Mastering Techniques!

Write guides and how-tos about LMMS for other members.
ok this is an important and much neglected topic i.e "Mastering"
i will start the ball rolling here and post up some things i do to, IMO, improve my songs in LMMS :geek:

(1) send each instrument to its own FX mixer channel, where it is easier to see which instruments/samples/etc are too loud or low in the mix and can easily be adjusted.

(2) when using multiple LADSPA or VST effects on an instrument or FX mixer channel/master, change the order in which the effects are chained together as this can dramatically change the end result.

(3) try not to drown the mix by using too much of an effect on your example is that although using reverb can enhance a sound, but if used too heavily it will sound awful.

(4) in the LADSPA effects control adjust the w/d wet/dry level of the effect, where at 0 there is no effect and use the fine tuning in the + direction to add just the right amount of your effect.

(5) use automation on panning of either an entire track or a single sound, for example , pan an open hi-hat from left to right gradually over a section in the song or pan left to right on each separate hit of the hi-hat, this gives a bit more interest to the mix.

(6) change the volume of each hit in the Beat+Bassline editor. a good example of this is to fill all 16ths of the bar (all the LED's) with a snare drum sample, then lower random steps (keeping a few at 100%) to roughly 12.5%, 25%, 50%, 75% of the full volume. this can be done by hovering the cursor/pointer over the required LED and using the mouse wheel to lower/raise the volume. *note the laptop mousepad can emulate the mouse wheel behaviour, usually at the very right side of the pad *

(7) add either fast-lookahed-limiter or hard limiter LADSPA to the master fx channel and set the limit to 0 decibels to ensure that there are no peaks in your mix.

if all users on the LMMS forum add your tips/techniques here (no matter how trivial you think they are), this will be of great help to both new and experienced users..... :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:
I am happy to have something to add!!

I have found that exporting a LMMS project(.mmpz) to .WAV format will change the way your track sounds. I used the default export settings the first time i exported to .WAV and was extremely disappointed about the way my track sounded:

the low end was overpowering the mid range.

the highs were dull and lifeless.

the whole track sounded boxy and the volume was much lower than expected.

My first thought was "WHATS GOING ON?!?!" i really did not expect that amount of difference just from changing file format.
So, i fixed this by putting a 10 band EQ on the master, turned down the low end(just a little bit), gave the mid range some small tweeks to balance the feel, and turned the highs up. Now my track sounds just as bright and clean as it does as a .MMPZ, and im still using the default export settings.

LMMS 0.4.5 on my laptop running Ubuntu 10.04

Hope this helps! :D
If you have ever seen someone do live sound, one thing that is pretty common in the gear bag is a roll of masking tape.
Why? So you can label the board without leaving a mark, no matter who's board or where the gig.

Labels are an important part of production work, makes lots of little things easier. And if you are making tracks, there are lots of little things going on. 8-)

Hope this helps! :D
very cool post...I using LMMs since now about 1 month and I found some interesting thing in your post.
Like when you tell that when rendering your project to .wav for first time your song didn't have a good quality as the mmpz projet had.
I means I think I go same problem but by me it's not a big change.
If I have some tips I will share them here too but you know there's also tips in the documentation. by exemple, did you know that if you want to remove some bar in the main track of your projet you can just put the reading indicator button where you want to add a bar and than press shift + delete ? And if you want to add some bar you just have to press shift + insert instead of shit + delete.
Great advice.
I would like to add that exporting to wav with the settings "320 kbits" and "Sinc Very best" gives you almost perfect sound quality for your master file. The file size will be about 20 mb for a 2 min song (which is good sound quality) but you can convert it to Mp3 in Audacity and produce a much smaller file size. You will lose some quality but you will be happy with the end result and will be able to easily send it to people.
Two more effects which makes your song better is:

1. StereoEnhancer effect
2. Stereophonic Matrix

They help you achieve a wider sound with more stereo. Remember that you have to tweak both of them if anything actually is going to happen.

Also, make sure the limiters are at the bottom of the fx row. Or else, some effects could pump up the volume after you already had limited it.
This may not fit the Mastering Techniques category. And I feel embarrassed to post it here. :oops: But it's kinda related to making music in LMMS. But not in the way you think.

If your LMMS project, has lots of Vsts and effects. And you have one, or a few Vsts in your project, that have been known to crash or freeze LMMS often. Then do these things, in Windows 7 64 bit or other etc................ to save your PC or computer.

1) Make sure your Antivirus' Guard option, or shield controls are switched off, before you start up LMMS. Why you ask? So that when the Vst Freezes LMMS, you can go to the task bar, at the bottom of the windows screen, right click on LMMS, and click close LMMS, or close program. And Lmms will close faster and smoothly. And not "Hang, or freeze for long periods of time ( Then you get Frightened :o :shock: ), as the computer is trying to process how to close LMMS. And your're wondering if your computer is going to die. :shock:

2) Make sure your Wireless Lan is not on.

Summary for both: When Antivirus Programs and Wireless Lan is on and running. It uses up a lot of CPU power. And Programs such as 3D or Music software, uses alot of processing power as well. Causing all programs to contend or conflict with each other. And cause your running 3D or Audio music software, or Video editting software to Hang, freeze or crash. Or worse........... :shock:

Vst's that use alot of Cpu power, or has a large file size, are the ones likely to easily crash LMMS, or other similar software like it alot. So by having both your Antivirus Guard and Wireless Lan off. Or other running applications off. You can reduce crashes most of the time and "EASILY" close your program, or LMMS safely and quickly.
When these things " Antivirus and Lan etc." are on, LMMS takes a long time to close etc. most of the time.
So make sure they are both off, "before you start LMMS," or before you load a saved Project, containing VST's, that will " in most cases" crash LMMS.

In other words, play it safe. :)

Oh yes, one more thing, Antivirus, Wireless on, or other running software, can cause the sound or music in LMMS, to not sound all that great. Thereby, reducing sound quality.

That's why I always take theses things off, when I'm doing a "heavy project in LMMS."

Hope that helps. Sorry I posted this here, when the topic is about "Mastering techniques." :oops: :oops:

"Remember, the key technique is to take Antivirus and Wireless Lan off before you run LMMS."

And oh yes, I'm now officially a.......... :geek: He! He! :lol:

I agree with MOST of this, but there is one thing here that should not be done!

You should not put limiters on your master track. Many professionals say that if your track is too loud with all master effects turned off, you're doing it wrong.

You should keep track of the volume by changing the volumes of individual instruments. If you must limit anything, limit individual instruments, and even then you should use volume more than limiters because using limiters on individual instruments could mess with the attack and decay, and maybe even distort the sound sometimes.

TL;DR: Volume Changing > Limiters
Late addition to an old post, but this is how I master (not very well). There are a few things I do before starting:

- I'll mix the tracks so that the volume pre-mastering is really quiet
- I set the master channel to ~70% to give me some more space

Then it's onto the master chain:

1. I throw on a CALF Compressor with a fairly low ratio (2/3/4) to begin with.

2. Then I add an EQ and get rid of everything lower than 30Hz (all the subsonic frequencies). This should really be everything less than ~20Hz but I'm lazy. You can leave a few in there but this just cleans up the sound a bit.

3. For some makeup gain and fullness, I use Barry's Satan Maximiser, but obviously try not to destroy the range of volume in the track so I use it sparingly.

4. The last thing I do is add little bit of reverb using CALF Reverb. This somehow makes everything sound better, but once again only use a tiny bit of reverb (depending on the genre you might want some more).

And if the song is still too quiet after this, you can increase the master channel volume (but make sure it doesn't clip).
Douglas wrote:
Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:21 am
I agree with MOST of this, but there is one thing here that should not be done!

You should not put limiters on your master track. Many professionals say that if your track is too loud with all master effects turned off, you're doing it wrong.

TL;DR: Volume Changing > Limiters
Nay sir. Putting a limiter should actually be the final plugin on your mastering chain. But you should use it to make your track louder, no to stop clipping. Brickwall limiting helps make a track louder and gives it a final bit of oomph. but, you need the requisite headroom, (English: quiet space) in your track to make that effective

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