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What about headroom on the bus mix?
Old 8th September 2006
  #31
Gear Nut
 
rodrigo's Avatar
 

Quote:
With the best audio measuring intrument in my studio!!!!
I suppose that would be your ears... Right?

Following this thread it seems fellow Gearslutz are focusing on the specific method/technique you apply to your recordings/mixes. That's what has got everyone intrigued and in awe. "No compression?? He must be doing SOMETHING, don't he?"

And your answers have been inspirational, full of wisdom and exciting yet people are still intrigued. Intrigued and Inspired (contradictory feelings) that in the end will push people to try doing their best.

Just wanted to say hi, Bruce
Keep us inspired but a little less intrigued...

Rodrigo
Old 9th September 2006
  #32
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

I want to help you in any way that I can...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
I honestly think it's a legitimate question especially when talking about maintaining 100% of transients and using no bus compression. Perhaps I misunderstood something you wrote. It seems logical to me that if you are sensitive to preserving transients then you would be very careful to not clip your digital mix bus or your D/A converters. Doing so would only be robbing you of the transients you fight so hard to capture and preserve, wouldn't it? I guess I'm missing something...

Perhaps I should have phrased my question as: do you pay careful to metering and digital overs when printing your digital mixes?

Regarding not leaving anything upto mastering engineers because they sound like records.... I guess I don't understand that statement fully. Does the mastering engineer apply any limiting to the final mixes before they get pressed into CD's? I know if I just sent my mixes to the CD plant without having them mastered with 2-bus limiting then the average level would be about -20 dBFS. I guess I still have yet to learn the tricks of the trade that allow me to create a mix with exciting average level and good transient response.

I really hope I'm not coming across like some contradictory jerk. I'm really very intrigued and curious about your methods and am hoping to better understand them so that I learn something and can ultimately improve my own recordings. I know very little compared to a veteran in the industry like yourself so I welcome this opportunity to expand my own approach to making music.

sincerely,
Brad
Brad....

I am VERY careful about overs on my mixes.

You are definitly not coming across like some contradictory jerk. I like your honesty. I want to help you in any way that I can...

Bruce Swedien


Old 9th September 2006
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Joaquin My Friend...

I like your question - "How loud is "good" for your mixes and how do you measure it?"

Brucie The Platinum Viking answers - With the best audio measuring intrument in my studio!!!! Now... think about my answer...

Bruce Swedien
I'm betting its your ears and not the meters
Old 9th September 2006
  #34
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max headroom View Post
It might be a stupid question , but how do I reach - 12 RMS ( like most modern recordings ) if I don't use compression ????
Um, you don't. Your peaks alone are going to cover more than 12 db. Your RMS is going to be more like -18 dBFS.

The livelier the music, the FARTHER you will be from 0 dBFS.

The vinyl record version of "Beat It" is never much more than -18 dBFS. Meanwhile, peaks are constantly hitting right up to the top 6 db. "Billie Jean" spends most of its time at -21 dBFS or more. "Wanna Be Startin' Something", even the percussive attacks almost never go beyond -18 dbFS and the rest is more like -21 or -24... peak energy goes right up to -3 dBFS, constantly.

Don't confuse compression with limiting- the first Boston record has loads of compression all over everything, but the attack isn't zero and rather than RMS being high, it's freakishly low. You're hearing all peaks there. Percussive stuff hits -15 dBFS, the body of the music sticks at -18 dBFS, and peaks in the loud parts stay over -9 dBFS (different from stuff like Bruce's work with MJ in which the peaks hit all levels in a much more natural way). You can clamp RMS to virtually nil with compression if the performances are spirited enough and the attacks stick way out.

Um... hi Bruce :D don't mind me. I've just studied this a lot, and your work was pretty central to the study, partly because of the extremely high contrast between peak and RMS loudness. I hope I can help explain things.

Guys, the answer IS 'you don't'. You don't make everything -12 dBFS RMS. Hell, you don't even make the hottest freakin' drum hits -12 RMS. Peaks are how you hear musical emphasis, overtones, vibe, groove.
Old 11th September 2006
  #35
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

but how do I reach - 12 RMS ( like most modern recordings )....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max headroom View Post
It might be a stupid question , but how do I reach - 12 RMS ( like most modern recordings ) if I don't use compression ????

Cheers


Max
Max....

What has this -> but how do I reach - 12 RMS ( like most modern recordings ) <- got to do with music????

Bruce Swedien


Old 11th September 2006
  #36
Lives for gear
 
severe's Avatar
 

Holy Crap!

I feel like we're getting somewhere.

Thanks a ton, Bruce, for the insight. I must say, I do agree with what Rob was saying about the caliber of the artists. I also believe it to be the quality of the tools as much as the artists. I've noticed that with better quality gear, performances, etc., the advantages of squashing the signal seem less beneficial.

Have ya heard what some of us are working with here!?



Thoughts?

Jeff Harris
Old 12th September 2006
  #37
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

YOU GOT IT!!!! I'm proud of you!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodrigo View Post
I suppose that would be your ears... Right?

Following this thread it seems fellow Gearslutz are focusing on the specific method/technique you apply to your recordings/mixes. That's what has got everyone intrigued and in awe. "No compression?? He must be doing SOMETHING, don't he?"

And your answers have been inspirational, full of wisdom and exciting yet people are still intrigued. Intrigued and Inspired (contradictory feelings) that in the end will push people to try doing their best.

Just wanted to say hi, Bruce
Keep us inspired but a little less intrigued...

Rodrigo
Rodrigo.....

YOU GOT IT!!!! YES IT'S YOUR EARS!!! I'm proud of you!!! Now that wasn't difficult was it???

Bruce Swedien


Old 12th September 2006
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post

What has this -> but how do I reach - 12 RMS ( like most modern recordings ) <- got to do with music????

Uncle Brucie is one trippy Zen dude.

This is a hoot.



Old 20th September 2006
  #39
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Brad....

I am VERY careful about overs on my mixes.

You are definitly not coming across like some contradictory jerk. I like your honesty. I want to help you in any way that I can...

Bruce Swedien



Hi Bruce,

I just returned from vacation (Hawaii!) and saw your reply to my post. Can you elaborate a little more on your thoughts on digital overs as they relate to transient response?

Chrisj's post about the RMS levels of some of your mixes is enlightening. Are the mixes you are currently doing being treated the same way in the mastering process when released for CD, i.e. low RMS levels? Does Bernie send masters to the pressing plant for JLo that has average levels at -18 dBFS?

I would like to also hear more about your thoughts on compressors and sidechain filters...especially regarding my comment about the API thrust filter which you quickly pointed out was a bunch of hooey heh. I know you are a busy man but perhaps we can have a phone conversation one of these days.

thanks,
Brad
Old 21st September 2006
  #40
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

I NEVER measure it, I LISTEN to it!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joaquin View Post
Hi Mr. Swedien.
For what I understood you are against "Over-Compression"...but not completely against the use of this tool!?...if so how do you use it?
Thank!
PS. How loud is "good" for your mixes and how do you measure it?
Thanks again!
Joaquin......

This question--------->How loud is "good" for your mixes and how do you measure it?<--------I NEVER measure it, I LISTEN to it!!!!

Bruce Swedien


Old 21st September 2006
  #41
Gear interested
 
Rockastle's Avatar
 

Request

Dear Bruce,

I've red in some other poll that you are working on "Recording with Bruce Swedien Vol. II" (I hope you are!!!).
I think that this topic should be covered there, showing with audio examples how a quality recording can be smashed by compression.
I'm sure most of us would welcome the chance of seeing one of the greatest sound engineers of all times shaping his sound.

Regards,

Hernan. rockastle@hotmail.com
Old 21st September 2006
  #42
SK1
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
If I may,

part of the disjoint is that not everyone gets to work with musicians of the caliber that Bruce does. Some music is actually a dynamic horror show and needs to be manhandled into place to make it feel like music.

I spend a lot of time making rock records by band with a lot of energy but less control over their instruments and some serious misconceptions about how to communicate their musical intentions. Added to this is a lot of bad habits that they can get away with during live performances. I have to compress them a lot to reign things in.

At the flip side, I spent 4 years sharing a studio with the guy who got the Tony for best score last year (Adam Guettel, Light in the Piazza.) Now, this is not stuff that you can compress. It is music and performances at their highest level and dynamics processing just screws it up. GML pre, good mic at good distance from sound, add reverb to compensate for lesser recording room, recording done.

So, that would be my take.

Great musicians playing good arrangements of good music = less compression
Lesser musicans playing lesser arrangements of lesser music = more compression

Makes sense to me. I think you hit the nail on the head.

Sean Kelly
Old 22nd September 2006
  #43
SK1
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Joaquin......

This question--------->How loud is "good" for your mixes and how do you measure it?<--------I NEVER measure it, I LISTEN to it!!!!

Bruce Swedien


So this is where our ears, room treatment and being extremely fussy about monitoring levels comes all together.

I think I'm getting it

Old 22nd September 2006
  #44
Lives for gear
 
joaquin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Joaquin......

This question--------->How loud is "good" for your mixes and how do you measure it?<--------I NEVER measure it, I LISTEN to it!!!!

Bruce Swedien


Hello Mr. Swedien. Thanks for your answer.
I believe that "Loudness" should constitute one more aspect of "modern music esthetics" as much as Frequency content or internal dynamics. Like when you Judge a Mix and go "...I think it needs a bit more of Top End..." we should be able to go "....this Mix needs a bit more of Loudness..."
Before Electricity and the advent of Amplification and it's means, Composers relied on the characteristics of the Instrument to be played and the Hall for which the performance was ment. Both of them had Natural acustics and Limits within a bearable margin of error and there was a common languaje between the People in the Music World. Today, talking from a "Mixer-Mastering" point of view, (and in contemporary Popular styles of music)...what is Fortissimo??
This days, Loudness seems to be Tied with Fast/Hard Limiting in order to maximize the response of modern Digital Media... wich is sad, for the whole concept is based more in Marketing than ART!!
I agree with you a 100% and the Ears are ultimately the THE ONLY TOOL. But I also believe in the K-system basics as an aid in the appreciation of Sound.
Again, my question is directed towards your system of Monitoring...I believe you already answer this in another thread....

Thank you Very much Mr. Swedien, for you have removed a heavy layer of Conformity within the Gearslutz community!!.......................Joaquin Berrios.

Last edited by joaquin; 25th September 2006 at 09:19 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 24th September 2006
  #45
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK1 View Post
So this is where our ears, room treatment and being extremely fussy about monitoring levels comes all together.

I think I'm getting it

Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!

WHAT IS YOUR NAME???? I SHOULDN'T HAVE ANSWERED YOUR QUERY!!!(You query!!!)

Bruce


Old 27th September 2006
  #46
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Hi Bruce,

I just returned from vacation (Hawaii!) and saw your reply to my post. Can you elaborate a little more on your thoughts on digital overs as they relate to transient response?

Chrisj's post about the RMS levels of some of your mixes is enlightening. Are the mixes you are currently doing being treated the same way in the mastering process when released for CD, i.e. low RMS levels? Does Bernie send masters to the pressing plant for JLo that has average levels at -18 dBFS?

I would like to also hear more about your thoughts on compressors and sidechain filters...especially regarding my comment about the API thrust filter which you quickly pointed out was a bunch of hooey heh. I know you are a busy man but perhaps we can have a phone conversation one of these days.

thanks,
Brad
My 2001 remastering of Thriller on CD has songs in the -12 rms region. I think mainly some limiting and/or clipping of the peaks was used. Even in the passages where the drums play alone the tops are shaved off. The songs don't sound overcompressed to me and are punchy. IF I have the right remastering, Bruce said in another thread that it sounds better than the original vinyl did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
The vinyl record version of "Beat It" is never much more than -18 dBFS. Meanwhile, peaks are constantly hitting right up to the top 6 db. "Billie Jean" spends most of its time at -21 dBFS or more. "Wanna Be Startin' Something", even the percussive attacks almost never go beyond -18 dbFS and the rest is more like -21 or -24... peak energy goes right up to -3 dBFS, constantly.

Don't confuse compression with limiting- the first Boston record has loads of compression all over everything, but the attack isn't zero and rather than RMS being high, it's freakishly low. You're hearing all peaks there. Percussive stuff hits -15 dBFS, the body of the music sticks at -18 dBFS, and peaks in the loud parts stay over -9 dBFS (different from stuff like Bruce's work with MJ in which the peaks hit all levels in a much more natural way). You can clamp RMS to virtually nil with compression if the performances are spirited enough and the attacks stick way out.
"More Than a Feeling" is up near -12 rms in the end section also and John Boylan himself said the mix is overcompressed. I'd guess it was a fairly flat transfer to CD in that case.

Thanks.
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