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Running ITB out to master outboard gear


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Just a general question/discussion/thought… I've recently been experimenting with some outboard rack gear. I have a DBX compressor which I'm already using to run vocals or guitars through and it sounds great. I even send some of my software instruments through it and back in for that warm feeling.

 

I was toying around with running my entire master output through a dynamic rack piece, and then into my monitors. I messed around with a master dynamic comp/gate, and now I'm tweaking a Behringer Ultramizer Pro. It seems to be a nice addition, because I can give a boost to the bass frequencies and an exciter to the high frequencies. I can even set the threshold Hz and the output dB of these effects. Can be nice especially in the room of a home studio that isn't 100% acoustically treated, I can help bring out some of those frequencies that are lacking.

 

Just wondering if anyone else runs their master mix in this way, or has any words of caution while I have fun tweaking this rack gear. I don't want to trick my ears into thinking I have a great mix when I actually don't. I also don't want to put any negative effects as I listen back to reference tracks or music by my favorite artists.

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I do that often. But you have to be careful when printing. Afterwards you can't change it anymore. And usually the pots are not detented, so recall is actually impossible. If you know what you're doing, then do it. Maybe print different versions.

 

Nevertheless for rookies or people with not enough experience and/or bad room I recommend not to use anything on the masterbuss. Leave that to the pro, at least for projects that are not just meant for your own fun. Normally you mess up the mix much faster, than you actually help it. Especially if you don't have very good monitoring in a very good room ;)

 

And I definitely do not recommend using EQ for room treatment. That never works well. You cannot control room nodes, spatial imbalances, room reverb, etc. and you definitely add just more phase issues (every analog EQ does that). Rather just get used to your room by listening to reference mixes and try to get as close as possible to them.

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Just wondering if anyone else runs their master mix in this way

Pretty much every pro mix engineer in the world!

Although many stay completely “in the box” it is standard to add some sort of mix bus magic.

 

I don't want to trick my ears into thinking I have a great mix when I actually don't.

If your ears tell you it is good, then it is good!

 

Nevertheless for rookies or people with not enough experience and/or bad room I recommend not to use anything on the masterbuss. Leave that to the pro, at least for projects that are not just meant for your own fun. Normally you mess up the mix much faster, than you actually help it. Especially if you don't have very good monitoring in a very good room ;)

This is nonsense.

 

An essential part of any modern rock or pop mix is master buss compression.

By not using it you are missing out on an important technique.

 

Less essential, but equally useful is master bus equalization.

Experiment and learn how this technique can benefit your mix.

 

Thirdly you have a whole selection of saturators, tape & console simulators, exciters etc., all of which can benefit (or ruin!) your mix.

 

Of course you have to develop the skills to decide what and when to use these tools, but it really grinds my gears when uniformed people come out with rubbish like "never use anything on the master bus".

 

The only thing you shouldn't use pre-mastering is limiting for loudness.

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