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I've long known that I never seem to get my songs' overall volume quite up to the staandard. It's always just a bit too soft, or it clips.

I use Reason 2.5 and an old version of Cooledit, and I usually normalize my songs to 100% and then hard-limit away any clipping, but that does nothing to offsent my song's internal dynamics, leaving the song's overall volume too soft, with only the loudest part being up the standard, and that's no good. So, I'm looking for a quick, dirty and free way to get music to comply with volume standards. Any suggestions? I hope I don't need a *ahem* "monitor,* something who's function I have only the vaguest inclination of. Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

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Cool Edit is a great tool for mastering, you just have to make sure you know what you're doing before you start. Normalizing does not increase the volume of a track the way you need it to. It just equally boosts everything until the peaks are at whatever volume you specified. What you want to do is compress and limit the track. Something else you should look into is a maximizer. Maximizer plugins are designed to make your tracks sound really nice and loud without losing too much dynamics. The one I use and recommend is the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer, check that one out, it'll do exactly what you need it to.

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I don't know exactly how this works, but when I record something on my computer, it usually is very quiet even after intense normalization (both automatic and manual). All my meters are ready to clip but to my ear the mix is very quiet in comparison to professional recordings. But then I take the mix on my iPod and plug it into a stand alone audio CD burner I have, and the meters are only up to like halfway. When I burn a CD I can almost double the loudness of the mix without any clipping what so ever. Why is this? I know its not compressing or limiting or anything like that because my dynamics are still intact. What the hell is going on?

Anyway, I'm going to do that from now on and then copy the CD back on to my computer. There's almost no loss in the quality and I can drastically increase the volume of the mix. Its weird, but it works.

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To some:

loud = better

loud = most heard

loud = get the groove on

quiet = no punch

quiet = you hear nothing

quiet = you have to touch the volume slider => No!

These are the standard thoughts and that results in overcompressed tracks unfortunately. If somebody says to me "make it louder", I make it louder. Customer is king. But personally I don't go louder than K-12 (from the K-System) and it's +4dB warning zone.

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Anyway I think basically the answer isn't to normalise the sound as it isn't exactly a consistent increase in volume. I would stay clear of it for any orchestral or solo pieces and only use it if you know that the result is what you wish to acheive.

As I don't know what CompyFox answered with to your PM I'm just going to agree with SnappleMan as it's pretty much the technique I use now. Compress, EQ(negatives) and limit the track. I use Volcano maximizer too as maximizers help with this, but make sure you use it alongside other tools (especially the limiter).

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Cool Edit is a pain in the arse for mastering. Recently tested it, even "Adobe Audition" (which is just Cool Edit 2.5 or something) and I wouldn't recommend it to ANYBODY. (yeah flame me, I don't care)

And... there're maximizers out there who tend to "pump". Volcano is not the best, it's just one of many free ones.

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Same here - I tend to think my mixes sound too "quiet" compared to other songs out there. At first I tried to play with that "dynamics" plugin in Soundforge, but after failing miserably I just gave up.

It won't take the listener long to turn the volume slider up a bit after all :D

I know, but I don't want to be the one song in a playlist that makes the user turn up the volume. That's just wicked lame. Especially if I'm the user who has to turn up the volume. I hate that shit.

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Cool Edit is a pain in the arse for mastering. Recently tested it, even "Adobe Audition" (which is just Cool Edit 2.5 or something) and I wouldn't recommend it to ANYBODY. (yeah flame me, I don't care)

And... there're maximizers out there who tend to "pump". Volcano is not the best, it's just one of many free ones.

Nothing to flame over, it's a simple matter of preferance.

The big point that I think comes out of this thread is that people confuse loudness and compression with punch and energy. A well mixed track hardly needs ANY mastering to sound really good. Mastering is just supposed to smooth out the rough edges and add some elements which make a track seem complete.

Creating a punchy song is easy when you know the proper way to mix the instruments together (and knowing somewhat of how to compose it).

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Cool Edit is a pain in the arse for mastering. Recently tested it, even "Adobe Audition" (which is just Cool Edit 2.5 or something) and I wouldn't recommend it to ANYBODY. (yeah flame me, I don't care)

And... there're maximizers out there who tend to "pump". Volcano is not the best, it's just one of many free ones.

Nothing to flame over, it's a simple matter of preferance.

The big point that I think comes out of this thread is that people confuse loudness and compression with punch and energy. A well mixed track hardly needs ANY mastering to sound really good. Mastering is just supposed to smooth out the rough edges and add some elements which make a track seem complete.

Creating a punchy song is easy when you know the proper way to mix the instruments together (and knowing somewhat of how to compose it).

That's very true. But for some things (like orchestral music) its tough to keep the loudness high because of the drastic differences in dynamics and the fullness of the sound overloads the meters very quickly. That's why I use my CD burner method (see above post).

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Rock music and orchestral music should be listened to very differently. People who seriously listen to orchrstral music know enough to turn up the volume.

What about orchestral rock? Ever heard the string symphony version of Bring Me To Life?

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Then why did you recommend the Waves L1? This is the devil in disguise in terms of overcompression.

Really now... one day you say so, and the other you say so.

Also... you mean that I don't know what "mastering" or "engineering" is? Dude... I do this for years now and Cool Edit is definitly not suitable for "good masterings". Also... mastering is not only "smoothing things out". It's also about setting the right volume (balancing out a CD if you do montages), cutting and slicing.

Not to mention that most of you still shuffle "pre-mastering" and "postproduction" with "mastering". Not everyone is an engineer by only applying a "limiter" to a track and that's it.

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