Mastering Trick with Limiter Automation – Adding Energy to the Chorus.
Mastering is very important in today’s music. We have different genres, played with different instruments on a hundred different devices. Knowing this fact, you can only imagine the importance of a good mastering. No matter on what kind of device it is played, or what is the music genre, both, the artist and the audience wants to have loud, clear, punchy and exciting final product.
With the method that I will present to you in this article, in the mastering process beside the loudness and compression you can still add volume difference and the most exciting parts to be perceived by the listener as 1 or 2db louder. Once I was asked to do very loud mastering but yet to have dynamic difference in the ending chorus after a powerful bridge. I was given only stereo mix and that was all. I was aiming at -8, -9 RMS Level because I was asked to make the mix loud as possible. when I hit the last limiter L2, the mix lost the excitement and volume difference between the bridge and chorus. It was just a straight line.
I love automation, especially on panning and volume in different song parts in the mix, but this was mastering. I said to myself, I must try limiter automation in the end. I know that this RMS Level change should be subtle, so I’ve automated the L2 just a little bit. I’ve lowered the threshold 1-2db, to compress more when the chorus enters. With this automation I’ve added 1-2db on the RMS Level on the last chorus only (I suggest this to be done after a beak or drop). The level of the song is -10db RMS, and after the bridge it is -8db RMS. After I’ve done this, I felt energy difference between the bridge and the chorus.
I am audio engineer but also songwriter, and I am trying to keep the music feeling inside of the mix and mastering process. I remembered one thing from my mentor, he said: “Recording is science, but mix and mastering is ART”. I remembered those words and that is my approach when I do mix or mastering.
I approach to the music as a musician, you should try too.
I want to experiment because we do not know everything, and this is not the final invention stage of the music production era. I am not afraid to do mistakes in the conquest for better final product.
Try this mastering trick and let us know if it was helpful.