What process do you use to mix and master your tracks?

Wondering what kind of process people use or what they do to master they’re tracks. Trying to stay inside of ableton but all DAWS are cool.

Plus what plugins actually help make a difference?

I don’t understand mastering at all tbh. I just try and make a really clean mix and get all the levels where I want them… I feel like after that I shouldn’t really have to do much.

1 BigUp

Basically this.

I think it depends on what you’re mastering for, but here’s a rough process I use for my tracks, and other people’s from time to time, to get them louder (I keep all my mixes below -6db)
Split the track into mid(239-3754hz)/low(roughly 36-238hz/hi (3755-18khz) bands.
First thing I usually do is take out some top and boost the bottom. Doesn’t need to be too much, but just bare in mind (while mixing too) that high end is easily painful on a sound system, so just keep that in check.
From there, I set the lows to mono and adjust stereo settings on mid and hi, sometimes adding reverb and delay. I usually give my kick a lot of room to my sub, so next move is using compression to reduce the difference between the two while ensuring they’re the loudest elements in the mix.
You can use similar methods to keep the mids and highs in check too, but yeah, this is a rough outline.
Probably don’t want to do much delay/reverb on the lows. It’s alright if you did it in the mix, those artifacts can be worth carrying over, but thereafter low frequencies panning can easily damage speakers/systems and can make DJing a nightmare for anyone spinning vinyl.
From here I route the three buses to one track and then do final adjustments in an EQ and raise the volume to below 0db using a parametric EQ, I usually have a soft clipper on the master track for this bit. I tend to keep it there, which theoretically isn’t good but works most of the time.

I have to disagree with most of what morrisj said about mastering. Splitting the signal into seperate bands for processing is a last resort process for mastering because it is far from transparent. Reverb and delay are also used in only about 1 out of 100 tracks for mastering to address severe and specific problems in the mixdown, and is almost never applicable to electronic music.

Cutting specific harsh high frequencies is usually more effective than simply shelving the top end, keeping the high end smooth without dulling the entire track.

A lot of the bigness in a track comes from the 150-300 hz range in the side signal, so mono-ing it by default can rob a track of a lot of its richness. It’s a track by track basis to decide if that region needs cutting or enhancement.

Basically general advice on mastering is pointless because it all comes down to the specific problems of each mixdown. Doing something by default or “just because” is almost always a bad idea. Do processing for specific reasons. The only thing that is a near constant for mastering for digital release is a brickwall limiter to catch and tame any peaks that are significantly outside of the average peaks of a track.

So the only general advice I can give is to try and learn to identify the problems in a mixdown, which usually involves lots of A-B’ing with comparable material and then applying the processing relevant to addressing those problems.

For eq, if you don’t know yet, it’s generally better to cut with tight q’s and boost with wide bells or shelfs. For compression, multiple compressors doing .5-1 dB of compression at different time constants and thresholds is usually better than a single one doing 1.5-3 dB. Good luck


I highpass everything at about 100 hz except for the sub bass and the kick (highpass that at like 50) and it makes the bass come through better and makes everything sound cleaner (for me at at least)