Klaus Scheuermann released master_me, a freeware mastering plugin for Windows and macOS.
Mastering can be a daunting process for the average hobbyist.
We want our tracks to sound great, but there is so much conflicting information out there regarding best practices, as well as the differences between mixing and mastering. Engineering school is an option, but if you’re recording a podcast with your pals, it might not be feasible.
Now, master_me isn’t going to be a panacea that suddenly teaches you the intricacies and best practices of mastering. What it does provide is a set of tools akin to Izotope’s Ozone, meant to get your audio sounding polished with minimal experience.
The signal flow of master_me is typical of other mastering processors. There are means of handling dynamics, equalization, and finally, limiting.
Pre-processing is the first module in line and gives control over the gain and stereo width. Gain is simply dictated by how hot the input is going toward the other processors. The stereo width control is less refined and offers a mono switch and stereo correction. This is followed by a simple noise gate with controls for attack, release, and threshold.
A simple EQ offers up some basic parameters for fine-tuning your audio. You ideally aren’t making big EQ moves in the mastering stage, but you have the option of adjusting frequencies on the side if necessary. Leveler is an interesting parameter and maintains a target loudness.
The compression offered is a simple knee module and a mid/side multiband compressor. These function well but not quite as well as individual plugins. The limiter and brickwall modules round out the signal chain, and there, thankfully, is peak protection, so signals over 0dB true peak aren’t going to be present.
master_me is an interesting collection of mastering processors that comes in an easy and advanced mode. While this isn’t going to put your educated mastering engineers out of work, it does provide a cost-effective alternative to Ozone and other all-in-one mastering suites.
master_me is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Natively supported formats are LV2, VST2, VST3, and CLAP. Additional standalone applications in JACK are available on some systems. Included literature doesn’t indicate if Master_Me has a native Apple Silicon binary.