Mastering in the OP-1 vs a DAW

That’s pretty much it—I have a number of #jamuary jams that I finally want to develop into songs and I’m wondering what workflow I should go with. I do like the idea of being a purist and embracing the “OP-1 sound” but also I keep having this nagging feeling that I should use a DAW instead. I have basic DAW knowledge so there would be a learning curve either way

It’s not like there are many options on OP-1, but you can try to master a whole track on it.
I find it way easier on Ableton, for sure, but OP-1 Battles often restrict it so I still do it once in a while ^^

I strongly advise to read Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets for Small Studios.
No secrets really, just simple knowledge of a few key points when it comes to mixing.
First chapters are essential: treating your room, getting monitors, and being careful about bass that usually eat all the dynamics.
Very precious advices in there.


It sounds like you mean arranging and mixing and then perhaps mastering. I feel like the term mastering is getting conflated with other things in 2022. You can’t perform limiting and corrective eq on an OP-1, so NO you can’t really master with it.

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sure u can.
theres a dope compressor, a 3 band eq
spring reverb and other effects u can use in the mastering sense.
spring actually really shines for widening // thickening tracks
can u get super surgical with it? prolly not but not every track needs that
(i would say most prolly don’t)

if u get your levels right and mix accordingly
create space in the frequency spectrum for your sounds
then the need for super surgical mastering tools is not as necessary

maybe its not in the traditional sense like u say
(and ofc i do understand the point u are making. certainly a valid one)
but the definitions of what something is and isn’t
(esp when it comes to music) dont have to be so restrictive :stuck_out_tongue:


I appreciate what you’re saying from a music has no rules perspective. But I disagree that anyone should consider it mastering.

Mastering is the process of finalizing a mix to prepare it for commercial release. Those guidelines change as the output medium changes. Today, mastering would take into consideration the requirements the major streaming platforms have on the audio level, which the OP-1 can’t account for.

Even when producing as you describe, which I agree with whole heartedly, you still need to make corrective adjustments when applying limiting to reach commercial level. If you have a mix you love, strap a limiter across it to reach the streaming LUFS requirements, you’ll often notice the frequency balance has changed. Often times, a frequency can dominate the entire mix, which slight corrective adjustments can cure. Deploying the use of a dynamic parametric EQ can often times solve this.

The OP-1 lacks a proper limiter and corrective EQ to ensure you can reach commercial level without clipping and potentially having your music rejected be streaming platforms and/or music publishers.

Idylmind - You’re A Miracle

Here’s a track I made mostly on an OP-1. Then I arranged it out, added overdubs and mixed/mastered in a DAW. This song wouldn’t have happened without the OP-1 but it also wouldn’t have happened without a DAW.

DAW + OP-1 = :heart:

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Last share and I’ll shut up!

My late friend Mike Wells & I produced a 3-video series for Dangerous Music regarding stem mastering. We took a lot of time putting this together to share info about mastering in general and specifically the benefits of stem mastering. If you’re interested please check it out.

Stem Mastering with Mike Wells

I miss you Mike. :slightly_frowning_face: