There’s only so many hours in the day. I figure if you take your time and avoid cheating a few times, you’ve learned what you need to learn to be able to tell if the cheating is working well.


right, it does. It doesn’t have stereo in, just A/B in which is sent to both L/R equally.


I have a mixer (one small one like you described) and the a 4-track tape recorder/mixer. I would like to ideally be good enough at composition, arrangement, mixing, and sound design to have it sound mostly good coming straight out of the mixer I have in my rack. I am not a professional nor do I make money off this, so this is basically for my ears only. So, little to lose by something sounding not perfect, but I’m just looking to advance my individual skills for personal growth.


what’s the more advanced analyzer that you use on the master channel to check for phasing issues?


I don’t have a Rosie, but could you forgo the effects send and just patch directly in to the stereo effect return?


I’ll either use the Voxengo SPAN (free) or the Waves Analyzer but I really want to switch over to Izotope Insight.


Another amazing (and free!) tool:

You can see multiple tracks frequency spectrum all on one graph. Really great for visualizing overlaps.


you can definitely use that stereo effects return as a stereo channel of it’s own, I do it all the time! can’t believe they don’t market it that way, the aux send is just kind of a bonus routing.


Yup. At the end of the day a human decision should be made. I guess that for purely functional things why not use the best tools! Sure, I could sit there with paragraphic eqs, separating out different frequencies for different processes and compressing different frequencies through different gear, spacing out parts and agonising over each synth part. Or I could run it through it though a multi band.

The decision is the important part. then whether you use an overly convoluted manual process or an automated one doesn’t matter to me.


I’m looking for hardware that adds a nice color, warmth, saturation, compression, and presence to my stereo masters. Preferably something with tubes. Basically some kind of “finalizer” that isn’t super expensive mastering gear. I’m currently experimenting with recording my masters to cassette but I’m not loving the results so far. I prefer to record individual parts to cassette and keep the stereo bus in the digital domain… but from there I’d love another hardware option. This is something I’m interested in but it’s not in production any more:


What hardware do you use on your master mix bus?!


Maybe these? https://rupertneve.com/products/542/#overview

For warmth and saturation I usually go for the UAD Ampex ATR-102. Not hardware, but their plugins are top notch and are nice to interface with. Also very cheap considering the cost of hardware. And the best thing: you can save the settings within your project.


i’ve a rms755 stereo compressor on my master and then record as dsd to a da3000.


I use the UAD Studer plugin on each channel on the way in while tracking with electronic instruments and vocals at home, but the usual producer I work with in a band context almost always has the UAD Ampex or the Slate VTM on the mix buss and says he prefers them to the Studer emulation for that particular role.

I’ve also heard particularly great things about the Black Box HG-2 and the Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet for your purposes, though that may be more expensive than what you are looking for. The Fatso is pretty legendary for this role as well, and though I haven’t tried it, I’ve heard the UAD plugin emulation is solid if that’s too much cash.

I must also highly recommend the Inward Connections Brute both as a tracking compressor and at the end. Insanely easy to use and sounds amazing. It’s a solid state opto compressor. I have never found a sound I didn’t love with that thing, and there’s a stereo version available now too. I have to imagine with some compression on individual tracks to tame peaks before they go to the Brute to smooth things out that it would function really well for this purpose. When I track vocals, my chain always goes through a FET compressor to tame the peaks, and then through the Brute.


the next question is ‘how much do you want to spend?’

i love my serpent sb4001. ssl style bus compressor with a ton of extra goodies (sidechain high pass, extra variable release settings, front panel key input, ‘grind’ mode, tons of attack options).


Oh wow this thing looks like a beast! Price is a good question and I guess I should clarify. I’m not really looking for legit mastering gear. I figure I can always pay a mastering engineer if I ever get enough material together to release something. I’m thinking more low end or even low fidelity but I’m willing to spend between $600 and $800. I’m more interested in unique and interesting character than super high quality.

Ideally I would love to get some kind of stereo tube saturation and a 1/4" reel to reel. I’m just way too freaked out to spend a lot of money on a reel to reel because I’m not confident I can fix them myself and getting them serviced in NYC is ridiculously expensive.


if character-y master bus saturation is the goal, you can do so much with just a tape machine. find a cheap ($100-400) one in working order and see if it suits what you’re looking for, then upgrade if you want later on. you can get great results with ITB bus compression, so save that investment for later on too.

also, it’s easy to forget that cassettes are just tiny reel to reels! and they impart a ton of different characters that you can swap out for $.25 at a thrift store. you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get interesting sounds.


Can anyone recommend a decent mastering engineer/studio for noisey electronic music? Preferably something that is reasonably affordable && good. :wink: The mixes are decent quality but I’m out of my element when it comes to mastering.



I’ve just sent my album to Chihei Hatakeyama in Tokyo for mastering (both digital and vinyl). I’ve haven’t got the result yet but he seems like a nice guy, is very reasonably priced and is himself a very talented electronic musician with tonnes of releases in his own catalogue. I ended up with him as he was basically the only one who responded… Sometimes you just have to look further than Berlin, London or whatever.


Edit: Maybe someone here has had first hand experience with Chihei? I wouldn’t be surprised.


curious to hear how this turns out. im sure itll be great!


Been reading through this thread for the last couple of weeks - great ideas/insights that I’m trying to use as much as I can!

I’ve been noticing a little digital noise coming from my audio interface (a MixPre-3, connected via USB-C to a newer MBP), which sounds a little like quiet pink noise getting punched in/out when I’m monitoring in Ableton. Not so bad if levels are way down, but it becomes rather prominent when applying even just a bit of compression to the high end, especially on sparse recordings. If I change the sample rate in Ableton (say from 48 to 44), I notice a little shift in the noise but it soon stabilizes to its annoying regular pattern.

As far as troubleshooting goes, anything obvious I might be missing? The MixPre-3 is definitely set to record at 48 kHz, so it should be matching the sample rate I have set within Ableton.

Apologies for the troubleshooting tangent!