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Pro Mixing & Mastering Tips

You won’t find a full kit list for KJAMM. Any endorsement deals will be made clear, so kit praised or critiqued here will be honest opinion based purely on pro experience. Excellent equipment is crucial, but in a maze of amazing emulations and digital dross, gear choice is prized IP. It’s discussed only with clients. But there is a mine of info on pro mixing & mastering tips and technique here for experts & novices alike. Pro tips you won’t read anywhere else, and in-depth advice from years of research at the sharp edge of audio mastering and mixing.

DMG Equilibrium Linear Phase Mode

DMG Equilibrium Linear Phase Mode – One Of  The Most Versatile Precision EQs out there. Much favoured by mastering engineers and it still gets a run out sometimes. But in it’s best sounding mode of full analogue, the CPU drain is prohibitively huge. I generally prefer the best modern emulations like the stunning Amek 200, Summit EQF100, PSP Pultec on steroids, Pro-Q3, and even the now overlooked but beautifully clean Focusrite Red and a bunch of others to cover the various DMG algorithms – better, more flexibly, more authentically and with far superior CPU usage. It also means you don’t need a PhD in digital signal processing theory to get your head around the impulse response settings. I understand all that stuff. I’ve got a decent mathematical physics degree – but the sound of these new full emulations is better tha the DMG algorithms. The non quirky linearity is modelled better.

Close your eyes and a/b it. It’s the only way audio decisions should be made. Not by phase nulling, fancy fft or other technical analysis of what the EQ curve may or may not be looking like. It’s ultimately only the sound that counts. Our ears are far more sensitive than the most advanced analytical techniques we have. In fact, the visual cortex is so important to auditory perception that opening your eyes and looking at lovely EQ curves will override your ears. School-kid error.

It’s one of my reservations about the otherwise exquisitely functional & neutral Pro-Q3, It can be too easy to get into making the curve look right, rather than making the track sound right. Same with all their plugins. Apart from Pro-DS, which needs a rewrite to be useful for mastering rather than basic solo vocal de-essing.. Not sure how Logic Pro X can get its default De-esser 2 to be so easy and effective to use, while so many struggle with over-complication. And It’s just as good on masters as any Weiss or shiny expensive toy as far as de-essing goes. Wish there was a vst or aax port of it. You can always use any fast compressor with loads of your honed sibilant frequency on the side-chain. It’s what we used to have to do,

Beware the pseudo-science from people projecting how clever they are, rather than how good they make things sound. If you want to study the maths and physics great, go look at research papers along side Gearslutz. If you want to know how to make things sound good, ask someone who’s got a great track record. They rarely give interviews, or contribute on the pro audio forums. Common reasons are :

  1. They’re too busy making great records
  2. They can’t be arsed with the OCD wannabes on the forums
  3. There are a bunch of self proclaimed experts out there who don’t make or master great records but say they know everything already … and they’re talking at least partial crap. So leave them to it – less competition.

Below you’ll find links to articles hosted here with pro mix & mastering tips. Just click on an article.

Mixing and mastering on Auratone 5c
New Auratone 5C Mix Cubes Are Superb

The brand new Auratone 5c MixCubes are superb. Even better than the originals. So much better for fi…

ProTools Stemming Guide For Optimal Mastering
ProTools Stemming Guide

Easy – but oversimplified if any of your tracks are clipping – and most mixes will have …

KJAMM pro mix tips. 1960 variable tube compression
Pro Mix Tips 102

Mortgage The Masters !? I recently mastered a crowd funded LP for a new client who had been working …

A High grade BS meter
Pro Mix Tips 101 – For Great Masters

Less is truly more.  Fidelity drops through the floor as we process in series. So use as few pl…