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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Mastering

8. Software Plug-in Processing

Software plug-ins now offer
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
signal processing for both dynamics and EQ, allowing amongst other things, the targeting of very narrow frequency bands, not possible with analogue hardware – an ideal tool for detailed adjustment of specific areas of a mix. With software, also comes more comprehensive visual displays, very fine parameter adjustment, frequency response curves and gain/peak metering. A big advantage of plug-ins is that they are integrated into the
HostThe computer system on which a hard disk recording or other audio system runs.
host
ApplicationSelf-contained program directly performing a specific function. This contrasts with the operating system, server processes and libraries which support application programs. Also used to distinguish programs that communicate via a graphical user interface from those which are executed from the command line.
application
, and so usually allow you to store your settings for later recall in other projects, and even to automate their parameters, which of course can all be saved along with the song file.

Steinberg EQ

All of today’s major sequencing programs provide some facility for mixing down your song’s
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
tracks along with their software instrument tracks, and to then save the result as a stereo
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
file on your computer’s hard disk.
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
Mastering
plug-ins can be inserted across the software mixer’s
Master1) The final version of an audio recording or album that has been prepared for release. 2) The physical medium on which this recording is stored or transferred, such as a glass master CD, CDR or vinyl master from which a production run will be replicated or pressed.
master
FaderVariable level control in the form of a slider usually found on audio mixing consoles, allowing attenuation of audio signals, also used on control surfaces for control of a variety of parameters.
fader
to process the final mix, and are often included with the package. These can be supplemented by a large range of third party
Virtual Studio TechnologyA plug-in standard established by Steinberg, originally for it Cubase VST software. Many other programs now support VST plug-ins, both for audio processing/FX and virtual instruments.
VST
,
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
Audio
Unit or
RTASReal Time Audio Suite: a Digidesign plug-in format for Pro Tools software that uses the computer's own processing power rather than the DSP chips required by TDM plug-ins.
RTAS
plug-ins, which are often sold as ‘Mastering Bundles’ including multiband EQ, dynamics processing and stereo enhancement.

Channel EQ
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