Old 06-09-2019, 11:01 AM   #1
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default sample rate, bit depth in rendering final mix

Forum friends,
Same question asked three ways.
When rendering a mix for mastering, CD album the goal, is there advantage to upping sample rate and bit depth from my 44.1/24-bit settings?
Might the upsampling/resampling at higher rezzies make for better mastering and CD sound, even though the res would be knocked back down again for CD burning?
When rendering at a higher sample rate and bit depth than project settings, would you guess/know there'd be not only bigger files but higher sound quality as well?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2019, 11:11 AM   #2
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Correction. My project setting is 64-bit float.
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2019, 12:36 PM   #3
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,404
Default

You have a 24 bit recording, mix, and master. Might as well save that even if you don't wish to produce or release a more high falootin format than CD. Reduce to 44.1k and 16 bit from the 24 bit original sample rate master.

CD is a one trick format. 16 bit at 44.1k. You can't put higher def audio in the CD format. Release in flac files or bluray disc for that.

The sound of your 24 bit final master is your target. You might try different dither noise options for the reduction to 16 bit and see if one sounds more transparent.

The work you did upstream - from recording technique and quality to mix work - is where your 'quality' comes from. The 24 bit final master at the original recording and mix sample rate preserves it fully.

A reduction to CD shouldn't be glaring but you might hear a difference after reducing to 16 bit.

The harsh brickwall limiting and treble boosting you hear with many CD versions of albums are intentional mastering decisions (or lack thereof). Reducing to 16/44.1 doesn't just do that by itself.


FYI
The internal mix engine paths are 64 bit floating point. Which preserves the 24 bit resolution of your recorded tracks no matter how low you put a fader.

Last edited by serr; 06-09-2019 at 04:48 PM.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2019, 04:19 PM   #4
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Many thanks for the in-(bit)-depth reply, serr. Much for me to chew on, and it's answering my questions.

Seems you're saying quality is not added by up-/re-sampling. Quality is upstream of such settings. Just as with increasing resolution in Photoshop. Quality/resolution of a digital image comes from scanning resolution. If it's not there at the scan (recording), it won't get added by upping resolution later.

I'm guessing you mean "reduction to CD should NOT be glaring, but ... " But for the limiting and presence-boosting typical of CD mastering?

Thanks for the FYI. I've heard folks on both sidesó-Lowering fader doesn't lower resolution vs. lowering fader does lower resolution. Maybe it's a desk vs. DAW thing. I'm leaning to your view--in 64-bit DAW float lower fader doesn't mean lower rez.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post

A reduction to CD should be glaring but you might hear a difference after reducing to 16 bit.

The harsh brickwall limiting and treble boosting you hear with many CD versions of albums are intentional mastering decisions (or lack thereof). Reducing to 16/44.1 doesn't just do that by itself.


FYI
The internal mix engine paths are 64 bit floating point. Which preserves the 24 bit resolution of your recorded tracks no matter how low you put a fader.
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2019, 05:11 PM   #5
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,404
Default

Yes "shouldn't be glaring"

Upsampling SD program to HD would make it sound more transparently like the HD original on DA converters that run cleaner at HD vs SD. There is no quality added. It's simply making the converter machine not have to anti-alias filter the sampling rate frequency. It's preventing degradation.

That might sound ass backwards...
How could a further conversion - upsampling - prevent degradation?!
The degradation in this example would come about from the AD converter's performance in SD mode. Not from the reduced to SD data. Because even though the data has been reduced to SD, that doesn't touch the actual audio band.

Again, this assumes no one is entertaining the idea that any artifacts above the range of hearing are useful or perceivable. Many people seem to entertain this notion. Some use it as a strawman to state "You can't hear those frequencies so HD is bs!". Trying to suggest that the purpose of HD sampling was to capture above the range of hearing.

Fixed point digital does in fact lose resolution as the volume goes down. Literally losing fidelity as you lower the volume. Put a half volume signal into a 16 bit container and you use 8 bits. That's an 8 bit recording. You need to pay attention to levels with 16 bit. That's still a decent amount of resolution for a finished master. Pop stuff that's squashed dynamically doesn't even hit the edges! Classical or artsy music might get hit a little. This WAS a factor in starting the volume wars. 24 bit gives you an 8 bit "noise floor" bed with 16 bits above that. True 96db dynamic range with pretty full resolution on the very bottom.

Floating point formats preserve a much wider range when the decimal can float and preserve the 'meat' of the numbers instead of padding zeros. Math.

Consumer format is 24 bit fixed... so get your levels in order at the end of your mixing chain!
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2019, 08:46 PM   #6
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Many thanks, serr, for a second thoughtful reply. Lemme see if I understand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
Upsampling SD program to HD would make it sound more transparently like the HD original on DA converters that run cleaner at HD vs SD. There is no quality added. It's simply making the converter machine not have to anti-alias filter the sampling rate frequency. It's preventing degradation.
So upsampling SD (is that 44.1???) to HD (48? 96?) frees the mastering lab's converter from having to anti-alias, giving the lab a more faithful version of the original. No quality or resolution is added by the upsampling, but less quality is lost in the DA conversion. This then would be a good argument FOR upsampling a mixdown headed for mastering, yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
Consumer format is 24 bit fixed... so get your levels in order at the end of your mixing chain!
Not sure I get this point yet, but would like to. I've heard "Don't worry about mid-chain overs because with floating point math they can be fixed end-chain" (Andrew Scheps, Kenny Gioia). David Gnozzi argues mid-chain overs miss out on plugin sweet spots. I wonder if I'm even close to getting YOUR point.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 05:47 AM   #7
DVDdoug
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 1,956
Default

The "pro standard" is 24/96 and virtually all DAWs work in floating-point internally. I "doesn't hurt" to make & keep a 24-bit or floating-point master.


Quote:
Put a half volume signal into a 16 bit container and you use 8 bits. That's an 8 bit recording.
No. Half the volume (-6dB) "looses" 1 bit. With 8-bits you can count from 0-255 and with 8 bits audio you can hear quantization noise. With 16-bits you can count to 65,535. 16-bit audio holds values from −32,768 to 32,767 and you can't hear the quantization noise with 16 (or 15) bits.

The guys who do scientific, blind, level matched, ABX Tests have pretty-well demonstrated that nobody can hear the difference between a high-resolution original and a copy downsampled to "CD quality". Audiophiles (and pros) who claim to hear the difference usually haven't done scientific blind listening tests... And, it can be humbling to find out your ears aren't as good as you think!


Mixing is done by summation. (Analog mixers are built-around summing amplifiers.) If you mix two 16-bit files without changing the levels you need 17 bits (that's assuming the original files are at a level that requires all 16 bits.) Or, you could say you gain 1-bit of resolution. With floating-point you actually are gaining resolution. If you mix 4 16-bit files, you need 18-bits, etc.

Quote:
Consumer format is 24 bit fixed... so get your levels in order at the end of your mixing chain!
With fixed (integer) formats you are hard-limited to 0dB so you have to "watch your levels". Floating-point can go way-way over 0dB. But, DACs are always limited to 0dB so no matter what your consumer/release format is you shouldn't exceed 0dB, otherwise the listener can clip (distort) their DAC.

The "consumer format" could be almost anything from MP3 or AAC to 24/192 on a Blu-Ray.

Last edited by DVDdoug; 06-10-2019 at 05:57 AM.
DVDdoug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 06:45 AM   #8
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Thanks for clarifying the point, DVDdoug, on getting levels right for fixed point consumer formats. And for the lesson in bit-depth and resolution. Helpful. When I was just a piano player I never had to think about this stuff. Now that I'm an Audio Engineer ...
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,404
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
So upsampling SD (is that 44.1???) to HD (48? 96?) frees the mastering lab's converter from having to anti-alias, giving the lab a more faithful version of the original. No quality or resolution is added by the upsampling, but less quality is lost in the DA conversion. This then would be a good argument FOR upsampling a mixdown headed for mastering, yes?
You could make the argument that a SD (44.1k or 48k) master should be upsampled into a HD (88.2k or 96k) container.

This opens a can or worms a little...

Here's the deal as I understand things (and my experiments to the best of my ability seem to confirm):

Aliasing is a thing with SD sample rates. It generates noise in the audible band if left to run wild. So converter units use steep eq filters to truncate just below the Nyquist frequency.

These are analog eq's. This is the biggest factor in the 'sound quality' of a particular audio interface (specifically it's AD or DA stage).

HD passively gets around this by the sampling frequency being so far above the audio band it's all a moot point. Thus some converter units (in audio interfaces and home receivers) sound more transparent at HD.

This is important for recording and playback. Where the AD and DA conversions occur. In between we're just shuttling ones and zeros around. They either get to the other side of the road or you get an obvious error.


We could just use 24/96 as a format and shut up and move on. And that's kind of exactly what happened! 24 bit HD flac files are the consumer format of choice for downloads and the bluray is the physical disc format. These support multichannel surround as well.


So the worms...

That could be interpreted as a suggestion to record/mix/master at HD. Reduce to SD for the consumer. Make the consumer upsample if they wish.

Some people seem to claim that there IS some magic in the ultrasonic artifacts above the audio band... even though speakers don't reproduce that range. Nor do some amps.

I figure, might as well preserve HD content when possible/reasonable since the consumer format is 24/96 nowadays.

SD masters? Seems wrong to have SD masquerade as HD with an upsample. Let's leave that to the consumer to do if they wish here.

So what's the worst we can do today? Mp3 right. The lower bitrates of mp3 aside, this still raises the bar for audio fidelity next to older analog formats gone wild. (The malfuncting cassette decks or the toyish turntables.)

With some squashed pop music with just an OK mix, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a 24/96 bluray and a 180k mp3! A dynamic classical recording or something artsy like a Pink Floyd album will reveal damage from not only the mp3, but reducing 24 bits to 16 bits.

OK, so that last bit sounds like an argument against HD!
If only the outliers (classical music and Pink Floyd) benefit from HD and nothing else is perceivable... what the hell?

I've heard the outliers. Mix prowess is still the elephant in the room. All these lesser formats (even mp3) are 1% next to the mix work. Proper mastering presentation can be a big deal. It's an opportunity to do damage if something goes wrong too! CD's that are volume war slammed and have the treble cranked up to 11 are degraded that way intentionally. It's an aesthetic that is apparently preferred by the portable listening device crowd with CDs. Or it's literally shit mastering engineers doing a shit job and somehow nobody is calling them out and returning discs en masse. (I honestly think it's the latter.)


Well that's a lot of technobabble!

I've never heard any generation loss of any kind with 24/96 format.
24/96 is the modern high falootin format with downloadable FLAC files and bluray discs.
The older format of CD still sounds pretty complete full fidelity as long as it isn't mastered by a shit engineer (or bs online service).
Consumer tip: Try upsampling any of your SD albums if you're curious.

That's what I land on currently.

Oh, and the world needs more surround sound mixes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
Not sure I get this point yet, but would like to. I've heard "Don't worry about mid-chain overs because with floating point math they can be fixed end-chain" (Andrew Scheps, Kenny Gioia). David Gnozzi argues mid-chain overs miss out on plugin sweet spots. I wonder if I'm even close to getting YOUR point.
Cheers
The point in floating point math is that you can't clip your digital mixing system internally. Everything is "fixed" as it were in analog and thus you had to watch your internal signals in analog boards. It's still a good workflow practice to gain stage internally, but the floating point math literally eliminates the hard requirement. You can go over zero with floating point. When you get to the final output that feeds DA converters, now you need to go back to fixed point and respect the zero limit.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 09:01 AM   #10
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

The OP question has a simple answer.

Any time youíre rendering anything thatís not your final mastered distribution file - if youíre ever going to do any more processing at all even if itís simple volume adjustment - render to a floating point format and the same sample rate it was recorded at.

Floating point means you donít have to worry about the dynamic range so you know that whatever happens youíre not going to clip or add noise. Sample rate conversion always causes some artifacts which can be accentuated by further processing. If your ME is going to do something that could cause aliasing, itís their job to deal with it.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 10:10 AM   #11
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,404
Default

^^^ Agreed! (And shorter and simpler to read than my blathering.)

If the OP was entertaining the idea to release something ONLY in a reduced format like CD intentionally, hopefully the above will help (either in making that decision or rethinking it).

You can absolutely archive a 32 bit fp render of your master for posterity.
But at least save a 24 bit original sample rate copy. And any reduced format versions can be produced from the 24 bit master with genuinely no loss.

If another mastering engineer can make a better 24/96 master from your final 32 bit fp copy, great!
Would be a moot point for any reduced format versions IMHO.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 08:33 PM   #12
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

I love a simple answer! Especially when it comes with a good reason attached. Thanks ashcat_lt & serr for taking the trouble to weigh in on this.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 11:49 AM   #13
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Additional thanks for ALL y'all taking time to type out these expert replies. This is new territory for me and your seasoned reports are helping me sketch a rough map.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 01:58 PM   #14
vdubreeze
Human being with feelings
 
vdubreeze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 1,784
Default

It really depends on who's mastering. Hopefully they have tools that are a few levels above the average studio, both analog and digital. If you have finished mixes, and it's going to a good masterer, they should take it from there. If the mixes are 44.1 24 bit I'd say let them do whatever they do to make it sound its best on their rig the way they do it. If it means upping the bits or sample rates or whatever, they should do it., and they'd no doubt prefer to.

Also, and this isn't the case with mastering "mills" or places where they advertise a modest price and you send the files of to them based on that, but some mastering engineers have analog gear that enters into it. So what you do to the files digitally after they're mixed doesn't matter, because they run D/A at some point and back into their workstation. In that case don't do anything.

Again, it totally depends on who's mastering, how they work and what the arrangement is.
__________________
The reason rain dances work is because they don't stop dancing until it rains.
vdubreeze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 09:15 PM   #15
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Thanks for those tips, vdubreeze. Helpful to me where I'm at. Wanting to make a good record but at times feeling technically a bit in the deep end.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 10:31 AM   #16
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

vdubreeze's post has me pondering further on matters mastering. I hope it's correct enough to include my related questions in this thread.

I'd not be attracted to a mastering mill. I've seen enough YouTube tutorials to appreciate what an elegant and refined art mastering can be when done by a "master". And it would be nice to have the benefit of some master masterer's seasoned listening and boutique listening gear waving their wands over my unseasoned mixes. Still, if I find that master mastering costs billions, might the Reaper way be to consider taking up the study myself? I'd lose the benefit of somebody else's hearing the mixes fresh, and through better gear. But might I not with practice and study refine my own abilities?

In the brave/foolish event I were to attempt mastering my own album, how would y'all suggest going about it? Would you master each song-project from its multi-track format? Or mix down to a master stereo track and reimport that?

My twelve song tracks, a mix of folk-bluesy-gospel American styles, though some having electric guitars and drums and horns and pianos and organs and massed vocals on choruses, probably will not have the potential to become what David Gnozzi calls "stupid loud". Of course I'd like the album to be competitively loud. But I don't want to crush the timbres. As in painting, I want the colors, though mixed, still to keep some of their individual characters. Avoid mud, you know? Avoid that squashed, wall-of-volume thing.

Then, beyond bringing up volume, there's the EQing. I see the mastering masters making these half-db tweaks and wonder if I could ever get to that nuanced level. Though I do understand that in mastering any EQ move is like applying the same move to every track of a multi-track project. So it makes sense one would want to be conservative.

A rambling, unfocused post. Still, your thoughts welcomed.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 10:58 AM   #17
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

I always say ďLeave the mastering engineer nothing to do.Ē Mix it it til it sounds the way you want it to and donít send it down the line until itís what you want on the record. Doesnít matter whoís doing the final assembly. Whether thatís me or ME, the point is the same.

I usually do turn off any master bus stuff on the individual song projects and render the mix to 32bit floating point. Iím kind of a whackjob, so sometimes when I turn off that master txt chain itll be peaking way over 0dbFS. I donít care. Sometimes Iíve turned down the master fader 12db to get a different perspective and give my ears a little break. I still donít care. Floating point doesnít clip and doesnít add noise. At this point, actual levels are arbitrary.

Then import the individual mixes into a mastering project. Sometimes you might want individual tracks so you can process each slightly differently. Take FX do the same thing, but if it needs a lot of that, it probably means your mix isnít done. The benefit of doing it yourself is that you can easily just pull up the songís project and make the changes. This might be a spot where subprojects come in handy, but thatís above my pay grade.

Normalize them all. Add whatever little bit of overall eq/comp/limit routine you want for the overall album feel. Lay the mixes out on the timeline to get the order and spacing that you prefer. Bounce around listening to short pieces of each song and adjust item volumes until everything feels about right and proportionate and appropriate. If certain tracks do need a little EQ or dynamic control or whatever, add it. Trim your heads and tails and fades. Double check your pacing. Create regions. Render. Rock.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 02:20 PM   #18
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I always say ďLeave the mastering engineer nothing to do.Ē
Valuable, succinct tutorial. The whole post encouraging. Many thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Double check your pacing.
Kindly, what in this context is pacing? Song order contrasts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Create regions.
OK. With each song-project on its own track in the mastering project, to what purpose creating regions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Render. Rock.
Brilliant. Exactly ... You work so hard on the thing, you kinda want to see it through yourself. The Man could probably do it better, but that's not really Rock, is it?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 03:05 PM   #19
Bri1
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: England
Posts: 2,432
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I usually do turn off any master bus stuff on the individual song projects and render the mix to 32bit floating point. I’m kind of a whackjob, so sometimes when I turn off that master txt chain itll be peaking way over 0dbFS. I don’t care. Sometimes I’ve turned down the master fader 12db to get a different perspective and give my ears a little break. I still don’t care. Floating point doesn’t clip and doesn’t add noise. At this point, actual levels are arbitrary..

heh-well is'nt it just funny how i was getting badly trolled in this thread for advising 32bit recordings having advantages..remember m8?
now bods seem to advise for it..funny that.. people can be cruel when some try to be kind? heh.
ego's needs tlc as well sometimes..that's what it's there for-protection. =)
@op-try everything you can-this is how we learn for ourselves..time is not important-the learning is more so...quicker 1 learns..quicker we progress.
Bri1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 05:47 PM   #20
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
Valuable, succinct tutorial. The whole post encouraging. Many thanks.
NP. Glad to help, when I can.
Quote:
Kindly, what in this context is pacing? Song order contrasts?
I guess I meant like timing between songs, but also things like how long after you hit play on an individual track before it actually starts and like how long after it ends or fades out before you want the next track. So like if it's in a shuffle or you skip to a given song, I personally want to have about a beats worth of anticipation, like "Push play. Inhale. Sound." The rest of the gap between any two pieces is usually at the end of the one that comes first. How long before the next song comes in. Things like this.
Quote:
OK. With each song-project on its own track in the mastering project, to what purpose creating regions?
You have to set rendering bounds one way or another. Whether they're on the same track or not, they are arranged across the timeline. If I do like above, the individual items that represent the tracks may not necessarily cover the full time for the final distribution file. Regions allow me to mark out those areas and then just render them all in one pass. I'm not even sure what you think you would do otherwise. Any other method I can think of would be weird and tedious.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 06:54 PM   #21
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
You have to set rendering bounds one way or another. Whether they're on the same track or not, they are arranged across the timeline. If I do like above, the individual items that represent the tracks may not necessarily cover the full time for the final distribution file. Regions allow me to mark out those areas and then just render them all in one pass. I'm not even sure what you think you would do otherwise. Any other method I can think of would be weird and tedious.
OK. I'd only ever rendered with Bounds set to Entire project. Maybe change this to Project regions. Set a region for each song project in the mastering project, region selections to include one song plus its before & after silences. Just tested this with two regions. The render button changed to Render 2 files. Makes sense. So one click renders all regions, each to its file. 32-bit FP. Why not 64-bit FP? Don't answer that. That'll be for another thread.
Thanks
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 07:16 PM   #22
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
The render button changed to Render 2 files. Makes sense. So one click renders all regions, each to its file.
Yep, easy. I usually name the regions and then use $region_number $region and end up with meaningful file names that include the running order.
Quote:
32-bit FP. Why not 64-bit FP? Don't answer that. That'll be for another thread.
Start another thread if you want, but it's simply because 32 is more than you'll ever need even if you're doing some pretty crazy things.

At this point where we're doing final mastering, though, I really don't usually do floating point renders. You can if you want, but I'm generating the final distribution files here. I've limited the dynamic range the way I want and gotten my final absolute levels. I will often do 3 passes, though. The "full rez" 24 bit masters, the 16 bit "CD copies", and mp3 "preview files". I do them as separate passes, not iterative. Like, I don't make the 24 from the 16 and then the mp3 from the 16 bit partly because that's just silly. You'd need a whole new project for that, and you'd be compounding any errors from one to the other, and...
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2019, 04:20 PM   #23
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
At this point where we're doing final mastering, though, I really don't usually do floating point renders.
Right. The floating point renders were for individual final-mix song-projects. Here we're rendering from the multi-song mastering project. Different situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
You can if you want, but I'm generating the final distribution files here. I've limited the dynamic range the way I want and gotten my final absolute levels. I will often do 3 passes, though. The "full rez" 24 bit masters, the 16 bit "CD copies", and mp3 "preview files". I do them as separate passes, not iterative. Like, I don't make the 24 from the 16 and then the mp3 from the 16 bit partly because that's just silly. You'd need a whole new project for that, and you'd be compounding any errors from one to the other, and...
Wanna be sure I understand this. You're saying render all three resolutions from the mastering project. E.g., make the mp3 from the mastering project, not from a 16-bit render off the mastering project, right?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2019, 04:38 PM   #24
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Bit of a side question, but since the Reaper veterans seem in a generous mood, please tell me, how do you know when a thread you're involved in or interested in gets a new post? My method, I'm sure very grade-school, is to keep the thread open in a browser window and every now and then click Refresh. But I'm doubting that's how folks who post a lot do it, right?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2019, 08:54 PM   #25
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
Wanna be sure I understand this. You're saying render all three resolutions from the mastering project...right?
Right. I'm not saying you necessarily have to do all three either. The 16 bit file .wav file is mostly irrelevant for most of us nowadays. I like to do all three for my clients just they can do whatever they want with them.

I personally don't see a point in rendering an FP copy because I've kind of specifically and deliberately limited the dynamic range in the mastering stage. If at some point in the future it needs to be remastered, there's the 32 bit mix file to work with.




Up toward the top of any page on the forum there is something that says "User CP". That'll take you to the User Control Panel. For me anyway, this just shows me any threads that I've "subscribed" to (usually by posting in them) which have new replies. I pretty much just go there first any time I come around the site.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2019, 08:05 AM   #26
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Great. Thanks, ashcat_lt for the answers.
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 10:13 AM   #27
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

ashcat_lt, how do your clients come by your contact info? Is this question verboten on a forum?
New to this,
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 10:24 AM   #28
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
ashcat_lt, how do your clients come by your contact info?
100% Word of mouth at this point. I know them from "the local scene". I have a facebook page for my studio, but I don't do any promotion or anything.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 10:55 AM   #29
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Timid questioner really meant to ask, how do "I" come by the contact info? What search terms?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 11:15 AM   #30
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
Timid questioner really meant to ask, how do "I" come by the contact info? What search terms?
Cheers
Oh, lol. Five Miles From Nowhere on facebook. But you already know how to contact me right here.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 11:36 AM   #31
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Excellent. I was just worrying if I talked business with somebody on the forum I might get roundly spanked for that. No?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 11:38 AM   #32
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

PM me if you want. If somebody thinks me posting the name of my studio is SPAM, I'll remove it.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 11:45 AM   #33
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Thanks. Learning a lot today.

"PM. A private message, or PM for short, is a message sent in private from a member to one or more other members."

Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 11:58 AM   #34
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Yep. Just click my name and then ďSend MessageĒ.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 08:55 AM   #35
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I always say ďLeave the mastering engineer nothing to do.Ē Mix it it til it sounds the way you want it to and donít send it down the line until itís what you want on the record. Doesnít matter whoís doing the final assembly. Whether thatís me or ME, the point is the same.

I usually do turn off any master bus stuff on the individual song projects and render the mix to 32bit floating point. Iím kind of a whackjob, so sometimes when I turn off that master txt chain itll be peaking way over 0dbFS. I donít care. Sometimes Iíve turned down the master fader 12db to get a different perspective and give my ears a little break. I still donít care. Floating point doesnít clip and doesnít add noise. At this point, actual levels are arbitrary.

Then import the individual mixes into a mastering project. Sometimes you might want individual tracks so you can process each slightly differently. Take FX do the same thing, but if it needs a lot of that, it probably means your mix isnít done. The benefit of doing it yourself is that you can easily just pull up the songís project and make the changes. This might be a spot where subprojects come in handy, but thatís above my pay grade.

Normalize them all. Add whatever little bit of overall eq/comp/limit routine you want for the overall album feel. Lay the mixes out on the timeline to get the order and spacing that you prefer. Bounce around listening to short pieces of each song and adjust item volumes until everything feels about right and proportionate and appropriate. If certain tracks do need a little EQ or dynamic control or whatever, add it. Trim your heads and tails and fades. Double check your pacing. Create regions. Render. Rock.
I've kept this post in mind these last two months. "Leave the mastering engineer nothing to do" has translated in my sometimes overly-optimistic thinking as "You can do this. You can master your own album." Maybe that's just twisting the advice the way I want to hear it. But I've been encouraged by it. And now I've got my eleven song mixes in shapes where there aren't many things about them sticking out to annoy me anymore, either on my $100 Logitech desktop monitors w floor woofer or in my $100 Brainwavz headphones, I'm thinking, why not? OK, I can think of reasons why not. You lose the benefit of a separate set of ears, maybe the biggest why not. But this is, after all, rock. Sort of, in my case. Sort of rock. Can't shake the thought maybe the thing you make in your garage without professional guidance is the thing that will speak.
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #36
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

I canít really claim authorship of the phrase. I canít remember where I read or heard it, or who said, but I know I got it from somebody. It was kind of always the way I approached things, but I hadnít really articulated it this way.

To me, it mostly means donít kick the can down the road, and itís part of a broader idea of actually getting each step right so that the next step is easier if not just unnecessary. If we can help it, weíre going to record sounds that will fit in the mix without having to be changed. We never plan to ďfix it in the mixĒ. We get it right now. Then when weíre mixing, weíre not planning to fix things in mastering. Weíre getting it right now.

The reasons for this should be obvious. Itís almost always easier AND has a better chance of getting the results we want. You canít boil pasta in unsalted water and then try to put salt on it after. You canít add the garlic to the sauce after itís cooked, and you sure arenít going to get the rancid oil back out.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 02:08 PM   #37
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

As I'm just now setting up my mastering project, I'm wondering if the varying bpms and time signatures of the individual projects will conflict. How do you set the bpm and time signature of the master?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 02:19 PM   #38
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

What do you intend to do where it matters? I never find myself doing anything tempo synced at the mastering stage, so I just leave mine at default (which is actually 8/4 at 180 in my projects) and go with that. An argument could be made that 120 puts every second beat on an actual second, which some folks might find useful.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 02:30 PM   #39
3buddhas
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 54
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
What do you intend to do where it matters? I never find myself doing anything tempo synced at the mastering stage, so I just leave mine at default (which is actually 8/4 at 180 in my projects) and go with that. An argument could be made that 120 puts every second beat on an actual second, which some folks might find useful.
Thanks for the answer. I'm also not wanting any mastering-stage time-syncing. So I suppose I'll just lay out my eleven mixdowns in sequence and not worry that Reaper'll try anything synchy with bpms or time signatures.

I'm also thinking now how am I going to apply limiting, to bring up volume, without damaging tones and timbres? I'm guessing you put some limiting on and just assess it. Did that much limiting do what you consider damage? Can I go further? Do I have to back it off?

Related to this, do you compare your mix-volume levels at this point with commercially-made cds?
Cheers
3buddhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2019, 04:34 PM   #40
ashcat_lt
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,283
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3buddhas View Post
Thanks for the answer. I'm also not wanting any mastering-stage time-syncing. So I suppose I'll just lay out my eleven mixdowns in sequence and not worry that Reaper'll try anything synchy with bpms or time signatures.
If you have the project and/or item timebase set exactly wrong, it could mess some things up. By default it should work fine, but if you hear any stretching or weirdness, you'd want to look there.



Quote:
I'm also thinking now how am I going to apply limiting, to bring up volume, without damaging tones and timbres? I'm guessing you put some limiting on and just assess it. Did that much limiting do what you consider damage? Can I go further? Do I have to back it off?
I mean theoretically you've already controlled the dynamics at the track, bus/group, and mix level so the dynamic range should be pretty close to what you need to begin with. Again, if you need to make big changes at the mastering stage, then then mix isn't actually done. It definitely will be easier to do well if you go back and address those things on a more micro level.


But a lot of times when you're doing an album, the actual DR and overall loudness of an individual track will depend on the context of the rest of the material around it, so it usually does make sense to leave some of those real small tweaks until the mastering stage.


Usually at some point toward the end of the mixing process, I've decided that it pretty much works and every individual track and buss is pretty well controlled and doing what it needs to do, but it wants a little bit of that glue and a final bit of overall peak control for when things accidentally all push at the same time, and I add what is basically my mastering chain to the master mix. I'll tweak those parameters until I get the DR (and sound obviously) that I'm shooting for, and if it starts to have an adverse effect, I try to figure out which track or group of tracks is creating the problem and do what I need to make them play nicer. If I know this is just a one-shot type thing, it's pretty much done after this, but if it's going to be part of an album, I usually bypass those master FX before I render the mix file. Then I bring all the individual tracks into a mastering project, apply basically the same chain, and adjust the individual track volumes so that they each hit that chain at an appropriate level and end up where they need to be relative to one another.

Quote:
Related to this, do you compare your mix-volume levels at this point with commercially-made cds?
Cheers
TBH at this point I have a pretty good idea of how a given DR is going to compare to other things. I actually went through a long time back and analyzed a lot of different music that I have some kind of benchmark numbers for different styles and whatever. I can generally just kind of hear and feel the DR without much looking at meters, and in fact tend to come pretty close to my targets just by mixing until it sounds right to me. I listen to all kinds of things on my system all the time, so I don't really need to specifically reference things during the process the way a lot of people seem to like to do.




Now, I've been talking about DR because right up until the very final render of the mastered product ready for distribution, that's all that matters. A Dynamic Range of 9 is -9dbRMS/LUFS once you normalize it so that he peaks hit 0, and until you're ready to do that, it completely doesn't matter where those peaks hit. If you're peaking at -9, it'll look like -18LUFS, but you know that it's DR9, and if that's what you're shooting for, you know that you're there.
ashcat_lt is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.