Once you have recorded and mixed your track at some point you are going to need to master it. That is make it suitable for the platform you are delivering it too. There are a growing number of ‘in-the-box’ mastering tools available and we have brought together 30 of the ones we have reviewed, some add character, whilst other designed to be neutral.
A lot of people ask us to comment or compare the sound and features of various mastering tools. With our reviews, we give you the chance to see and hear what they can do before you consider buying them.
If you are considering a new mastering tool for your studio then check out these reviews, free tips & tutorials...
This technique of removing the information in the middle of your mix using basic tools is useful for more than removing vocals from stereo mixes, though that can be fun too!
Russ suggests that CD was the high water mark of audio playback quality for the masses. If this is true and many will listen to streaming, MP3 and in mono. How should audio professionals respond?
We test the IKEA SYMFONISK wireless speaker to see if it’s useful in the recording studio. No one in their right mind would suggest mixing on such a device or even mixing for one, but it is prudent to have one to check mixes. We put it through its paces to see if a £99 wireless speaker has a part to play in our workflow.
In the article we explain several different ways that audio is graphically represented in DAWs and a number of different tools from a range of developers to help you understand not only what these visuals tell us but to show you what they are for and how to interpret these graphics and displays to help you. This article isn’t a deep physics lesson in audio, instead we try to explain each of these points as practically as possible.
Are You Listening? is a video series from professional mastering engineer and iZotope Education Director Jonathan Wyner. though this series Jonathan guides us through audio mastering principles like critical listening, how to set up your room, and using techniques like EQ, compression, and limiting in mastering.
In a recent poll of nearly 2,000 professionals and hobbyists recording and mixing audio, only 1 in 5 said they bothered recording and mixing above 44.1kHz/48kHz.
Two groups were polled, those who said they were professionals and those who said they recorded and mixed as a hobby, in both cases the majority opted to record at either 44.1kHz or 48kHz.
MeterPlugs has released a plug-in version of its Loudness Penalty web tool, which brings this useful tool into your DAW and helps you pinpoint the issues and fix them within your DAW.
In this free video tutorial Dan Cooper shows you a mastering EQ plug-in he’s really enthusiastic about. It’s utterly transparent and always manages to add that sheen to music through its simple to set EQ controls and the resulting masters don’t sound overly harsh or overdone.
In this video with the support of Universal Audio, Paul Drew shares his thoughts and ideas when it comes to mastering the track Thought of Love by Rooftop Renegades. In this final part in the series, Paul shows us how he uses the SSL Bus Compressor to glue to mix together then he reaches for the new Brainworx bx_masterdesk, which he uses as a “one stop” mastering processor.
I want to say from the outset I'm not a mastering engineer, so I have no skin in the game, but I think it's about time we stopped calling the insertion of a plugin on a mix and reducing the dynamic range 'mastering'.
In this exclusive Production Expert Video Review we take a look at Zynaptiq's new mixing and mastering processing plug-in INTENSITY and decide if it's any good.
T-Racks 5 is the latest version of IK Multimedia's popular plug-in suite. It features a wealth of great sounding EQs, dynamics and effects. The latest version of T-Racks 5 debuted a new standalone mastering application along with four new modules. We take a look at Master Match, which automatically matches the sound of the songs you are mastering with up to three source tracks used as reference tracks, it's very good.
The new Softube MM-1 plug-in is based on the Weiss DS1-MK3, a very popular digital dynamics unit that can be found in many mastering studios across the world
The MM-1 plug-in is a "slimmed down" version of the original DS1-MK3 hardware that Softube claims features exactly the same algorithms from within the original hardware.
In this review, Production Expert takes a look at some of the new features and improvements in Pro-L 2. In this video, we test some of the new limited styles, the new 1:1 output feature and more. We use Pro-L 2 to apply limiting to the master track of a song using the new LUFS loudness meters.
In this Pro Tools Expert review video, we take a look at Ozone 8 by iZotope, claimed to be the smartest version of Ozone yet. We test a handful of new features including the new Master Assitant which isn't too dissimilar to the Track Assistant we first saw in iZotope Neutron 1.
In this video for Pro Tools Expert, Technical Editor James Ivey takes a look at the new Virtual Tube Collection (VTC) by Slate Digital. Steven at the team at Slate have collected together some of the finest valve (Tube) gear and worked there magic to create 3 very subtle but very useful additions to the Slate Virtual Mix Rack (VMR) family.
Pro Tools Expert team member Peter Barter takes a look at v2 of the Oxford Limiter from Sonnox. After running through the GUI and some of its new features you can also hear some examples of how loud this updated classic and very musical sounding plug-in can take your tracks.
Focus claims to perform best in mastering applications providing users with a mastering industry psychoacoustics secrets weapon. Sadly, the marketing that surrounds Focus does not go into much detail about the secret weapon.
Russ takes a look and listen to the new Abbey Road Vinyl plugin from Waves.
Designed with Abbey Road Studios, this plugin faithfully captures every stage of the vinyl production and playback process: You can choose between the sound of a pure acetate (lacquer) cut or the print master vinyl pressing from the factory, play the records on two distinct turntable types with a choice of three classic cartridges and even add the EMI TG12410 mastering console on the path into the vinyl lathe.
In this video review Pro Tools Expert team member Dan Cooper takes a look at a very clever metering plug-in called LEVELS by Mastering The Mix.
This brilliant FREE plugin from Nugen Audio is designed to help you compare two different plug-in or two completely different process chains.
In this video review Dan takes a look at the new Drawmer S73 Intelligent Mastering Processor plug-in by Softube.
Hear how it performs on a small selection of tracks and to find out why Dan has awarded it with a Pro Tools Expert Editors Choice Award.
In this review Dan takes a look at MIYO by H2 Design. MIYO is a portable mastering grade external USB headphone amp. Watch the video to learn what it's all about and to find out what Dan thinks.
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Russ from ProTools Expert takes a look and listen to the new Eiosis AIR EQ from Fabrice Gabriel. He gives a full show and tell of the features and some of the things he likes about it. Is it just another EQ plug-in or is there something special about this EQ? Find out by watching this extended review.
Russ takes a look at the new Massenburg DesignWorks® MDWEQ5 Parametric Equalizer Plug In For The UAD Platform.
Described as "A unique, ultra-powerful EQ, the Massenburg DesignWorks MDWEQ5 plug-in for UAD-2 and Apollo interfaces provides crystal clear processing at the highest resolutions. The MDWEQ5 plug-in is accurate, precise, and ear-tuned by the man who invented the term, “parametric EQ,” George Massenburg."
See it in action and find out what Russ thinks of it.
In this show and tell video Mike takes a tour around the brand new Visualizer 2 from Nugen Audio. Watch and see what he finds and how it could help you visualize your audio.
iZotope claim "iZotope's audio mastering software, Ozone 6, makes it easier than ever to master your audio simply and efficiently in one elegant standalone application." In this video review Russ takes a look at the iZotope Ozone 6 Mastering Plug-in. He takes a look at the new features in Ozone 6 Advanced and also gives his thoughts on those features.
Russ takes a look at the latest addition in the Avid Pro Series range of plug-ins for Pro Tools. The new Avid Pro Series Multiband Dynamics. It has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, watch the video to find out what they are and see what Russ thinks.