Designed with “test mastering” in mind for at-home producers to dial in a polished mastered version on a track they are working on, Testful Mastering is also capable of full, professional mastering jobs. There could be several reasons for using Testful Mastering… to compare your tracks to commercial songs… to listen in the car and assess what needs work in the mixdown… to share with friends and colleagues online… to make a reference for a mastering engineer highlighting the overall feel you’re looking for… or to polish something up for official release.
Testful Mastering comes in one “super rack” which contains six modules within it, each designed to accomplish a specific task in mastering and including “secret ingredients” for extra-immaculate results. Not all modules are essential for a good master so beware of the urge to use them just because they are there. Prudently configured parameter ranges mean that most settings will be safe for most audio, keeping you free to use your ears to dial in the optimal results. Mastering can be accomplished either by using the dedicated template set, or just by dropping in the Testful Mastering rack. The pack also comes with an UnMastering Rack which can be useful for adding some life back to overly squashed audio.
The Filtering Module – Cut away unnecessary ultra-low and and ultra-high frequencies, provide transparent clarity and focus to the essential program material and rebalance overall stereo width. Secret Ingredient: “Focus Sauce”.
The Surgery Module – The main tone-sculpting module. Provides easily automatable macros for four low-range and four high-range bands. EQ ranges are deliberately limited in scope to avoid over-EQing, minimizing phase issues. If you find you need more EQ than this to get a song reasonably balanced, it’s probably best to go back and adjust the mix instead. The lesson file includes a mini-guide on EQ protocol for mastering if you have no clue how to go about it.
The L-R Groove Module – Solidly balance the left and right channels against each other, for a tight, solid mix. Secret Ingredient: “Stereo Link Inversion” for organic stereo widening.
The M-S Groove Module – Adjust the mid and side balance, enrich a sensation of movement, and condense ambience.
Secret Ingredient: Custom M-S Sidechain Contour which alters how much certain frequencies feed the key signal.
The LCR Saturation Module – Inject subliminal amounts of frequency-focused saturation for added perceptibility.
The Serial Limiting Module – In our experience, using a few different methods to shave off small amounts of peak generally gives more transparent results than trying to do it all with one limiter. This gives you three “Push” knobs to fine-tune (plus one non-adjustable internal stage) for carefully refined peak reduction and final limiting.
The Analysis Module – Pre-loaded with a main analyzer, plus optional Mid and Side analyzers to tell what’s going on with the M-S.
Q, But i could just use LANDR.
A, You could! I like LANDR too. But this gives you more control to master the way you want to, using human feeling and choices and stuff. Try this fun challenge: send a mixdown to LANDR, then try to master the same mixdown using Testful Mastering instead. How close can you get? Which version do you end up preferring?