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Enhance: Mastering in Spire Studio

by Charley Ruddell, iZotope Contributor April 8, 2019

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Bob Ludwig, Bernie Grundman, Emily Lazar: Though you may not recognize these names, you’ve definitely heard their work, or at least their contributions to very famous pieces of work. Ludwig, Grundman, and Lazar are all highly decorated mastering engineers who boast a collective clientele of GRAMMY-winners from Nirvana to Dr. Dre to Beyoncé. Their star-studded client lists are certainly alluring, but some of you still may be wondering a very important and often misunderstood question: What exactly is mastering?

In short, mastering is the final process in music post-production where an audio mix is prepared for distribution. This means several things:

  • A mastered mix has resolved any mix imbalances or sonic oddities by adding any number of audio enhancers (compressors, equalization, etc.)
  • Preparing the audio to export in the appropriate format
  • In the case of an album, the master mix ensures an equal level between songs, as well as a proper sequencing of songs

The Enhance feature is Spire Studio’s newest software that enables users to master their tracks upon export. Enhance uses intelligent analysis to improve the clarity of your mix while boosting its loudness. From surfing frequency ranges to find hiccups to calibrating a Dynamic EQ that improves the overall sound quality, the intelligence of the Enhance feature is truly robust, stemming from technology in Ozone and Neutron.

The benefit of using the Enhance feature in Spire Studio is really simple: it elevates your recording to the highest possible quality. This makes Spire Studio even more practical and convenient, whether you’re making important demos, publishing your songs for the whole world to listen, or sharing ideas with collaborators. Using a variety of musical styles, let’s take a look at some examples of the magic of Enhance.

Example A

The example above is loosely in the style of electro-r&b and features two electric guitar tracks (both using Spire’s Verb ‘65 amp model), electric bass (using the bass amp model), a Korg Minilogue synthesizer, and a virtual drummer sequencer. The drums are tucked in the middle of the mix, the cymbals splashy and the kick and snare reserved. The Verb ‘65 reverb is cranked and the Minilogue patches have a high decay, so the example is generally comprised of a group of “wet” sounds.

Let’s see how Enhance changes the track.

The first thing you’ll immediately notice is the difference in loudness. The bass and drums have a much greater presence in the mix, the bass frequencies are powerful without being overbearing and the highs are crisp. Enhance also boosted the EQ on the snare drum giving it a punchy pocket in the mix. With the aid of Enhance’s compression and Dynamic EQ, the synths and guitars wash over the rhythm section in a perfectly balanced wave.

Example B

Using electric guitars with a high drive on the Tube 30 amp model and an equally driven bass, this example shows a more heavy/hard rock style. The master track is crunchy and driven, just at the peak of overdriven. The lead guitars are substantially loaded with reverb and delay using the Big Air pedal effect.

Here's with Enhance:

Enhance immediately makes this example feel so much more like a rock song. The overdriven bass and drums are fine-tuned and boosted to a comfortable loudness while the remainder of the tracks sit comfortably around them. The Enhance version of this example makes the first feel dinky, to say the least.

Example C

Here is an example of a mid-tempo indie rock song in the vein of more alternative singer/songwriter material. This track features rhythm guitars using the Warm Space effect, electric bass, Korg Minilogue, and a virtual drummer sequencer. The overall mix is warm and spaced out with hard pans on the arpeggiated guitar lines.

Notice the differences with Enhance on.

Enhance does wonders for the arpeggiated guitar parts, making them feel crisp and spacious. All of the high-end frequencies on this track shine amidst the boosted mid/low end. The Enhanced version gives this mid-tempo more drive and edge without losing any of its breezy feel.

Conclusion

The robust and versatile ability of Enhance speaks for itself. In a matter of seconds, the special features that lie within Enhance bring your songs to the next level by giving them a pristine and professional edge. Never waste an opportunity to make your songs sound this good—always use Enhance!

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