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lol

Well getting something to a decent volume is part of the whole "good mastering" part.

What needs to happen is good EQ, normalization, compression, and good, balanced levels and panning on every instrument, then the same for the final waveform if you think it needs anything.

There are a lot of different techniques to achieve maximum loudness, though I think most people here would prefer you go easy on the compression, I'm sure we all love dynamics.

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Learn about compression, normalization, etc; it's a Good Thing. If your track is too soft the fidelity can be lower - less dynamic range, LOWER SNR (*edit* hurr: either lower snr or higher noise level)

Try to normalize first. See what it does for your work. Then, find out how much louder you have to record everything. Put limiters and compression on what goes over the top; if you have a loud explosion somewhere in the middle of the track normalizing will not do anything for the rest. Here's where compression (multiband) comes in; it lifts up the volume of the rest of the track.

http://www.mindspring.com/~mrichter/dynamics/dynamics.htm

See this on how to do it and how to not do it. That's what OC means with maximum loudness. The distortion is not "professional" or "sounding like a hit", it's "goddamn annoying".

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Man. What a nerd :wink:

Anyway, why do the record companies mix the cd's to have this high a volume, then? I mean, what's the idea? What's the advantage of making a cd louder?

They stand out against the competition on CD mixes and radio broadcasts. (Atleast, I think that's the reason.)

It took me a good year or two to really get the hang of managing the dynamic range. Just keep you ears and mind open and always compare your track to more experienced remixers' tracks from the same genre. Remember also that you'll be the most sensitive of anyone to things like "pumping" (you can read about what that is if you don't already know). What you might consider unacceptable might never be noticed by anyone else.

As far as the judging process goes, they'll let a track slide if it isn't TOO quiet. They understand the learning curve of this stuff.

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Man. What a nerd :wink:

Anyway, why do the record companies mix the cd's to have this high a volume, then? I mean, what's the idea? What's the advantage of making a cd louder?

If your track is too soft the fidelity can be lower - less dynamic range, higher SNR.

Having your VGA's applied properly can increase the apparent volume as well. Just because a signal might be at 0 db doesn't mean it can't be mixed to appear louder.

Giving a maximum signal ensures that the listener is hearing the most frequencies throughout the bandwidth. For example: Having a miked acoustic guitar at a low level might not allow you to hear the actual pluck of the string while strumming (this is relative to what you want, of course). The actual percussive pluck of the string is at a different frequency than a guitar's presence range.

On the actual recording end (analog -> digital), you'll always want your gained to be turned up to achieve as much signal as you can without clipping. This is because the maximum amplitude in a sound is determined by the number of bits allocated to each number (a number representing the 1's and 0's used to sample audio). So if a sound is recorded at a low level it uses only half the available bits, and half of the dynamic range is wasted.

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consintarate

lolololol

And yeah, there's a multitude of reasons why the "volume race" is happening. Bands want their music as loud as possible without clipping, people don't have to adjust their volume EVER because the entire CD waveform is literally a brick, or it probably sounds better on the radio [though I believe most TV and radio stations run their own compressed signal!].

Compression and overcompression has been used extensively in TV commercials, that's why their volume is so much louder than the actual TV show you are watching. Though I think the FCC made some regulations guarding against this. I wouldn't know, I don't watch TV.

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lol compy love

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the way psychoacoustics, ie. the way our brains interpret sounds we hear, work in relation to amplitude. For example, the way we pick up different frequencies is not linear across the spectrum in relation to amplitude.. iirc, the louder something is, the more of a perceived "smile curve" our brains apply to it (which is why that kind of EQ is useful for making something sound louder). And generally speaking, we find that to sound better. So to paraphrase, a louder mix is going to sound better than a quieter, but otherwise identical mix, because of the way our ears / brains work.

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God created the volume knob for a reason. You should always be more concerned about doing a good mixing job rather than a good mastering job. If you mix everything properly there will be little to no need for mastering unless you really want to exagerrate the sound.

Sparing you a long and confusing lecture about mixing and mastering, there are two ways to check the volume of a track. The first is Peak volume, this measures the maximum volume of the track by checking the peaks of the waveform (the point where your song is the loudest). The second way is RMS volume, or the "average" level of your song, which I think is different than calculating the average of a song, but for all intensive purposes, the RMS is the overall power of the song. A high RMS means LOUD ASS SHIT!!!

So if your track comes to a -1dB RMS, you need to turn down your FLStudio and chillax.

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So if your track comes to a -1dB RMS, you need to turn down your FLStudio and chillax.

If a song came in a -1dB RMS, it would have to be nothing but a square wave all the way through - ughh.

Anyways, if you want some general mastering tips, Seph just bumped the mastering thread. go have a look at that, for it contains goodness, IIRC.

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I agree with Snapple, Cerrax, Splunkle.. "dynamic" sounds better than just purely "loud". (Although, I must admit, I'm a sucker for squeezing as much volume / impact from my own music as possible.. ;) ). But, still. It's basically always a good idea to put in a limiter to catch inaudible peaks from for example drums, and then normalise afterwards. If you're doing it right, you can get your mix to sound significantly louder, without affecting tonality, because all you're "losing" is peaks that are perhaps microseconds long that our brains basically ignore anyway (psychoacoustics again).

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Most of The Killers songs are -1 db. The whole damn waveform is just sheared off.

Out of idle curiousity, I just loaded up somebody told me, selected the second of track right after the crash cymbal in the chorus (which I figure should be preety loud) and found that the RMS was -7.1dB. While that is mucking loud, its not quite as bad as Ricky Martin, but still way to loud. And it isn't -1dB. Just pointing out that -1dB is a huge exagerration, and would have to be pure squarewave. You couldn't hear anything except the distortion. At all. No even the semblance of music. Man, that wouldn't too hot for speakers, either.

ANYWAYS: I tend to find that -12dB RMS is about the highest I'm willing to go. After that even my crappy ear can hear dynamics problems.

Protip: Don't limit to 0dB. That will mean it will clip if you record to .mp3 or some other compressed format. Some people say -0.1 is enough, others swear by -0.3. Just leave the poor compression algorithm some headroom, k?

PS: Dream Theater are the DUDES.

PPS: Bob Katz, a rather strong anti-loud mastering engineer, has a CD "honor roll" of CDs that are well mastered, particullarly with regard to dynamics linky is here. Its not comprehensive by any means, but covers a suprisingly large number of generes. No electronica, unless I missed some... Anyways, listen to some of these for edumacationary purposes.

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Most of The Killers songs are -1 db. The whole damn waveform is just sheared off.

Out of idle curiousity, I just loaded up somebody told me, selected the second of track right after the crash cymbal in the chorus (which I figure should be preety loud) and found that the RMS was -7.1dB. While that is mucking loud, its not quite as bad as Ricky Martin, but still way to loud. And it isn't -1dB. Just pointing out that -1dB is a huge exagerration, and would have to be pure squarewave. You couldn't hear anything except the distortion. At all. No even the semblance of music. Man, that wouldn't too hot for speakers, either.

Oh. Oop. I was looking at peaks, not RMS. :P

But still, take a look at the waveform. Its been ridculously compressed and limited.

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