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A mastering checklist?

I'm still somewhat of a mastering newbie and was wondering if those of you with mastering experience tend to follow a checklist before fine-tuning anything? I.e. a workflow to help you master efficiently?

What I usually do is run the track through a sonic maximizer. Then, after ensuring there's no clipping, i send to the next plugin: Ozone. There I largely use EQ, reveb (sometimes) and the exciters and rarely use stereo widening (if I need to, it usually signifies problems to address within the original mix). Then I send this output to the sonnox limiter (far and away my favorite limiter).

After that, I'll check over everything in harbal to help give an idea of what needs to be EQ'd. Then I test my work on different speakers and mediums.

What do you guys do? Am I missing something? Would you change anything around?
Maximize or normalize is something i don't use and don't like others to do neighter.
You need enough headroom for mastering.
I personally like a headroom of -3.

Same for limmiting. You are cutting of transients and this will lead to problems while compressing when mastering.
I go with a less is more approach. The headroom is a given for any quality mastering to be done, but in general, I compress, do just a bit of stereo widening, EQ, then send to my limiter.

Mastering is like cooking, there is no single recipe to make a great (or disgusting) meal. Rather, several ways to get to unique conclusions. Just gotta find your own recipe ;)
Well if the mixbowl is full it is full https://img.audiofanzine.com/images/audiofanzine/interface/smileys/icon_facepalm.gif
You will not believe how many people deliver a mix to master with only -1 or -0.5 db left to mix...

But it is so true that their are only guidelines.
Every mix has its own mastering approach.
Quote from angelie:
You will not believe how many people deliver a mix to master with only -1 or -0.5 db left to mix...


Those are the assholes that don't have a clue and don't want to learn about mastering, so they put together some filthy track and send it over to us to do the hard work. DAWs should have limiters incorporated where any decisions that can adversely effect sound quality or headroom lead to a gigantic popup that says 'don't do this if you want to master this track later'
Quote:
Those are the assholes that don't have a clue and don't want to learn about mastering, so they put together some filthy track and send it over to us to do the hard work.

I sympathize, but perhaps you're being a little rough on the people submitting tracks. I wouldn't assume that they don't want to know about mastering, but rather that they simply don't understand the need to leave the mastering engineer room to maneuver. My advice, if you're going to be mastering and are worried that clients will send overly hot mixes, is to tell them in advance that you need mixes without any master-bus limiting or master-bus compression. If they've already finished their mix and made it too hot, ask them to recall it, take those effects off, and run the mix again.
someone asked me to make the mix "warmer bright". lol :oo:
Another good practice when mastering is using a multimeter. The RMS during most of the song should hit at -20 up to -10. I usually master -15/-16 allowing more space creating a more dynamic sound. Obviously, the peak should never go over 0 to avoid digital distortion.

When compressing it's not recommended to use a ratio over 3:1.
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When compressing it's not recommended to use a ratio over 3:1.

Good advice. One should also be careful about setting too low a threshold, as that governs the amount of compression, as well. You can really hear it when a song you're mastering is over-compressed. The transients lose their snap and there's an artificial quality to the audio that's not at all pleasing to the ear. At that point, you have to dial it back.
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