I have an embarrassing wealth of quality scope plugs for the job
but my lack of knowledge in the area always means when it comes
to maximizing my track loudness I reach for Wavelab's peak
master plug-in instead of a Scope combination. I think the Wavelab plug-in is a compressor limiter combination but it
always helps squeeze out that extra bit of juice that I need and
that I cannot seem to replicate in scope.
Also may I
respectfully request an article on the subject using scope
tools? This would be really appreciated.
Well, here it is then - the article ! What would you like
Irrelevance: I tried OptiMaster on it's own or in
combination with PsyQ (with extreme minimal settings) and I kind
of get something I like but again I'm just fiddling and not
really appreciating how to finesse the sound the way I want it.
Trouble is I'm lazy and the peak master plug-in rewards me for
turning my back on scope with three faders to get the job done!
My chain is something like DAS MasterIT EQ => PsyQ => HPM
Ambience => Multiband Compressor => DAS BrickMaster. I
follow these guidelines:
Only use each processor minimally for what it is best at.
Each processor adds gain which should not reach peak
until the end, so BrickMaster is not doing all the work just
a gentle final compression and catching of peaks.
I use this from one project to the next with
minimal tweaks to reduce setup time.
recommendations by PlanetZ members include:
Try the dNa packs.
Hubird: EQ? preferably
not at this stage, unless all tracks suffer from the same
deviance, which can be with live recordings for example.
1. PsyQ: PsyQ apparently is 'user level', which is
good, as the OptiMaster needs the overhead space to do the job
required (as I see it). So check the 'over' LEDs of in and
low and mid/high: about 35, Bass 35 or more, Mid/High to
Hi Q: 30 or more, Shaper max (or less, grabbing lower hi's)
about 34, preferably not more as it's fatiguing on the
OptiMaster: Just use presets to start from, or use the
learn function. Use of presets gives guarantee of cohesion
between all parameters, but you could make an A/B comparison of
two mixes of both strategies, to get an idea of the plug's
working. You want it soft and smooth, or punchy, hot and
'radio', or even over the top, just choose the right preset
(name): attack and release time values will be close then, just
like the rest.
Having finished that, you might play with the threshold of each
band, from the graphics even. Watch the green leds
of gain reduction for the band, and listen, you can hear what
you're doing. You can even do equalizing this way,
like pressing back the highs.
3. Vinco: the finishing touch for presence and that
little extra but smooth pressure. As known the Vinco is
modeled after the classic 1176 Limiter, actually a compressor,
which is said to be used also as master compressor. So far
I didn't check if it also colors the sound without applying
compression, as the original thing is said to do, and I just
bought the UAD plug 'Ratio button 2' on Vinco isn't original,
but it's there. I love Vinco, I got used to it to have it in my
mastering chain, as it's always a nice reward of that little
extra while it looked you'd maxed out already, even if you had a
softly compressed mix running with Vinco hardly working at a
ratio of '2'.
If you want to be sure, just do the mastering of an un-mastered
mix on both platforms, and do a real A/B comparison. If it
doesn't work for you then you know.
JHulk: Watch your levels going
in maximum mix level before mastering should be about -6db this
then gives you 5.97db room for the mastering section. If
you go in to hot then it will limit heavily and you will hear
rough compression where things like drums get limited to much
the best tools are your ears also set it to mono as well to
check for phase cancellation as any inverted sounds in opposite
channel will cancel each other out and when set to mono you
really can hear this.
We use a separate output reference speaker amp which has a mono
switch for this really helps as listening on consumer speakers
as well as studio monitors helps with the mastering as your
trying to get a good overall mix that sounds good on all
When on tape you uses to
only get around 15k max top frequency response so most
equalizers used to have sweet spots around 10k. I still
try to and do my mixes with max of 16k frequency range keeps out
all the top end harshness which can really fatigue your ears
vocals around 5k this frequency range you really need to look
out for as the 'sss' sibilance can really show up worse in the
mastering so always sort this out with equalization in the
channel before mix down as if you don't when you master it can
drive it making it more noticeable.