Entire Mix & Master Guide

PryON's stupid guide to mixing, eq-ing and compression 
- dark arts he has no real clue about to be honest ffs.

This is a guide I wrote for unappreciative dickhead friends of mine who never paid it any heed and continue to churn out really shit sounding music because they didn't PAY ANY ATTENTION WHATSOEVER, in spite of the fact that they asked for it.


The tone of this presentation (if you can't tell already) will be sardonic, caustic sarcasm. Mostly because I just watched all the 'You Suck at Photoshop' videos (Ep 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_X5uR7VC4M ), Charlie Sheen is all up in everyone's grill right now and I keep thinking I'm him writing this, and partly because I am a sardonic, caustically sarcastic fuck and fuck you if 'caustically' or any words are mispelled or typoed here - I'm using notepad so no squiggly red lines for me :P 

Furthermore, NOTHING written in this guide is correct. I am a charlatan and a fake. I do not know ANYTHING about music production - especially about doing it right. I mix my music in my apartment living room/kitchen with constant background noise. I have mastered tunes with the washing machine on - RIGHT BESIDE me. The fact that my musical output is astoundingly brilliant is a headfucked mystery to me also).

Finally, if you are an audiophile producer type with NS-10's and padding wherever the 'sound architect' you paid thousands to model your porfectly ombiently bolonced studio yeah whatever piss off and don't be annoying me, I'm very busy applying LFO to a sub-bass bass BAAAAYYYSSSSline, distorting looped 909 kickdrum samples and over auto-tuning a Madonna acapella. 

(And if you are that type and rage at any of this: good! MWAhahahahHAHA!)

Oh, and it contains curse words.

Doing dem biznissez in the right order.

Step 1: Compose your tune.


Step 2: Decide that it's finished.

(in progress)

.... thought so.

FINISH THE FUCKING TUNE! Decide you have got to the point where any more arseing about with it will turn it into a shittier piece of shit than it already is. (Not talking about ButtMaster-Tea's tune, [EDIT: dickhead muso mate of mine] just my own sense of knowing I'm going to run out of 'ctrl-z's if I keep this mucking about up and don't have a backup to revert to - because who the hell saves work as they go, right?)

Tune finished...onwards and spiral downwards into the mix.

3. Mix.

mix = get the volume for each track right?

ARRRG! Get your levels, effects and stereo spread sorted.
Mmmm. Basically "get the volume for each track", but that's like saying credits are good debits are bad in accounting, or calling a remote control a 'zapper'. It's just fucking wrong.

ok.... the volume for each of my tracks varies wildly in the tune

*tears hair out* We will get to that.

When the 'volume' for each of your 'tracks' is 'right', you can MASSTOR! MASSTOR! JUST CALL MY NAME KIZ I'LL HEAR YOU SCREAM!

4. Master.

Squish your tune into a block so that it slides easily through intertubes and blasts louder than everyone else's songs out of radios (if you are very lucky).



Even if you can afford an Ambient Designer to put bits of foam on your walls (he will do this randomly btw - he hasn't any better an idea than you, but he makes fifty kazillion more quids than you do sticking foam on walls and he will charge you accordingly)...

Look DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOUR GEAR OR STUDIO SPACE. Buy what you can afford or use what you have. You will ALWAYS consider your equipment inadequate but it's not, ok sweetie? It's not. You have a very girthy penis, ok? Don't worry shnickens you will STILL BE ABLE TO PRODUCE EXCELLENT STUFF - even MORESO if you are working within limitations - you might just get CREATIVE! hMMMM?

K. Don't worry about your gear, K? Just don't worry. There, there. It's going to be just fine.

Look, I don't think you're ready to preoceed. You really need to consider this and let it sink in.

So your homework is look over your equipment and pet it. Give it a li'l slow wink. Rub it gently and hug it. Kiss it softly, deftly. Rub your body on it. Rub your body all over that wonderful gear you have. Make love to it. Passionate steamy love.


That part is really important. It might break things.

But the exercise is a promotion of LOVE for what you have available to you to produce QUALITY SOUND. You can do it with a dictaphone, pots and pans and a one string guitar - I SWEAR to you it is POSSIBLE!

So take that dictaphone and insert it..


2nd very important thing - do not take any of your gear into yourself in any way [Edit: possible exception, tube/mic setup for a voice-box]. That one could also land you in hospital and the nurses will be showing your xray to their friends at Friday night's dinner party and they will howl laughing at that Shure SM58 microphone poking out your butt and glug down another bottle of wine and then go "MIRRIAM! MIRRIAM! Show us the X-ray again Mirrium!" and howl laughing all over again.

Just don't do it.

But DO love and make sweet love with your equipment. Cherish it and love it and trust that it can and will be capable of producing the sounds you crave so badly - even though they are a blatant rip off of Daft Punk meets Justice that everyone is doing (don't do that).

Lovely stuff. Well done. We'll get down to 'doing dem biznissez' in a sec k?
There's no rush sweetie, just hump your gear and everything will be better I promise. K? 

Using the brains and the ears

So I take it you're like, all hopping up n down in your short pants, tongue stuck out waving to the side of your face as you eye up your EQ options on whatever the hell you're using - don't tell me I don't care!? :P
(No, do tell, because if I use similar I'll be all high fives and if I stopped using it years ago I can snicker at you, but, on the other hand, if I want it and can't afford it I'll be squinty eyed and bitter - so maybe don't).

Nah. Not yet there snapper. Still more boring annoying lecturing to sit through.


No matter how much (or little - more like) technical knowledge I have, my opinion isn't worth JACK SHIT FUCK ALL when it comes to YOUR creative output.
I may as well be telling you I fancy your granny or your hawwwt 19 y.o. sister.
It's up to YOU to want to bone these chicks to make it worth your while persisting with their seduction.

Besides which, when can you ever truly believe someone's opinion? You know yourself you are a lying cunt at least half the time you give an opinion. If you hate it and are being 'honest' you'll say 'That's not my bag, man, but it's good if you like that kind of thing' (note: EVERYTHING is 'good' if you like THAT KINDA THING) or if you think it's weak you'll pick out at least one strength and say 'RIGHT ON man I loved when you twiddled the thing and the other thing went boop', or if it's strong you might pick a flaw in it so it can be improved (to YOUR FUCKING TASTE dickweed) and if you hate the person you might diss it completely even if it's the best thing evrorr because you just are that kind of jealous asshole.

Point? I think you get it. BE CONTENT with your own output. Sure run it by motherfuckers. Don't expect genuine feedback though. Voluntary feedback is probably a little more trustworthy (but really not worth the data protocol it's printed on). Better yet is sitting WITH someone and just feel FEELINGS. Are you proud? Embarrassed at certain bits? Take note of YOUR feelings at the time because you will instantly be seven billion times more objective about your own work when there is an audience. But also be aware of their physical response in the moment (their facial expression/body language etc. Do they jiggle - in awkwardness or in enjoyment? Do they smile, nod or maybe head bang and RAWK FINGAHZ? Do they perhaps laugh at an inappropriate juncture and point at you and just not stop fucking laughing even when you break down in tears and beg them with your face buried in their crotch to just please stop laughing at me, just... just please PLEASE stop?)

But above all YOU enjoy it and feel that it's worthy of more work YOURSELF, k?


Regarding technical issues with YOUR SPECIFIC set up. Just know it yourself. People can help to a degree, but it's up to you to put in the work and research necessary to figure shit out. Play with it, break it, trouble shoot/problem solve. Use your MINDlogixx to fix and customise your own gear.

If that fails there is a BRAND NEW SERVICE!!! available to you.
Write your query on a postcard and submit it to 'The Magic Google Machine In The Sky'. You should hear back with a comprehensive list of resources to check within 2-3 weeks.

Right so you've just pooped yourself a little coz yurr choon is reddee! And it's 'maaaazin'!
You have finished composition and arranging right? You are sure there is JUST ENOUGH wacky pingpong delay on that synth track, RIGHT? Riiiiiight? You are NOT going to switch the kick drum for something 'boofier' ARRRRRRE YOU? rrrrr u? Our ewe?
If you have even a slight feeling that you'll be fiddling as we proceed from here STAWP! Fiddle away. Fuck up the whole tune and then dump it and start a new one and THEN when you are FULLY FUCKING READY come back to me.

Assuming you have followed steps whatever the fuck I said up to this point. (GO BACK AND READ IT ALL MOTHERFUCKER) everything sounds pretty sexy right now, but the mix is off and shit. And tbh some of it needs eqing and the loud bit is too blah blah blah.SHUTT-IT!

Let's just have a look see.

EQing during Da Mix

In mixing you may want to eq various instruments so they sound half decent and more importantly aren't taking up precious db's.

I read something a while back that I found hilarious, but it's probably true. "You wouln't believe the amount of bass in the air of your hihats".

dont know what that means

We'll get to that.


thats the realtionship between dbs and frequency?

Frequency is in hertz - pitch.
Decibel level is db's - 'volume'. Loudness is the correct term.

and add frequencies together and you generally get more volume?


Bass is possibly the best example.
Let's say you are mixing a bass guitar.


Prominent frequency on that instrument is mostly low. It goes buhm boohm buhduhm boohm. 80Hz-ish.
(Prominent frequency on hi-hats and cymbals is mostly high - them goes tss! TSHSHSHSH! Psst! 8kHz-ish)
(Prominent frequency of a human voice or guitar be in the mid-range - you get the jist 200Hz-ish).

Your bass may have a lot of loud sub-bass going on (below 50hz).
Strip some/lots of that off (unless you are doing WubbaDubstep - in which case you are fucked and why am I talking to you?). It's practically inaudible.
Sub-bass and bass in general will suck up your db's.

Think of it in terms of bandwidth. Sub-bass frequencies are like a popup window streaming video in the background, pointlessly sucking up Internet bandwith. YEAH! And the bass is the FILTHYgood redtube vid you are drooling over and the guiatrs and stuff are the flash ads of sexy ladies who are totally NOT in your area but some are pretty damn hot and you totally wish they were in your area and really did want to get jiggay and the cymbals are the text - shimmery enticing links and whatnot, the anticipation of which give you the cumdribble shivvvers.

Use e.q. and cut that sub bass. Anything below 30hz. Gone.
Probably best to use an EEE KYEWWW FILTOR - otherwise known as an E.Q. Filter.
Maybe use multi-band compression. DO NOT ASK ME HOW I'm about as clueless as you. Play with these things.

Tip: 'solo' the instrument. Watch your level - the little bar hopping up and down in the channel to show you how loud the 'volllyoome' (decibel, db level) is. Is it hitting zero db? (Is the bar going red?) Pull the fader down until it doesn't. EQ. Push the fader back up until it *almost* hits zero db/the red.
Sounds okay? Good, you have made room in the loudness/db's ('bandwith').

You do this with all tracks. Shuddup! Mastering comes wayyy later - when your composition and mix are FINISHED.

(NOTE: TRACKS and CHANNELS are NOT SYNONYMOUS! I don't expect you to get that, but bear it in mind. If you don't get it (and I know you don't) and ever feel the need to use the term 'track' or 'channel' always put a question mark after the word. "I'll just decrease the unvolumeinator on that... *track*?"
No, you'll just push the fader up on that channel - but not to worry, I could rage at you all the daze about this. I'm just going to breathe deeply and pretend you understand. K? And NO POINTING OUT if I get it wrong anywhere in this guide.)

We will tinker more with your bass guitar track's eqBUT I DUN HAVE A BASS G-It's A FREAKING *EXAMPLE*! This applies to ALL your instruments... 


So you had that bass guitar to eq, right?


Yeah, no. But it's a GOOD EXAMPLE for this so we're sticking with it. RIGHT?!

Now you realise that the bass is 1) not 'bassy' enough really and 2) too 'muddy'.

You turn up the bass right?


First you kill the 'mud'.

Sweep and cut.
Sweep EQ to find it. Perzaps use an EQ FILTER.
This is hard to explain. You want to listen out for (monitor) the unwanted frequencies.
It is an annoyance on the ear, but whatever. I'll explain as best I can but please jfgi. If your software doesn't have the option or you can't find a suitable VST or WHATEVER YOUR GODDAMN TROUBLE IS, tough titties.

You are trying to find the mud (it's probably somewhere around 200-300 hz.)
You want to BOOST around there and SWEEP through until you hear it most apparently - you may need to tighten your 'Q' parameter (this defines the 'width' of frequencies you are boosting). Then you CUT at that frequency.
I realise this is possibly all Dutch to you, but again jfgi and get out my face.

In layman's terms you are turning up the yucky pitch, finding it more precisely and then turning it down.

'solo' the instrument. Watch your level - the little bar hopping up and down in the channel, to show you how loud the 'volllyoome' (decibel, db level) is. Is it hitting zero db? (Is the bar going red?) Pull the fader down until it doesn't. EQ. Push the fader back up until it *almost* hits zero/the red. Like, just watch your level is all I'm saying.

Octave EQing

Okay but it's still not 'bassy' enough. I better turn up the bass with the EQ thingammy.

What you mean is it's not 'punchy' enough. You need to give it PRESENCE not more bass jeez!

The human ear doesn't really 'hear' bass so much. It picks up on it through other hints or signals, such as the sound of a plectrum (or 'pick') defining the attack (der biginnin) of the note.

That is what you want to 'turn up'. And those frequencies generally occur one octave up from the notes themselves.
Or tee put in a nudder way: at twice the Hz.! Oooh matehmatix is clevrr.

Lookie here, 'Glen' made us a lovely chart.
But use your damn ears.

SWEEP again, but this time boost. Not much. Generally the rule goes: try NOT to boost when eqing. And keep it subtle.
So, our new buddy Glen suggests we have a listen around 700hz-1khz (that's not twice 80hz. Indeed. It is TWICE it TWICE BY TWO! It's to the power of mazin betterer). Eh. No it's not. Yes. I see that. Glen is a moron. Just use your
ears, now let's move on.

Sweepy sweep. There it is. Ickle boost. Try it on the other octaves and all, fuck it, sure what do you have to lose?

'solo' the instrument. Watch your level - the little bar hopping up and down in the channel to show you how loud the 'volllyoome' (decibel, db level) is. Is it hitting zero db? (Is the bar going red?) Pull the fader down until it doesn't. EQ. Push the fader back up until it *almost* hits zero/the red.
It really is nice idea to keep an eye on your level, you know, watch it.

So anywayz...


Yep, I know it.

But... hear that? When you 'unsolo' the track, some notes are REALLY popping, and others are a bit lost in the mix.

(Oh bollox).

Compression is something that two, maybe three people in the world know how to do right and they are druids who can summon demons 'n' shit - certainly when it comes to mastering (we will GET TO IT LATER! ffs).

'Compressing' is what it says it is. It 'squishes' the sound so that louder bits go quieter and stuff stops popping out.

Again, we stick with this bass guitar you are so fond of - it's an ideal example again, especially because most bass guitar needs a decent bit of compression, as the instrument has a tendency for certain notes to pop out.

You will never get this right, I never have, but screw it, let's do this.

Set your db.
We're going to pretend you are compressing a miced-up (no, nothing to do with revamping instruments by putting mousies in them. I mean a bass amp with a microphone in fernt ovvit) live bass. You will never compress a miced-up live bass, but let's just do this for demonstration purposes.

K. I got it. I compress the bass. Make it all LOWD an everytings.
Uhmmm. *sticks tongue out and wiggles it around*
db 'thersh howld???'.. let's see.. all der way dowwwn. Infinimit! Yay.
Rationz... eh.. all der ways UP! Gun a rock dat fador up now... YAY LOWWWD!

Loud all right. The fucking bass amp hum is deafening.
By doing that you have compressed the queitest noise (the amp hum) to be as loud as the loudest sound (the thumb slap off the 'e' stringBOMP!)

Listen to the track now and it goes all sucky (literally it sounds like it's sucking - gobbling ferociously at a cow dangler. It's Tom Sucky Green and HE SUCKS!)

Just use your ears. Remember the things on the side of your head you used to listen to your composition as you put it together? I did mention you need them while mixing too.

If your ears have fallen off, figure out what the average level for the quieter musical elements of the bass track is.
Check that bit where yer man is slapping and popping and then does the nifty little fingering bit.

Without compression you can't hear his nimble fret work - it gets lost in the mix. When soloed you know it sounds awesome because you EQ'd that bastard like a pro, but in the mix you can't hear it behind that fucking guitar (TURN IT DOWN ALREADY! effing guitarists).

Sooooo.... what db is the nifty nimbly bit hitting. -10db is it?
Try your threshold at -12db.

Set your ratio.
Pump your ratio until it goes all sucky during the slap 'n' pop bit. (Must have ears for this part, sorry).
Pull it back to a touch under where it stops that sucky pig suckle nom nom sound.
Unsolo the track.

Turn that fucking guitar down a notch (guy uses so many pedals you will never need to compress that track - unless he turns one off then it's FACE PALM TIME!)

YAYYYYYYYY! We can hear the nimblynimble licks after the poppinslap even with mophead givin' it loads on his axe.

Careful now!
Unless you are Daft Punk, dynamics does be important in musics (we'll talk more about this in mastering).

E.g. snarez!
While you don't want half of them inaudible and others bursting eardrums, (particularly with a live drummer) you probably don't want all your snare hits at the same level right? You want to PRESERVE THE DYNAMICS so bear this in mind while compressing. You can easily strip out the performance or 'soul' of the instrument (even if it is a VST instrument) with compression.
Of course, that's fine with bass - 'performance'? 'Soul? They're just there to boost the sound of the guitar, no? Oh, and to chat to the drummer to keep the dumb sack from getting bored at gigs.

Repeat all that shite with all your tracks. Optimise their potential through EQ and compression.

'solo' the instrument. Watch your level.
Just. Just. WATCH YOUR FREAKING LEVEL!  Watch it! Waaaaatch iiiit!

Kewwwl, so you have optimised the sound for each track.
And you've watched your freaking levels, riiiight?

Now you are ready to mix.
Or as you stewpitly put it 'get the volume for each track right'.
ffs. Really?

Let's just flippn' proceed with the BS regardless of your cluelessness ffs.


Yay! The fun bit at last.

Mix it all (wit da fadorz) so it sounds nice.
Now, jamember, per chance, when you pushed the fader back up until it *almost* hits zero/the red for each track? When you, you know, watched your levels and that?
Yep, I never do that either, but let's pretend we all did that and we always do.

What instrument is going to be your most prominent? (FUCKING FORGET ABOUT VOCALS FOR NOW. Singers are dicks anyway. All music you are involved in should be instrumental. ZIP! ALL OF IT!)

That synth riff really drives the tune, yeahhhhh. That...

K unless you want to fade it - don't touch that damn fader whatever you do and DO NOT push it higher or it will CLIP (be hot/distorted). Mix everything DOWN around that. (Yes I know you want another instrument more prominent in another section, but you're a clever little soldier and you can figure out automation and all the tricks cantchya? Yes you can, yehhhsh! Just watch your fricken levels fruitbag).

I getcha bro!

Ah but do you?

Yep. But what about the vox bro?

Oh dear. I knew it.

Vocals should 'sit on top of the mix'. Get your mix sorted first and then 'sit the vocals on top'.
Just 'sit them on top'.
Don't forget to drown your vocals in reverb because the singer is a fuck load shitter than she/he thinks and reverb will gently wash away and soak over the cruddiness - and also water-massage their HUMUNGOUS EGO when they listen back.

For GEORGE FIFTH BEATLE MARTIN'S *SAKE* don't use autotune.
Oh. Too late. God damn AyyyyyyKON man. Fuck this shit.

Do what you like with the 'vocks' just be sure to 'sit them on top of the mix'. That's it. Just 'sit them on top' there.

And.... exhale.

Oh backing vocals? Pan them. I don't care. Treat them like guitars, whatever. (And no, I DO NOT KNOW how Shania Twain's husband gets that incredible sound on his backing vocals. I DO NOT KNOW stop asking).

Compressing vocals can be tricky by the way.
Use Bittney Spears accapellas and all that messy annoying work is done for you. Copyright Schmoppyright. Am I right?! (High-five).

Pan stuff left and right.
You probably already did because you are a total idiot and now when you change a pan the whole mix will fall apart. Uggggggggg. *sigh* Yeah, I can't compose well without mixxetty mixin' all the way through too. It would be a good idea to (somewhat) 'zero the desk' at this point (excluding the faders and eq on channels you used for sweeps etc. above). That means you RESET - pan everything centre and set all the channel eq's you stupidly fucked with while monitoring because the mid-range *BOOST* (oh, you didn't did you?) on the piano track helped you 'hear it better', but on second thought fuck that for a game of laughs.

Touch up the eq's on the channels a wee bit if necessary (SPARINGLY and TRY NOT TO BOOST! - you will be adding shitty db sucking frequencies all over the shop - remember the stupid video streaming pop up window in the background analogy? Boosting here will be opening little flash jobbies - not as bad as streaming video, but mmm.

Do all that shit for now - some VERY important mixing pro-tips to follow... (ffs).

Mixing: pro-tips:

Don't be a guitarist. Just don't.
This, believe it or not, is crucial, crucial universal and absolute advice.
Guitarists can't mix.
Guitarists especially can't mix guitar. Dumb ones put it too loud.
Self conscious ones have it way down in the mix. (I'm not even referring to those mixing their own stuff here.)
Same rule applies x99,000 to singers. Vocalists have NO EARS at all when it comes to mixing.

Back in my engineering days - before becoming barred from all studios in this city for reasons I won't go into here, I (of course) used most of my studio hours to record my own band.

We had one decent song (or one that stood out as a commer$hal potential chort toppah! It got one play on the radio and evryting!).
Mix was quiet but just fine otherwise until the solo. It fucking screamed out of the mix. Ear melting stuff.

Months later...having booted out our 'singer' I rerecorded myself for the vocal (another production NO NO - I even did it alone without a tape op, in the control room! LOL!) My voice was so sweet and delicious compared to his. Yeah I fucking NAILED it! *WINNING!*

Anyway. This required a new mix.
Guess what?
Yep - you got it. Where is the solo?? People were climbing into their speakers to hear my solo. CLIMBING IN THEIR SPEAKERS! Everyone, everywhere! CLIMBING. IN.... to their speakers yup.

And guess what too? Yuh-huh. The vox was mixed low and all.

We struggled on for maybe a year but that fatal mixstake (haha! mixstake! geddit?) cost us our fame and fortune.
Eventually I stepped on the DISHTORSHUN PEDDOLL one last time and switched to techno production because computers don't try and steal your fucking limelight as frontman and write songs that sound EXACTLY like fucking PRIMUS evendowntothe f...fakeAmericanaccent. AND!!! AND! CHEAT ON YOU WITH EDDIE FUCKING ROCKSTAR IN THE GARDEN OF A PARTY WITH THAT TUNE HE'D ALREADY BROUGHT TO REHEARSAL FOR *US* TO WORK ON DURING THAT FUCKING WEEKfucking cunnnnnnnnnnn.... And stuff.

Yeah, good times. Being in a band is like marriage really. It's all about communication and compromise and other words that start with C. 

When your mix is nicey soundy double check that your master peak level (your STEREO OUTPUT LEVEL - it most likely has a red 'light' or some indicator flashing like crazy because you DIDN'T WATCH YOUR LEVELS! and bumped up that synth like I told you not to.
If the SIGNAL (your 'song') is too HOT (clipping/distorted) it will sound like Nirvana but not in a good - Steve Albini (renowned sound guy , look him up you clueless dickwad) way.

Ideally it should be peaking in or around -3db
Lash down your master fader until it's usually always green.
If you have to pull it WAY down, you did something wrong DUMMY!

This always happens me. I just normalise it in Soundforge. Kerblammo.

(Oh fucketty fuck bollox oh crap).

(Also, I just realised 'mastering' is a shitty term. It looks like it's a verb in the headings below. 'mastering e.q.' I suppose I could put the two little dots on their side - that might make a bit of freaking sense right there).

Your tune should ideally sound very similar across a wide variety of equipment. Like a successful record will sound great on a transistor radio as well as in a club with 20,000 WATTS of boom boom shake the room power.

Even BEFORE your track gets to mastering phase you should be burning a CD and playing it ALL OVER THE SHOP. (HAHA FUCK YOU! I didn't mention that back then did I? pfft. That's because I forgot because I never do it.)

But LITERALLY go down your local shop and demand they put it on ("customer is always right!") so you can hear it there. Then go to the omgkewwl scenester Phunky Clotheeng Store in town and get them to play it (man, that bass is poppin' - iKr?!). Sit in your friend's beat up banger of a vintage automobile and play the 8-track  copy you just made. You can't output to 8-track? Oh for fuck's SAKE! You NEED EVERY FORMAT AVAILABLE TO TEST THIS SHIT!

...phonograph cylinder, 78's all that shit. Just test it anywhere and everywhere. You will surprise the fuck out of yourself how varied your mix will sound. Of course it won't have bass on tinny laptop speakers, but you shouldn't notice the guitar more than the shit sounding cheesy strings you decided to put in there to make the mid section all 'poignant' (you fucking pussy), when you play it on your Dad's 26 year old Panasonic  hi-fi vs. your CDJ 1000 / Numark DXM06 / TurboSound Impacts setup. (His rig kicks yourse's ASS by the way).

But anyway, you were saying...

Yay. Mah mix is all kindsa orrsum and I made it mahself an put hourz of time into it and I luvs an I can't wait ta put it on dem intornotz an every1 doonloud it an me get fayyymus an all like THe Skrllix their da best wub wub ;) dirty knickers lol.

<b><i><u><font size="9000" color="#FF0000">WROOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!</b></i></u></font>
Fucking wrong wrong wrong.

NEVER! NEVER! @EVER EVER!@!!"!11!...
Just never master your own work.
If you can't afford to get it done professionally (and there *are* decent reasonably priced services out there), at least get a competent fellow music head to do it.

Fresh ears are ESSENTIAL in the mastering process.

The very fact that you are so close to the tune means you have NO objectivity and haven't a breeze as to how it will sound to your audience when you do put it up on your shitty youtube channel, or worse yet, myspace (use soundcloud, numbskull).

:( But I can't afford to get it mastered and my friends are all either too busy and superdupercool or stupider than me at muziks perdukshun and anyway I don't trust anyone with MY PRRRESHSHUUUUSSS.

Yeah, me too. That's why I always master me own choons.



(The dots really work. Man, I'm good.)

Follow the same EQ principles as before, but this time it's a lot more delicate and subtle.
DO NOT BOOST if you can help it! Can't stress this enough.

Here we will use a cooking analogy. Huzzah!

Roll off (turn down), cut the sub-bass frequencies - that is the fat on your meat. Slice that shit off and throw it to the dog.
Again 50hz and below (unless it's dooorty Dubstep, in which case you are fucked and will never make anything that remotely compares to yer fave - Skrillex, yoo loozer).

Drain off the juice.
Take off any mud. Nothing too drastic - there SHOULDN'T BE ANY MUD IN YOUR MIX ANYWAY NUMBNUT!

Subtly enhance and touch up a band here or there to add yummy sauce.

Now. Get BOOSTING!!!
Up in the high end is all sparkle. This is your seasoning. Taste and retaste.
Throw up those frequencies a bit here 'n 'there all the way up there.

Oooh! So shiny and sparkly!


When using graphic eq (with the bands and that - no not rock bands, the things what look like little faders - DON'T CALL THEM FADERS!) make sure it's a smooth wave looking thing. Don't have *just* your 900hz slider way up (or way down, but I realise you aren't taking on board the 'no boost' rule so that is redundant) because it 'gives the kick drum definition'.
Other shit is there too spanner, and will jump out jarringly from the mix. Each slider should be relatively nestled between or sitting just above the two either side. A wavy curvey thing.

Oh fuckit. HERE:

 |    |   |    |    |    |   |   |   |   |
 |    |   |    |    |    |   |   |   |   |
 |    |   |    |    |    |   |   |   |   |
 |    |   |    |    |    |   |   |   |   -  db
 |    |   -    |    -    |   |   |   -   |
 |    -   |    -    |    -   |   -   |   |
 -    |   |    |    |    |   -   |   |   |
 |    |   |    |    |    |   |   |   |   |

Flowy wavey curvey. See?

STILL Don't know what I'm talking about do you? (I KNEW that painstaking ascii diagram was a waste of time).
JFGI! (Don't know what jfgi it is? (I realise I mentioned it before, but didn't clarify). This helpful link will tell you all you need to know: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=jfgi - any conundrum in the Universe can be answered at that site.)

(See what I did there? Man, I am a witty bastard).

Anyway. EQ blah blah. You can try your hand at multi-band compressy type EQ whenever you want. Just don't ask me a damn thing about it. I've used it successfully in the past, then gone back to use it next time and been all like wtf? idk whhhhhat I am doing lol this makles no difference buhhhh... and tings.


Again with this fucker.
Much like EQ mastering, ('mastering EQ': whatever you: want: to call it) and everything else preached about here, I am not going to pretend I know dick about compression in the mastering process.
I've heard 'normalise only once'. *shrug* yeah sure. I guess.
I've normalised, compressed, 'mastered' a tune. And then decided I want another instrument in it.
Mix it again? Fuck that says I. I just reduce the master by a few db, lash in the new instrument or whatever. Normalise. Compress. Normalise. REcompress. Export it to notepad, check it against that green code stuff in the fucking MATRIX, change a few ascii characters here and there. Write "I AM THE FUCKING BOMB NOBODY CAN STOP ME" right there in the middle of the file, save, open it in PHOTOSHOP which says it's not a valid file until I slap it around and finally it concedes and does what it's told and THEN I paste an IMAGE OF MYSELF looking toooodally hot!!! into a new layer, reduce opacity to 50% and FFFINALLY convert the fucker into an mp3 at 60kbps bitrate and it still sounds like fifteen large refuse sacks of AWESOME because that is! How I roll.

Seriously, I break the rules. Never, ever break the rules. It is so bad.

Okay - here's my 'magic BREAK ALL THE GODDAMN MASTERING RULES trick'.


A thing called 'wavehammer' in Soundforge.
what is it? i doesnt soundforge anywhere

Get it.

I don't eq for precious dbs - just on instruments so it acheives the 'right' sound to my ear.

Then I make sure the output is not peaking in whatever software I'm using. (Rock stereo fader WAYY down LOL!)
Bring it in to Soundforge.

I barely ever master: eq: master.
I MAYYY roll off frequencies in the booooooooohhhhmmmmbooooooooohhhhmmmm end.

Normalise - This makes the loudest element of the tune 0db and brings everything else up the same amount.

Now here's the trouble. Half the freaking madbawnkorz snares I threw in at the end are 5db louder than the rest of the mix.
5 blasted db'z?! How the fuck did that happen? But they do sound all kinds uncredible HURTLING INTO MY EARS LIKE ACID HAIL. ZER0pH! IT BURNS BUT IT BURNS SO GOOD (WHAT???! *lifts dreadlock-wig behind ear*)

Eh... maybe I did everything wrong? Well, OBVIOUSLY, but...
Yep, get that all the time. I didn't mix it right really did I? I should go back and re-eq and compress the snarez an' all and redo the mix andfuck that BORRRING.

I zoom in on those hits, select them and draw a graphic fade which dips about 5db right on each hit. (I'm effectively doing a 'manual compression'.)
Normalise - adds 4.3db YAY!

Then I hammer it to fuck - within reason (the concept, not the software - nor with an actual hammer).

Wavehammer is a magical box of magical wizardry in Soundforge.
I used to spend hours dicking about with compression until this came along.

Same concept as compression above.
Find the average quiety part of the tune.

Say it's about -8db. Set threshold to -10db.
Try the ratio at 2, then 2.5. Don't throw it higher than 3.5 - you are not Daft Punk remember.
Dick about until it sounds nice and loud, but no audible 'sucking' (you'll know what I mean when you do it, trust me *slurp*). Hit stop and check a recent release from a similar genre. Need to turn down the speakorz? Then you are doing it incorrectly my friend. HAMMER TIME!

Again, consider dynamics. (Google 'loudness war' a very interesting topic/'conTROVERSY' in today's music mastering eh.. climate. Actually the animated gif at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war might enlighten you visually as to what compression is all about).

(I am so signing up to be a soldier in the LOWWWWWDness W0rZ.)


Yo mah choon is like all BOOMKAPOWBLOMSMACKAPAKAWUPVROOM in mah earz an mayk my sexwee come in muh pantiez YUSSSSSSSSSS! Uhm *the toungue thing again* ...expoat, empeefree... er *tounge thing*

<b>Hold up, wait a minute!</b>

People will tell you not to use mp3. They will demand you use some lossless format that .01% of people in the (non music) real world give a shit about.
I do mp3 but I would advise you to read up on lossy and lossless formats and decide for yourself.

You are uploading to your fucking youtube anyway (which I *told* you not to do) so they will reencode and fuck your sound up so whateverz man. (I think soundcloud actually do that also - AND seems to me they compress/effectively auto-remaster.
What am I doing on soundcloud? They are shitheads! AND youtube are doing HD audio now wtf? WHY CAN'T I DO ANYTHING RIGHT?


Export/transcode at NO LOWER than 192kbps. Use a variable bitrate if you insist, but I don't.
Variable bitrate is essentially a bunch of digital gremlin sprite things which go RIGHT INSIDE YOUR FILE, right in there, like, and tinker with your precious datas. Fixed bitrate leaves the digital gremlin sprite things out of it and even your mother will tell you that's just common sense.

Kewl. Look at you with your very own mp3 which you can hold in your hands and pet lovingly and cradle in your arms as you rock it to sleep in the evening and all the witty stuff I'm bored of trying to say anymore.

But, yes. Yay for you. Yay for me. Yay for all of us.
I do hope there has been a *morsel* of helpfulness amongst the huhhhuhhuhhhLARIOUs ranting and terrible, terrible sound advice.