Mixing with mastering in mind?

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I tune down down...
Member Since: Jun 11, 2007

Something I've been thinking about all night...

Does anyone mix with the mastering process in mind? EG:

I was mixing a track today that was a very good dynamic track. Ups, downs. Highs. Lows... Good ol' track. Anyway. Since the dynamics were so well done in this particular piece I was thinking when I was mixing it... "Okay, now I know this piece won't be as quiet here when we do the mastering compression, so would I want to mix it even quieter than I should so that the floor is brought up to the level of the mix?"

Now, since I was thinking that... Would the same apply to a part that you want REALLY F'in loud in a mix!? Just a thought that my worthless instructors didn't even want to address. (If anyone is thinking about going to Audio EnginEARing Institute in San Antonio... DON'T unless you know NOTHING about audio. Even the advanced class is boring for someone with a basic knowledge of audio theory. /rant)

But, anyway... Anyone do this? Or is there a reason not to do so? Or should mastering compression just be done better so the mix doesn't have to compensate?

OH! Also, if any of this were the case... Would automating compression during a master mixdown be out of the question for a thing like this!?

Heh. I'm full of ideas/questions? :)

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I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 27, 2009 08:07 am

I hear Massive Master's footsteps in the hall...he's about to come drop some knowledge on us :-D

I tune down down...
Since: Jun 11, 2007

Feb 27, 2009 10:10 am

Haha. I hope so.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 27, 2009 10:32 am

Actually I've seen him link to a couple of articles on his site that have some helpful information. He's definitely emphatic about his points but I'm sure its out of the combined frustration of hundreds of projects that have been a pain in the *** to work with. Let me see if I can dig them up and link to the ones that I've read...

This is from the main part of his site, detailing what you should do before sending your project off to be mastered:

And I found links to these 2 articles on another site while I was searching a couple of weeks ago. Good info about tracking levels and the like:


MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Feb 27, 2009 10:43 am

The only thing I'd suggest is mixing to mix. Okay, one thing - Don't do anything for the sake of volume (no excessive compression, no limiting the 2-buss, etc.) and keep some sort of headroom in there.

That said - I'm not against throwing a limiter on the 2-buss to find out how the mix is going to react - But it's rarely revealing of anything that wouldn't be apparent "after listening" (as in "Wow, I didn't notice that I had so much reverb in there until I ran it through a limiter. But now, it's so obvious...").

In any case, it's the *more* dynamic mixes tracked and mixed with the *most* headroom that generally deal with the "abuse" of the mastering phase with the most style.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Feb 28, 2009 08:54 pm

I agree fully although my perspective isn't so much that of "headroom". I grew up analog and understand the amplification curve and where in that curve the "information" is most faithfully reproduced. For a time the need to "saturate" tape prosed some degree of compromise to best levels for amplification, but now with digital sampling that is no longer a consideration. Per my perspective, with the availability of low noise mics and pre-amps at affordable prices the biggest problem is real-estate. If your recording without mics (DI) there is no reason to drive anything into distortion levels beyond distortion as a desired effect.

Ya, go ahead and use compression to help achieve a sonic balance, get control over the dynamicly challanged musician, or chage the attack of an instrument, but not for the sake of volume alone. It's kinda like putting a screaming metal cookie monster behind a fine Neumann only to have the diaphram bottomed out most of the time. Garbage in and mega-garbage out.

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