Help with mastering?

I have been mixing and mastering for a couple of years now, and it seems like all my songs are pathetically quiet/ sloshy/ mono. I have heard a lot of songs that aren't professionally mastered, and they still sound a lot crisper and wider than mine. Am I doing something wrong? Normally I lightly use ableton's compressor on each individual track, and then on the master rack I use an EQ eight adjusted appropriately, a compressor (I lower the threshold to the place just before there starts to be gain reduction), and then a limiter, with the ceiling level 0 dB. I adjust the compressor's output to the point right before the limiter starts limiting.

Here is an example of a track I'm talking about; compare this to any song on soundcloud and it will sound really poorly mastered.

Thanks if you can help.


AkS. 5 years ago | 0 comments

2 answers

  • Near Earth Object
    820 answers
    823 votes received
    4 votes

    There's a few things you can do:
    - First, don't put a compressor on every channel: only when necessary.
    Sometimes it works better to group tracks and use compression on that, or by sending groups to a return channel with a compressor.
    - try raising the levels of clips/audio before raising all the channels.
    - use the entire stereo field: pan lighter sounds to the left or right, and keep low frequencies more in the middle. This will give your sounds more space, and give the listener a wider stereo feel.
    - use EQ to carve out certain frequencies in every track. Try to give every important frequency more space and remove frequencies you don't need or want.
    - remove very low frequencies from certain sounds. Even if you don't hear it, it might still be taking up a lot of space in your mix.
    - use fx to give more colour to your sound: saturation, distortion, etc.
    - try using send fx on several tracks: reverb, delay, etc. work very well.
    - use compression with care. Sometimes it works better to use several compressors that each do a little, instead of one that pumps it up really hard.
    - try using plugins for checking your frequencies and see where the problem areas are. Use Live's Spectrum. Or have a look at something like S(m)exoscope, to check if there is enough headroom in your track.

    Hope this helps.

    5 years ago | 1 comment
  • crazynuts
    5 answers
    5 votes received
    1 vote

    When in Live 9 they insert 3 different devices for compression (multiband dynamic, compressor and glue compressor) I use each of them for different sounds. Probably would that help you to bring better sound to the master channel. 

    Try to use Multiband Dynamics for instrument sounds.

    I do it lik that, and my mixes got better.

    Hope it helps.

    5 years ago | 0 comments

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