2-3 plugins for mastering and mixing rock

I need your advise. What should i choose among plugins to master my rock composition?

This is a little difficult as it’s one that can have many answers. The genre is a little helpful though.

In general what you most commonly need is an eq, compressor and limiter. Optionally you might also need some kind of enhancer and dynamic eq and/or multiband compressor.

Those last two, though, are more for a more experienced hand and because they can screw things up more easily than they can fix things. They’re really only used for correcting problems that should ideally be fixed in the mix anyway.

So just to focus on first 3 suggestions…

Equaliser - The term mastering equaliser gets thrown around a lot, but what you really need is any equaliser that gives you a good number of bands, say 4 or more, and it would need to allow you to make less than 1dB gain adjustments.

If you find yourself having to make several gain adjustments, especially larger than maybe 2dB, it’s pretty much a sign that the mix needs more refining. You can try and use the mastering plugins to beat the mix into submission, but won’t end up sounding anywhere as good than fixing it within the mix itself.

Compressor - This could be any compressor that offers a a couple of Ratio options lower than 4:1. Sometimes a soft-knee setting is more ideal, sometimes a hard knee, sometimes it’s something in between. This is why the API 2500 gets alot of milage among many users, but there are plenty of other good options out there too.

If you’ve been smashing your mix with a lot of compressors set to ratios 3 or 4 or higher, there’s a good chance you’ll need a more soft, to medium knee approach for your master, with a ratio 2:1 or less.

Limiter - Any limiter that can do ISP/True Peak can be advantageous, but not absolutely necessary. Waves has a metering plugin called WLM Plus, it has one built in. This is in my template, sometimes to use as meter, often to use as a limiter for quick rough mixes. This is before I’ve gotten around to processing the master chain.

However, when I do get the master chain, I’ll still leave WLM Plus at the end of the chain to catch any rogue peaks. This way I have the freedom to chose any limiter I want to best suit the character of the mix and don’t have to worry about True Peaks exceeding 0dB.

With the main limiter, you could go multiband, that might help you get a dB or two, but you also run the risk of over doing it too. If you fond yourself needing more than 1-2 dB of limiting to achieve loudness then the problem lies in the mix again.

Try adding/increasing any parallel processing in you mix. Maybe relax some of those “snappy” compressor thresholds and try some saturation or parallel distortion to get that gain boost you need. Also try applying a couple of limiters to your most transient sound sources too. But make sure make a backup so you can return to an earlier version of the mix before it started to fall apart.

Mid-side capability is also a bonus with the compressor and limiter, but be careful not to go over the top with it. A small increase in just the side output can help widen a mix.

It can be really problematic mastering a mix before its ready. Check out this vid, though, it has a few tips on how to know when your song actually is ready to be mastered. It’s relatively painless to watch.

Hi @anton.shch.830,

Welcome to the Waves Forum.

I recommend starting with the Abbey Road TG Mastering chain if you want to keep all the processing under one plugin.
You can actually try the demo which is 7 days fully operational and see how this sounds in your sessions.

The TG Mastering Chain is quite compatible with the rock genre and and does cover most of the basics I outlined above and sounds great too.

While there would be other options its certainly a very good place to start!!

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