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How to Master a Song in Reason

mastering reason Apr 04, 2020

Reason is a full fledged DAW, loaded with effects and tools. Not only can you record and mix in Reason, you can also master your songs. If you want to be sure to create loud, punch mixes every time, download this mastering cheat sheet, then keep reading for instructions on how to master your song in Reason.

Note: this post may include affiliate links.

What Is Mastering?

At its simplest, music mastering is the final step of getting a song ready to be heard by the public. It involves everything from converting the song to a .Wav or .Mp3 to trimming extra silence. It even includes making sure that the file name is correct!

But when most people think of mastering, the first thing that comes to mind is polishing a song and making it loud. And that's what you'll learn here. 

Before you start mastering, it's a good idea to make sure you're happy with your mix. As the old saying goes, it's better to make your mix sound good than to try to fix it in the master.

So go ahead and listen to your mix for a few days and get comfortable with it. Check it out in your car or while walking around.

Find some songs that you really like, and compare your song. The volume is going to be different, but otherwise, do they sound comparable? Do you have the right amount of low end? Does your mix sound wide enough? Is it too harsh?

Adjust your mix accordingly. It's much more effective to turn up the volume of the kick drum in the mix than to boost the low end in the master. If you try to fix the problem in the master, you'll also end up boosting the bass and keyboards, which then will make the guitar and vocals sound to quiet, etc.

How to Master in Reason

The video should walk you through all the steps with examples, and is the best way to learn how to master.

Here's a quick overview of the mastering process. While you can do this all with stock plugins in Reason, I can't recommend iZotope Software's Ozone mastering suite enough. It not only includes a host of features not found in Reason, but it's also way faster at dialing in a great sound.

1. Trim the track start and end times

2. Take out peaks/resonances with EQ, you can use the mClass equalizer to seep around for resonant peaks and then cut them using a narrow band EQ. Or you can use automated features like those included in Ozone 9.

3. Add Multiband Compression either using a mastering preset in Reason or using the streamlined multiband compressor in Ozone 9.

4. Add a 1-2 dB with a bus Compressor you can either use the master bus compressor plugin in Reason or the compressor in Ozone 9.

5. Then add some coloring with a tape plugin like Audiomatic or the tone shaping presets in Ozone.

6. Then add some coloring EQ to shape your tone.

7. Then I add a limiter to boost the volume. The mClass limiter in Reason can be used for this purpose, but I think it is really underpowered for this job, because it just doesn't give you enough metering and feedback. Here, I think Ozone 9 wins hands down.

Optional: You can also add some stereo widening to the higher frequencies to create a better sense of width.

Best Mastering Plugins

As you can tell I think Ozone 9 is a must buy. It's literally the only plugin I use on every song. While you can fully master in Reason, you'll save a lot of time and get much better results if you instead grab a copy of Ozone. If you're looking beyond Ozone, though, here are the best mastering plugins used by all the pros.

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