Mixing buss mastering chain question

I usually do my entire mix and then master on the master buss right there, so I can go back and tweak whatever I need. I notice people mix into various plug-ins Atr 102/pultec/gbus which I use in my mastering chain

so my question is when they are doing it in the mix, do they also do it again in mastering? those are all plug-ins listed in the mastering chain.I know nothing is black or white what I’m trying to say is that is it normal to mix into an Atr 102 and then use it again in mastering? someone that might not be mastering their own stuff, or doing stereo mastering or even stem mastering, would they export those files with there Atr 102 and use it again in mastering? anyone can shed some light, thanks

Some of the pro Mastering people like Paul can weigh in on this. I have Console and tape on my mix buss. I also have console and tape in my mastering chain as well.

If you are mastering yourself then bypass all the processing on the 2bus. You will insert them again in the mastering session.

Many different opinions on what you leave on the 2bus if being sent to a mastering engineer. My opinion is if you have something like an Ampex or SSL compressor that forms ‘part of your sound’ then leave it on but anything that is not a feature of your song e.g. EQ, compression, limiting de-essing etc bypass all of these as you are limiting what options the mastering engineer has at his disposal. Some mastering engineers like the 2bus to be clear, so perhaps send him 2 copies of your mix one with say SSL comp and one without, at least then they has the option to choose what best suits them.

Good idea Paul about sending two copies. I typically only put an SSL console with compression and eq off and a Softube tape.

thanks big break for your insight

what up Paul, I do everything myself, so I’ll be bypassing it or just leaving it in the mastering chain, your insight is appreciated, it’s what I’ve been doing but wasn’t sure how the mixing into aspect went later on

You’ve been a wealth of knowledge, could I possibly ask/pay for consultation on a couple of things, I just need some stuff cleared up, not any actual work as far as mixing and mastering. I’ve mixed and mastered releases for people but I’m not where I want to be, especially for my own stuff, I know your not a magician and I’m not expecting you to be so no worries if whatever you tell me doesn’t end up how I expect, heres a couple things I was wondering about

there’s a reference track i mentioned in another thread that I can’t seem to get close to, and seems 90 percent of commercial tracks can’t touch either I think you gave it a listen, its called

Satoshi Nakamoto by Gramitik feat Adriuan Lau and Prob Cause

(btw I guess he uses Ableton(same here) and mixes and masters everything himself after reading a izotope interview with him, I’m sure a majority if not all his mixing and mastering is ITB)

the vocals on this are perfect, I can’t seem to nail it, I have a U87, Apollo twin but also a physical 610 mk 2 so either running into that or unison, my room is treated. I get close but never as upfront and open, what I wanted to know is it realistic that vocals like that can be gain staged at -18 dbfs or even -12 dbfs? and not just the vocals but the entire track?and if so or if not what steps are needed to get there, I’ve watched Danny’s videos and my tracks come out really good, but I’m trying to get into that top bracket and I just can’t crack it

two other songs I’ve been referencing in which I’m trying to match up


Dear younger me by Mercy Me


Chemical feat Ahsha and Lemay Hex Cougar remix, the vocals on this one sound vintage and distant but on point

these both seem to match up with Satoshi Nakamoto, just trying to figure out how(as far as gain staging and other steps) to get full/warm/clear levels like these, can get close but not there. Should I be gain staging at -18dbfs or something different to get such results?

my gain staging normally is -10 dbfs on coming in or Vst bounce, and then it’s a free for all as long as I’m not clipping I’m cool, just adjusting the track fader, my vocal can range from -10/-6 dbfs,

im going to go back redo some stuff from the beginning and stage at -18 dbfs and leave the same as I came in, and see what type of results I get. My channel striping is on point and have a good grasp on mixing everything down, I’m no mastering engineer but no slouch either

thanks for taking the time to read this, and let me know if you have time for the consultation

Sure, PM me with your finished track and lets take a look.

so last night after typing that wall of text in this thread(sorry about that), I made a couple of adjustments one being cutting the live acoustic guitar to 150hz when it was cut at 80hz(and I should have used a high pass on the way in but thought it would take away some juice, defiently wrong should have used it) and panning it left and bringing down my bass about 4 db, everything else left the same and now the vocals sit much nicer although the track is slightly less where I want it to be, but not by much and matching up nicely with my reference

this beat although simple was the first beat that would actually go toe to toe with my reference thanks to gbus before proC2(parallell compression) and also going back to maximizer from pro-l2. But going back into the mix and laying the vocals down ruined everything, so I needed to make those adjustments and compromise just a smudge

this track as far as vocals is far from done as I needed to make sure that I could achieve success in where I wanted to be so I just recorded a sloppy first verse and went through the entire thing to see if I could be happy and it was driving me crazy that’s why I reached out but I think I finally got it!

I’m an artist/producer/rapper first and foremost and PSUEDO mixing/mastering engineer second, and although I do like mixing and mastering, I only do it because I want my tracks or people I work with to sound amazing, its not my passion first and foremost but a necessity in being able to do everything myself similar to artists like Gramatik or Skrillex who seem to have nailed it across the board, I believe both also use Ableton and mostly ITB if I’m not mistaken so I knew it’s possible even when people speak of $50,000 mastering chains and how its not, tracks from those guys seem to prove otherwise

I’ve got an important session coming up in 9 days and another one with someone else not to far after, both are close to me and like family, one more so than other, and failure is not an option in either case and both of them really have everything it takes to break through and drop classic albums and kill it live, so if my mix-downs and masters ain’t top notch after the songs are done( I hope they will be), I need to make to make them top notch, so I will be hitting you at that time, and whatever it takes, even if I need to send you dry stems with no processing just initial audio to see if we can get them there.

Thats why I was asking about the gain staging, as even the track I’m happy with now is all pretty much at -10dbfs, vocals -10dbfs/-6dbfs at the initial recording bounce, but after channel striping everything is different from -7dbfs to -.5dbfs, so if I were to send you dry stems with the loudness of my reference in mind where would you think was best? -10dbfs? -18dbfs? does it matter? and if they were treated with channel strips and full chains should they all stay the same from start to finish as leaving no plug-in different from the way you came in? I really do need the structure as if I keep on the way I’m going its gonna be so much variable and troubleshooting with every mix. either way gonna send you a PM right now sorry for rambling on

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