Mastering Your Own Productions With Software
It’s important to producers and beat makers to get a grasp on the fundamentals of mixing before delving into trying to master their own productions. With that said, there are plenty of dedicated software packages and tools that allow for do it yourself mastering. I’ve outlined 2 of the most used ones below, IK Multimedia’s T-RackS Software Suites and Izotope’s Ozone 6 Mastering Suite. Personally, I use both of these programs to finish up my productions.
T-Racks has been around for a long time. It was one of the first suites dedicated solely to the mastering process and has gained popularity due to its capabilities and hardware-mimicking interface. The program can be run inside of your DAW as a plugin 0r in standalone mode where you have to load a WAV fiIe. It comes in 3 different “suites” or packages; Classic, Deluxe and Grand.
The Classic Suite ($79.99) features the Classic T-RackS Compressor, Classic T-RackS Multi-band Limiter, Classic T-RackS Clipper, Classic T-RackS Equalizer, and T-RackS Meter. The Deluxe bundle adds seven more plugins with six of them modeled after classic hardware EQs compressors, and limiters.
The Deluxe version ($199.99) adds a Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter model 670 (based on the Fairchild 670), White 2A Leveleing Amp (modelled on the Teletronix LA-2A), Vintage Tube Program Equalizer (based on the Pultec EQP-1A), Opto compressor (based on the finest mastering opto compressor), Brickwall limiter, and a High precision, and a high definition Linear Phase Equalizer. It also features a completely new built-in metering section with Peak, Perceived Loudness, Phase, and RMS meters, plus a Spectrum analyzer with Peak, RMS and Averaging indicators.
The Grand version ($399.99) adds 5 new mastering tools to the mix:
- Quad Comp Multi-band Compressor
- Quad Limiter Multi-band Limiter
- Quad Image Multi-band Image Processor
- De-Esser Multi-band de-esser
- British Channel emulation of channel strip from a classic mixing desk
The bottom line is this. T-Racks simply works. It really does have MORE than everything you need to make bangers. The best part about it is that even though mastering plugins are general made to be used on the Master channel of your DAW’s mixer, using some of its plugins on your individual instrument or vocal tracks can add a variety of flavor. You can’t go wrong with T-RackS, but I recommend using at least the Deluxe version as the Vintage Tube Program EQ can do amazing things to your work and the White 2A easily allows instruments or vocals buried in a mix to cut through.
Ozone 6 ($249.00) is another suite with amazing capabilities. Unlike T-Racks which uses a hardware-like graphical interface, Ozone looks like a pure futuristic marvel. The software contains an Equalizer for initial sonic fine tuning, a Multiband Dynamics unit for Compression and Limiting, a Maximizer for getting max volume out of your music, a Multiband Exciter for adding punch, warmth and sparkle to your tracks or for replacing lost harmonics, Multiband Stereo Imaging allows to monitor and fine tune your project’s stereo image and width and a second EQ, titled a Post Equalizer is here for a second round of sweetening later in the signal chain.
Ozone 6 Advanced ($999.00) adds a third EQ named Dynamic EQ that adds 4 bands of dynamically-triggered equalization and also both Left/Right and Mid/Side processing. Advanced also adds the ability to use any of the six modules as a separate plugin in your DAW whereas standard Ozone 6 loads the entire mainframe.
Both version comes with a mad amount of presets for a bunch of musical styles and feel that you can use as a starting point to sweetening up your hits.