Clipping in Library music?
Old 26th September 2012
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Clipping in Library music?

So, working on something for a network and using their library music for the first time. It seems to me that a lot of the tracks in one particular catalog are clipping badly. I'm using more than a few cues from this catalog, so wondering If I should interface with the network to see about getting unclipped files or if I should just throw Izotope Declicker on it and be done with it.
Old 27th September 2012
  #2
Gear maniac
 

I have notice some odd crackles in library music before. Maybe it the same library? I have usually had the editor provide me with a different sample rate or file type etc. and it solves it. I wondered if the library was using some shoddy batch converter to make the various versions and qualities they offer and it was botching some file types etc.
Old 27th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
Not only is there a lot of clipping in new library music these days, but the trend seems to be to master the stuff super hot and smash all the dynamic range and detail out of it. Kind of silly when the first thing the mixer is gonna do is trim it back by 15 dB to have it sit in the useful part of the fader. And it usually sounds OK by itself, but can be terrible in a mix with dialog & sound design.
Old 27th September 2012
  #4
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Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 

Some libraries are better than others with quality control. I would report the distortion back to the library sales person/liason and let them know their stuff is distorted and it is taking you extra time to fix their mess.

Some music libraries are run by conglomerate businesses who think music is music and they just try to push as much of it out of the door as possible. I have literally had people flat out tell me clients cannot hear the difference and so why spend the time making things pristine or good sounding. I find that hard to believe and this post is a testament to the fact that clients can and do hear the difference.

As to Brent's comment about why bother with mastering... There is actually a two main reasons why most libraries master their music.

The first reason being is that generally the music is usually not initially "picked", while listening on the dub stage mixed into the movie [DISCLAIMER: Every show has a different workflow, so some might but that is not the norm] . The music is picked in some sort of search engine, usually with various different libraries all combined and jumbled together. You do a search for "classic 40's big band with vocal" and a list of tracks come up from whatever libraries you are signed up with. You go down the list listening to the tracks and marking certain ones you think might work.

In that list... files are not automatically volume adjusted by the player. So a track that is 10dB or 20dB quieter than another will sound (because of the fletcher munson curve) wimpier and of less fidelity and a client unknowingly will be less likely to choose it.

The Second reason library music is mastered is to try and get the library track as close as possible in sound to the original music used in the temp track. Lots of editors and directors use temp tracks from their own CD collections. Whether its music off a Dark Night or Bourne soundtrack CD or a track from a Katy Perry or Adele CD, the music being used in the temp (unless its original score written by the show's composer) has been professionally mastered.

So... after a list of tracks have been selected that could possibly work... then the editor/director/music sup/whoever has to try to find the ONE track to go with. And that selection boils down to which one most closely matches the temp in intensity, feeling, mood, impact, etc. And again, the mastering can aid in that.

I always say this. Music libraries do not compete against each other for placements. They compete against the temp track.
Old 27th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
As to Brent's comment about why bother with mastering...
Sure, I totally get that, just like with iTunes (and juke boxes before that), it's gotta be loud to get bought. But it'd sure be nice to have a less compressed version available, 'cause they sit so much better in a mix. Some libraries are starting to make stems available, which can help.
Old 27th September 2012
  #6
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Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Sure, I totally get that, just like with iTunes (and juke boxes before that), it's gotta be loud to get bought. But it'd sure be nice to have a less compressed version available, 'cause they sit so much better in a mix. Some libraries are starting to make stems available, which can help.
I was just about to say that, you can ask for stems if available.
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