Author Topic: Learning to Master  (Read 6490 times)

Learning to Master
« on: April 11, 2013, 08:40:49 AM »
I have been told that it would take a person at least four years to learn how to master properly. I'm not sure how true that is but i have always wanted to learn how to master, but I just have a really hard time with it. I can mix pretty good, but I would like that overall polished clean, warm, and bright sound on my tracks. I don't have the money to keep paying people to master my music. people have mastered my music for free in the past just because they liked the song and considered it to be an honor to master it, but do you have any suggestions as to any videos I could watch about how to learn how to master or anything like that?

Thanks.

  • 2infamouz
  • Record Executive
  • Audio Engineer
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Respect: 2502
  • Mad Beats, No Angry Vegetables.
    • View Profile
    • 2infamouz - Music Production, Home Recording, Studio Equipment, Reviews
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 05:14:33 PM »
Are you looking to master digitally or using outboard gear or a hybrid setup? I'd say it takes four years to save enough money to buy mastering equipment more than to learn how to master. There are some great books out there for mastering, but as far as videos I'd be hesitant about most of the ones on youtube. I've seen a lot of bad information spread on youtube, people claiming to be "mastering" a song because they threw a limiter on the master bus. There's of course some technical aspects of mastering but the main factor I've heard from most mastering engineers is aquiring a good ear for it.

Also it's commonly recommended to have a second set of ears mastering the tracks than the ears that mixed it. It's hear audio accurately after spending a extended period of time listening to it. Typically you either want to take a break from the project for a while to gain back your unbiased ears before mastering it or have another engineer master it.

Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 04:15:56 AM »
Hey, thanks for your response :D

I'm looking to master within my DAW, if possible, or I am open to getting some extra software that will assist me in being able to master. I already have Izotope Ozone, and it's plugged into my FL Studio set up on my computer. I was eager to use Youtube to learn how to master at first but once I began to watch videos and began to see some of the bad information that even contradicted trusted mixing rules and techniques, I knew that I had to look again.

I am aware of the fact that people suggest having someone else master your tracks, because you are too emotionally involved with the song after you have mixed it, and that is likely to mar your judgement, but I just can't afford to get my music mastered anywhere else. I was also hoping to learn to master so that I could master other people's music for a small fee over on Fiverr or something like that.

  • 2infamouz
  • Record Executive
  • Audio Engineer
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Respect: 2502
  • Mad Beats, No Angry Vegetables.
    • View Profile
    • 2infamouz - Music Production, Home Recording, Studio Equipment, Reviews
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 09:32:57 AM »
Izotop Ozone is a really powerful mastering plugin. A lot of hardware enthusiasts frown upon it but I think a big part of that is because they've spent so much money on their gear they don't want to believe a $300.00 software plugin is even close to on par w/ their setup. Personally I'd stick with Izotope and learn it in and out.
These 2 PDF's helped me a lot w/ learning IO:
Izotope Ozone Help - PDF
Mastering With Izotope Ozone - PDF

  • deebee
  • Beat Maker At Best
  • **
  • Posts: 10
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 01:57:15 PM »
Mastering can take as long as it has to. Learning this art is not simple. I tried this several times and yet I am still not a pro. It sometimes becomes overwhelming. Just stay focused and surround yourself with individuals that can help you get to where you want to be.

Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 03:42:50 AM »
Thanks for all of the information and for the encouragement guys. I have asked how long it takes to master before and I have never gotten a straight and simple answer :( People always make it sound like you're giving blood when you don't have enough blood in your body, hence making your pass out afterwards.

To Deebee, you mention that you have tried to crack mastering  several times, but how long have you been at it all together? My uncle's a DJ and he has been trying to learn to master for years too. He's built a studio in his house for all of his instruments and mixer boards, and even he - who I see as pretty complete - isn't all the way there with mastering yet.

  • diprod
  • Beat Maker At Best
  • **
  • Posts: 19
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 03:49:05 AM »
I only have been trying to learn mixing for now and yet to dive into the mastering part. I was told it's one of the most crucial and tricky part in music production. I'm glad I'm actually learning from this thread!

  • NickJ
  • Audiophile
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 05:30:51 PM »
Like everything else in life it depends on the person. Some people can learn anything, including mastering in a shorter period of time than other people. I think the trick is letting it flow naturally and not forcing anything. Eventually, you'll nail down the magic blueprint.

Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 01:23:34 AM »
Like everything else in life it depends on the person. Some people can learn anything, including mastering in a shorter period of time than other people. I think the trick is letting it flow naturally and not forcing anything. Eventually, you'll nail down the magic blueprint.

This is true. But I am somewhat inclined to force learning how to master. I have a lot riding on it. Firstly, I could master my own music and wouldn't have to pay or seek out anyone else to do it. And secondly, I wanted to post a Fiverr gig, offering to master anybody's track for $5, but I guess that I can kiss that gig good bye. Fiverr probably won't even still be around by the time that I learn how to master, and that's if I start now, which I doubt that I will, because since leaving school my ability to learn things and take things in has slowed. I am not sure why. Maybe it's all of the smoking that I do.

  • NickJ
  • Audiophile
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 03:42:44 PM »
Well if you're gonna force you have to force with a plan and some sort of line. Don't beat yourself up over it or go crazy trying to learn. Force in stride, and make it more of a mental thing. Sometimes, with each attempt at getting better, you will take away a little bit of new knowledge of the method.

  • 2infamouz
  • Record Executive
  • Audio Engineer
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Respect: 2502
  • Mad Beats, No Angry Vegetables.
    • View Profile
    • 2infamouz - Music Production, Home Recording, Studio Equipment, Reviews
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2013, 04:26:11 PM »
Like everything else in life it depends on the person. Some people can learn anything, including mastering in a shorter period of time than other people. I think the trick is letting it flow naturally and not forcing anything. Eventually, you'll nail down the magic blueprint.

This is true. But I am somewhat inclined to force learning how to master. I have a lot riding on it. Firstly, I could master my own music and wouldn't have to pay or seek out anyone else to do it. And secondly, I wanted to post a Fiverr gig, offering to master anybody's track for $5, but I guess that I can kiss that gig good bye. Fiverr probably won't even still be around by the time that I learn how to master, and that's if I start now, which I doubt that I will, because since leaving school my ability to learn things and take things in has slowed. I am not sure why. Maybe it's all of the smoking that I do.
If you learn to master proficiently then you can charge much more than $5 a track. Many amateur mastering engineers are at a rate around 40 USD per track or 250-300 for an album, and the big names in professional mastering studios have ridiculous rates that aren't even realistic for the average persons budget. If you're going to really invest the time to learn audio mastering, I wouldn't sell yourself short in terms of pricing.

Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 03:57:35 AM »
Like everything else in life it depends on the person. Some people can learn anything, including mastering in a shorter period of time than other people. I think the trick is letting it flow naturally and not forcing anything. Eventually, you'll nail down the magic blueprint.

This is true. But I am somewhat inclined to force learning how to master. I have a lot riding on it. Firstly, I could master my own music and wouldn't have to pay or seek out anyone else to do it. And secondly, I wanted to post a Fiverr gig, offering to master anybody's track for $5, but I guess that I can kiss that gig good bye. Fiverr probably won't even still be around by the time that I learn how to master, and that's if I start now, which I doubt that I will, because since leaving school my ability to learn things and take things in has slowed. I am not sure why. Maybe it's all of the smoking that I do.
If you learn to master proficiently then you can charge much more than $5 a track. Many amateur mastering engineers are at a rate around 40 USD per track or 250-300 for an album, and the big names in professional mastering studios have ridiculous rates that aren't even realistic for the average persons budget. If you're going to really invest the time to learn audio mastering, I wouldn't sell yourself short in terms of pricing.

You are right, actually. Considering the time and effort that appears to go into mastering, even once you have learned to master, it doesn't seem right that I would only sell my services for $5 a track. I am a bit of a perfectionist too, so I like stuff to be done properly, especially if I am providing a service to someone. So that probably means that I will spend even longer on the tracks that I master. great advice. Thank you 2infamouz :D

  • NickJ
  • Audiophile
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2013, 08:37:58 PM »
Like everything else in life it depends on the person. Some people can learn anything, including mastering in a shorter period of time than other people. I think the trick is letting it flow naturally and not forcing anything. Eventually, you'll nail down the magic blueprint.

This is true. But I am somewhat inclined to force learning how to master. I have a lot riding on it. Firstly, I could master my own music and wouldn't have to pay or seek out anyone else to do it. And secondly, I wanted to post a Fiverr gig, offering to master anybody's track for $5, but I guess that I can kiss that gig good bye. Fiverr probably won't even still be around by the time that I learn how to master, and that's if I start now, which I doubt that I will, because since leaving school my ability to learn things and take things in has slowed. I am not sure why. Maybe it's all of the smoking that I do.
If you learn to master proficiently then you can charge much more than $5 a track. Many amateur mastering engineers are at a rate around 40 USD per track or 250-300 for an album, and the big names in professional mastering studios have ridiculous rates that aren't even realistic for the average persons budget. If you're going to really invest the time to learn audio mastering, I wouldn't sell yourself short in terms of pricing.



Agreed. The better you are at something to more you can profit off of it. Eventually, you become a professional, and build a rep. Where most people will come to you for their albums and recommend you to others.

  • DJ Bangher
  • Audio Engineer
  • ****
  • Posts: 62
  • Respect: 27
  • Bangers on Deck!
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 08:08:49 PM »
There's just too much involved in producing music before the mastering phase for me to even consider learning to master on top of it all. I'll spend the cash and have someone else do it properly.

  • DJ Bangher
  • Audio Engineer
  • ****
  • Posts: 62
  • Respect: 27
  • Bangers on Deck!
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to Master
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2013, 04:05:03 PM »
I'll leave the Mastering to the professional audio engineers :P I've got enough on my plate with producing !!!
4sho. Maybe someday I'll learn the art of mastering, but for now I'll pay someone else to do it and focus on what I'm already "good" at lol.