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 Raising mixes to commercial levels
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St. Ian Offline
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:26 pm    Post subject: Raising mixes to commercial levels Reply with quote

Hey! Sorry if this has been up before, but I`m really struggling here.

I`m able to produce some fairly pro sounding tunes by now, but the levels are really low. I tried compressing and raising the volume in Wavelab, but it will only go this far before it peaks... which sometimes even depend on the file, and most of the time is far from commercial levels.

So what do I need to be able to push them up? Better software or does my soundcard have something to say?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it sounds good, why worry. If you want to max it out, raise the volume. I don't know of any software that doesn't let you increase the volume.

Now if you want that over compressed crappy sound a lot of commercial stuff has, you need to work with a compressor and its settings. hammer the crap out of it and churn out more poor sounding junk.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply!

Hehe, I just happen to think it sounds better when it`s loud.. it minimizes speakernoise, gives a warmer feel and keeps it easier staying away from the volume knob all of the time. I kind of think compressed mixes feel more powerful than non-compressed ones, and I need that for what I`m doing right now.

Sure, I`ve raised the volume. But I need more.. it peaks before it gets loud enough.

Any ideas?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It probably does sound better loud, but the best way to get it loud is to turn up the volume on your playback device. Compressing a mix to a big square chunk of loud does make is powerful *technically*, but from the listener's perspective, it's pretty boring and fatiguing. Without any quiet parts to make the loud parts stand out, everything becomes one dimensional and flat. I'm not even going to touch the "it minimizes speaker noise" statement.

People in the know think that doing this sounds bad, but if you want to push your stuff really hard, what you need is a limiter. A limiter is a compressor with a really high or infinite ratio (your compressor may have a limiter mode, or you can just try setting it to it's highest ratio). Crush it until it's flat, then bump up the makeup gain to get it loud. You can do it in a couple stages too if you want.

I suggest you experiment with it. Listen to some before and afters at the same final listening volume (by turning up the uncompressed stuff or turning down the compressed) and see which ones you like better.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But this is where I`m not on the same page as you guys.. as far as I can tell, a lot of musicians and amateur producers always fight for lower volume and more dynamics. Still, the one`s who are actually making a living off of this always raises the volume.. and I never get tired from listening to professionally mastered recordings. I just think that`s a paradox.

Anyways, I can see how lower volumes would work wonders in a world where everyone listened to your whole album as a piece of its own. But like I said before, we live in a world where people throw everything into iTunes and click "shuffle". I think my best bet is to not disappoint whoever`s listening by having their laptop speakers go from acceptable volume to my dynamic and airy mix which is barely hearable.

I`ll try the limiter thing.. and just for the record, I too think an overly compressed mix with a cheap limiter is a bad thing. It probably needs to be done with some high end gear to sound good. Or not at all. What do I know.

First priority - sound levels.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I tried out compressing reeeally hard.. and it didn`t sound too good. I experienced the sound as being bouncy, like it pulsated with the rhythm in a bad way and messed everything up (when the bass drum kicked, it turned the volume down and you would hear it very obviously in the other instruments).

Damn it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
and I never get tired from listening to professionally mastered recordings.

Then you need to replace your speakers - Or get your ears checked. Laughing

Seriously - There's some horrible, horrible sounding stuff out there... I'm as guilty as the next guy for cranking out "louder than they want to be" projects - But if you're not hearing it, I'm not sure what you're listening to.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies!

Have you got some examples of this horrible, horrible sounding stuff? I´d like to check it out..

No, I rarely get tired from listening to music generally. I could easily go hours listening to stuff like Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan, if that`s what I felt like... and in addition to being fairly noisy music they´re probably mastered pretty hard.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. Ian wrote:
Thanks for your replies!

Have you got some examples of this horrible, horrible sounding stuff? I´d like to check it out..

No, I rarely get tired from listening to music generally. I could easily go hours listening to stuff like Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan, if that`s what I felt like... and in addition to being fairly noisy music they´re probably mastered pretty hard.


Eagles latest release, Long Road out of Eden, cut 3 on the second CD.. terrible production..
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. Ian wrote:
Thanks for your replies!

Have you got some examples of this horrible, horrible sounding stuff? I´d like to check it out..

No, I rarely get tired from listening to music generally. I could easily go hours listening to stuff like Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan, if that`s what I felt like... and in addition to being fairly noisy music they´re probably mastered pretty hard.


OK GO. You know the treadmill guys? Great songs, horrifically smashed. Well one song was great anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. Ian wrote:
Ok, I tried out compressing reeeally hard.. and it didn`t sound too good. I experienced the sound as being bouncy, like it pulsated with the rhythm in a bad way and messed everything up (when the bass drum kicked, it turned the volume down and you would hear it very obviously in the other instruments).

Damn it.


From that description I'd say you've discovered pumping. Try limiters instead. Put two or three of them in series on the 2-buss. Limit a little bit with each one instead of doing the entire crush with one. Then you might hear the "sandpaper for your eardrums" sound everyone is talking about. Smile It exists.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh another great example is Weezer's "Perfect Situation." I can hear audible clipping through much of the song.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TripleM wrote:
Oh another great example is Weezer's "Perfect Situation." I can hear audible clipping through much of the song.


I actually felt this one was pretty unpleseant listening too.. but then again, it might be in my head. You`ve got me pretty aware of this stuff now Laughing Who knows if I would`ve heard it before this.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DlP0XAifbm8

Erik Prydz - Call on me... major club hit in Europe. Now, that is smashed. Seems like they did it on purpose.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TripleM wrote:
St. Ian wrote:
Ok, I tried out compressing reeeally hard.. and it didn`t sound too good. I experienced the sound as being bouncy, like it pulsated with the rhythm in a bad way and messed everything up (when the bass drum kicked, it turned the volume down and you would hear it very obviously in the other instruments).

Damn it.


From that description I'd say you've discovered pumping. Try limiters instead. Put two or three of them in series on the 2-buss. Limit a little bit with each one instead of doing the entire crush with one. Then you might hear the "sandpaper for your eardrums" sound everyone is talking about. Smile It exists.


I`ll try this, even though "sandpaper for your eardrums" sounded like this was not the way to go Laughing

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