destination.. broadcast TV, DVD, theater, ect.
Many papers have been written on the subject.. I would start with "Advanced Television
ATSC Recommended Practice: Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television"
http://www.atsc.org/cms/standards/a_85-2011a.pdf
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Old July 24th, 2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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Re: What software for audio mastering

I am only interested in mastering audio for picture.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
...There is ProTools, Logic, Audition, I am editing using Final Cut X, what would be the most beneficial to learn?
What audio software is being used by people you know and work with? It can be helpful to think about who you might be collaborating with in post production.

I find Audition fairly straightforward. PT has its own methods of media management, which I find irritating. Don't know anything about Logic. Lots of people are using all three of these products and making money, they're all capable.

But "mastering" is a slippery term. If you're wondering which of these products would serve you best, you might need the basics of post-sound for video. Mastering for distribution standards vary widely, what you should be doing for the web is very different than DVD/BR, theatrical, or broadcast. A good post-sound course should touch on mastering for distribution.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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Re: What software for audio mastering

I used to use Samplitude for mastering but have found it just as easy to use Sony Vegas which has a surprisingly good audio engine. I use several plugins for dynamic control and EQ that aren't included in Vegas as the stock effects aren't good enough for professional mastering.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
What audio software is being used by people you know and work with? It can be helpful to think about who you might be collaborating with in post production.

I find Audition fairly straightforward. PT has its own methods of media management, which I find irritating. Don't know anything about Logic. Lots of people are using all three of these products and making money, they're all capable.

But "mastering" is a slippery term. If you're wondering which of these products would serve you best, you might need the basics of post-sound for video. Mastering for distribution standards vary widely, what you should be doing for the web is very different than DVD/BR, theatrical, or broadcast. A good post-sound course should touch on mastering for distribution.
The thing is that I don't work with anyone else. I don't collaborate with anyone. I just want my audio sound better.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Mastering has more to do with a good room and proper monitoring than with software. This book is an excellent place to start. Bob is one of the masters.

Amazon.com: Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science (9780240808376): Bob Katz: Books
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Old July 24th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Also recommended reading for learning and reference: The books on audio for video production and post-production by Jay Rose...

Amazon.com: Jay Rose: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
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Old July 24th, 2013, 04:49 PM   #9
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Kathy, good audio mastering for video starts with great sounding voice tracks, well recorded. And that's up to you to record those first.
If you haven't got those, your final result will never sound the way you want it to.

So first, concentrate on using the right mic in the right position to get those good voice tracks. Then your recorded music and sound effects can be louder
under your voices to give your track some punch, without losing the voices diction. Bad, weak or thin sounding voice tracks mean you can't have your music 'loud' under the voices, it'll just drown them out.

There are other tricks with compressors and equalisers, but that comes first.

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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:19 AM   #10
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Re: What software for audio mastering

The principles of mixing & mastering apply across all the sound packages mentioned at the beginning of the thread - learn on any one of them and apply these skills on any other.

Although there are some things to pick up from books and internet forums, taking a course can be *very* helpful!

You should be learning in a good listening environment, getting some ear training under the guidance of someone who knows what she/he is talking about, as well as developing skills in eq, compression, mixing, and mastering.

To come back to Kathy's original question, I think the course and the teacher are way more important than the software. See if you can catch these instructors on the phone, maybe it will be obvious who you should be signing up with.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 04:32 AM   #11
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Probably Pro Tools and Pyramix are the top two for this.

A friend is the Sound Supervisor for "Later...with Jools Holland" which is sold worldwide - he uses Pyramix.

There is also SADiE and Sequoia (I use Sequoia).
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Old July 25th, 2013, 10:05 AM   #12
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Re: What software for audio mastering

OK, I am looking at taking classes online, here is one I think I could start with:
Critical Listening 1 - Berklee Online

then this one (the reason I am leaning towards Logic is because it takes Final Cut X XML files)
Desktop Music Production for Mac - Berklee Online

And then there is Lynda.com
Watch the Online Video Course Audio Mastering Techniques
there are many different tutorials on Lynda.

Any suggestions?
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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:35 PM   #13
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Re: What software for audio mastering

I'd skip "desktop music production on the mac". Berklee is a great school, I've not looked at any of their online material, but music production isn't what you're about. Ear training from Berklee might or might not be helpful. It's probably music-oriented as well. I'd find it interesting, but not to the point.

Lots of students I talk to are using lynda.com. I think you can go by the month there? In your shoes I would subscribe and see what I can work through in a month or two.

However, these online courses are only going to be as good as your playback. I've taught in classrooms where it was impossible to hear fine differences in filter settings - very frustrating, and not helpful to students.

Step one of improving the sound you deliver is improving the accuracy of your monitoring. There are many threads on this topic in the forum... search is your friend! Here's a typical thread, found by searching on "monitors": Monitor Speaker Suggestions?
Or this on "speakers": Best desktop audio monitoring solution?

In summary, "good" speakers for entertainment are not "good" monitors for mixing, and headphones are impossible! Some rooms are going to be very difficult to finish your mixing in.

The good news is that quality monitors will last you for years...

I'd also suggest taking some of your best mixes to studios that have good monitoring. This can be very educational... and quickly reveal any weaknesses in your own monitoring.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 06:38 PM   #14
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Re: What software for audio mastering

OK. So let's assume, I recorded a video, an interview. It sounds "fine", levels are fine etc. I want to make it better. Like let's say post process it. Same way let's say, I record video in RAW format and it's a bit flat, colors need some adjustments etc. Can I do this sort of thing for audio? Last time someone posted an example of the recorded audio and it sounded very nice and then they they showed it "processed" or mastered. It sounded better. I want to know what to learn to make my sound better. The person who posted the examples used Izotope Ozone 5 Complete Mastering System. Maybe I should learn that? I am so confused.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 08:10 PM   #15
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Re: What software for audio mastering

Ozone is a *great* product. I am back on Ozone 3 (running as an audio filter in Vegas) and it outclasses what Vegas can do in a couple specific areas, and Vegas is no slouch when it comes to audio.

It has a multiband compressor, that is, it can compress the dynamic range of selected frequency bands differently.

Ozone has a stunning loudness maximiser, it sounds really great. This is probably what you heard. Loudness max is sort of an intelligent variant of dynamic range compression.

It has 4 or 5 other built-in filters that are all very good, but not as unique as above.

I highly recommend Ozone. Don't have any idea how it works with FCP-X, don't know anything about the audio tools in FCP-X.

But it does sound like you have some learning in front of you...
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