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I've working on a couple tracks for the band...some live stuff we tracked a couple years ago...

I've mastered (and still learning to) single songs before...but when it comes to multiple songs that I'll be putting on a disc, how do I ensure that volumes are all consistent?

I'm using reaper...

what I've thought is this...
take the mixed down wav's and put them into their own track in a new project...then place my normal mastering chain on each channel...I would then select one track to be the base line and try to match the rest to it...then place a limiter on the master track to bring all the levels up, if needed

but two questions...
1. Normally I place the limiter in the mastering chain; would I have one still in the chain and on the master track? or, just use it on the master track?

2. When it comes time to render, do I create separate files for each song and delete all tracks but that one (i'm asking as I'm not sure if the other songs would still be 'useless' data in the file, or if they were muted they wouldn't make the final cut); or just mute all the tracks and render each one separately

I've kind of figured out a chunk of it all, and still learning...but this step is kind of a leap instead of a step
 

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A lot of master engineers work the way that you're proposing.

The way I would do it personally is to master each song separately in its own project using whatever mastering chain works for it and use a plugin like this one:

http://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-elm128/

... to ensure consistent levels between tracks. I use the Hornet plugins but there are many others, including some free ones I believe.
 

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I master in Pro Tools, everything in the same session. Since every song has its own requirements (parallel eq, master compression, eq or MS compression and eq) every song goes to a different aux track where the final levelling happens, nothing on the master track. I use a LUFS meter to help my ears decide about the levels but the ultimate checkup happens with my ears and the music at very low volume. I usually have to go back in the mix to fix stuff because the eq balance has a lot to do with how we perceive volume. Make sure you let your brain have enough rest from the master, stay fresh. One last word... PRACTICE

Lots of information here:
http://productionadvice.co.uk
 

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Like playing an instrument, mastering is a life-long study that requires theory, application and practice, practice, practice.

I master using my ears in (Ozone 7 Advanced) and later confirm I made the right decisions using metering (Insight) and reference material (similar style music I know well).

Making judgments by listening is predicated on having a well designed and calibrated signal chain (RME converters-Bryston amplifier-Dynaudio speakers) situated in a well designed and treated room (ideally ruler flat frequency response across the audible range at the listening position). My system is calibrated by inputting a fixed peak level of pink noise, and then adjusting the signal components to output a defined sound pressure level (this sits somewhere between 75 and 85dB, depending on genre and size of room) at the listening position. All level controls in the signal chain will then be marked so that this reference level can be recalled instantly and reliably.

Since you are using Reaper (I also use it to track and for initial mix) I recommend you put all processing on your master buss. You can choose to put each song on its own track or line them up on one track. If you are putting them in separate tracks because they require radically different "master" processing that is a sure sign that you need to do more work at the mix stage. Remember, mastering should use as little processing as possible to achieve the end goal (correct average listening levels for the delivery medium, with a genre specific frequency balance/tilt).
 

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Since you are using Reaper (I also use it to track and for initial mix) I recommend you put all processing on your master buss. You can choose to put each song on its own track or line them up on one track. If you are putting them in separate tracks because they require radically different "master" processing that is a sure sign that you need to do more work at the mix stage. Remember, mastering should use as little processing as possible to achieve the end goal (correct average listening levels for the delivery medium, with a genre specific frequency balance/tilt).
That makes a lot of sense ..merci
 

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If you are putting them in separate tracks because they require radically different "master" processing that is a sure sign that you need to do more work at the mix stage.
That's not entirely accurate, at least in some cases, say when the mastering engineer isn't the same as the mixing engineer and maybe the latter didn't do his best or perhaps is a weekend warrior, or when every song comes from different sources/studios/dates or maybe just like in my own case where every song is played in a different style and recorded with very different instruments.
The first rule is there are not rules, you should do whatever it takes to make your masters sound their best and your album to sound smooth and appealing to the listener. Great arrangements and great mixes lead to great masters but that's not always possible.
 

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I will have to disagree with your comment that "there are not rules", as mastering is all about conforming a product to meet published and stringent specs.
 

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ronmac said:
I will have to disagree with your comment that "there are not rules", as mastering is all about conforming a product to meet published and stringent specs.
Unless you're mastering for vinyl, television broadcast or theatrical release there really aren't any rules except for keeping your peaks under Digital zero and I hear that rule broken all of the time anyway.
 
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