Rank #1: The Mastering Show #25 - Stereo: width, depth and image - how to measure, monitor and master them
* What is stereo ? The simplest and most sophisticated types
* Ian's new favourite mixing plugin for creating stereo from a mono sound
* How to measure stereo width and control it
* How to influence reverb levels in mastering
* What is M/S processing - and why it's probably not exactly what you think
* The power & problems of M/S processing
* Recommended stereo processing plugins
Our guest this week is Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart's Blog
Flux stereo tool
Jerobeam Fenderson - music made for oscilloscope
Voxengo MSED - mid/side plugin
VUMT - VU meter emulation (new version)
Fabfilter Pro Q 2
Stereo width in mastering – how to measure, monitor and modify it
(Video includes demos of a simple correlator and the Nugen Visualizer 2 with 'correlation by frequency' display)
Dec 12 2016
Rank #2: The Mastering Show #4 - Compression
- Why mastering compression is all about loudness. Except it’s not.
- How compression in mastering is different than in mixing
- How to make mastering compression invisible
- Ian’s suggested starting-point settings for mastering compression
- Why you might want to use multi-band compression
Using compression to add punch, warmth and power to your mix
What is compression ? Sponges hold the answer
Multiband compression – the mastering engineer’s secret weapon?
Gregory Scott - Demolishing Compression Myths
Apr 01 2016
Rank #3: The Mastering Show #3 - Limiting
We explain why you need limiters, important Do’s and Dont’s, recommended plugins – and why there’s a good chance you’re using them wrong…
Are brickwall limiters nothing but pure evil ?
Video demonstrating inter-sample peaks and how they affect Mastering for iTunes
Intersample peaks and why they matter - more about why you should leave at least 1 dB peak headroom when mastering, with audio examples
Mar 23 2016
Rank #4: The Mastering Show #60 - The loudness technique you need to start using TODAY
In this episode Ian describes:
- How he increased playback loudness on Spotify by 3.3 dB for a song by reducing it’s overall loudness by 1.5 dB, and why it sounded better afterwards
- What to do if your song gets turned down more than you expect online
- Why you have to be careful with contrast on Spotify
- How reducing dynamics can make your music sound more dynamic
- Why musical decisions work better than technical ones
full show notes at http://themasteringshow.com/episode-60/
Mar 21 2019
Rank #5: The Mastering Show #53 - Fear Of Bass
And as a result, it’s easy to be scared of bass. It’s easier to be cautious and avoid all those possible problems, right ? Well, maybe. Except if the low end isn’t working in your master, you risk the opposite problem - everything can sound weak, thin and harsh.
In this week’s episode we talk about ways to avoid all these problems, including:
Topics we cover include:
* The one thing you shouldn’t do - and why
* The deceptively simple thing you should always do
* Will a sub-woofer help, or hinder ?
* How EQ for better bass can sometimes make things worse - because phase
* Dynamic EQ versus multiband compression
* How distortion might help
* Ah, duck it
Jul 04 2018
Rank #6: The Mastering Show #5 - EQ
- Why “radio ready” sound is a mastering myth
- How you can affect the balance of instruments in the mix, even within a stereo file
- A simple but crucial point of mastering technique
- The pros and cons of phase linear EQ
- Ian’s recommended EQ plugins
Loudness means NOTHING on the radio - the proof
The Heart And Soul of Mastering
Phase linear EQ demonstration
Rock music and gynaecology
Apr 07 2016
Rank #7: The Mastering Show #22 - Your questions answered
Do we really NEED mastering ?
- Why you shouldn’t master on the mix bus (if you want to be good !)
- Dealing with clients (and why you should make yourself expensive)
- The best way to burn a master disc, and which brands to buy
- How to mix and master drums LOUD
And many more...
The three Ms of mastering (including Mindset) - TMS Episode #2
Limiting - TMS Episode #3
Why your EDM will sound better with more dynamics – and 6 places to find them
Mastering in Reaper
Interview with Jon about Mastering http://reaperblog.net/2015/03/mastering-in-reaper-interview/
Jon's Mastering session setup tips http://reaperblog.net/2014/11/video-mastering-project-setup/
Jon's new Reaper mastering workflow video http://wp.me/p2EzQl-1kf
The Home Mastering Masterclass
Oct 17 2016
Rank #8: The Mastering Show # 58 - Mud or magic ? Managing the mids
We’ve talked about bass and high frequencies, but in this show we dive into the muddy, murky mess that is (often) the mid-range, and talk about how crucial it is for a great-sounding master.
* How the mids help us hear bass
* Common problems with the mid-range, and what causes them
* How to open up cluttered mids in mastering
* Our least favourite mid-range frequencies
* Mids versus dynamics
* The importance of linear phase EQ for the mids
full show notes
Jan 14 2019
Rank #9: The Mastering Show # 50 - Mastering on Headphones ?!
This year’s Dynamic Range Day Award-winner broke all the streaming records in it’s first week, debuted at Number 1 in the Billboard chart and... it was mastered on headphones.
In this episode we talk to Glenn Schick, the engineer who mastered KOD by J Cole about his decision to become a “mobile” mastering engineer, including:
* How (and why) he closed his analogue mastering studio to go mobile
* Why he thinks it actually helps him to get better results...
* And makes his job easier
* The type of headphones he uses, and why
* His mastering process for KOD, and
* The decision to master with more dynamics
Full show notes at
May 10 2018
Rank #10: The Mastering Show #31 - What IS loudness ?
* How to make things sound loud without making them (much) louder
* The trick of balancing loud and quiet songs against each other
* When to turn things down
* What is "loudness potential" ?
* How to get the right balance of loudness before mastering
* The most common loudness issue Ian faces when mastering, and
* The 100% successful strategy he uses to solve it
Full show notes http://themasteringshow.com/episode-31
Dynamic Range Day http://www.dynamicrangeday.co.uk/
Mar 27 2017
Rank #11: The Mastering Show #26 - Clipping: What is it, and is it ever acceptable ?
* What clipping is, and the difference between the analogue & digital varieties
*When and why we use it
*Whether you can repair clipping damage
*The difference between clipping and limiting
*Why clipping & saturation are NOT the secret of "analogue warmth"
Full show notes and links
Jan 16 2017
Rank #12: The Mastering Show #44 - Loudness Units 101
(And why aiming for -14 isn’t the right answer for online loudness)
We talk about loudness all the time on this show, but how do you actually measure it ? How big is a “loudness unit”, and why are there three different kinds ? What does LUFS stand for, anyway ? How do you loudness match two files using LUFS measurements, and what free software can you use to get started ?
In this show we answer all these questions and more - plus Ian explains the simple technique he uses to optimise loudness for all the online streaming platforms, and why it isn’t about aiming for -14 LUFS.
If you find the show helpful, please share it with your friends, and leave us a rating and review : http://www.themasteringshow.com/review
Full show notes http://themasteringshow.com/episode-44
Jan 24 2018
Rank #13: The Mastering Show #34 - What ARE dynamics ?
Just like everything else we talk about on this show, dynamics are more complicated than they might seem at first glance. For example, there are at least two different types ! In this show we unpick the topic and try to shed some life on the truth about dynamics, including:
* Why the loudness war hasn’t reduced loudness range
* Why “DR” measurements don’t measure dynamic range
* Why “crest factor” is a better term, and how it relates to the two types of dynamics
* The natural dynamics of different sounds, and
* When you don’t want to hear them
* What Ian really thinks of the Prodigy, Skrillex and the Chemical Brothers - and their dynamics
* How to measure dynamics
Check the show notes for links
May 25 2017
Rank #14: The Mastering Show #21 - Why digital “resolution” doesn’t exist - because dither
- Why dither helps prevent your audio from 'sounding digital’
- How the right kind of dither can make even 8-bit audio sound OK
- Why it works - and what that has to do with my lava lamp
- Whether we can *really* hear the difference
- How to test yourself using “Gangnam Style"
- Why you should stop worrying and just dither !
Visit the website for links
Sep 27 2016
Rank #15: The Mastering Show #24 - Mastering for online streaming (including Mastered for iTunes)
* What’s the best file format to submit ?
* What about the specifications ?
* Can you compensate for the sound of the encoder ?
* How do you know how loud to make your music ?
* Should you make separate masters for every service ?
* What about Mastered for iTunes ?
To get the “Black Friday” discount on Dynameter or any other MeterPlugs product, use this link and the coupon code TMSBLACK in the shopping cart:
Ian Shepherd’s Dynameter, by MeterPlugs
Why mp3 sucks, and how to hear it
Sample rate conversion comparisons
TMS - The Dither Episode
Online streaming loudness infographic
TMS - The Loudness Episode
Mastered for iTunes - the saviour of great sound ?
Online streaming loudness petition
Nov 24 2016
Rank #16: The Mastering Show #23 - Balance (Or, How to Master an Album)
* The mastering tip that’s almost too simple to say - but embodies the heart and soul of mastering
* Why Ian doesn't master single songs any more (if he can help it)
* Do all digital EQs sound the same ? And Ian’s new favourite (free) EQ plugin
* Why we need "Album mode” to stop loudness management sucking the heart out of our music
* The first thing Ian does in every mastering session
* A ninja loudness trick when balancing quiet & loud songs
* Should you use automation when mastering ?
The Heart & Soul of Mastering
iTunes Sound Check has “album mode” - finally !
TDR Nova EQ
Multiband compression – the mastering engineer’s secret weapon ?
Nov 14 2016
Rank #17: The Mastering Show #47 - What’s the best DAW for mastering ?
* Which DAW sounds best ?
* What does that mean ?
* Do all digital EQs sound the same ?
* What’s a DDP file ?
* Pro mastering applications
* Workflow versus features
Full show notes and links on our website
Mar 09 2018
Rank #18: The Mastering Show #39 - Digital Gain Staging: what’s the point ?
But you’ll also hear lots of other people, me included, saying it IS important to understand what gain staging is and how it works, even in a digital environment.
So who’s right ? In this show we dig into the details, and discuss:
* How much peak headroom should you leave before mastering ?
* What IS gain staging, anyway ?
* Why do people say it doesn’t matter in digital ? Or:
* What’s the point of floating point ?
* How does it work ?
* When digital gain staging does matter
Full show notes on the website:
Oct 03 2017
Rank #19: The Mastering Show #14 - Distortion (The good, the bad and the ugly)
Fab DuPont on Death Magnetic
What is 'aliasing' and what causes it?
When in doubt, dither
Why you need amazing monitoring
The Home Mastering Masterclass
Jun 17 2016
Rank #20: The Mastering Show #36 - Compression versus compression (and sponges)
* Why lossy data compression doesn’t affect dynamics, except
* When it does. And
* Why dynamic compression doesn’t affect lossy compression quality, except
* When it does. Plus
* mp3 or AAC ? VBR or CBR ? Do we care ?
* The ultimate mp3 encoder stress-test
Full show notes
Jul 05 2017