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Parallel Processing in Mastering?


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Hey guys,

 

I just did a master for a student of mine, as I am no mastering engineer, I just wanted to make sure if what I did was kosher in the world of mastering!

The track was lacking serious punch and was also a bit stereo skewed, favoring the left channel a bit much (not great production and mixing i might add, but anyhow.)

So what i did was add an Aux track with SPL transient designer with attack way increased and some slight overdrive and EQ and the I sent the main track to that bus

I also panned the parallel bus a bit to the other side to even out the L and R channels...

 

was that a good tactic or could i have gone about it in a better way?

 

So is parallel processing often used in mastering?

Would what i did above perhaps have added some negative artifacts to the sound that I'm not picking up?

 

just wondering!

 

have a good evening! :D

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I'm no mastering engineer AT ALL lol but there only seems to be a couple of ME's on here so I will try and help you.

 

So you have panned a whole buss with all the mid info aswell, a bit to the left? the first thing I would do is check in mono but check just the sides too because you probably got a large portion of the mono elements in the left after doing that.

 

I doubt it is skewed because the kick drum, bass, snare etc are skewed as we know thats fairly basic. I bet its because he/she has too many elements panned to the left. Maybe it is a mix thing that can't be fixed the way you are trying. Even then if the stuff that should normally be centred or you want them centred are not then I guess its still a mix issue.

 

On top of that you have panned the parallel bus which has the compression which means the left is going to have more "New York" than the right.

 

If you monitor the Sides and Mid separately this should tell you all you need to know about whether it needs re-mixing or if it is indeed fixable. This is where my knowledge runs out I'm afraid, I'm sure others might have some other ideas that may help, good luck

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I just did a master for a student of mine, as I am no mastering engineer, I just wanted to make sure if what I did was kosher in the world of mastering!

If it sounds good and the client is happy, then it's kosher. What you need to be aware of is potential phasing and how it affects the overall tone of the track.

 

The track was lacking serious punch and was also a bit stereo skewed, favoring the left channel a bit much (not great production and mixing i might add, but anyhow.)

The stereo skewing could likely be fixed by using a balance knob/plug-in.

 

So what i did was add an Aux track with SPL transient designer with attack way increased and some slight overdrive and EQ and the I sent the main track to that bus

I also panned the parallel bus a bit to the other side to even out the L and R channels...

 

was that a good tactic or could i have gone about it in a better way?

Sounds like it could work. If it worked well then it worked well. Another option would be simply using a combination of EQ an a compressor or even a multiband compressor/expander to add some punch.

 

I wouldn't have tried fixing the stereo image that way though. It's usually better to take care of the stereo image as early as possible in the chain.

 

For the parallel chain you can sometimes use a linear phase EQ instead of minimum phase if you notice undesired phasing.

 

So is parallel processing often used in mastering?

It varies and depends on many factors. I use parallel processing once in a while. Probably on 1 out of 10 tracks or a bit more. It can be anything from subtle digital parallel upward compression to saturated parallel tube EQ and compression in my outboard chain. For the latter I use the Dangerous Music Liaison which allows you to tap at various points in the chain and send to a parallel loop, which you add back using a rotary knob.

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For the parallel chain you can sometimes use a linear phase EQ instead of minimum phase if you notice undesired phasing.

It can also manifest as transient loss, so listen for that too. Depending on content, it can increase some transients. In parallel processing, always try both linear and nonlinear phase to see which does the better job for what you're doing.

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Are you referring to the pre-filter ringing of linear phase, i.e. the transient blurring artifact?

 

While I find this a problem directly on a signal - which is why I hardly ever use linear phase unless I have to - it's usually not a big problem when I parallel process because the parallel signal constitutes a relatively small part of the total signal.

 

Also, I usually only equalize in parallel when I need to color/saturate in the first place, which usually includes both intentional intermodulation distortion from over-compression or other intentional artifacts, though it's not perceived as artifacts, but overtone enhancements.

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Thanks for ur feedback guys! U lost me a little with the last bit tho..

Are u saying that u can actually lose transient information with a liner phase EQ ?? I don't really understand anything about linear phase to actually understand that,.. I must go read up on te topic? Any suggests articles?

 

With regard to my master... I did notice some phasing when turning up the parrellel busby then I turned on delay compensation and it seemed to go way.. Or was that an illusion??

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Are u saying that u can actually lose transient information with a liner phase EQ ?

You're not really losing the existing transient information, but the pre-filter ringing byproduct of linear phase will slur the punch of the transients.

 

This is one of the reasons why linear phase isn't very popular.

 

Another is that linear phase can't fix phase related problem. Phase and equalizing is directly connected, so when you're equalizing with a regular (minimum phase) EQ you're actually also trying to adjust the relative phase of the signal.

 

A third is the massive latency, especially with low frequencies, but that's irrelevant in mastering.

 

With regard to my master... I did notice some phasing when turning up the parrellel busby then I turned on delay compensation and it seemed to go way.. Or was that an illusion??

Probably not an illusion since any delay would cause phasing.

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To some degree we're dealing with perception and subjectivity, so it's impossible for me to say you're wrong or not.

 

You need to isolate the EQ in the equation though. For instance, using a minimum phase (regular) EQ in a chain with a compressor or limiter later in the chain could lead to more compression and limiting due to a peak change caused by minimum phase equalizer, which you could perceive as less attack.

 

This will often happen with heavily processed drum samples.

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In the case of parallel processing for coloration I don't care about any minor peak change since I'll be smashing the crap out of the parallel signal anyway. In that case I'm more concerned with the phase and I'll switch between minimum phase and linear phase to select what works the best.

 

If I'm doing subtle parallel compression on classical music or jazz I most likely won't be using any parallel EQ, and it'll be wideband so crossovers aren't a problem.

 

In the case of linear phase vs. minimum phase in general my preference is to use minimum phase since it's most pleasing to my ears and a better tool for most jobs.

 

I choose linear phase when the downside of not using linear phase is bigger than not doing so. An example would be adjusting an already mastered track, i.e. for a compilation or some other situation where a couple of tracks are already mastered, but need some adjustment. Any minimum phase EQ on such a track will likely cause massive overs that would require re-limiting, and in that case using linear phase is the lesser of two evils.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer that. It cleared up a few questions other than what I asked too, since I am not a mastering engineer I am trying to apply this knowledge to my mix downs and it has given me plenty to think about....

 

I get what your saying, in short, when there are circumstances where we may think a Linear Phase is the obvious answer we may want to try a minimum phase eq and use that if there are no phase issues, it might just sound better. As always I guess it comes back to the rule of thumb "if it sounds good".

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in short, when there are circumstances where we may think a Linear Phase is the obvious answer we may want to try a minimum phase eq and use that if there are no phase issues, it might just sound better. As always I guess it comes back to the rule of thumb "if it sounds good".

Yes, and remember that the so-called phase issues may actually work well for your particular purpose, if the parallel signal is used for some kind of creative effect or coloration.

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I'm back. Was offline for awhile as I was moving....

 

Are you referring to the pre-filter ringing of linear phase, i.e. the transient blurring artifact?

 

Actually, no. I'm referring to how a nonlinear phase eq imparts group delay on the signal. So if you have say a 400hz signal concurrent with a 1500hz transient, for example, the transient might fall close to the zero crossing of the 400hz, then apply the eq and it may now occur near the peak. Even though you ve not changed its magnitude relative to the 400hz, your meters will reflect a higher signal and if the loudspeaker driver is having to reproduce both simultaneously, typical, then it will also make the transient sound louder.

 

I hope I explained that clearly! :cry:

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Great, I love those monitors. Did you use the D version or the regular (non-D) version?.

Non-D. Yeah, they have a pretty tight Q too, which makes them easier to deploy in less than perfect acoustic settings. Good for us right now. Running them with RME converters for now, but will have to see how they are with others.

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