Mastering in Logic Pro X - The Beginners Guide | Tomas George | Skillshare

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Mastering in Logic Pro X - The Beginners Guide

teacher avatar Tomas George, Music + Audio Production Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction and What you are Going to Learn


    • 2.

      Introduction to the Basic Mastering Chain


    • 3.

      Gain Staging


    • 4.

      EQ Recommended Practices


    • 5.

      Compression Recommended Practices


    • 6.

      Limiting Recommended Practices


    • 7.

      Thanks and Bye + Class Project


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About This Class

This course will show you on screen with me the basics of Mastering and the Basic Mastering Chain

In this class, we are going to be looking at 

- Gain Staging

- EQ

- Compression

- And Limiting

By the end of this class you will understand the basics of Mastering Audio in Logic Pro X

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Tomas George

Music + Audio Production Instructor


Hi, Tomas here. I'm a UK Music Producer, Audio Engineer, and Composer. I've been producing and writing music for over fifteen years.

I have an MMus Masters Degree in Music Production and a BA(Hons) in Music Composition.

I really enjoy creating and editing all types of music, but I especially love teaching it online.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction and What you are Going to Learn: Hello, It's Thomas George. And welcome to this class all about the basic mastering in logic pro TEM. So if you're brand new to mastering, this course will show you on screen with me how you can start to master your own music. Today we're going to be looking at things like gain staging e que compression and limiting . So if you want to improve the quality of your masters that make sure you enroll in this class. 2. Introduction to the Basic Mastering Chain: Hello and welcome to this section. I'm going to be going over some of the basics for mastering. So this sections for anyone that really wants to jump in and start mastering their tracks straight away. I'll just be giving you a quick overview of some of the best practices you can use if you want to quickly master your songs right now today. But this section, like I said, it's just for anyone who wants to jump in and start master gonna music right away. So thank you for watching, and I'll see you in the next lecture where we're going to be talking about Gain Staging. 3. Gain Staging: Hello and welcome to this lecture. All about gains structure. So when we creating a master channel, we're going to add some plug ins on the 1st 1 we need to put on before anything else before compressor before limiter before e que. Before anything like that is gain gain is the most important plug in because gain will actually dictate the sound created on the track. If it's too hot, if there's too much gain going in, it will affect some of the other plug ins. So this is one thing that love people just overlook is adding simply gain on? To do that, all we have to do is click on the effects, go down to utility and choose gain. Of course, we're going to choose stereo because we're mastering is always going to be in stereo, and here we can just simply increase the decibels up or down. If anything goes above zero, it will actually clip or distort, so we never want to go above zero on mastering music. So mastering engineers might want to use plug ins that are non linear, which means the plug ins are affected by the amount of volume going into it. So things like compressor, for example, compress it will only actually compressed the audio if there's enough gain going in there. If it doesn't go up to the fresh hold or pass the threshold, it's not actually going to do anything. It's not going to compress on the way we can actually get compresses. Toe work effectively is toe have enough gained going into it. So let's just get a quick example. We're going to leave this game. Plug in here on below. We're going to add a compressor. So let's go down to dynamics and then compressor and choose stereo. Okay, let's just play this track that poets a bit louder. You'll notice now. Compressed Needle. How much is actually compressing? So increased the games, so needle compressor. A lot more work. Pressing a lot more decibels way. Bypass the game. I noticed the compressor doing a lot less work. It's impressing a lot less. This'd because this is a non linear plug him so over. Plug ins like limiters or any analog model gear are all non linear, so we do need to be aware of the gain. That's the most important thing to start with a lot of people trying to throw in loads of different plug ins on the mastering chain or in the master project when really the 1st 1 they need to do is gain is the most important one. So don't forget to use gain. We can even use it to turn down tracks off the tracks. Too hot, because the plug ins late run might actually affect the overall volume off the track. So Step one is have a gain stages. You can use more than one game plug in. For example, the gain only goes up to 24 decibels and goes down actually 96 decibels. So if you do want to increase even more gain, there's no reason why you can't add another game. Plug in plug ins like limiters have gained on there also, But before you go to a limiter before you go to any of a plug in, make sure you have your gay and set up. You'll need head rumor mastering so we'll need space in your mix because, like I said, some of these plug ins world changed overall sand that can make it a lot louder that can change the sounds so make sure getting this set up. So thank you for just lecture. Just basically about gain and how important the gain plug in is and gained. Staging is for mastering. 4. EQ Recommended Practices: Okay, now we're going to talk about EQ, which is equalization. So EQ is a frequency balancer. So it's basically like you're mixing the frequencies. So let's just open up a channel EQ to start with, we can either double-clicked on here, this will open channel EQ, or we can go down to the plugin and just go down to EQ and then choose channel EQ. And notice, when we double-click on here actually goes below the gain plugin. See it is really like a mixing desk. You're mixing the different frequencies of a c. The more I left you go, the lower the sound, basically the lower frequencies and the higher you go, the higher it gets or the higher the frequencies. And then we do have a feature called analyzer, which we'll analyze the frequencies in real time, will show you what the track is actually playing. So let's just play the track now and I'll show you what the analyzer is actually doing. Obviously down here. The bass part, the kick drum around. Here's a snare, the vocals, the brightest sounds. But I wouldn't really use analyze or do you think it can make you lazy? And we don't really know for sure what exactly is going on with this analyse it. It's a lot better just to use your ears. So if there are any unwanted frequencies, there's a few ways we can actually find them. The easiest way is to actually make a boost and a notch and just find that frequency. We can get of an EQ plugins, which actually allow to solo certain bands. But unfortunately, the Logic Pro built-in channel cubed can't do that, but there's still a few different ways. So say for example, we want to find the frequency. We can just boost it up and then pull it tight like this and just search for until we find that frequency. Say I really don't like this base rumble. We could just put it down a little bit. Subtle difference, but if we turn off the EQ and turn it on and you can hear that base Rumble is reduced slightly. It's a subtle difference. I wouldn't just EQ for the sake of it, only really EQ if you need, if the song sounds fine. If the frequencies are ballads, don't change a thing. I listen. Listen back to the truck several times, just heft any frequencies that stand out at Santa shouldn't really be there. And if the RNA maybe go through and just try take out some of those frequencies or reduce some slightly just to make the overall mix better. So that's what we call surgical EQ. We do get something called broad stroke EQ, which is basically we add or take out a larger sections. So this is a whole load of frequencies rather than a surgical or very small amounts. A common example that lot of people could use if there's a lot of really low rumble, you could add a high-pass EQ. So this is passing the highs and cutting out some of the lows. This can be quite common if it's a really low rumble, but there's no absolute rules if it doesn't need it, don't do it. So let's have a listen back to distract nervously if you pass it too much. You can hear all that laws are being reduced or taken out. Of course, always compare and always switched EQ on and off just to find out what you've actually done as improved the truck on that if you do it just for the sake of it because you've been told it must roller. And if I'm below 20, did not really EQ and correctly I have to use your ears and just do what the truck wants to do, what the track needs. If the track doesn't needed enqueuing, don't change it. If you feel at the certain frequencies that jump out at you change it. Like I said, just see this as a mixed industrially. Imagine each one of these tracks is a different frequency range of different band of frequencies. And just go for it and balance it and make it sound as best you can. Also volume much in is extremely important. Say we eat queuing. And we'll add a high shelf set. For example, we're adding a lot of trouble here. Overall Making the track louder. And there's tricks our ears when we hear music louder, generally it sounds better. So we're thinking this track sounds better because it's louder when really. Just because it's louder does not mean it's better. And always make sure when it EQ is on and when your IQ was off is the same volume. So say for example, now we have made the track a lot louder. This EQ. Make sure to pull it down at the overall volume. This gain dial over here, because one, to balance it, make sure it's the same volume on and off with EQ. Or otherwise we'll just be Ekin for the sake of it, which is not what EQs for. I've seen a lot of producers before who just popped plug-ins on for the sake of it, or add some presets, which is not what we are going to be doing this course. I don't want you to use any presets when you're mastering your tracks or its start from scratch, listen carefully and only do what the truck needs. So this is a basic overview of IQ. But I hope this has given you the basic understanding of EQ and how you can use an equalizer or mastering your tracks. So thank you for watching this lecture and I'll see you in the next one. 5. Compression Recommended Practices: Hello, welcome to this lecture all about compression. So when we're compressing something, but we'll need to use a plugin called a compressor. So compressed that manages the dynamics of a signal by turning something down when it's too loud, or by telling something up when it's too quiet. So sometimes you might want to use the compressor to make a denser, more glued together. Sounds. Like I said previously, don't add this just for the sake of it. If the truck doesn't need a compressor, don't add one. And most importantly, when we're using a compressor, we will need to level match. If we're using a compressor and the compressor too much, we might actually change the overall volume down. So we'd use makeup gain twice to compensate for the amount of volume or gain that's lost. So we will need to AB, which basically means turn the plug-in on and then turn the plugin off and make sure that both the same volume. Because sometimes if one of them is louder than the other, you will actually get this perception that that one is better or that one sounds nice just because it's louder. The ear can play tricks on you where you think something is better because it's louder when it's not. So when you're using any plug-in, you need to AB it's actually test what it's like on, what's like off and make sure your level match and make sure they are the same volume. Because this is something called the loudness bias, where you quite simply biased towards something because it's louder, which is what we do not want when you're mastering attract. So let's add on a compressor. So let's go over to applicant channel here. And then let's go down to dynamics and compressor. Of course, we're going to use stereo. And let's just play this track. And I'm just going to compress some of it just for demo purposes. Because see the needle obviously compressing the other view of the graph. I passed the buffer using the meter. So say for example, we just compressed the villa, which is the ratio or the AB. Test this to however the compression on and a compression off. You can hear it's a lot louder it with a compression on. So we can do if you were going to compress this much, which I don't recommend, but just for demonstration purposes, we can actually decrease the makeup gain by few decibels. And now when we AB tests the Mavs similar volume, because we don't really want to be tricked. So thinking whatever's louder is better. So just remember that. And never example you could use a compressor for is to actually reduce the peaks reduced allowed as part of the song. So when we put it into a limiter, which we'll look at next, we can derive more gain into it. So in that actually distort in the trap before it goes into a limiter. So you can add a bit more power to the limit, and that's something else we can do. But for now let's just go into the compressor and I'm not going to compress as much as less. So obviously, I've adjusted the threshold and the ratio. And because of this, the volumes actually changed. So when you do change the threshold, we do change the ratio, make sure you always AB tests and always Volume match. So when the compressor or the plug-in use is on or off is the same volume. This is a complete overkill though when you compress in, does not want to compress this patch. So random AI has more of a realistic place wave actually from press. Now obviously it's a lot quieter, so we're gonna increase. And then when we AB tests. So very seminal volume. So now what the compressor is really doing is it's just taking out some of the really loud parts, is just making that a bit quiet assembly. So when there's a loud drum hits or part of the track gets a little bit too loud. Well, actually decrease the volume. And as always, defer compressible limiting basically, but it does of course depend on the track. It depends what you want to achieve with your master. So that's just a really quick overview of compression and how you can use a compressor when mastering your track. 6. Limiting Recommended Practices: Hello and welcome to this lecture where we're going to be looking at limiting and a limiter. So a limiter limits the peak level, has basically what it does. It allows you to increase gain with minimal distortion. So the alternative of actually using a limiter to increase the gain into the clips or distorts, which isn't really what you want. The purpose of a limiter is to eliminate clipping without losing gain. You really want to turn up so it's loud, not too loud that it distorts. Later on, Chris will be looking at fixed monitoring levels. But basically what you want to do is want to listen to all of your music and mix a master at the same level. So you know what it is, you know what that volume is. You're not changing your speaker. Lovely, not changing your headphone level to try and find what Laertes you just listen to your music at the same level. And then you will know what ladders. If you can't get to that loud point, if it's distorting or clipping before you get to the last point. There may be a problem if your track, you might need to EQ something out, or it might be a problem with your compressor. You can even compress the peak levels even more. So you can push it harder in a limiter and get louder. So let's open up limiter. So we go over to our channel here. And let's go down to dynamics. And let's choose limiter and choose stereo. I do like using a separate limiter, but like I said, you can use the one in the compressor limiter is a limiter. All it really does is limit the peak level. So we can increase the gain here, or we can increase the gain in the game plug-in. I'm actually going to increase the gain in the game plugins. Let's open this. Christopher, we'll be talking about the ideal peak level later. But for now, I'm just going to show you a limiter and how a limiter works. So of course you always want your output level below 0. I'm just going to leave it as minus 0.1. And now let's play the track. Obviously we get input coming in here, coming out here, nowhere near 0. So we cannot increase this gain. So the gain on the gain dial is up plus 24. And I do actually want to increase this even more. So we can add another gain doll, or we can simply just use the gain on the limited. But I'm just going to use the gain on the limiter. It doesn't make any difference. Gain is gain. So let's just play this and I'm going to increase the gain even more. And then once we get past minus 0.1 and the peak level, you'll see a reduction here, which I should take some of the peaks so we can increase the gain without distortion. If we push it too far, you will get distortion, which is not what we want. We could wanted kinda find that sweet spot where it's allowed, but not distorting. And like I said previously, you need to find out what loud is with fixed monitoring. But Christopher, like I said, we'll be talking about that later on. So lets just have a look at the limiter and continue limiting increases. And you can see the reduction here that you can hear it's distorting its clipping, you're losing quality. So we needed a last game than that. So round about, there is a sweet spot. I would say it's loud, but it's not distorting, not really losing too much quality in the audio. Of course, you will need to spend a lot of time doing this. And that's just a quick overview of the mastering chain. Since past few lectures we have looked at gained with that EQ compression and ltr, which is the complete basics of mastering. So if you just want to start mastering right now, to scale through the tips or showed you buy some past the usual ears cave, regain EQ compression and the limiter, and start realizing what stuff actually does. And if there's any problems, need to go back and tweak some of these different plug-ins. And of course, like I said, you do need AB tests with limited cart, really A-B test too much because the whole point of this is to increase the gain with minimal distortion. So if you turn off this examples obviously going to be a lot Quasar. So when you turn us off is obviously going to be a lot quieter. When you turn on. It's obviously going to be a lot louder because we're looking for that loudness sweet spots. But this is just the basics for anyone that's brand new to mastering and the one to get started and mastering right now. So thank you for watching this lecture and I'll see you in the next one. 7. Thanks and Bye + Class Project: Okay, so you've made it to the end of this class and I hope you've enjoyed it. So class project is to actually use the skills and techniques have taught you and apply this to mastering your own song. I don't want you to take a screenshot of some of the different plug-ins, such as gain, EQ, compressor, limiter. And then write a short description of why use these settings and then post this as a class project so we can see how you've mastered the song. So thanks again for watching and I'll talk to you soon.