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Mastering:  Recommended Equalisation Frequencies: 

Grassic Gibbon Songwriting Group

Sometimes the final mix is good enough to release  50Hz + to add more fullness to low frequency instru-
without additional processing, however mastering  ments like foot drum, floor tom, and bass.
can sometimes add sparkle and oomph to a song. 
- to decrease “boom” of bass but increase clarity of
bass in mix
Recording and
Here are suggestions to try with your final mix: 
100Hz + to add harder bass sound, fullness of guitars /
snare, warmth to piano and horns
• Low ratio 1:1—1:5 
- to decrease “boom” on guitars but increase clarity
of guitars in mix Tips
• Low threshold –30dB  200Hz Ian Simpson             http://thefamilysimpson.wordpress.com 
+ to add fullness to vocals, add harder guitar / snare
• Long attack time to let drums punch through  sound
• Soft knee compression is best  - to reduce muddiness of vocals, “gong” sound of Equipment Needed: 
• Tube compression settings are best  cymbals
  Mixer (optional) 
400Hz + to add clarity to bass
- to decrease “cardboard” sound of foot drum and
• Cut mid‐range slightly to make mix appear louder 
toms, decrease ambiance on cymbals
Enhancer / Dynamic Equaliser:  800Hz + to add clarity and “punch” to bass Microphone 
• Dynamic equaliser redistributes harmonies to  - to remove “cheap” sound of guitars
give a smoother sound  1.5kHz + to add clarity and “pluck” to bass
• Can add power at the bass end  - to remove dullness of guitars Recording software 
• Be subtle!  Mastering software 
  3kHz + to add “pluck” to bass, attack on guitars/low

Limiting:  octave piano, clarity and hardness on vocals Internet access  Headphones 
• Set to –0.5 dB  - to increase breathy soft sound on backing vocals, CD Writer 
disguise out of tune vocals/guitars Computer 
Timing:  5kHz + to add vocal presence, attack on foot drums /
• Make sure there is at least 100‐150ms of space at  toms, “finger sound” on bass, brightness on guitars Microphone Placement: 
the beginning of each song so CD player plays  and piano
song properly  - to make background parts sound distant, soften
• The first track must have a 2 second space at the  “thin” guitar
beginning of the song for proper CD player       7kHz + to add attack to percussion instruments, brighten
indexing and playback.  vocals, more “finger sound” on bass, sharpness to
CD Burning:  - to decrease sibilance on vocals
• Burn audio CDs at as slow a speed as possible so  Close mike  Mid range  Far range 
10kHz + to brighten vocals, “light brightness” in acoustic
there are less errors. 
guitar/piano, hardness on cymbals Detail 
• Play the CD mixes on as many devices as possible 
- to decrease sibilance on vocals
before duplication e.g. headphones, stereos, car 
CD players, monitors.  15kHz + to brighten breath sound on vocals, cymbals/ Room ambiance 
strings/flutes, make synths sound more real
Recording and Mastering Tips
Stages of Recording:  Example compressor settings:  Levels: 

RECORDING • Set up audio levels  Sound Attack Release Ratio Hard / Gain An individual track’s level should be between –1 

and mics to suit  Soft reduction and –6 dB—NOT IN THE RED ZONE!! 
• Use compression 
Vocal Fast 0.5 sec 2:1— Soft - 3-8 db
• Use level and pan 
controls only  STATIC MIX
(2D MIX) Loud Fast 0.3 sec 4:1— Hard - 5-15db
• No processing or  vocal 10:1
effects!  Reverb: 
• Add reverb for  Acous- 5-10ms 0.5 sec 5:1— Soft / 5-15db
depth  tic gui- 10:1 Hard Reverb is added to increase the depth of an       
• EQ each track to  tar instrument. For some instruments (foot drum, bass 
(3D MIX) make instruments  guitar) little or no reverb should be used. 
Electric 2-5ms 0.5 sec 8:1— Hard 5-15db
stand out   
guitar 10:1
• Start by listening to the snare drum recording in 
Foot 1-3ms 0.2 sec 5:1— Hard 5-15db isolation. Find the level where reverb starts to 
10:1 sound obvious and then reduce the level back 
Compression:  Bass 1-10ms 0.5 sec 4:1— Hard 5-15db • Now listen to the whole mix. Find the level 
12:1 where reverb on the snare drum starts to sound 
A compressor evens out the difference between  obvious. Again, reduce the level back slightly. 
Mix Fast 0.4 sec 2:1— Soft 2-10db TAKE NOTE OF THIS (LEVEL B). 
loud and quiet parts of a recording. It crushes the 
6:1 • Set the final level of reverb on the snare drum at 
audio if it gets too loud and raises the audio in the 
quiet sections.  General Fast 0.5 sec 5:1 Soft 2-10db some point between LEVEL A and LEVEL B. 
  • Apply reverb to other instruments as appropri‐
INPUT:   Sets the input level  ate between LEVEL A and LEVEL B. 
THRESHOLD: Sets how high the signal must reach 
before compression takes place 
The more reverb you add to an instrument, the 
further back in the mix it appears to be. 
RATIO:   Sets how much compression is ap‐ Panning of instruments & vocals in stereo field:   
plied to any signal above the thresh‐
NB: Drums should sound bigger with reverb than 
tom 1  foot drum  tom 2  without but the reverb should not be obvious. 
ATTACK:   Sets how fast the compressor kicks in 
to any signal above the threshold  cymbals  snare  cymbals 

DECAY:   Sets how fast the compressor lets go  rhythm  bass  hi hat 

once any signal has dropped under 
the threshold 
other instruments & vocals  should be panned evenly, working 
OUTPUT:   Sets the output level  IN from full pan left / right 

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