Bouncing and Mastering


Most of what I read regarding mastering seems to indicate it's done after bouncing down to 2 tracks. Why wouldn't you just add the mastering processes to the bounce and do it all at once? I know in the old days you had to mix down to two tracks and then take your project to a mastering facility, but that seems unnecessary in todays world.

I'm sure there is a reason I just don't have the experience to figure out what it is.

Thanks in advance,
You actually answered your own question: mastering balances out the tone and levels of multiple tracks. That is why it is done at the end of the mixing process.
What George said...

Also it gives you a last chance to gain/regain perspective by traditionally a new set of highly trained ears, but at least a fresh set of yours. Sometimes amazing what a couple of days or so of sitting with a mix and listening in different environments, and yes, even taking a break from it can do to your perspective.

And I would add that will all that's often going on in a multitrack Logic or any DAW session adding more focus to the finality of mixing might be overloading the focus buffers some? But that's just me... ;-)

I often "master" stuff that's in progress, pre release, etc. Helps you hear what it mights sound like "finished." But for music, if I have the time and $$ I go to someone else and I've never been sorry for it.

Best to ya,

btw, spent most of my earlier years in Richardson and Garland.... : )
Ken, I spent my first 49 years in Santa Rosa CA. Small world.

I have mixed my first project down, bounced it to two tracks audio. Now I want to master. I have opened the new stereo mix in my project. I would like to use an external channel strip I have with a nice expander, compressor and limiter. The only solution I can think of with Logic Express is to route the new stereo mix out outputs 3/4 of my audio interface, connect those to my external hardware, route that back to my interface through two inputs ( lets say inputs 3/4 ) and assign those inputs to a new record enabled stereo track. Then play the mix and record the output of my external hardware. Then take that new stereo track and bounce that to a .wav.

Have I missed something? Is there an easier way to do this with Express?

Is always easier to throw money at it isn't it. :)
It sounds fine what you are suggesting, but there is also an I/O plug-in in Logic Pro (not sure it's in LE). You could use this to add your I/O instead.

Your concept is correct either way. Just make sure your gain staging is correct (that your inputs between your audio interface and your outboard are both +4 or -10 db levels, or else you may get either distortion or noise/hiss).

You just found another whole in my knowledge. My outboard gear is switchable, +4 or -10, my input on my audio interface is switchable but labeled as follows:

Low Gain: 0 dBFS =+16Bu
High Gain: 0dBFS = -10dBV (~-6Bu)

I'm using balanced TRS.

Setting it up -10 to -10 seems obvious. Is the low gain setting on my audio interface intended for use with +4 and if so would that be a better way to go?
So to clarify if I set my audio interface input to the Low Gain: 0 dBFS =+16Bu I can set my external hardware to the +4 and be good to go? I'm just not sure if my 0 dBFS =+16Bu setting really means +4 of if it's actually meant to use for a weaker signal like instrument level.
Ok don't laugh. I got a Behringer Pro-XL Composer MDX2600. Got it for 99 bucks. Thought I would see how it worked. Really bought it as a channel strip for recording but figured I'd try it in the mastering chain.

I'm sure I'll have to throw more money at this eventually. :)

Thanks for all your help.
Well, see what type of results you get. I'm not one to poo poo gear of any type if it does what you want it to.

I used to use their similar product for this in the mid 90s for leveling off my finished music for commercials before it went to DAT! You may want to use the stereo coupling, and really, don't use much of it. Try small settings with the limiter, maybe compressor. Touch it "lightly" so to speak.

BTW, Logics AdLimiter and MultiPressor (Not in Express, but worth it for Studio...) I bet would give you better results.

But try what you got, eh? Learning is great at any time, if you have the time... ;-)
Logic express also includes some Garage Band inserts. There is a multipressor there as well. I was going to try it as well and see what I get the best results from. It's all a learning experience.

I'm trying to keep from upgrading to Logic Studio too soon. I'd like to learn my way around express and purchase a few plugins before I put out that 300 bucks. I'm sure i will do it eventually though. Right now a drum plugin and something along the lines of Melodyne are next on my 'to be purchased' list.

I made a living playing music for a lot of years but I'm just getting started with this recording stuff. I've played with it in the past but just now getting into it seriously.

Thanks again,
It can be used as two mono strips or one stereo. It has a "couple" button that makes the controls for Ch1 the master and places the unit in stereo mode.

I spent quite a bit of time with this last night and couldn't get it to work well. I had a lot of trouble trying to find the right combination of settings between the 2600 and my audio interface. Interestingly, I finally broke it down and worked with it a channel at a time by unplugging the return of one of the channels. When it seemed as if I had a pretty clean sound listening one channel at a time, in stereo mode, I was surprised that when I listened to both channels together the balance was off even with the processor in stereo mode.

I'm hoping it works better when used in mono in front of my DAW while recording a new audio track. If not it was a 99 dollar experiment that didn't pay off.
I finally figured it out. Funny what a few hours sleep can do. My interface documentation had suggested that I set the outputs to the external device to a locked full volume setting. That seemed to be the problem. I set the output on my 2600 and the input on my interface to the -10 setting then unlocked my audio interfaces output volume and turned down the outputs from my interface to my hardware.

Everything looks good now. Setting both to +4 produces very low ouput and doesn't seem to work well.