HOW TO MASTER A SONG – 7 Steps To Loud!, FAT, & In Your Face

HOW TO MASTER A SONG – 7 Steps To Loud!, FAT, & In Your Face
Make Your Tracks STAND OUT! — Learn Mastering With My 7 Step Formula For Creating FAT, FULL & LOUD Masters. –If you have a question for me, just leave a comment on my blog! (click the link below)


I’ve also written an eBook, How To Master A Song, that goes along with this video –I’d like to give it to, NO CHARGE 🙂

Not only that, but I’ve just finished putting together a “2 Week Mastering Mini-Course” which you can sign-up for now absolutely free, here’s the link again:

It’s some of my BEST stuff, and I’m not sure how long I’ll be giving it away for free — so if you’re interested in mastering your tracks like the pros, make sure you sign up and check it out.



How To Master A Song : Quick Jump Guide…

2:45 — What Is Mastering?

3:18 — The 5 Purposes Of Mastering

The 7 Step Formula For Mastering:

6:37 — Step 1: ‘Prepare It’

8:06 — Step 2: ‘Fix It’

10:18 — Step 3: ‘Enhance It’

19:12 — Step 4: ‘Compress It’

23:05 — Step 5: ‘Clip It’

25:01 — Step 6: ‘Limit It’

28:53 — Step 7: ‘Reference It’

29:47 — Some Final Tips

Here’s A List Of All The Plugins Used In Order:

1. Waves REQ (Parametric EQ – High Pass Filter)
2. DUY Valve (Valve Emulation)
3. DUY Tape (Tape Emulation)
4. Waves QClone (Parametric EQ – High Shelving Filter)
5. Waves Maxx Bass (Bass Enhancer)
6. Waves SSL Compressor (Compressor)
7. DUY Wide (Stereo Widener)
8. Waves LinMB (Multiband Compressor)
9. T-Racks Soft Clipper (Soft Clipper)
10. Waves L3 (Multiband Brickwall Limiter)


Link to my complete mastering program – The Ultimate Mastering Formula:



Q: Where can I get this song, A Beautiful View?

A: We produced this track for a tourism project, unfortunately at the moment the song isn’t for sale publicly but you can check it out here on this vid:

Q: Is there an alternative ‘clipper’ plugin to the T-Rack Soft Clipper?

A: Not that I know of – if you find one let me know!

Otherwise, I recommend giving the T-Racks one a try, you can get a free demo on their website.

Q: What alternatives are there to the DUY plugins?

A: I don’t know of any plugins that do EXACTLY what the DUY plugins do, like any piece of gear or software, they all have their unique characteristics.

That said, here’s some suggestions:

DUY Wide: Any ‘stereo widener’ plugin will do (also called “stereo enhancers”) e.g. Waves Stereo Widener

DUY Tape: Look for a tape emulation plugin. e.g. McDSP Analog Suite or Waves Reel Tape Suite.

DUY Valve: I haven’t found anything quite like this, but you could give PSP Vintage Warmer a try. You could also try a ‘bass enhancer’ plugin – some SUBTLE MaxxBass or Waves Rbass will give a similar warmth – just go easy on it 🙂

Q: Why do you show people how to make their songs louder – isn’t this encouraging ‘the loudness war’?

A: Without getting into the whole loudness war debate – which would take several PAGES, here’s a brief answer…

This short video is just ONE example of ONE way to master ONE style / song, it’s by no means a comprehensive mastering guide, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the way I master ALL songs.

In fact, if I were mastering classical music or light indie for example, I wouldn’t be caught dead with a clipper on it!

The thing about this “formula” is that it’s NOT a recipe that you blindly copy setting for setting, it’s a FRAMEWORK that gives mastering some structure and allows you to be creative within that.

So you can CHOOSE what works for you and what doesn’t – none of the steps are mandatory. If you want a less compressed, more dynamic and natural sound, simply skip steps 4 and 5 (compress it and clip it) and go VERY easy on the limiter.

In this mastering example, this is how the ARTIST and the CLIENT wanted it – like it or not, this is the way it is in the industry at the moment. The mastering engineers aren’t all conspiring to destroy music, they’re simply doing the BEST they can within the constraints of the people who PAY THEM to master their music.

In general, the record label / artists etc. don’t care that much about the long term affects (listening fatigue etc.) of highly compressed music, they’re concerned about ONE thing — GETTING THEIR MUSIC NOTICED.

It’s a fact that we generally perceive a louder track to sound better in the SHORT TERM. And in a world where everyone’s trying to get noticed, and people’s attention spans are about that of a goldfish, loudness DOES matter. Having the highest quality record doesn’t mean much if no one gives it chance in the first place!

I’m generalizing here, and it’s a VERY short answer to a BIG question, but I just want you to know that I do understand BOTH sides. I hope this comes across! 🙂
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30 thoughts on “HOW TO MASTER A SONG – 7 Steps To Loud!, FAT, & In Your Face”

  1. Dear rob Williams do you have an video for reason 5 for mastering. “Final
    formatting”Thank you very much .Mark.

  2. Really good stuff here. The only thing I would take issue with here is
    Limiting to -0.1. I find that when you convert to MP3, the conversion
    algorithm can boost the gain by about 0.2 to 0.3. which means if you have
    mastered to -0.1 the MP3 with blow you meters and distort. Safer to limit
    to -0.3 or even -0.4. Hardly makes any difference to the listener.

  3. awesome tutorial, but why not just use the clipper as a limiter, and set
    the output to -0.1 or whatever you want the ceiling to be.

  4. There is no such thing as loudness without balance. It’s about the balance
    in the mix, then you can eq compress or gain it. (i’m terrible at mixing

  5. Great video. Well explained, but question why master the the whole track
    together? I’ve always seen my tracks being mastered in seperate pieces, as
    in each sound being in a separate channel then compiled after. If you catch
    my drift, Just curious.

  6. I’ve been looking for this for three years. Finally someone who doesn’t cut
    corners or beat around the bush when it comes to teaching the techniques of
    mastering. Thank you sir.

  7. Thanks Rob, I learned important things and I saw new things about music
    production step by step from your videos/cources on your site… Much

  8. I learned more in this half hour video about mastering than I’ve learned in
    15 years. Thanks man, it’s very much appreciated.

  9. Good stuff….Nice system.. sounds great and very thorough explanation

  10. Followed these principles today for some of my tracks, and wow my original
    was a turd and now it is a mastered piece!

  11. Very well presented, Rob. I’ve been a session muso for decades, walk into a
    studio, do my thing, walk out, but this side of the biz (production) is
    fairly new to me. Subscribed now, will work my way thru your other
    tutorials also, thanx !

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