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Saturday, February 22, 2020

How to master a song with free plugins part: 1/3 the basics!



Hello and welcome to this week's article!

Today we go on with our serie "Start from here!" of omnicomprehensive articles, from which you will be able to find all the essential links of this blog organized as in a coherent way, to be used as starting point to begin browing the articles (but there are many more! Use the tags and the search engine).

Once we have done all the necessary steps, which means recording and mixing our project, it's time to tick the final boxes in our mixing project before exporting the mixed track for mastering, which is the phase in music production in which we take our track and make it loud enough to be at the level of a commercial one, and to be reproduced correctly from all devices.

In order to prepare this final track we can either just use the regular mixing tools or use a more recent approach, which is the so-called "top down mastering" (click here for a dedicated article), which consists in putting basic mastering plugins in our stereo out chain in order to know in advance how the final track will sound like, so that we will mix keeping also this additional processing part in mind, just don't forget to disable these plugins when exporting the track for the final mastering!

In addition to that it's important to fix all the little things that could be harmful to the mastering process, for example an excessive dynamic range that would damage our headroom, incorrect gain staging and so on, so make sure to read carefully our 5 tips to prepare your track for mastering!

Now we're ready to export our track, which doesn't peak above -12 to -10db, at 24 bit and that has a sample rate from 48khz up.

What we should do now is to create a new project, and import this mixed track into a stereo track.
From now, all our processing must happen in the master bus.

What do we put in the chain?
There is a wide range of processors that we can apply, which can be seen in depth in our Basic Mastering Chain article, our main article about mastering which analyzes each plugin in detail, explains how to use them and has free downloads, just remember that you don't need to use the full chain, just use the plugins you really need to give your project the right icing on the cake, or you risk to ruin your whole work!


CLICK HERE FOR PART 2/3

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3/3


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