Free Pro Audio Mastering Process Beginner Guide 2022: Train Yourself To A Pro Music Producer

If you would like to see or download the whole Har-Bal mastering process handbook, replete with photographs of all of the equipment necessary to produce a fantastic-sounding mastered CD, please do so.

You should keep in mind that you may play around with various settings in Waves LMB. You may also use the “Adaptive Multi Electro Mastering” preset and follow the same procedure if you want light limiting.

If you are using a sound editor (Sound Forge, WaveLab, Cool Edit) to create your track, you should have a mechanism for looking at the statistics of your song.

Sound Forge….Tools/Statistics are included.
Wavelab Analysis and Global Analysis are two types of analysis.

I am certain that there are others on the forum that can point you in the right direction in their editors.

You should pay close attention to the RMS levels in your system. You should make adjustments depending on the kind of music being played.

Several mastering professionals I know are dissatisfied with the loudness war that is now taking place in certain genres of music (and for good reason). However, the reality remains that if your music does not have the same loudness as another song in your genre, it will come off as weak sounding. These are just the times in which we find ourselves.

1. Check your RMS level in your mix…. let’s say the average RMS is -17.34 in your track.
2. We need to get it to -10 or -11 to suitably fit in with other similar songs.
3. Take out your calculator and input 17.34 and now subtract 10.00 you should get 7.34
This is the number we are shooting for. and will probably be the number you feed into your limiter.
(Remember with RMS levels the lower the number the louder the song)

You can input this number as a negative into your limiter and your RMS level for your overall loudness will be -10.00

For example: Which song is louder RMS level -18.23 or -12.16

-12.16 is louder

Quite a few mastering engineers use what they call a mastering chain and during the course of building or fattening the song, they already have an idea of what they would like the end result (RMS) to be.

As you get into mastering deeper you will find that it is more than just sticking a number into the limiter and you’re done.

A mastering chain should consist of the following: (Below are some options)

1. When you are finished mixing a track, input it into Har-Bal and check for peaks and valleys.
2. Open a wave editor (Wavelab, sound forge)
3. Place the following plugins into the chain in this order and save them as a preset.

a) Waves Q10 Paragraphic EQ (or something similar)
b) Linear Phase Multiband Compressor
c) Stereo Imager – Correct any phase issues and RMS mismatches
d) Limiter – Always use this and set our ceiling for -0.1

Now keep in mind that you may not need to use every one of these each time and can simply bypass any of them.

Always, always listen to your song at 85db while mastering. This is not loud and it enables you to darn near HEAR your music almost flat. You can pick up a sound pressure meter from any Radio Shack (roughly $30.00). If your song is too bassy or trebly you will know immediately at this volume. I am sure there are some more engineers in this forum who can elaborate on this concept a little more scientifically.

Three meters you should always have open are: All software included with Wavelab

Phasescope – To check the stereo image

Level Meter – Checking the peak and RMS levels constantly (Make sure you are building up the song without clipping) How is it sounding….constantly keeping the levels at 85db by bringing down my main volume. In other words, even though I am increasing The overall volume I am still maintaining my listening level.

Spectrum Analyzer – checking for sudden spikes and overall patterns

You should get into the habit of taking any commercial song and studying them while these meters are running. It will open a whole new world of understanding.

If you master your next project better than the last, you are only getting better. Get used to it. You will discover on a daily basis the real concept of mastering and the real reason why there are no perfect settings that can be used with every song.

The trick is to listen to a song completely and KNOW which tools to use. This knowledge comes from an understanding of the functionality of those tools.

Earle Holder is well known to American music artists and is one of the few top legendary award-winning mastering engineers who have managed to gain worldwide recognition for his work and is a rare individual, born with “golden ears”, a definite prerequisite to becoming a great mastering engineer.

His home site is

This material is free to copy, print, and distribute freely. This material, in any form, may not be used for resale and is the property of Har-Bal International

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