First of all- I'm always very impressed with the quality of your work. Surely you've come up with a system of mastering, since your tracks always sound so great! I especially liked your "Evening with Guy Bacos".
My system of mastering used to be pretty clunky. I'd export my rough mix, and bring it into a program called Adobe Audition for finishing. This would involve limiting the audio so that it didn't spike above a certain point, and then adding varying levels of compression (based on the type of music). If you're a PC user, I'd highly suggest Adobe Audition, which comes built in with a REALLY great Multiband Compressor, set of Noise Reduction tools, and all of the other basic plugins one uses when mastering (EQ, Channel Mixing, Reverb, etc.). I use for my mastering gigs.
Lately, I've been discovering ways to master WHILE I work, from my sequencer. I apply EQ on separate tracks that seem a bit thick in certain frequencies, and make sure that the balance and overall sound is JUST as I want it.
One important thing that has vastly improved my sound, especially in my pop music, is my assigning tracks to separate busses. Busses have changed my life! For my orchestral stuff, each instrument goes to a separate bus, so that I can put a custom EQ/Reverb compression on, say, the violas. Each of these busses then goes out to a main Reverb bus, which also has a compressor/limiter so that I can achieve maximum volume and not have to worry about peaking/distorting my final result.
Lately, this method has allowed me to stay out of Audition, and get all my work done from one program. It saves so much time!
PM if you're interested in any other specific advice, I'm more than happy to help!
I use Mac. I do uses busses constantly and I agree it's the best way. My demos are actually quite good sounding, the originals were pretty good but the remixes are MUCH better, experience is everything! this is why I want to go a step further.
I think I used the most reliable and cheapest technique of all, my ears. It's amazing how we hear things differently as we cultivate our ear on a daily basis. Of course some finishing touches is a nice way to top it all off with some softwares. Sonic Solutions hey? Thanks, I'll go check that out.
You might try over on the mastering forum@ recording.org. Tell them you have a budget of 1k -2k, it's not backed by a major label, yada yada yada, and see if you have any takers. I'll bet someone there who's done some pro records and has a pro room and all the stuff will help you. I've done this before. Now for getting such a pro and for a third of what he's worth, I made no changes, paid him up front, and told him to do what he felt the tracks needed, everything was his call, he'd hear no complaints from me. I was willing to trust and it worked out perfectly. I figure those guys are like us.I'll work much cheaper if I know the client will just take what I give them and go away. When I do my own mastering, I use the MD3 mastering plugin from tc electronic. It really sounds great and easy to use. Of course it's only as good as I am and I'm "just not that good."
I am at the point of having a larger work rough-mixed. Your reply came as a godsend. Could you tell us please:
What is your sequencer,
and elaborate a little more on how you set up your buses in your sequencer.
Thanks a lot
P4,3mHz,2g RAM,GS3 Orchestra, Sonar 6 SE, AP2496, GVI, KH Emerald