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 Is this mastering house full of BS?
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therage Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Is this mastering house full of BS? Reply with quote

I cllicked on a banner ad at NWR and came upon this mastering house that is making this claim...

"Here at XARC Mastering we use specially developed innovative equipment to give your project the clarity it needs. We deliver the same perceived loudness as other studios, but in none of our mastered mixes will you find any squished, cut or flattened waveform "tops", giving your music the same loudness as others but without destroying any musical resolution or dynamics."

Now how the hell are they going to pull that off? These guys know something that nobody else knows? The waveforms I'm seeing on all the new "hot" rock are squished and flattened out. I would like to see something that is "loud" and not flattened out. I didn't think this could be done. I guess I just don't understand how you can have it as loud as everyone else and still have great dynamics.

http://www.xarcmastering.com/services/
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stonepiano Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

they're a sponsor here too... somebody must think they're reputable.
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Slackmaster2K Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note: advertisers pay for our visibility, not our endorsement. We do not judge the validity of advertiser products or claims unless they appear to be downright deceptive, and we don't believe this to be the case with XARC, as they allow you to hear what they've done to your work before you pay.

You might contact MC Gitarz, as I know that he used XARC for at least one song and told me he was going to use them for his CD.

The Recording Project is not affiliated with XARC in any way other than the paid advertising you see on the site. We do not endorse nor discourage the use of their services.

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"The object of this invention is to record in permanent characters the human voice and other sounds, from which characters such sounds may be reproduced and rendered audible again at a future time." U.S. Patent No. 200,521, Feb. 19, 1878.
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sonicpaint Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:52 pm    Post subject: That's a load of crap! Reply with quote

Quote:
"Here at XARC Mastering we use specially developed innovative equipment to give your project the clarity it needs. We deliver the same perceived loudness as other studios, but in none of our mastered mixes will you find any squished, cut or flattened waveform "tops", giving your music the same loudness as others but without destroying any musical resolution or dynamics."


That is a load of crap! The only way to get the volume up to "commercial levels" is to reduce the average to peak ratio. There is no other way. I know if there was a way to do it I'm sure it would be getting done by other well know and experienced Mastering Engineers all over the world.


sonicpaint
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M.Brane Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Is this mastering house full of BS? Reply with quote

Quote:
in none of our mastered mixes will you find any squished, cut or flattened waveform "tops"


Maybe they just round 'em off instead of leaving 'em flat.

"Soft clipping" for your CD's. Laughing
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sonusman Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I listened to XARC before and after example. A couple things came to mind.

1 - It WAS only one song, and could very well have been the best work they have ever done! How would we know?

2 - They didn't show any examples of how they can match levels from song to song.

3 - The song they did use isn't exactly your average "current radio" type of song. I would be VERY interested in how they do with something were it demands to be squished all to hell.

The example they give was quite a nice improvement, but that is just a song, and really, I could have done what they did quite easily at those rms levels! So, I guess I am saying, I heard that they can hear okay there, but I didn't hear anything that suggests that they can compete with modern production approaches to mastering.

Ed

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sonicpaint Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:25 pm    Post subject: After my last post.... Reply with quote

After my last post I went and checked them out. I fond 3 songs that had before and after examples of their work. I downloaded the mastered copy and loaded it into my wave editor and had a peak. Like sonusman said it isn't that hard to do what they did.

They were right when they said the dynamics were all there but they are wrong when it comes to having those songs compete with commercial levels. There is one way that you can make a mix louder keeping all the dynamics but I still don't think the levels would compete with commercial CD's. ( and it's a special processor ither)The level on CD's these days are brutal! The only way do it is to decrease the average to peak ratio in order to get that kind of level.

I didn't mention how to get it louder keeping the dynamics because I'm assuming it is known.

sonicpaint
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sonusman Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: After my last post.... Reply with quote

sonicpaint wrote:


I didn't mention how to get it louder keeping the dynamics because I'm assuming it is known.

sonicpaint


I usually turn up the volume of the playback device to accomplish this! Wink

Ed

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sonicpaint Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:41 pm    Post subject: Here is an article clip from the Master! Reply with quote

This clip is from Digital Domain, Bob Katz web-page in the articles section. The article is called "Level Practices". I thought I would take a clip from his article because it explains it well.

Quote:
Did you know that an analog and digital recording of the same source sound very different in terms of loudness? Make an analog recording and a digital recording of the same music. Dub the analog recording to digital tape, peaking at 0 dB. The analog dub will sound about 6 dB louder than the all-digital recording! That's a lot. This is because the typical peak-to-average ratio of an analog recording is about 14 dB, compared with as much as 20 dB for an uncompressed digital recording. Analog tape's built-in compressor is a means of getting recordings to sound louder (oops, did I just reveal a secret?). That's why pop producers who record digitally may have to compress or limit to compete with the loudness of their analog counterparts.


Bob Katz is an awesome Audio Mastering Engineer, go check out his site!
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Son of Mixerman Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Xarc is claimning is nothing new. Lots of ME's are doing this, your just won't find it on the radio right now as much. Brad Blackwood, Dave Collins, Bob Katz and about another 30 to 300 ME's know how to made loud and clear without crushing it. I have seen Xarc over at the mastering webboard chatting with other ME's and seems to be as knowldegable as most but certainly not in the same league as Glen Meadows and Bob Ohlsson.
Alot of what ends up crushed it usually already crushed when it hits the ME. So its difficult to really guage how well an ME does when you can ref the source. I haven't heard anything from Xarc so I can't say but John Scrip drew the same amount of criticism at first.

Has anyone asked John Scrip to moderate the mastering forum here at RP?

Peace,
SoMm
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mallcore Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be cool! Well, somebody ask somebody. . .

Cool
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sonicpaint Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:03 pm    Post subject: Who can moderate the mastering forum? Reply with quote

I was wondering who can moderate this forum? Do you have to be a Professional Mastering Engineer to moderate it? I think (IMHO)there are a lot of people in here (including myself...small plug Laughing ) that have enough knowledge of Mastering to moderate this forum but the final decision is up to Slack and the boys.

What do you guys think?
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Son of Mixerman Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I PM'd slackie to take a look see into having JS moderate the M forum. Im still waiting for a reply.

SoMm
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Gidge Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont think one needs to be an expert on the subject of the forum to moderate it.......one only needs to know what the site administrators expect as far as content allowed in the forum........
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Gidge Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Who can moderate the mastering forum? Reply with quote

sonicpaint wrote:
I was wondering who can moderate this forum? Do you have to be a Professional Mastering Engineer to moderate it? I think (IMHO)there are a lot of people in here (including myself...small plug Laughing ) that have enough knowledge of Mastering to moderate this forum but the final decision is up to Slack and the boys.

What do you guys think?
sonicpaint


Sonicplant, Ill nominate you for Mastering forum moderator if you nominate me for Guitar Players forum moderator......... Laughing

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jake-O.W.A. Offline





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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gidge wrote:
I dont think one needs to be an expert on the subject of the forum to moderate it.......one only needs to know what the site administrators expect as far as content allowed in the forum........
Excellent point Gidge.

Plus I think it's better to have a moderator who is already actively involved in the forum instead of bringing in someone who may not be around very often for moderation.

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Gidge Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

with that said, i think it would be great if the guy participates in the forum.....having "names" participating definitely is a big draw for a site........
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Slackmaster2K Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This forum isn't really unmoderated, it just doesn't have an assigned moderator. Picking moderators is a very difficult and crappy task because you have to start categorizing and "ranking" people. I hate it.

We will choose moderators not necessarily on knowledge or personal friendship....but on a certain feeling. "Hey, you know who should moderate this forum, so and so!" That's the best we can do.

You will shortly see some changes to moderation, as we will probably be adding a couple more and removing those who aren't around.

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Ancient Chinese secret, huh?!

"The object of this invention is to record in permanent characters the human voice and other sounds, from which characters such sounds may be reproduced and rendered audible again at a future time." U.S. Patent No. 200,521, Feb. 19, 1878.
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sonicpaint Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:39 pm    Post subject: Sure! Reply with quote

Quote:
Sonicpaint, Ill nominate you for Mastering forum moderator if you nominate me for Guitar Players forum moderator.........


Sounds like a plan! Laughing

Well my offer is on the table to moderate the mastering forum. (if of course everyone else is ok with it) I normally wouldn't put the time in or offer but I really think that the RP is way better then the other site most of us frequented. I haven't even been back there in at least a month! Laughing I haven't seen anyone here causing shit or flaming newbies like what goes on all the time at the other site. I think if the forums are well moderated then things like that won't happen and this site will stay as great as it is now.

Either way who ever ends up moderating this forum should want to keep it as clean as the other forums have been. It makes a huge difference when the moderator actually does moderate the forum.

sonicpaint
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MC Gitarz Offline
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please feel free to PM me about XARC if you wish. I'll answer what I can. I'm not an ME, but I have 30 years in the business and have produced four CDs. You may listen to my tunes and judge for yourself if I'm qualified to answer your questions. I'm also an American living in Germany since 1991 - there's a big difference in interpretation and philosophy between Americans and Europeans. I also know XARC has a web board and you can certainly engage the ME in email discussion.
~Milan

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Chris_Harris Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slackmaster2K wrote:
We will choose moderators not necessarily on knowledge or personal friendship....but on a certain feeling. "Hey, you know who should moderate this forum, so and so!" That's the best we can do.

It's because I flame Regebro, right? Right?

God knows I'm here enough, lol.

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MacNasty Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the guys from Xark mastering are genuine (i've seem a lot of their posts in another forum) and they also seem quite cheap but i've not really checked them out in any other way or checked out their competition.
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dtb Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Milan sent me a copy of one of his cds. Now, I don't clain to be an expert or nothing, but his cd sounded super. It's overall sound is superior to anything I've heard here. It makes me wonder how good some the other great tunz, from some of the great folks here, would sound if mastered by this crew.
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sonusman Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dtb wrote:
Milan sent me a copy of one of his cds. Now, I don't clain to be an expert or nothing, but his cd sounded super. It's overall sound is superior to anything I've heard here. It makes me wonder how good some the other great tunz, from some of the great folks here, would sound if mastered by this crew.


To be fair, maybe his mixes just started out sounding better than most you have heard here and the ME didn't muck it up!

Ed

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MC Gitarz Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - I'll take that as a compliment!! (I don't know if it's true or not - I just need the positive strokes 'cause I have such a low self esteem issue.)

Is there a way I can post up something to do a comparison? One thing I learned from this experience is that mp3s aren't telling the truth. I mean I'm a happy camper. Given my lack of skills I was very satisfied with the product.. I'm certainly not qualified by any means to make a certifiable opinion. But I know what I like to hear. Just let me know if there's a way - the experience was eye-opening for me. I'm mixing much differently now than I was before.

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