In addition to our huge in-the-box Mastering feature, we present several tutorials highlighting the best methods to master using some of the key software available right now. In this first instalment we look at IK Multimedia’s versatile T-RackS…
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Mastering With T-RackS
1: Add your track, or tracks to T-RackS and play through them several times. Pay close attention to the stereo spread, frequency balance and dynamic response of the track. Make notes on anything you feel might need to be altered.
2: Add a Brickwall Limiter in the final slot. Set the Output Ceiling at -1dB and for now, leave the Input at 0dB. We will come back at the end of processing to alter the Input in order to set our final level.
3: Add a Classic EQ in slot 5 and use this to notch out any problem frequencies. We’re using slot 5 to avoid dealing with the parallel processing in slots 1 to 4. You can use the A/B/C/D chains to compare different EQs or EQ settings.
4: If the dynamics need reigning in, add a compressor in position 6 in the signal chain. We like to compare a fast, modern-style compressor with a slower vintage-style one as, even with similar settings, each will bring something different to the final sound.
5: After the compressor, we’re going to use another EQ for more general voicing. Add a Vintage Program EQ 1A in position 7. Where the Classic EQ was used to notch out problems, this EQ will be used to shape the overall tone of the master.
6: Now go back to the Brickwall Limiter in Slot 8 and set the input gain such that the RMS Meter reads around -14dB. If your peaks are still a long way from the ceiling, consider reducing compression earlier on. If your limiter is working too hard, compress harder earlier.