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Proper, broadcast ready loudness in my Logic bounce? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 16th December 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
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Proper, broadcast ready loudness in my Logic bounce?

Hey everyone, I would like to discuss technique in making my tracks of proper volume. My mixdowns pail in comparison to the volume of say, an iTunes track- even when the output level in Logic is as high as possible without clipping.

Example:

Thanks!

-Chris
Old 16th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

just get them mastered by a mastering engineer or instruct your listeners to use that big knob that says "volume" to make your tracks louder
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
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Thanks boon, mastering is definitely the main option. However, I am looking for a way to achieve this commercial volume from my house- if there is one.
Old 18th December 2010
  #4
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I'd disagree that it all comes down to mastering, though that can be a part of it.

Some random thoughts:


Get your kick drum nailed, then everything else becomes much easier.
I personally tend to do this:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...-bassdrum.html
On virtually every house track I make nowadays.


Have all your mixer tracks very low. I tend to start writing with my kick peaking at -15dbfs. When I come to mix, I'll zero everything, then start again with the kick at -15... mixing everything around that.
Basically... the point is to keep levels LOW, then use a limiter at the last stage to bring the level up.


Mix into a compressor. Personally, I have VERY light settings and only just twitch the gain reduction needle... but makes a difference.


Optimise the density of elements on their own tracks, rather than relying on master channel dynamic processing... ie, compress/limit say the piano/bass/whatever at the source.


... No doubt people would disagree with me about some of that... but all this works for me. Think my mixes are pretty loud, and that's with virtually no attempts to squash the mix at the end:




PS... I can't listen to your track right now as the Mrs is asleep, but will try to remember to check it out tomorrow.
Old 18th December 2010
  #5
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Simonator, thank you very much for your detailed response. Nice work on that remix. I really like the fluttering, tape delayed chords you used- very reminiscent of Trentemoller. Nice round bass tone / line. The groove is great.

If I ever use any sort of insert on my output channel it always seems to wreck up the place and really reduce the depth of my sounds. This requires further experimentation.

I like your idea to process at the source. But typically I do not use compression. I just got the FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor so I am excited to experiment with that, particularly on my acoustic drumming- but also on the sidechain volume modulation effects.

Do you submit that there is loudness can be gained from the treatment of each element of the song? That, if the output level is just below peaking in one instance, and just below peaking with compression on each individual track in another instance, instance B's final mixdown will be louder? I am trying to get my songs up to snuff with the volume of typical recordings. (I vaguely understand this is done in the mastering process, but am very interested in what device or technique is used to simply make a file louder.)

Thank you for your insight.

-Chris
Old 18th December 2010
  #6
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have you tried using saturation plugs? i stack dynamics plugins in serial on individual tracks and the master bus (saturation, compression, limiting, clipping). part of the way you achieve loudness is by mixing into such chains. it's really difficult to just add chains of dynamics type plugins after-the-fact. you kind of have to set them up from the beginning while mixing. i find it's quite easy to get ridiculously loud RMS volume that way.
Old 18th December 2010
  #7
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Like atma says, saturation is really important. IMO every sound has to be punchy and be very clear and audible, on its own to a certain extent, and even more so in the context of the mix. However that doesn't mean just smashing stuff to **** either. You have to hype the impact of each sound.

Do this: send your track to a good sounding overdrive, mix this back in with a bandpass in the region of where the sound should punch (usually 3-12K). You'll heighten the transient which is in the high freqs anyway, as well as limiting the dynamic range.
As this adds and removes certain harmonics, this make mixing A LOT easier. You can now get sounds to punch underneath or above each other.

Ableton's overdrive does this with one plug... and it sounds great. Everyone always thinks oh this peice of **** free plugin can't be that great... it is, if you use it as an eq in this way.

Typically boosting the stuff in analogue overdrives the circuit a bit which adds extra harmonics at those frequencies. This is REALLY important. With hi hats and drum sounds you can do all kinds of crazy ****, like decimation and bit crushing with or without lpf to add extra punch. Give it a shot.

For me, just using EQ and compression has never cut it... however, when using these tools always remember that boosting the attack of a sound makes it brighter, and brightening a sound boosts the attack i.e. sounds harmonic content changes across the duration of the note event.

A favourite technique of mine is also to mess with the formant of sounds - again the harmonic content is shifted, hopefully allowing sounds to lock better together.

Low pass everything except sounds that need bass.. and the bass that's there should be solid. You can't just EQ bass into a sound because a good bass sound is defined also by the relation of its shifting harmonics. You end up with a rumble and no punch!

Finally get the groove right. If all the elements are grooving really nicely, if the decays and the attacks of sounds match up then mixing becomes a lot easier.

Like simonators, my mixes are pretty loud... there's no mastering processes on this aside from a tiny bit of limiting.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1170458/up%2...emaster%5D.mp3

Essentially its all about good mixing, not mastering. Finding sounds that work together well is important too. As well as arrangement. Good luck, keep at it!
Old 18th December 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophocles View Post
If I ever use any sort of insert on my output channel it always seems to wreck up the place and really reduce the depth of my sounds. This requires further experimentation.
Like Atma says, mixing into a compressor makes a BIG difference to slapping it on after the fact.

I have a template track with my compressor disabled while I write, then switch it on as I zero all tracks to begin mixing.

Personally, I use VERY light settings.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophocles View Post
I like your idea to process at the source. But typically I do not use compression.
tbh, I don't use compressors much at all; one on my master as mentioned, some for side-chain ducking, then as required for evening out wild dynamic (say in a vocal take etc).
... I tend to use a limiter much more frequently.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophocles View Post
Do you submit that there is loudness can be gained from the treatment of each element of the song? That, if the output level is just below peaking in one instance, and just below peaking with compression on each individual track in another instance, instance B's final mixdown will be louder? I am trying to get my songs up to snuff with the volume of typical recordings. (I vaguely understand this is done in the mastering process, but am very interested in what device or technique is used to simply make a file louder.)
Well, I feel that by optimising each element on its own track, you can then mix that element relatively lower in relation to your kick drum than you otherwise would have needed to get the same perceived audibility.
If you do this for everything, you then just end up with a much tighter mix instead of a big floppy bag of eels.

Essentially, the thinking is that if everything has been squashed as far as you want it/dare take it on its own track, then there is much less needed to do in terms of post processing (ie squashing the master.)... this means that your actual final mix can be much more dynamic within itself, yet still loud.
... So all I need to do is mix into my lightly set compressor (more just to glue than to strongly change dynamics), then very gently lower the threshold of my limiter until it just starts to have an effect.


Here are some older posts where I discussed this more:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5739437-post49.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5739492-post50.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5739558-post51.html

Another tip that I personally value greatly is to use an oscilloscope:
Bram.Smartelectronix.Com
(cross platform)

... I have this open CONSTANTLY, so you can see what is happening in mix track.

Using this, you can see where elements overlap & cause spikes that are robbing headroom... for one example:

Obviously sometimes you want bass notes to happen at the same time as a kick, and it can sound great... but if you are really seeking to make a LOUD track, you can fit your bass around the kick.
Still though, you might have the tail of a kick/bass note overlapping the attack of the next event... with the oscilloscope, you can see when this is happening, and just pull the end of that one midi note back a few ticks.

... little things like this can make for a much tighter mix.


Nice track btw... I've not got my monitors fired up, so just listening on the laptop for now, but sounds good here. Love the reverb wash out at the end!
Old 18th December 2010
  #9
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Great points from Tarkovsky as always.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkovsky View Post
IMO every sound has to be punchy and be very clear and audible, on its own to a certain extent, and even more so in the context of the mix. However that doesn't mean just smashing stuff to **** either.
I just want to add to my comments incase I didn't stress enough... You need to be very judgmental about what you squash & what you don't;

Some stuff just wont take it and break up or lose frequencies, and some elements will just sound much stronger for keeping the dynamic.... but some elements (for example high percussion) you can get away with squashing pretty heavily.
Old 18th December 2010
  #10
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One very direct route to instantly punchier mixes:


Quote:
Originally Posted by wave alchemy View Post
Hi Guys,

Sorry for bumping an old thread, slightly spammy I know, but I thought some of you guys might be interested to know that for two weeks only you can grab our Drum Tools 01 library at a huge 50% discount:

Drum Tools 01 - Minimal Techno, Minimal Drum Samples & Sample Packs

Happy Producing heh

p.s I am well underway with the production of Drum Tools 02 which will this time incorperate a lot more acoustic percussion amongst much more...

Dan
Old 18th December 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
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Thanks for your interest men, you both show profound passion in not only creating music, but also the science behind making it sound just right. I'll take these tips into the studio today- particularly setting up my master channel first and mixing in accordance to that.

Be safe,

-Chris
Old 18th December 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Moscow's Avatar
 

off topic, but what synths did you use for this? sounding really cool man
Old 18th December 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
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Hey thanks man, I used mainly a 303 run through various effects, the most extreme of which being the moog freqbox. Effectrode tube phaser, ekdahl moisturizer, and a Malekko Echo dark version were used pretty heavily. Drums are Acidlab Miami and a 909 multitracked through a Malekko assmaster and some spring verb from the moisturizer. Then I laid down that simple moog voyager bassline about half way through. Glad you enjoyed.

Thanks again!

-Chris
Old 19th December 2010
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
...the master bus (saturation, compression, limiting, clipping). part of the way you achieve loudness is by mixing into such chains...

This. I always mix into saturation>comp>limiter.

Simonator's comments about arrangement are very true of course, the less sounds fighting for the same headroom generally the louder you can get your mix. Also make sure you hpf any low frequencies that aren't needed, they all accumulate and rob your mix of loudness.


.
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