How To Master A Track With FREE Plugins – ModernMixing.com

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How To Master A Track With FREE Plugins – ModernMixing.com
Link to Article and FREE plugins
FREE EQ Cheat Sheet:
HQ Drum Samples:

#24 How to Master a Track with FREE Plugins

Depending on your role in a particular project, you may get to a point where you have to squeeze just a little bit more from the record. Even though I think that the final stage of mastering a track should really be left to a mastering professional, us mixing engineers can get a “pseudo master” ready for the client to listen to. If we can’t get it to sound even somewhat competitive than chances are that our mix may seem inferior to everything else.

In my first post on how to master a track, I showed a fairly minimalist approach on how I treat the master bus and to be honest I still approach it very similarly today. The difference with this track that I “mastered” is that I’m applying these plugins to a Two Track and not in the mix itself. I actually prefer to do any “pseudo mastering” in the mix itself just in case something sticks out that I didn’t notice before. That way I can make tweaks as I go.

That said, there are still some great tips here for those situations where maybe you don’t have access to a full breakdown of the track like when you’re mixing vocals into an instrumental.

I chose to use VSTs for this article for a couple of reasons:

1) There’s so much great freeware out that I felt like I could get a better sound using the FREE VST’s that are available.

2) I wanted to show that even with FREE or cheap plugins you can get really good results.

List of what I used:
– FerricTDS (Variety of Sound)
– Baxter EQ (Variety of Sound)
– Volume Elven (Sir Elliot)

I honestly don’t feel like I could have done quite that same job using only FREE plugins in Pro Tools. I probably could have done something decent but for the most part the best sounding freeware is definitely in VST format. You could always try and use that VST to RTAS wrapper from FXpansion but from my understanding some VST’s don’t work when they are wrapped so there are no guarantees.

So Let’s Get into what plugins I used on this session.

Our Objectives for Mastering a Track

We need to have some objectives when we’re mastering a track and since every track is different that means our goals will be different.

In this particular case, I listened to the record a few times and decided what I felt needed to be done. For the most part I actually liked the tone of the record and didn’t want to get too far away from the original sound. So with that in mind I determined that the track could come up in volume, could be a touch wider, could be a bit tighter sounding and could also benefit from a little more focus in the mid range. I used 3 methods to achieve all those goals: Limiting, EQ and some saturation.

Each of those methods served a much different purpose but they also complimented each other. For example to get the track louder, limiting wouldn’t have been enough and that’s where the saturation complimented the limiter at achieving more volume. But at the same time the saturation also complimented the EQ in bringing out some more mid range focus.

Also make sure you check out:

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32 thoughts on “How To Master A Track With FREE Plugins – ModernMixing.com”

  1. I appreciate what you are trying to do here…and I don’t know if you have
    brought this up somewhere else, or if somebody else has, but really we
    shouldn’t call what we are doing “mastering” unless we are including the
    most important of the process, which is seeing what the RMS level of the
    track is, and how many “clips” or “clippings” the track contains, then
    adjusting ins and outs to eliminate clips while keeping the RMS between -11
    and -14 (that is the traditional range)…being this “exact” about the
    process really makes it easier to sound “good” at “pumping” levels, and
    doesn’t require that much more effort…nobody’s gonna call the cops on you
    for not including the RMS monitoring, but it’s an easy step to teach
    people, as long as you interested in showing others how to master. And, all
    the other steps of mastering are secondary to this step, anyway.

  2. I tried to download the plug ins but couldn’t. Is there any other link to
    download it? Thank you..

  3. but I’ve been able to download the dll file but my system doesn’t read
    it… where can I get the one you can install like a software..

  4. i thought “at last someone speaking the truth” and thought ok were going to
    get into the new york filter technique and the art of the eq but no… it
    was just a db boost… pointless.

  5. this plugin is awesome!especially dimension and sheen preset and stunning
    bliss,this two presets gives me a good start for mastering..

  6. The loudness wars are killing the music industry. I go with quality of
    sound rather than loudness. I mean, I do go for some loudness, but a lot of
    these house and rock and roll dudes are killing the art of mastering with
    going for just loudness. They don’ want the “sweet spot”, they want the
    loudness… SMH.. People are lost…

  7. Hi! What a great tutorial 🙂 I’ve just clicked on a recommended video on
    YT’s homepage and it was worth it. It got me thinking: I have made an
    electronic track and If you would be interested, you could master it and
    use it as a teaching material for your next video. Let me know if you are
    interested 🙂 Take care

  8. guys you just have to google..all these great plugins and bunch more online
    for you to download for free…type in variety of sounds plugin for
    starters

  9. There are no mac versions of there plugins. What other plug ins could I use
    to do this cos I use Logic.

  10. a little confused when you say free downloads?? Went to Melde Productions,
    yes its free when you purchase a bundle of other software. So how do you
    get just Mequaliser for free, and full use not trial. thanks

  11. By the way, on the compressor the VU is a K-14 meter, which means that 0 is
    actually -3 and 3 is actually 0 ;)

  12. By the way, on the compressor the VU is a K-14 meter, which means that 0 is
    actually -3 and 3 is actually 0 ;)

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