How To Master Your Tracks with FL Studio
What is mastering? In FL Studio, mastering is leveling the sound of any audio file, preferably an instrumental. It is not the same as mixing. Mastering is making the track as loud as possible without “clipping,” while still trying to maintain the dynamic range of the song. Mixing is adding all tracks to the mixer and leveling all volumes. Now back to mastering.
To begin mastering with FL Studio 12, a preferred tool is Maximus. When you drop a beat to your FL Studio playlist, add it to a mixer track. For that mixer track, add the effect “Maximus.” (Make sure to silence the Fruity Limiter on the master channel.) Select the “Default” setting for Maximus, and keep in mind that mastering, like mixing, isn’t something to be rushed. It could take a few hours, or a few days, to get your track to sound the way you want. Take your time. Now select a spot on your track where the volume is the loudest, and has every instrument playing at the same time. While you play this part, Maximus will show you the soundwave in the right window (under the straight blue line) and the compression in the left window (under the diagonal and straight lines connected). What matters most in Maximus is Low, Mid, High, and Master, and the knob in the left window that compresses them all. To play Low, Mid, High, or Master by itself, click Solo.
2. COMPRESSING “LOW”
For Low, by itself with Solo on, you want to even out the volumes of the bass in your track while silencing any sound containing Mid or High, like snares, melodies, or hi-hat cymbals. To do this, lower the level of the second knob from the top right (with the red). Do this until only the bass in your track can be heard.
To compress, go to the left window on Maximus (the one with the diagonal line) and hover your mouse to where the volume sits on average while playing your track, equidistant between the softest and loudest points. (You can see how many decibels there are on the upper left part of the screen.) Right click that point. This way, you make a dot. Bend the diagonal line to the right of your new “dot,” and drag it down until what you see in the right window looks “uniform.” (Meaning the wavelengths on top and bottom look like they’re mirrors of each other.) It doesn’t have to be this way, only how you want it to sound. Here’s my best example of mastering the Low. Look at the green and white wavelengths. The green is the new sound while the white is what’s in your original file.
3. COMPRESSING “MID”
When compressing the Mid, lower the yellow knob (move it down) so you can’t hear crash cymbals or hi hats. (You also shouldn’t be able to hear the bass either. That won’t take much work. Just mess with the red knob.) Compress it like you did the Low.
4. COMPRESSING “HIGH”
For the High, not a lot of work needs to be done. Just compress it slightly. Make sure you don’t over-compress any of these. You just want the sound to be more “uniform,” to even it out.
5. ADDING GAINS
To increase the volume of any Low, Mid, High, or even Master, increase the “post gain” knob if you need to (the second knob from the top left, blue) until the wavelengths are more visible underneath the blue line, but DO NOT let it cross the blue line. Just let it touch the blue line.
6. FRUITY LIMITER
For the final mix of your project, add Fruity Limiter to the “Master” track, or the same track with “Maximus.” Doesn’t matter. Add a ceiling with the green (CEIL) low enough so it barely touches the loudest parts of your project. Get the volume close to zero decibels as possible, when it looks like it’s not moving a whole lot.
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