MixBus-Transparent Pre Mastering

This detailed video tutorial guides you in how to achieve transparent masters using the dynamic processes within your DAW.


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MixBus-Transparent Pre Mastering is a detailed video tutorial on how to construct the DAW’s master bus for transparent mastering.

It seems that nowadays mastering means – LOUD.

That is actually the exact opposite of what mastering is and our continual battles in the Loudness Wars seems to be paying dividends. More and more home studio producers are learning that it is more about dynamic range and not loudness, about depth and separation and not loudness, about maximizing and optimising for a specific genre and not loudness.

Pre mastering

I myself always use a mastering engineer for my own productions. Mastering your own music is a little too personal and critical decisions will be made as to what you ‘like’ as opposed to what is ‘needed’. However, that is not to say you cannot perform demo masters. I actually encourage producers to try to master their own demos. It is a great learning experience and one that all should try at some point.

But let us assume you want to use a professional mastering engineer for your productions. The most important contribution you could make is to make sure your productions are ready for mastering. This is not as technical a subject as it sounds but it does require a learning curve.

Creating masters

Creating a transparent pre-master is quite challenging because if you are anything like me you want to instantly hear a coloured (processes that alter the sound in harmonic ways) change to the mix. It is far easier to get emotional about a sound that is warm and fuzzy and has been teased with a lovely valve compressor than it is to hear that which is termed as ‘correct’ but has little colour. However, transparent pre-masters are like hens’ teeth for mastering engineers as they are now in charge of colouring the mix and the fact that the pre-master is transparent means they can apply any process without fear of compromising for the genre the pre-master is intended for.

In the MixBus-Transparent Pre Mastering video, I  run through all the processes required to create a transparent pre-master. I show you how to use an equaliser, a bus compressor and a limiter to bring out the best in your masters. I run through each process showing you the settings I use to create transparent masters. But if you are hankering for some deeper content then my video-book MixBus Strategies is for you.

Plugins used in this video:

FabFilter Pro Q2

PSP BussPressor

T-Racks Brickwall Limiter

Topics covered in this video are:

  • MixBus/Master Bus architecture
  • Dynamic Processing in Series
  • Cleaning and Equalisation
  • Transparent Limiting
  • Pre-Master preparation
  • Dynamic Compression
  • Redundant Frequencies
  • Level Matching
  • Referencing Gains

If you found this tutorial of help then maybe these will also be of benefit:

MixBus Mastering Equalisation

MixBus – House Pre Mastering

MixBus – Urban Pre Mastering

Mastering EQ – Air Band Processing

MixBus Strategies

Mastering Demos with EQ

Working the Air Band with Equalisation

DIY Mastering using Commercial Mix Profiles

Stealing Transients – Maximising Loudness

Headroom and Dynamic Range

ISP – Intersample Peaks

Summing in a Mix within your DAW

What is an equaliser and how does it work

Eq Filters and Slopes/Responses

Active, Passive, Graphic, Parametric, Fixed and Peaking Eqs

Dynamic EQ – what is it and how do you use it

Linear Phase Eq versus Minimum Phase Eq

MixBus Strategies

Mixing Hip Hop