Ghetto Mastering With Alesis Masterlink

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lightandmind
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Ghetto Mastering With Alesis Masterlink

Post by lightandmind » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:13 am

Yeah, yeah, I know, but if it absolutely HAS to be done, is there anything I should know ahead of time? Basically, I'm waiting on a Masterlink to arrive soon, ( from Joe Chiccarelli, it was used on the last Shin's album!), I've never used one before, & I'm wondering if I should expect any suprises. I want to use it for a normal mixdown from analog tape (to 24bit 88.2kbs -Thanx Chris!), do time editing & fades on the Masterlink, then, maybe use some of the Masterlink's parametric internal EQ, (subtractive only), & somehow find a way to pass that signal through an Art Pro VLA II before printing another copy to the Masterlink. Is this possible?

Play On, Playa

- :twisted:

japmn
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Post by japmn » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:44 am

The Master link (Ours anyway) can do 24 bit wave, not sure about 88.2K though. Editing with one is a nightmare. You have to scrub through the audio linearly, applying EQ, normalization, and compression takes a really long time to process as does burning a CD. I can truly say the Masterlink is one of my least favorite pieces of equipment that I have ever used for anything. Any moderately powerful PC or Mac can do anything it can do faster and better with free or cheap software and a good soundcard.

Computers made these units obsolete as soon as they left the shelves.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound so negative, I just really hate those things.

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Post by snatchman » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:54 am

japmn wrote:The Master link (Ours anyway) can do 24 bit wave, not sure about 88.2K though. Editing with one is a nightmare. You have to scrub through the audio linearly, applying EQ, normalization, and compression takes a really long time to process as does burning a CD. I can truly say the Masterlink is one of my least favorite pieces of equipment that I have ever used for anything. Any moderately powerful PC or Mac can do anything it can do faster and better with free or cheap software and a good soundcard.

Computers made these units obsolete as soon as they left the shelves.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound so negative, I just really hate those things.
Yeah, it can do up to 96 khz..It's not so bad if you bypass the on board converters and use to DSP as little ( if you really have to.. :wink: ..) as possible.....Good luck...

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lightandmind
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Post by lightandmind » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:05 pm

Yes, that is all fine & good, however, would the machine have the ability to play a 24bit unmastered 2track, (leaving the output & allowing me to run it thru harware/compression/gain), while simultaniously recording what I send back to the masterlinks input, (playing & recording at the same time, using the inputs/outputs almost as if they were stereo insert),?

If not, can anyone think of another way to accomplish intregrating hardware, (compression/EQ/gain?etc.), to the 2track, unmastered copy, so as to have the hardware-altered copy be recorded & stored seperately, also in 24bit?

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dave-G
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Post by dave-G » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:17 am

If you're loading-in to the Masterlink from analog tape, why not do your outboard processing on the way in and save that step?

Otherwise seems like you're trying to get blood from a stone, for which I agree with japmn; any number of inexpensive computer-based options would give you a far easier and potentially better-sounding workflow.

As to your question about playback and recording on the same Masterlink, no. .. Well, 99.9% sure the answer is no, as I've only used one on a few sessions.

Good luck!
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Harry
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Post by Harry » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:45 am

I love the masterlink!
I don't even have a computer in the studio(believe it or not?)

I would play the tape through the VLA and do any EQing on the way into the ML.
I would not use the ML EQs or comps...EVER! but the limiter is really good IMO.

Your mix should be 99% there when it hits the ML just use the a little of the limiter to finish it and call it "mastered"
If you had any money for a real mastering job you would call that the "pre master" and skip the limiting.

Cropping the heads and tails and fades are really pretty good and easy too.
Leave yourself some room at the beginning and end of each track in case you want a long pause between songs or something. You can cut it to wherever you want in the ML but you can't add space.


The Masterlink is an awesome piece of gear if you want to be out of the box.

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Post by centurymantra » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:24 am

I'm an OTB guy and own a Masterlink. I don't love it but do think it's a decent piece of gear. I'll concur that you should avoid the onboard EQ and DSP as they really aren't good. The most I've ever done is notch a VERY tiny bit of sub-low frequencies out and prob. would avoid even that in general. However...the look ahead limiter isn't all that bad. I run an outboard pseudo-mastering chain and occasionally add just a touch of that limiter and it rounds things out and adds a final bit of loudness that sometimes does the trick. I definitely wouldn't push it hard...keeping it in the 0.5 - 1.5db range is able to add an acceptable touch of "mastering", but there is def. a point where the audio starts to crap out and really sound like ass. It's not too hard to find that dividing line...as always, of course, use your ears.

I did want to address one issue that was brought up. In addition to cropping the heads/tails and adding fades, you actually CAN add whatever space you would like between tracks. You simply select the start point of the song in the 'Edit Playlist' mode and adjust it as you add each track to the playlist. Hopefully Harry will take note of my suggestion here.... 8) When messing with start and end times, combined with fades, etc., the ML can exhibit some fussy behavior and glitch out with odd overlaps and what not - which simply necessitates deleting and re-adding/adjusting the songs in the playlist. No big deal really...you just need to get used to how the thing works and monitor the playlist as you build it to make sure everything is sounding good. It's not too hard to get familiar with the process.

In spite of it's somewhat "long in the tooth" status, I still find the ML quite useful.
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Post by cgarges » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:28 am

Harry wrote:I would play the tape through the VLA and do any EQing on the way into the ML.
I would not use the ML EQs or comps...EVER! but the limiter is really good IMO.
Yeah, I don't see the need for an additional step of D/A and A/D just to run stuff through a VLA. The EQ on the Masterlink doesn't sound all that great to me, so I only use it if I have to to roll a bit of low end out of a reference or something. I never use it for production masters. The limiter is really good, though, and the compressor can be useful if you take the time to set it up where it works in conjunction with the limiter.

If I was really doing mastering myself, I would think that something like a Finalizer would be much more useful (sonically) than relying on doing the whole thing on a pair of Masterlinks. If I absolutely HAD to do mastering on a pair of MLs (using an analog path between the two), I'd probably record to the first one at 96k and then the second one at 88.2. 96k does sound better on those things, but it doesn't hold up in the internal conversion process as well as 88.2.

Chris Garges
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lightandmind
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Post by lightandmind » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:04 pm

Thanks for all the great info guys! So, is it not possible to play a 24bit 2track mix while simultaniously recording onto the internal memory? Would I have to have two machines? Can I substantially increase the overall volume of the 2track after it's printed to internal memory?
- :twisted:
Last edited by lightandmind on Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

snatchman
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Post by snatchman » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:36 pm

lightandmind wrote:Thanks for all the great info guys! So, is it not possible to play a 24bit 2track mix while simultaniously recording onto the internal memory? Would I have to have two machines?

- :twisted:
You mean playback and record at the same time.? Are you trying to "merge' the pre-recorded stereo track with a live ( realtime) recording at the same time?... :?..If so, you probably would need to machines....

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