Mastering Chain

Mastering is the final processing in audio production. By using EQs, compression and other subtle effects, mastering will get the best out of your mix and make it sound loud and clear.

Mostly used in musical productions, more and more radio producers also add a mastering chain to their imaging (and I mean more than just cranking up the volume with a limiter). EQ-ing, compression, limiting, everything is processed to the max.

I’m worrying a bit about this. In radio imaging, we’re working with mastered songs, effects and work parts, which will get another mastering during production AND a station mastering chain. You also could say, that some of the material will get through three mastering chains before getting on air. That sounds pretty brutal to me and I’m worrying about getting everything crushed within the second or final station processing. Does an already mastered song even need a mastering, when you’re doing a Branding of it?

How are you handling this? Are you pushing your elements to the max with full EQ-ing, compression and limiting or are you doing less processing? What do you guys do to avoid getting everything crushed in the final processing chain?

  1. che says:

    For imaging and promos I believe a subtle multiband into a subtle limiter on the master helps gel everything together. Your not re-mastering tracks as such just mixing the 3: VO’s, music beds and effects to best effect with minimal change to the sound of the music. Quite simply, watch your levels going into your master, especially music.

    For branding tracks move your master chain to a sub master bus, send your music channels straight to the master, and everything else to the sub. Put a very subtle limiter on the master that just catches peaks on your intro (vo+sfx+music) but wont do anything when its just the track playing. This way you get a clean track and a consistent processed sound when your doing your magic on the intro.