- Live Class #1: Live Classes will be conducted via YouTube Live, same as Mixing With Mike. Classes will be held every Thursday at 4PM Pacific Time (US). You do not need to attend the live class to participate in the course as a video recording of it will be made available the same evening. The Live Classes will contain instructions and demonstrations of each week’s work.
- Study Course Materials: In addition to the live class instructions, each week will also include a series of video materials you will be required to watch to enhance your understanding of each step in the mastering process.
- Start Mastering: Begin your mix following the provided instructions. If you have questions, you will be able to email me directly. Do not work beyond that week’s assignment.
- Submit Your Work: All mixes will be submitted via shared DropBox folder. Each person will have an individual DropBox folder shared only with me.
- Review Your Evaluation: You will receive a video evaluation of your work through your DropBox folder. Review the video and make the necessary corrections or adjustments before the next class. Private Lesson students must submit their work before the scheduled lesson time.
- Attend the Next Weekly Live Class
Class 1: The Mastering Mindset
This class introduces the mindset of the professional mastering engineer and how they approach the process of mastering. The listening techniques covered in this lesson will be a foundational part of the the rest of the course.
- Course Overview and Instructions
- Brief History of Mastering
- Jobs of the Modern Mastering Engineer
- Mastering Studio Setup
- Listening Techniques for Mastering
- Evaluating Mixes and Masters
Class 2: The Tools of Mastering
This class introduces some very familiar tools but from the perspective of the mastering engineer. It also introduces some less familiar tools that are specific to mastering and loudness.
- Mastering Equalizers
- Mastering Compressors
- Harmonic Enhancement Tools
- Spatial Processors
- Mastering Limiters
- Mastering Meters and Analyzers
Class 3: Equalization Techniques for Mastering (Feb 22)
Mastering EQs are designed with precision, transparency and musicality in mind, and the mastering engineer’s approach to equalization is exactly the same. The techniques used differ greatly from those of the mixing engineer and that is exactly what this class will focus on.
- Types of Mastering Equalizers
- Selecting the Best Mastering EQ
- Filtering Techniques
- ‘Feathering’ Equalization Techniques
- Stair-Stepping Equalization Techniques
- Baxandall and Tilt EQ
Class 4: Compression Techniques for Mastering (Mar 1)
Compression in mastering is all about focus, imaging quality and depth perception. Understanding the different types of compression and how they affect these qualities is as important as understanding the techniques used to create them.
- Types of Mastering Compressors (Dig, Vari-Mu, Opto, VCA)
- Selecting the Best Mastering Compressor
- Averaging Compression Techniques
- Front-Back Depth Compression Techniques
- Imaging Compression Techniques
- Using Tape for Compression
Class 5: Harmonic Enhancements for Mastering (Mar 8)
The class will focus on the powerful world of harmonic enhancements to bring warmth and listenability to your masters. The information here will provide a foundation for all of your vintage EQ and compressor processing decisions.
- Defining Harmonic Enhancement
- Harmonic Enhancement Tools
- Component Based Harmonic Enhancements
- Tape Based Harmonic Enhancement
- Exciters in Mastering
Class 6: Imaging and Depth Processors (Mar 15)
The ultimate goal of a great mastering is to get the music to “escape the speakers”. 3D sound field specific processing is an important part of that process. This class will teach you the techniques that help create depth and width in your mastering work.
- Mastering and the 3D Sound Field
- Mid-Side Level and Balance Processing
- Imager Processing
- Low Level Enhancement for Depth
- Mastering with Early Reflections and Reverb
Class 7: Multi-Band Processing for Mastering (Mar 22)
Multiband processing is primarily a product of the digital realm. It can bring life to stubborn mixes, control sibilance and harshness, dynamically balance a master, and provide precision transient control. They can also tear a master apart. This class will teach you techniques and specific guidelines you can use to take advantage of these very sophisticated processors.
- Defining Multi-Band Processors
- Multi-Band Compression
- Multi-Band Expansion
- Multi-Band Dynamic Equalization
- De-Essing Masters
- Multi-Band Limiting
Class 8: Mid-Side Processing Techniques for Mastering (Mar 29)
Mid-Side processing goes all the way back to cutting lathe and mastering for vinyl records. The most powerful elements of a mix, including vocals, bass, kick and snare are often panned center in the mix with complimentary elements panned to the sides. This provides the ability to process primary and secondary elements of a mix independently. This will guide you through the advantages and pitfalls of this approach to processing masters.
- Mid-Side Processing Defined
- Mid-Side Balancing
- Mid-Side Equalization
- Mid-Side Compression
- Mid-Side Width and Depth Processing
Class 9: Loudness Processing and Gain Maximization (April 5)
Regardless of your feelings about compression and limiting, the competitive marketplace dictates that artists will want you to make their masters as loud as possible. Understanding how to create loud masters that feel present and dynamic without the need for excessive processing is the focus of this class.
- Loudness Standards and Metering
- Using Compression for Loudness
- Parallel Processing for Loudness
- Single Band Gain Maximization
- Muti-Band Gain Maximization
Class 10: Mastering Singles (April 12)
Now that you have covered the fundamentals of processing masters, it is time to put your processing skills to work. Each mastering demonstrated in this class will detail specific problems and the solutions used to solve them. All off the techniques used will draw from the information provided in the first 9 classes.
- Gain Structure and Head/Tail Edits
- Harmonic Enhancements
- Depth and Spatial Processing
- Maximizing Gain
Class 11: EPs/Albums Part 1: Structuring the Album (April 19)
Mastering EPs and Albums limits some of the freedoms you have with mastering singles. Because the songs will be sold as a collection, they must sound like they belong together with each song leading to the next fluidly and with equal perceived loudness. This class features techniques that will teach you how to establish a signature sound and deal with the inevitable imbalances that will occur from song to song.
- Gain Structure and Head/Tail Edits
- EP/Album Layout
- Establishing a Common Processing Chain
- Unique Processing for Problem Mixes
- Tonal Balancing the Album
Class 12: EPs/Albums Part 2: Finalizing the Master (April 26)
This class continues the work of assembling an album or EP and covers the differences in creating digital release masters and physical CD masters.
- Song Spacing
- Song to Song Loudness Balancing
- AAC and MP3 Compatibility
- Creating a DDP Master
- Finalizing Digital Masters
Bonus Class: Final Mastering Submissions (May 3)
This class will feature the best final master submissions from each student in the course, final assessments, preview of upcoming events and a Private Mastering Course wrap up.
- Final Mastering Submissions
- Final Assessments & Advice
- What’s Next?
- PMC Wrap Up
Due to the time required to manage private lessons and mastering submissions, the Private Mastering Course can only be purchased based on schedule availability. Upon scheduling approval and completed payment, the course program will begin on a weekly basis without disruption. Please use the contact form below if you are interested and I will answer all questions and propose scheduling times to begin the program.
Multi-Track and Private Instruction members will need to work within the limitations of available DAWs and Plugins listed above.
Class Participant: $300
Multi-Track Mix: $1,250
Private Instruction: $2,000
If you are interested please contact me directly using the form below. All Private Mastering Course purchases will be made by invoice after your request has been processed