Quick Mastering Tip + Ableton Freebie
Today, I will share one of my tricks when it comes to the final Master check, which is basically, multiband analysis. This technic comes handy when you sometimes feel that something might sound odd, but you really can't tell what is actually is. Apart from this, it wouldn't hurt if you give it a final frequency check, as it might reveal some mixing/mastering issues.
"Multiband Master Check" - What it consists:
Probably, you are already familiar with Multiband Compression, where you can select and compress elements by frequency band, so you already know that most of the Multiband Compressors have a "Solo Listening" button on each band, where you can solely listen to that specific band (for example, 60Hz to 120Hz if you select this interval).
The sort of Multiband Analysis that I'm talking about, is pretty much that "Solo Listening" function by band - this way, you will be able to check a specific set of bands and do the corrections that you might feel necessary.
At this point, you might be scratching your head and already underestimate the utility of this technic, however, once you tried it, it could be pretty revealing.
As a personal preference, the Bands that I normally select to do this sort of check are:
35Hz to 85Hz - The Sub area, where I can listen for example, how the kick is interacting with the sub bass, or, if something is overpowered comparing to other tracks that I might use as reference; (I am of course, just giving you a few examples of the multiple uses for these technic)
85Hz to 250Hz - Which is where stuff like. the "puffiness" of the kick, the bassline, the lowest frequencies of a vocal, some snares, and a whole of other instruments might show up. We are also entering in "mud" territory;
250Hz to 600Hz - The Low mid area, and where that "muddy" sort of feel might show up. One last check on these frequencies might help fix this issue, for sure;
600Hz to 2KHz - Mid range territory... Well, the name says it all, as this gives the opportunity to clean this area a bit more, do some fixes, and even get you to imagine how it might sound on small size speakers, like mall/elevator speakers.
2KHz - 20KHz - High Mid and High End area, which allows to fix, bring clarity, fix some extra "hiss", sybilance, over-powered instruments, and more. If you want to get clinical with this you can alwasy creat extra bands on the high-end section.
What I offer:
I've created a dedicated tool in Ableton Live, containing 5 frequency bands, that you can easily select and turn on/off. You can add extra bands, or change its frequencies if you wish. Also, I've add the Ableton Live's frequency analyzer "Spectrum" on every Band, just in case you wanna have a visual reference.
"I don't use Ableton Live - What shoudl I do then?"
In that case, you will probably be able to do this with any stock Multiband Compressor, just make sure that the bands that you are listening to have threshold at Zero (so, the multiband compressor won't be affecting the sound).
Hope you enjoy the read, and have fun using this technic!