Old 09-20-2010, 04:30 AM   #121
MCV
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 65
Default

I haven't had the time yet to fully elaborate a reply. I'd like to provide examples in audio format so there's some basis to my claims, otherwise it's just wanking around in forums about "the loudness wars", of wich there's plenty already.

More to come.
MCV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2010, 08:23 PM   #122
ReaDave
Human being with feelings
 
ReaDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (originally from Geelong)
Posts: 5,458
Default

My latest mix, which will most likely be the single release from our new album, is mixed and mastered to K 14 RMS levels and I'm rather excited about it. This is the first album I've done completely using Bob Katz' K System and I'm loving the freedom in mixing with 20dB of headroom and mastering with 14 dB.

Have a listen to the new single called, "You are my Saviour," by going to our band website at www.ausdisciplesband.com, clicking the song title in the 'song info and downloads' section under the player and right clicking the 'free mp3 download' button.
This mix and the mastering was all done in REAPER using my Neve, Calrec, Bob Katz theme.

Don't forget to turn up your volume and enjoy the unsquished transients and dynamics!! You should be able to FEEL the kick drum and bass guitar.
ReaDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2010, 12:58 PM   #123
nfpotter
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Posts: 1,018
Default

Back to the OP's original question (though there's been GREAT discussion here):

I shoot for a "happy medium" between the "loudness war" and a lower level, super dynamic mix (speaking mostly for hard rock - "softer" music I usually leave more toward the dynamic side).

I use a few tools on the master buss, and usually roughly apply them before I even start a mix. (The reason I can do this is because I tend to work in "templates", both at tracking and mixing time.) That said, I'm CONSTANTLY flipping my master chain on and off (bypass), to be sure that I like what I hear as my mix progresses.

For plugins, I use a variety, but some favorites are the Waves SSL Buss Compressor, Waves L2 or L3, sometimes Stillwell's Rocket Compressor, occasionally Ozone 3 (but NEVER using any presets), usually some form of multi-band compression/limiting, usually some form of parametric EQ, etc. I know I'm missing a few things, but I'm at work and can't remember all my favorites off the top of my head.

I watch gain reduction levels on my master buss compressor and limiter very carefully, especially the end limiter, where I typically want louder, but still to see a good bit of "movement" on the output level meter (usually at LEAST 3-4 db). My goal is to get a little CLOSER to "commercial" loudness, but not at the expense of a massive reduction of dynamics. In most cases, I don't mind if I can hear a LITTLE of what the master chain is doing, but if I A/B back and forth and it's immediately obvious, I know I need to back off. I usually try to get the extra level from a "good-sounding" compressor (like the SSL, in many cases), and only barely use the end limiter to take off the very biggest peaks to prevent over's. If I need my mix louder (without hitting the master buss chain too hard), I'll just grab all the faders at once and turn them up a little, and then ajdust the master buss compression and limiting to not be working too hard.

Part of the problem, at least to my ears, is that many plugins sound pretty good if used reasonably, but when pushed too hard, degrade very quickly. I especially find this to be true of the L2.

If I'm sending my mix out to a mastering house, I follow whatever instructions they give me, as far as levels etc, and that almost always ends up that I bypass the entire master buss chain before rendering.

If I'm "mastering" it myself, I do as above, but back everything off in the master buss chain so that I've at least 6 db of headroom to work with later, and then do the same basic process on the master buss in my mastering project. That may seem silly - as in, why didn't you just stick with the harder-pushed master chain? Because, having a final "mastering" project allows me to think of things in context of the whole CD (or whatever).

My approach is probably technically "wrong", but I am usually pretty happy with the end result, and get "loud" but fairly dynamic mixes.
__________________
"A fly was very close to being called a land, 'cause that's what they do half the time."

-Mitch Hedberg
nfpotter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2010, 09:44 PM   #124
Sound asleep
Human being with feelings
 
Sound asleep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 7,437
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cableaddict View Post
-and as the saying goes:

"If everything's loud, then everything's soft."
that's an awesome quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcolumn View Post
sonnox inflator for my deafly challenged clients.

shhh, dont tell no one.
I looove the sonnox plugin sweet. i don't use all their plugins all the time, but i find they are all very good, my favorite are the EQ and the Reverb. the others i don't use as savagely but they're also very good i find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
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.
yes, but i don't see anything inherently bad about that. i actually like it at times, but, the part that's a shame is if you DO want more punch, and more crispness, then what sux is how weak and crappy your piece will sound in your playlist compared to louder stuff, unless you go and change the volume, which is a pain, and may end up blowing out your eardrums and/or speakers when the next song comes on.

that's the only issue i have with the loudness wars personally, i find the squashed sound is as cool, good and legit a tool for shaping the sound of your tune as any other effect, which sometimes you want alot of, and sometimes you don't.

it's just like, if you have one song that you decide to but a very noticeable long reverb on, it's not going to screw the next song in your playlist, whereas the guy squashing his track will.

the way i see it, is that all you have to do to fix the thing is change mp3 players or music players.

it should be you set your volume like a thermostat, it finds the average volume and pumps it out at the value you set. so if a quiet song comes out it will be at the loudness you set and same with a louder song. the waveform is inconsequential, only the output into your headphones should matter, the waveform is just how it is recorded.

right now, a loud waveform will sound louder in your headphones. that's the problem. and as far as i'm concerned, that's the only problem with this loudness war.

other than that i couldn't care less how producers or record companies, or artists want to make their music, loud or not, squashed and limited to shit or not, i wouldn't care.
__________________
Miles in your Shoes Original tune
Sound asleep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2010, 09:52 PM   #125
Sound asleep
Human being with feelings
 
Sound asleep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 7,437
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
"Quote:
Originally Posted by MCV View Post
...So where can you draw the line between loud and too loud?..."

If everyone simply stopped trying to artificially raise the RMS level by cutting peaks there wouldn't be an issue.

The end result of a mix that peaks at 0db will usually have an RMS value around -14 to -12 db.

This may be why Bob Katz chose -14 db as a reasonable standard.

If everyone adopted this as a standard there would be more issue of destroyed audio quality from playing "loudness" games.

If you want to destroy your audio with excessive compression and limiting, go ahead. Just have the finished product come in at -14 db. It will sound the same as a smashed mastering job at -4 db, just at a lower volume level.

This way the listener can listen to all music, one track after another, in whatever style, and not have to keep changing their volume level.

Ans people who want good audio quality can make good audio quality recordings without the worry that people will have problems with it in shuffle playback with other tracks.

The "loudness people" won't really be giving up anything either, because they will still have their smashed and squashed sound.

your principle is sound, and yes that's a good idea, but you'd have to make a law for that, cause otherwise some dude will decide to break the rule and then their stuff is louder and sounds best compared to the next track, so it won't work really.

that's why i think you just need to have a smart mp3 player. they ashould all be that way. the volume is set automatically, you just tell the player how loud you want the average to sound through your headphones, and it does it by controlling your volume control automatically. this means anyone can do anything to their music in the production phase and no matter what the average will always sound the same through your music player.

i think this feature would be somethign alot of people would want. the only problem is, i think people might not be prepared to pay the premium for it.

but they'd be more likely to i guess if they knew a loudness war existed, and that it was affecting how their music sounded without the artist or engineer necessarily wanting it to sound that way from an artistic perspective.
__________________
Miles in your Shoes Original tune
Sound asleep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2010, 11:35 PM   #126
DuraMorte
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: In your compressor, making coffee.
Posts: 1,130
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound asleep View Post
that's why i think you just need to have a smart mp3 player. they ashould all be that way. the volume is set automatically, you just tell the player how loud you want the average to sound through your headphones, and it does it by controlling your volume control automatically. this means anyone can do anything to their music in the production phase and no matter what the average will always sound the same through your music player.
That's basically what ReplayGain is; unfortunately, the public en masse isn't getting on board, even though they all complain about how annoying it is when they get blasted by an overly-hot master after a softer one.
__________________
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. - yep
There are various ways to skin a cat :D - EvilDragon
DuraMorte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2010, 05:42 AM   #127
Sound asleep
Human being with feelings
 
Sound asleep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 7,437
Default

cool, i didn't know that existed. too bad i can't get it in my mp3 player.

ya, that sucks. i think really the problem with that is that it's not well known enough to the public. on wikipedia they showed that quite a few media players had the feature, which is cool, but i'm not sure how many mp3 players would.

if like iPod came out with that feature then people would know more about it. people don't ask for it, but also they aren't told about it. it's not advertised on the package, and if it's an option they never selected, their mp3 player may potentially behave some way they don't expect, although i'm not sure whether or not anyone would really notice if you didn't tell them.

also, like i said, almost nobody has any idea about mastering and compressors and limiters, and the loudness war, and the fact that people are doing it on purpose to make stuff louder. what they do know is some tracks are louder than others, and that sometimes has to do with style, or more frequently with older, less quality sounding recordings. which just encourages people to prefer louder stuff even more.


so really people just need to be educated, know this replaygain thing exists, wish for it, and ask for it from the mp3 developers, or even if mastering houses and stuff or some people involved in the industry would subsidize the cost of implementation to some extent to some companies, or idk, somehow provide cash to help make it happen, maybe some sort of code everyone could use if that could exist, then it might work.

but i don't think some sort of standard, or agreement, or anything would work. i don't think there is really any sort of loudness war to be fought.

there's just some feature mp3 players are missing.


i'd be interested in it. i think alot of people would be, but maybe they don't know the option exists, or could exist, and they don't know extra benefits they might get from it because of the way it would affect the mastering process, and their music.
__________________
Miles in your Shoes Original tune
Sound asleep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2010, 04:05 PM   #128
DuraMorte
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: In your compressor, making coffee.
Posts: 1,130
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound asleep View Post
POST
You basically just summed up the crux of the problem.
People don't realize what's wrong, so the don't know how to fix it.
Record companies don't care, so they continue smashing the masters to shit.
And we all continue to complain, and fuck all continues to be done to fix it.
__________________
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. - yep
There are various ways to skin a cat :D - EvilDragon
DuraMorte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2010, 06:36 PM   #129
PAPT
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,082
Default

"...your principle is sound, and yes that's a good idea, but you'd have to make a law for that, cause otherwise some dude will decide to break the rule and then their stuff is louder and sounds best compared to the next track, so it won't work really."

Squashed mixes don't sound better, only louder at any given playback device setting. They usually sound worse.

"...their stuff is louder and sounds best compared to the next track."

I don't really get this, even though it is commonly said.

Compared to what next track, and where is this happening?

On the radio, all tunes are volume equalized by the station.

At an online listening demo people will just turn the volume up on their player. Do you really think they will just buy the louder tune without regard to the music?

The same at an instore demo station. Do you really think people will just buy whatever is louder? People suddenly have no likes and dislikes?

Maybe if you play 2 exact same versions of the same tune to people they may initially prefer the louder one, but what does that have to do with them buying tune A by band A instead of tune B by band B?
PAPT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2010, 07:53 PM   #130
Sound asleep
Human being with feelings
 
Sound asleep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 7,437
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
"...your principle is sound, and yes that's a good idea, but you'd have to make a law for that, cause otherwise some dude will decide to break the rule and then their stuff is louder and sounds best compared to the next track, so it won't work really."

Squashed mixes don't sound better, only louder at any given playback device setting. They usually sound worse.

"...their stuff is louder and sounds best compared to the next track."

I don't really get this, even though it is commonly said.

Compared to what next track, and where is this happening?

On the radio, all tunes are volume equalized by the station.

At an online listening demo people will just turn the volume up on their player. Do you really think they will just buy the louder tune without regard to the music?

The same at an instore demo station. Do you really think people will just buy whatever is louder? People suddenly have no likes and dislikes?

Maybe if you play 2 exact same versions of the same tune to people they may initially prefer the louder one, but what does that have to do with them buying tune A by band A instead of tune B by band B?

Personally i don't find squashed necessarily sounds worse, unless it's to the point of distorted, which professional recordings aren't usually, at least aren't noticeably to my ears anyways.

squashed just has its telltale sound which could be good or not. it's only a problem to me when music must have that sound, then some creative decision making, some artist input is lost.

plus i do find louder is better sounding, but you're talking about much much louder where all the transients vanish, but people will be listening to that at normal volume, and then their next track comes on super soft and weak sounding. and also, due to the loudness wars, this coincides often with the date of recordings, and human nature is to consider technology in a linear way, so what's newer in music is better, therefore quieter stuff is like older recordings and therefore worse. because they aren't knowing why its louder or softer, or what's responsible for that or anything like that. they just think "technology got better where stuff can be louder" kind of thing.


this comparing is done in the playlist of mp3 players. we don't listen to full albums any more. i personally never listen to the radio unless i overhear it playing on someone else's radio.

but, ya, you can turn up your player, but still there's that amount of time, where you think to yourself, or the layman, "oh ya, this recording is old, or bad, that sucks, i always have to turn this song up. i wish it was a more modern better recording" the layman doesn't think "wow this sucks, i have to turn this song up because they opted for crisper transients rather than higher overall volume"

nobody has any idea that even exists.

so maybe step one needs to be to educate, and i guess that's our job for those of us that know. what's tough is that the explanation is sort of dry and not incredibly easy to understand. but still, you can tell people word of mouth and it might come up in other conversations they have.

if there is demand, the market should sell the solution. so all that needs to happen is to create demand. and all that needs to happen for that, is that people know they want it to happen, and that it can once they know that.


turning up the volume for every song is so old school, it shouldn't be that way. to the layman though, it's newer more modern, and for that reason better recordings where you don't have to change your volume knob. so for them, the problem has kind of gone away, except for the older crappier songs, and they wish they were newer and every once in a while, they get digitally remastered, and so they are louder, and they are happier.

which we know sucks as a solution, but they're clueless.
Sound asleep is offline   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 08:27 PM.


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