Make the transitions pop
Here’s another good little mastering trick. You know how sometimes you can have a moment in a song you’re working on where there’s a little breakdown and then it comes back strong on the downbeat? Something that can be amazing is to grab a little bit of the buildup to the downbeat, and the downbeat itself, and to goose their clip gain a little bit. Like this:
This is a stretch of a song I was working on the other day. As you can see in the waveforms, it’s chugging along, then there’s a pause, then there’s a little pickup guitar riff (panned to the right), then everything comes back in on the downbeat.
What I did was I separated out the pickup riff and the downbeat — they’re highlighted in the waveform in white. And I gave that clip a +1.5 dB gain boost on the waveform.
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(Giving the clip the gain boost, as opposed to automating volume for that moment, is key. Because the waveform is before any subsequent processes, boosting it pushes that little moment a bit harder into any compression / EQ / saturation / clipping / limiting / etc that you have going on, which makes it kick a tiny bit more ass for that moment. Volume automation is post plugins and doesn’t have the same effect.)
The end result is that that little pickup guitar riff gets a spotlight moment, and that downbeat has an extra pop, and we’re off and running. Killer trick.
Still being manipulative — jamie