Create a bright and crisp master?


I have been working lately on recording stuff, mixing, mastering and that fun stuff with our Ardour friend. After trying different approaches, I am getting pretty close to the sound I am looking for, but there is one last elusive element I can´t seem to achieve.

When I A/B compare my tracks with other professional CDs, the main thing that stands out is that my tracks lack some crispness, some brightness, a bit difficult to explain. I have been tweaking EQs for some time now, also using bright HD TAP reverbs, but I am still not quite there.

Could you guys share your ideas on how to achieve what I am looking for?

You´re probably looking for overall high-frequency energy. You should boost this in the first place on the channels ment to be ¨crisp¨, like hihats, overheads and maybe vocals. I´d put a high shelving EQ on one of those channels. You can always use a ¨master EQ¨, like the one in JAMin, or just a ¨3band parametric with shelves¨, or ¨multiband EQ¨ on the master channel (everything pre-fader!).
If you want to look what you spectrum looks like, try to use JAPA. This spectrum analyzer is based on perceptual analysis. It means it compensates for the human ears. I find it´s more useful than JAMin´s FFT graph, which is also more CPU intensive.
Make a send on the master, with 2 channels towards JApa.
You can also use JAMin´s high-band compressor´s make-up gain, but don´t let it differ too much from the mid band, because it´s an fft-based crossover, which gives you very steep crossover slopes. (you can see this effect when soloing a band in JAMin).
Maybe you can post an example?


Btw, please avoid the use of the TAP reverb… It´s awfully tin-can sounding and CPU intensive. Try to use the C*Plate on drums, and maybe Jconv for the ambience.

Hey, thanks!!!

I tried your ideas and they did improve things, much appreciated!