Mastering is the vital final stage in the music production process, but it's not always as well understood as it might be. In this short video from the course Pro Tools 401: Mastering in Pro Tools, Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer Phil Magnotti takes you through the process of cleaning up your mix in preparation for mastering.
The focus of this video is on the very start and end of the track, and using automation of the master fader to make sure no noise is present either before the track starts or after it ends, that could end up interfering with the mastering process. Phil shows you how to automate the master fader in Pro Tools to ensure clean starts and ends to tracks - but the same technique can be applied in any DAW. Be sure to check out the other videos in this course to become an expert at mastering in Pro Tools.
"Pro Tools 401: Mastering in Pro Tools" begins with an actual mix. Phil begins the tutorial by cleaning-up a mix and preparing it for the mastering process. Along the way you'll learn valuable skills like how to prepare and bounce stem files, and even how to properly calibrate your monitors so you know you're hearing the sound the way you should be!
Next, Phil takes you through a few of the indispensable tools he uses in his Mastering workflow. From there you'll move on to explore Peak Limiting, Dithering and Noise Shaping in full detail.
You've heard that compression is the center-piece of all audio mastering, but you've probably spent a lot of time wondering why. Wonder no longer, because Phil next takes you on a tour de force through the process of properly compressing the dynamic range of your master. You'll learn how to use standard and multiband compression, how to us Mid/Side compression, and a few other valuable tips like using de-essers and Dynamic EQ.
Towards the end of the program, Phil gets into the nitty-gritty of using Filters and EQ, analyzing signal flow and plugin chains, simulating the analog sound of tape, and then burning your final master disc.
This is a comprehensive tutorial, but you don't need to watch the entire show. Use the detailed menus and keyword search functions to quickly find topics of interest. For a full list of this tutorials topics, see the Table of Contents.