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SafeandSound SafeandSound is a male
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dnb mastering Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

I thought I would post up some information on the specifics of mastering drum and bass music.

Drum and bass is an exciting and emotive music with a considerable history and the producers of the music are often highly technical and expert at using their DAW (digital audio workstations) D n B mastering is different from other music styles and it is important at all times to keep the sense of energy and power, this will be at the forefront of the mastering engineers mind. Originally Drum and Bass came from hardcore back in the beginning of the 1990's. It's a music style which originated from the rave scene which swept the world and had the youth dancing in warehouse parties every weekend.

Drum and bass evolved from hardcore rave when some of the music became more four to the floor whilst the jungle dnb strand focused on break beats. Break beats were largely played by black funk drummers of the sixties, seventies and early eighties. Jungle music quickened the tempo of these sampled funky beats and used MIDI to trigger them on the "one" to create a unique musical style with an excitement and energy which is arguably unrivaled when it comes to groove, feel, energy, forward moving drive and exhilaration. D n B is the music of energy.

Now we know you dnb producers and heads like their very deep bass lines, and of course high average levels seem important in modern dance music styles and drum and bass is no exception and in many instances it follows the "loudness wars". The challenge for the mastering engineer is balancing power, bass that is deep and even and judging when a track needs a softer / sensitive approach or whether a more heavy handed mastering style is appropriate. Drum and bass sub genres range from minimal, thinly arranged tracks to heavy, distorted, dark and dense attacks on the ears. It is an electronic music form which is complex and now has a 15-20 year history and the ME needs to understand the differences in order to make effective decisions on behalf of the musicians and record distributors in the scene. The use of analogue equipment can sometimes assist with "smoothing" some of the ITB (in the box/digitally mixed) tracks which can in some instances sound a little harsh, some high quality signal paths with high end audio transformers can help soften these hard edges if required.

Being born from urban inner cities not all studios will be perfectly equipped and this can feed into the mastering process as in some cases the tunes will be created with, energy, complexity, significant production time and feeling, but not always in a perfect studio room, as such the monitoring environments may not be ideal and so often bass levels will be out of balance with the rest of the track. This is not always the case and I do not wish be general, D n B has come of age, appearing in commercial spots and has had some chart successes in the last 10 years, it is no longer seen as just and underground genre. Mastering dnb (drum and bass) does take an ear which has experience in the genre, knowing some of the history and origins and also someone who actually loves the music form. As with other genre's the tools used for mastering drum and bass would be eq, compression, (possibly multi band compression) and limiting.

Here is some advice to dnb producers when preparing tracks for mastering :

Master bus limiting:
The mastering engineer will be able to increase the perceived volume of the mix by choosing limiter from a selection for the individual track (each will sound a little different) so it is suggested that the limiter (if you are using one) be removed from your master output bus.

Clipping of the DAW master bus:
When removing a limiter you may then find that the mix "clips the master bus", i.e. exceeds digital zero. This is not ideal as it means the finite numbers in the digital system can no longer accurately represent your mix's audio signal. It is characterized by the squared off/flat topped waveforms if you zoom in to a peak in the bounced/exported file. As asking you to rebalance the entire mix is not reasonable or practical you can reduce the master output fader so any peaks do not hit zero......(i.e. the top of the meter) -6dBFS would be ideal.

Audio File formats:
It is preferable to send 24 bit .wav or .aiff files at the sample rate of your project.Please do not send MP3 files if you have access to wavs and aiffs

cheers

SafeandSound Mastering

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masteringmastering.co.uk

This post has been edited 4 time(s), it was last edited by SafeandSound: 21-12-2013 14:47.

24-03-2011 21:18 Send an Email to SafeandSound Search for Posts by SafeandSound Add SafeandSound to your Buddy List
SafeandSound SafeandSound is a male
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RE: dnb mastering Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

New page on my website with regards to mastering drum and bass:

http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/masteringdrumandbass.html

cheers

__
masteringmastering.co.uk

This post has been edited 2 time(s), it was last edited by SafeandSound: 30-12-2013 11:16.

18-05-2011 14:43 Send an Email to SafeandSound Search for Posts by SafeandSound Add SafeandSound to your Buddy List
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