Alright, I’ll start saying that if you have the money, getting a professional mastering session (possibly assisted) is always the best choice BUT… if you’re broke or you would like to learn more about the art of mastering, the Splice blog gathered some useful tips in a recent article dedicated to DIY mastering.
Essentially, the author of the article – PALA, LA-based producer/songwriter – debunks some of the myths surrounding home mastering and offers some helpful tips to overcome the problems you will face when trying to master your own mixes.
He focuses on four different factors: time, reference tracks, listening anywhere, meter reading.
Taking a break from your mix (he suggests 1-2 weeks) is a valuable advice. Take an ear-cleaning break, explore the nature, listen to other artists, make sure to dedicate some time to your (probably neglected) partner.
Then when the time comes, listen carefully to selected reference tracks (check out the REFERENCE plugin we’ve recently featured on ANR, it might help) and compare them to your mix, paying attention to the sonic balance between bass, mids and highs.
Got something you like? Listen to it anywhere you can. There’s no good or bad speaker here, anything can help (always keeping in mind the reference tracks you’re trying to get close to).
If the acoustics of your room are far from ideal, you might try improving things using solutions like FuzzMeasure and Arc 2 from IK Multimedia, we found both quite helpful in our reviews.
Last but not least, learn how to properly read the meter in your DAW or audio editor of choice (Google can help).
Here’s a free meter plugin if you need one.
If you’re serious about mastering your own mixes, I would also recommend the latest release of iZotope Ozone (8, at the time of writing).
By the way, iZotope 8 is on sale right now, and you can grab the standard version for approx. $199/€199.
If Ozone is not your cup of tea, have a look at the recently released Elevate from Newfangled Audio (created by an Eventide’s senior developer), it’s still on sale for a few more days – basically a no-brainer!
You can read the original article here. You can also check PALA’s sound packs on Splice here.