Old 08-03-2010, 05:14 AM   #41
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Default Iron Maiden Examples

This is a good comparison of Iron Maiden tracks to listen to and decide when things have gone too far:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMNJEC1G-fE

The louder albums seem to have lost the separation between instruments in addition to other problems.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:51 AM   #42
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This isn't just an issue of dynamic range.
Those extremely squashed tracks are also distorted in the process.
Vapor Trails sounds distorted.
I do agree with you, but... my fairly simple shortcut to restore some of it turned out quite good. Indeed there is still some distortion but that is largely masked by the effect of BuzzRizer Light

This weekend I'm going to render the tracks out and burn them to a CD (might do a bit more 'mastering' on them) so I will have a 'Vapor Trails' version that is actually listen-able
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:03 AM   #43
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Now do things need to be butchered like Death Magnetic...I don't think so but their opinion said it should and it went at least Platinum so who knows.
St. Anger proved that Metallica fans will buy anything no matter how bad
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:05 AM   #44
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+1. Good engineering, good performance and good production = good mix that maintains integrity and utilises the full spectrum in a frequency AND level sense WITHOUT being killed with compression and brick wall limiting.
+2 for this.

Let it breathe, people...good music is a living thing.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:22 AM   #45
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But it doesn't hurt noone if it's loud and no clipping.
yes... it does hurt me :P
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:23 AM   #46
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How do YOU insure loud mixes?
obvious answer: I turn up the master gain on my monitors...
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:29 AM   #47
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loser's master limiter JS sits gently on the master track til it sounds about as loud as other similarly-genred hip hop instrumentals
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:39 AM   #48
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for my home produced album i will be offering 2 versions to choose from - contemporary loudness and classic loudness (no master limiting).

why go through the trouble? why not just release the classic version?

because the end listener doesn't know better. no offense intended, but particularly the younger hip hop crowd - not necessarily my target audience but their loudness misconception exists also in today's 20 some year olds as well. i want to be able to offer something that will play semi-competitively on a playlist mixed with other hip hop instrumentalists.

i leave my ipod on random alll the time, and i hate hate hate how much i have to go to the volume control - even if the classic style records do sound better when turned up...i hate blowing the hell out of my eardrums when the next Flying Lotus song comes on.

conversely, to a lesser informed listener, my songs will sound "weak" by comparison. yep has referenced a study where sounds played a fraction of a decibel louder than others sound better to a listener...i don't want to get pegged as having "weak beatz" by some fickle mush-eared fellow with an itchy skip finger...

however...this album is one with classic references, themes and moods...it's my interpretation of the spaghetti western film soundtrack in a more atmospheric hip hop tradition. this genre lends itself to spacious mixes with tons of room and emphasis...hence my desire to release both versions.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:44 AM   #49
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+1 definitely more dynamics and drums left when pushed hard. It lives up to the hype imo (iLok only be warned). Will be purchasing when I can afford it.

My FG-X should have expired a week ago, but I left Reaper on my main daw open and its still working, I just add new tabs...weird but wonderful! Cant update to the awesome beta though like this, its getting down to crunch time unfortunately.

Voxengo Elephant is probably your cheapest option for loud.

Stillwells Event Horizon js might work ok for free, included in Reaper.

Loudness is bad musically but everybody wants it...

Thanks for checking out the FG-X.. It acheives the loudness thing with a completley new process that is meant to preserve dynamics and balance. Hope more folks here try the demo.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:10 PM   #50
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sonnox inflator for my deafly challenged clients.

shhh, dont tell no one.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:28 PM   #51
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There should be a knob on your amp marked Volume - just get a nice mix and turn it clockwise
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:54 PM   #52
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There should be a knob on your amp marked Volume - just get a nice mix and turn it clockwise
+65,536 to that!!!! (one for each decimal value of the possible dynamic range of CD)
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:37 PM   #53
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I see a lot of good comments about loud mixes / dynamic range and compression but I'm actually in favour of "loud" mixes within constraints:

- for ideal listening conditions the loudest peak should be at the point of maximum level that the media can support and the softest trough should be slightly above (suggest 3db) the noise floor - so signal to noise ratio is a more apt descriptor than dynamic range

- for the average car stereo / radio you don't want great dynamics as the road noise will kill off all of the low SPL signal - we all know the answer - compression and "loud" recordings

Should we nowadays consider multiple mix options with each recording? DVD media has enough space to allow this.....
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:39 PM   #54
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- for the average car stereo / radio you don't want great dynamics as the road noise will kill off all of the low SPL signal - we all know the answer - compression and "loud" recordings
That's a very good point imho.

I think, nowadays, average music consumers listen most of their music on iPods, mobile phones and other headphone devices, fed with low qualitiy mp3 rips. And in this case there is no audible differnce between a good mix and a bad one. Especially todays youth is used to the low quality mp3 sound. That's normal for them.

So I sometimes ask myself, why all this headaches to create a good dynamic mix? No one will ever hear it...

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Old 08-04-2010, 11:52 PM   #55
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So I sometimes ask myself, why all this headaches to create a good dynamic mix? No one will ever hear it...
The broader question is, why do we do anything in life - we'll eventually die just the same?

It's the calling...
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:35 AM   #56
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......
- for the average car stereo / radio you don't want great dynamics as the road noise will kill off all of the low SPL signal - we all know the answer - compression and "loud" recordings

Should we nowadays consider multiple mix options with each recording? DVD media has enough space to allow this.....
IMHO, dynamic range control should be the domain of the player as it is with DVD. Pretty much all DVD players have dynamic range control options for listening to movies at low volumes without losing the quiet sections totally. A similar approach could be taken with portable players and car systems. That way, we need only produce the highest quality, most dynamic mixes we can and allow the listener to choose the dynamic range profile on their system to suit their environment.
iPods already have the ability to adjust track volume of mixed playlists automatically by analysing the content so it would not be beyond reason to include compression options as well.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:15 AM   #57
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Default T-Racks3

T-RackS3.
Simply amazing.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:43 AM   #58
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I see a lot of good comments about loud mixes / dynamic range and compression but I'm actually in favour of "loud" mixes within constraints:

- for ideal listening conditions the loudest peak should be at the point of maximum level that the media can support and the softest trough should be slightly above (suggest 3db) the noise floor - so signal to noise ratio is a more apt descriptor than dynamic range

- for the average car stereo / radio you don't want great dynamics as the road noise will kill off all of the low SPL signal - we all know the answer - compression and "loud" recordings

Should we nowadays consider multiple mix options with each recording? DVD media has enough space to allow this.....
You don't need a loud mix to overcome the problem of road noise in a car.
Dynamic range can be restricted without using a maximizer to make the mix louder.
You can have limited dynamic range and still put out a mix at -14 db RMS.
The 2 are not related.

And, as Danni said, that should be a function of the player.
Just add a circuit that allows the listener to choose full or restricted dynamics.

Last edited by PAPT; 08-05-2010 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:57 PM   #59
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Some customers just did a shootout between the FG-X, Ozone4, Xeon, Sony, and Voxengo Elephant.. I'll try to get links so you guys can hear it here.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:32 PM   #60
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Considering the complete lack of dynamics in modern CD masters, ANY dynamics are better than what's out there now.
My "masters" are usually limited by about 3 dB. I turn down the threshold on L3-LL until the GR hits 3dB-ish, and that's about where it stays.
That gives me plenty of dynamics (kick and snare still have balls, guitars aren't overpowering everything else, etc.), and also utilizes the full headroom of the medium.
Granted, my mixes/masters aren't fantastic, but I think they sound better than a lot of what's been released in the past 10 years, re. limiting and compression.

OT:
The guitar player in the metal band I just joined burned me a mix DVD of a bunch of random albums he really likes. As he went through his library, he would put on a song from each album. Most of the time, I would cringe when the music started. (Typical modern metal albums; ridiculous amounts of brickwalling, absolutely zero dynamics, etc.)
After about three songs, he asked me why I had that face. I explained that the limiting and compression on those albums were so severe, they gave me a headache. They literally did; as soon as the double kick started, I'd feel a dull pressure right behind my ears.
He asked me why, and I explained the concept to him, and we had a good, long discussion about compression and limiting. We watched the loudness war videos on YT, and he came away with a new respect for quieter, more punchy and dynamic albums.
I'm glad he came away with that understanding, because I'm recording our album, and it's going to be easier to win the rest of the band over when I already have someone on my side to help me field questions from the other three!
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:37 AM   #61
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I use Voxengo SPAN to analyze quality commercial mixes to see how they differ from mine. I consistently notice that the waveform is much more 'dense' than on my finished mixes. Not necessarily louder (as in loudness wars), but more of the gaps between the peaks are filled in.

One day I had my bass plugged in and it happened to have old strings on it. The waveform displayed in SPAN for just my bass was pretty close to a simple sine wave. I changed my strings and all of a sudden, there are many more peaks displayed in the spectrum... more harmonics, duh!

After a while it dawned on me. More harmonics equals more sound which equals more of the peaks filled in. So my rule of thumb is to use fresh strings. I'm guessing that this same applies to drum heads, reeds, etc.

I don't think this will necessarily make things louder, but it should record a more quality, fuller sound - which should translate to a fuller overall mix. I'm starting to think that this approach is better that 'artificial' means to make a mix louder, since you can't really amplify a sound that wasn't recorded in the first place.

I have a guitar-player friend who insists that older strings sound better. After seeing the evidence in SPAN, I can't agree.

Does anyone else have an opinion or experience with this?
I made the same observation using SPAN.

However, I was thinking maybe it means the commercial tracks have more intentional distortion added, to fill in the gaps, so to speak. A theory I plan to test on my next mix by putting some sort of distortion at the end of each tracks' signal chain and seeing what happens.

As for old vrs. new strings on guitar. It definitely changes the timbre. Which state is better depends on the music. Years ago with my analog rig I used to describe it as:

"When the strings are new it's more of a Pete Townsend, bright sound, it slowly over time degrades down through ZZ Top and ultimately to AC/DC."

So if I want "sparkly" (low distortion) or Who type sound... new strings... the heavier I'm aiming... the more broken in I like them to be.

But... that doesn't mean that's what the artists did. Consider that Pete used those mini-buckers, and metal guys use louder, less trebley pickups. Heck they might have all been using new strings in the studio, but the pickups altered the tone balance for them.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:38 AM   #62
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I think the intentional distortion you're referring to (and what is making commercial mixes so dense) is more the use of compression and hard limiting than anything else. Dynamic processing is distortion, when you have a gain reduction circuit (digital or analogue) fluctuating really quickly and slamming down on peaks, you get harmonics because the input signal starts to approach a square wave.

You can still use compression without killing dynamics. Try using it parallel instead of inserted; you'll get the increased harmonic content and the denser sound without losing transients and destroying dynamic range completely. Also, I would say that clever use of reverb and delay are massively more effective at "filling out" a mix than using new guitar strings. New strings will give you more high-frequency content, but that's not what makes a mix sound full, it's what helps it to sound crisp.

More filled-in waveforms in a mix is dynamic distortion, not strings.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:08 AM   #63
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WTF.

Mixes are not meant to sound loud. Masters may be meant for that. Mixes should sound "good" whatever that is. You can slam a limiter into the master bus while mixing, but it isn't a very good idea to mix THROUGH a limiter, as you get no real sense of the dynamics in your mix.

It *may* be a good idea to use a limiter for checking, while mixing, the way things may end up sounding after the mastering stage, i.e. I usually use a limiter to hear how the mastering could affect the reverb in my mix, as the reverb tails are usually way more noticeable after heavy compression/limiting.

A different thing is to use a compressor in the master bus and mix through it. This may be done in order to add some "glue" to the mix, and because the use of a compresor in the master may allow you to use less aggresive compresion on individual tracks. Also, some bus compresors are very famous because their characteristic sound, i.e. SSL 4k bus comp (sometimes referred to as "the record button", as it makes things sound "like a record"). But the typical bus compresor will only apply maybe 1-4 dbs of reduction, not more.

One thing I do is, once my mix is ready, I play the whole mix and see how far I am from clipping, i.e. if the loudest peak in the whole mix hits -3.4, then I will probably adjust the make-up gain in the master bus compressor by 2.8 or 3 dbs, so the mix will peak at around -.5, wich is adequate in my opinion for a mix that's going to be sent to a mastering facility (or if I'm mastering by myself if there's no budget).

.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:21 AM   #64
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How do I insure loud mixes?

Lloyds of London. They'll insure ANYTHING.
LOL
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:24 AM   #65
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Oh, and T-Racks 3.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:58 AM   #66
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quiet is the new loud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlec6kmCNk4

audiophiles (who represent .00001% of the buying public) have spoken.

just kidding.

if you want it loud, use a clipper like event horizon and dont look back.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:37 PM   #67
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And by that I mean in relative context of pro recordings on a CD.

What is YOUR secret go to tool.

I like Ozone by izotope, and waves L2.
I don't. Its not necessary and a waste of time. People will listen at the volume they want to listen. They have a volume knob and they use it. If I make it louder they will turn it down so whats the point? I worry about making it as good as possible, not as loud as possible.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:40 PM   #68
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But it doesn't hurt noone if it's loud and no clipping.
Yes it does. You have removed the dynamics from the music from the limiting whether it clips or not. By rounding off the peaks with a limiter you remove the transients and punch from the piece.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:46 PM   #69
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Some useful freeware :


Kjaerhus Classic Limiter is known to be a fairly good and transparent limiter. The Kjaerhus website is gone but you can still download the Classic package here: http://www.acoustica.com/plugins/vst-directx.htm
This limiter is really good if the intention is just to tighten up a mix with light limiting. Its a mainstay in my mastering chain along with a few others depending on the track.

I hate tracks that are crushed to death. There is just no point in it
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:54 PM   #70
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In all seriousness, don't.

The radio and jukebox and the club PA all have built-in compressor/limiters.


Don't try to make loud mixes, just make good ones.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:43 AM   #71
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Oh, and T-Racks 3.
just give yourself plenty of headroom before applying T-racks3 to the final mix.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:46 AM   #72
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I don't. Its not necessary and a waste of time. People will listen at the volume they want to listen. They have a volume knob and they use it. If I make it louder they will turn it down so whats the point? I worry about making it as good as possible, not as loud as possible.
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Yes it does. You have removed the dynamics from the music from the limiting whether it clips or not. By rounding off the peaks with a limiter you remove the transients and punch from the piece.
+1000 for dynamics and transients. Let the mix breathe.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:16 AM   #73
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Yes, everyone will say "let the mix breathe"... "bring back the dynamics"... etc.

What about mixing Cannibal Corpse? Do they need the dynamics? Do their mixes need to breathe more?

Whether a softer or louder master is required is something that can be decided based on the material.

Mixes though shouldn't be specially loud. Loudness is a concern at mastering stage, not at mixing.
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:35 AM   #74
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Yes, everyone will say "let the mix breathe"... "bring back the dynamics"... etc.

What about mixing Cannibal Corpse? Do they need the dynamics? Do their mixes need to breathe more?

Whether a softer or louder master is required is something that can be decided based on the material.

Mixes though shouldn't be specially loud. Loudness is a concern at mastering stage, not at mixing.
Yes, even death metal should have dynamics. Why would you think that just because it's a 'loud' genre (which really just means people tend to listen to it turned up loud) that the master should be ultra-flattened? I think Metallica has proven pretty well of late that even in 'loud' genres there's no benefit (and plenty of detraction) to overly loud masters.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:25 AM   #75
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Yes, everyone will say "let the mix breathe"... "bring back the dynamics"... etc.

What about mixing Cannibal Corpse? Do they need the dynamics? Do their mixes need to breathe more?


Whether a softer or louder master is required is something that can be decided based on the material.

Mixes though shouldn't be specially loud. Loudness is a concern at mastering stage, not at mixing.
1) Yes they do
2) Only to a very small degree. Yes they need dynamics. More importantly they need the transients intact for the punch it provides.
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:00 AM   #76
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I actually LIKE loud mixes.

But then again... I like absurdly loud, obnoxious music.

And I agree, all music needs to be dynamic, but; you can have dynamic music that is also loud. It won't be AS dynamic, but if you want a mix to compete with commercial mixes, the unfortunate reality is - it needs to be loud.

I do the same as PattonFreak1. 2 instances of GClip - both doing subtle clipping. And then I use Voxengo Elephant after that in the chain.

All that chain is meant to do is get your loudness. If you want a dense mix, it's all in your mixing techniques.

Main thing to remember if you're a noob is: Mixing and mastering are completely different things. Mixing is where you make things sound good together, and mastering is where you even out levels and generate the overall loudness of the track.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:46 AM   #77
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Exactly, mixing is a stage of the process where you shouldn't be worrying about sounding loud, but about sounding good. The only concern I usually have when mixing is the reverb, as limiting in the mastering stage brings the reverb tails up, so you need to take that into account when mixing to avoid a clusterfuck of reverb.

About Metallica, and overly loud masters in general, it is often the artists that push for as-loud-as-possible, and they not always do that for commercial reasons (sounding louder than the previous song in the radio), but just because they like it. Who are we to argue with success? In any case, I think "overly loud" is not the same as "loud".

Metallica in particular, I haven't heard the last album, couldn't be bothered, but some of my friends have been telling me this is their finest album ever. Is it really too loud then? I'd say it is a bold artistic statement: fuck dynamics! I don't necesarily agree with it, but I do have a respect for bold statements. They tend to require cohones rather than wanking on forums about "dynamics". Slayer is not Steely Dan, and should probably be mastered to reflect that difference, wouldn't you agree?
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:48 PM   #78
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hehe, i would love to hear slayer unplugged, with dave lombardo on a brush kit and tom araya playing a standup bass.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:57 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Chris_P_Critter View Post
.....but if you want a mix to compete with commercial mixes, the unfortunate reality is - it needs to be loud.........
if you want your mix to be louder in a mixed playlist on an mp3 player or in a CD changer maybe. If you want your mix to stand out on the radio, hypercompression is actually counter productive. The station's limiters will pull your loud mix back based on it's RMS value and your song will sound weaker than a mix with more dynamics.

I personally couldn't care less what mainstream commercial artists are doing with their mixes. I have no desire to play the loudness wargames.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:44 PM   #80
AudioWonderland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_P_Critter View Post
I actually LIKE loud mixes.



And I agree, all music needs to be dynamic, but; you can have dynamic music that is also loud. It won't be AS dynamic, but if you want a mix to compete with commercial mixes, the unfortunate reality is - it needs to be loud.
Loud AND dynamic? How? They are mutually exclusive things at this point.

Compete with what? Where? This is a concept that gets parroted ad nauseum but I don't think it holds up in reality. Radio already compresses the shit of it in the broadcast chain. In a playlist? iTtunes does that for you if yuou want that. In a cd player? Who cares? the listener will adjust the volume to their liking anyway.

The idea that it has to be loud to "compete" is bunk IMO and really just perpetuates a concept that never made sense to begin with

Last edited by AudioWonderland; 08-30-2010 at 12:59 PM.
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