Old 01-25-2014, 08:39 PM   #1
Sentinel
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Default Good Basic Low Cost Mastering Plugin Package

I'm about to get started in home audio production, just as a fun hobby and for my own enjoyment really.

I have read up and studied some, and done a little playing around with some DAWs.

I’ll of course be using Reaper, but I’m also interested in some additional core mastering plugins as I progress along.

I'm looking for free and relatively low cost mastering plugins. I'm willing to spend "some" money on mastering plugins to get a better final product; a good basic but complete package of them for a total of around $300.00, or a little more or less.

Here are some paid options I've come across and am considering. Can you please tell me if you think any of these are good choices or not, and what else you would recommend?

Here are the possible packages in no particular order;


Voxengo:

Voxengo CurveEQ

http://www.voxengo.com/product/curveeq/

Voxengo Elephant

http://www.voxengo.com/product/elephant/

Voxengo Polysquasher

http://www.voxengo.com/product/psquasher/

Voxengo Soniformer

http://www.voxengo.com/product/soniformer/

Total = $281.05


Har-Bal:

http://www.har-bal.com/

Total = $125.00


Sound Magic:

Producer Bundle

http://www.supremepiano.com/product/producer.html

Total = 329.00


IK Multimedia:

T-RackS Deluxe

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products...ks-deluxe-info

Total = $199.99


Waves:

Musicians 2

http://www.waves.com/bundles/musicians-2

Total = 160.00


iZotope:

Ozone 5 Standard

http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/ozone/index.asp

Total = 249.00
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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I would check out the tone boosters mastering plugins.

Barricade and their buss comp.

Also look at the comps at variety of sound. Thrillseeker vbl in particular.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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You really should not rule out taking your best projects to to be professionally mastered. You might find it is worth the cost. Just make sure it is a professional, and not just someone with a business card, and a credit card (some people do great work even in their living room, and charge very little so sometimes it is hard to tell the difference before you hear it).

Having said that I really like the Voxengo plugins.

I would not overlook nebula 3 for mojo

http://www.acustica-audio.com

The MeldaProduction plugins for utility (they have real good sales from time to time) at least check out their free bundle.

www.meldaproduction.com

Also do not overlook the Stillwell/Schwa plugins (with a good Reaper only rebate)
http://www.stillwellaudio.com

Last edited by zappsunzorn; 01-26-2014 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:58 PM   #4
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good freeware list

http://bedroomproducersblog.com/2013...ring-software/
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:52 PM   #5
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Greetings and welcome, Sentinel. Regarding your list, with the exception of har-bal and sound magic, they are all well known and respected for what they do. Much of it depends on your personal taste and workflow - if you're testing the waters, check out some of the freeware stuff as suggested by Sonic Vampire. I like TRacks-S (probably just cause that's what I have ), lots of pros swear by iZotope. Here's a link to a TRack-S mixing/mastering clinic on YouTube, worth checking out.

Also, I strongly agree with zappsunzorn that mastering is often best done by a third party - it's not that expensive (for potentially commercial tracks), and an outside "ear" can be invaluable for an objective viewpoint, even if you don't use the result.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help guys. I'll be checking into all you suggested.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:21 AM   #7
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I don't like Voxengo GUI's, some of their plugins has almost the same interface, like CurveEQ, GlissEQ and SPAN, but it's good if they are cheap and you can afford many of them. Voxengo Elephant it's suitable for mastering.
I would suggest you to try Fabfilter plugins. Pro Q is a simple to use and handy EQ. And also they have Pro MB, which is a multiband compressor for mastering, which I didn't tried yet, but I've read that it's really good. Yes, Fabfilter stuff is a bit expensive, so sorry if it's out of your budget, but maybe you could try one and see if it works for you.

To be on topic with free or cheap plugins, let me tell you some free plugins:
- De la Mancha SixtyFive compressor here http://delamanchavst.wordpress.com/effects/
- Molot compressor from http://vladgsound.wordpress.com/downloads/
- Bootsy plugins from http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/downloads/

Last edited by Victorr; 01-26-2014 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:13 AM   #8
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The Slate FG-X is on sale for $99 (needs an ilok though). Best I've ever heard for doing a loud master, keeps the dynamics intact more than others. The compressor is real nice too.

http://www.slatedigital.com/products/fgx
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:27 AM   #9
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If you're only starting out..forget about mastering.

Its mixing you need to focus on.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:32 AM   #10
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I have to say Elephant is tough to beat IMHO and needs to be used to be fully appreciated. I'm not really into mastering suites but that's not a statement to their value; it is my liking to choose different sub tools based on the job at hand. It's entirely possible I could use a suite and love it, I just never have since there are so many ways you can build chains as psuedo suites in Reaper.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:37 AM   #11
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Use the built-in Reaper plugs and spend $35 on Bob Katz's book instead:

Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audi...katz+mastering

It's a college course on how to do it.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinner View Post
I would check out the tone boosters mastering plugins.

Barricade and their buss comp.
This, great quality and price.
And Meldaproduction has great stuff, with monthly 50% sales.
First put them to good use and then you can demo some other brands (Voxengo, Waves, Flux) and see if their plugins bring something better or new for you.
If you want to buy the more expensive stuff; wait for sales.

Have fun.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:47 PM   #13
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I would listen to Cosmic!
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:07 PM   #14
Sentinel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
If you're only starting out..forget about mastering.

Its mixing you need to focus on.
Indeed! I'm just thinking ahead here and learning!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrien View Post
Use the built-in Reaper plugs and spend $35 on Bob Katz's book instead:

Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audi...katz+mastering

It's a college course on how to do it.
Once I get through the recording and mixing basics I need to learn, that will be my next step, thanks!
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:51 AM   #15
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Grab some pretty incredible free stuff to start with (also for mixing). I suggest all the stuff from Variety of Sound, the big Antress package and the legacy bundle from Jeroen Breebaart. Those three will keep you busy learning and experimenting for a LONG time

Hit the link in my signature for some download links. The Breebaart package is here: http://web.archive.org/web/201306081...dio_vst_jb.htm
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrien View Post
Use the built-in Reaper plugs and spend $35 on Bob Katz's book instead:

Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audi...katz+mastering

It's a college course on how to do it.
Absolute bible.
I couldn't agree more.
Also look for Bob Katz' You Tube vids and check out the stuff about the loudness wars and EBU128. You'll quickly see why and what you'll need to do mastering. Only a small part of it has to do with plugins.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
If you're only starting out..forget about mastering.

Its mixing you need to focus on.
Yes, master mixing, then you'll be able to master mastering.
Don't mix the two things up, or you'll end up with a mixed-up master.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sambo Rouge View Post
Yes, master mixing, then you'll be able to master mastering.
Don't mix the two things up, or you'll end up with a mixed-up master.
This made my day muahahah.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrien View Post
Use the built-in Reaper plugs and spend $35 on Bob Katz's book instead:

Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audi...katz+mastering

It's a college course on how to do it.
That.

Do get Voxengo SPAN. From there you can do absolutely everything else with what you get in Reaper. Sometimes is takes more individual ReaPlugs plus some JSFX than if you just stuck a single Masterizer on there, but you get much more control, you know exactly what it's doing (no behind the scenes silliness) and in the end it's much more flexible.

Then drag some of your favorite songs into Reaper, slap SPAN on the Master track, and listen in your room on your monitors while watching the analyzer. Don't try to learn anything from this. Just do it. Over and over.

Then find yourself some audio restoration projects. Record the next concert you see via the Voice Memo app and inbuilt microphone on your phone, load it into Reaper and try to make it sound like something. Transfer some cassette recordings or vinyl records to digital and hack away at them. See if you can get them to a reasonable modern standard of quality. Through all of this, stop to listen to your reference material and always stop to honestly ask yourself if you're actually making it better, or just changing it. Are you mopping it up or just pushing the dirt around?

But first you need a reasonable system in a decent sounding room.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrien View Post
Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audi...katz+mastering
That link is for the 2007 edition(2).
There seems to be a newer 2013 edition(3) also.
http://www.amazon.ca/Mastering-Audio.../dp/0240818962
Does anyone know is there some major differences between these two editions?
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:01 PM   #21
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There's not a huge difference, just some obsolete stuff updated and a few things restructured, apparently. I got this book last year and absolutely love it. Much better investment than overpriced boutique limiters for a beginner.

Also try and get to know Reaper's mastering plugs before plopping down a bunch of cash on something. There's several excellent sounding limiters included.

Last edited by Swamp Ape; 01-27-2014 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:26 PM   #22
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Practice practice, practice mixing..........

Then slap AAMS on it for now...

Then practice, practice, practice mixing some more....
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