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Why is commercial master louder and wider?
Old 15th June 2018
  #61
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
When audio engineers speak of "loud" they're talking dB.
dB what though? If you want to hear things loud, you turn up the volume.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Yeah it has to do with the balance of the Bruno track.

Balance is the key. Perceived loudness has everything to do with balance.
Balance is important but it is not the only thing. Many aspects affect perceived loudness. You can have a great balance but still not sound loud. As an example, if elements of your mix have sharp transients that keep triggering a mastering compressor and/or limiter, you will never get a good sounding loud master even if the mix sounds balanced. (I once received a mix that had a very short inaudible transient that peaked 9 dB higher than the body of the snare drum. Needless to say I talked to client and he fixed the snare before we proceeded with mastering).

In other words, the mix has to have a certain level of "compactness" to achieve a loud master. But I think most would simply say that they are relatively "loud" (assuming the mix isn't peaking very low). If you normalise a bunch of mixes, the one that is loudest when simply normalised will probably also attain the highest loudness without degradation in mastering.

That of course doesn't mean that one should make the mix as loud as possible. The loudness potential of a mix is a by-product of all aspects, including but not limited to the balance, of a mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
I do not thnik you do..
Basically, the louder something is, the higher its decibel level..

From the net:
The unit of measurement used to gauge the power and intensity of a sound is the decibel (expressed as dB). Basically, the louder something is, the higher its decibel level. To complicate things a bit, the decibel scale is logarithmic.
Your are getting your audio engineering knowledge from a lawnmower site? ( https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...Yo3jC8sCGbQ1iA )

Anyway, that is dB SPL. That is not what people mean by loud mixes/masters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
LOL Look up the meaning of LOUD, then look up the meaning of BALANCED. How in the world can one mean the other. LMFAO!!!!!
Why are you hung up on one word? Many things were said to clarify bgrotto's comment. It seems some of us understood perfectly well. Others and I explained exactly what was meant but you seem to still not quite understand.

Do you disagree with my comment about normalisation? Do you understand why I made that comment? Do you understand the implications? Do you understand the difference between measured loudness and perceived loudness? Do you understand that balance is just one aspect? Did you understands Karloff's comment about good transient control? Do you understand how width can also affect the perception of loudness? Do you understand the points being made or not? And if not, which bit(s) aren't clear?

Alistair
Old 15th June 2018
  #62
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Balance is important but it is not the only thing. Many aspects affect perceived loudness. You can have a great balance but still not sound loud. As an example, if elements of your mix have sharp transients that keep triggering a mastering compressor and/or limiter, you will never get a good sounding loud master even if the mix sounds balanced. (I once received a mix that had a very short inaudible transient that peaked 9 dB higher than the body of the snare drum. Needless to say I talked to client and he fixed the snare before we proceeded with mastering).In other words, the mix has to have a certain level of "compactness" to achieve a loud master.
I'd call a mix with sharp transients an unbalanced mix.

A "loud mix" to me has always been the bottom left of this, the one with the higher dB:



Maybe I'm off though. . .
Old 15th June 2018
  #63
Quote:
Why are you hung up on one word? Many things were said to clarify bgrotto's comment. It seems some of us understood perfectly well. Others and I explained exactly what was meant but you seem to still not quite understand.

Do you disagree with my comment about normalisation? Do you understand why I made that comment? Do you understand the implications? Do you understand the difference between measured loudness and perceived loudness? Do you understand that balance is just one aspect? Did you understands Karloff's comment about good transient control? Do you understand how width can also affect the perception of loudness? Do you understand the points being made or not? And if not, which bit(s) aren't clear?
Because it started with a Post that only said "Loud masters come from Loud Mixes" and that is not entirely true, as i said.

Then he said he meant balanced and loud mixes, then he changed to something else.

I do not care about the other points. Im not debating the other points. They have nothing to do with what he said.. Im not debating them., I'm debating that single post made by that person who said "loud masters come from loud mixes" whuich is not true!!! Those single 6 words in that entire post. That's what im debating and arguing.
I understand everyhtnig
Old 15th June 2018
  #64
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
I'd call a mix with sharp transients an unbalanced mix.
To me an unbalanced mix means that the elements are unbalanced. Either in level or in EQing. I don't really think of transients and stray peaks when I hear that term. Also, even if one does, which is fair enough as it is a part of the mix, it doesn't cover things that are too short to hear but can certainly exist in mix. (At least I doubt beginners would think of such things).

What do you think of my normalisation comment? (And what that implies).

Quote:
A "loud mix" to me has always been the bottom left of this, the one with the higher dB:



Maybe I'm off though. . .
You are not off but the two left mixes are identical except that one is normalised to 0 dB FS the other to -6 dB FS. (As far as I can see from the pictures). That means the red cross is unwarranted and also both have the exact same loudness potential. That is why I am trying to go a bit more in depth on the how and why (as this is the beginners section) and in my experience, louder mixes (assuming they don't sound over-compressed or anything like that and are well balanced) tend to have the highest loudness potential because everything is well controlled. THAT is how I read bgrotto's comment. And I think it is a concept worth clarifying for anyone reading this section of the forum.

Alistair
Old 15th June 2018
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post

You are not off but the two left mixes are identical except that one is normalised to 0 dB FS the other to -6 dB FS. (As far as I can see from the pictures). So both have the exact same loudness potential.
Exactly! The loudness doesn't matter. What matters is the balance within the waveform itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
THAT is how I read bgrotto's comment. And I think it is a concept worth clarifying for anyone reading this section of the forum.
That's fair. To most speaking the vocabulary of mixdowns, loud means dB though IME. You have to "read" that comment a certain way because loudness means a higher dB level in mixdown speak IME.

Silly argument though.
Old 15th June 2018
  #66
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Because it started with a Post that only said "Loud masters come from Loud Mixes" and that is not entirely true, as i said.

Then he said he meant balanced and loud mixes, then he changed to something else.

I do not care about the other points. Im not debating the other points. They have nothing to do with what he said.. Im not debating them., I'm debating that single post made by that person who said "loud masters come from loud mixes" whuich is not true!!! Those single 6 words in that entire post. That's what im debating and arguing.
I understand everyhtnig
So you are just here to score points about a comment made a week ago and not help beginners understand things? Fair enough, noted.

Alistair
Old 15th June 2018
  #67
Quote:
So you are just here to score points about a comment made a week ago and not help beginners understand things? Fair enough, noted.
No, but it seems like you are. Im just responding to people arguing that i was wrong a bout saying "not relaly true" to the post the stated Loud masters come form loud mixes.
Now since you put that out there, then im guessing your just here for that point

You are just here to spread the 'fake news' and spin AS USUAL Sad, but true! As one band said

And what did this post help with that you wrote? NADA AS USUAL
Old 15th June 2018
  #68
FWIW - if I was making my point(s) about higher levels, as opposed to loudness, I would have said "higher levels", not "louder". Loudness is a subjective measurement, levels aren't. All of the engineers I pal around with understand this and don't need to 'read into' anything to have a compelling, informed conversation about loudness (again, the subjective). I've actually made a point to be very precise in my language throughout this thread in that particular respect.

Regarding the four pictures of waveforms: while i'm reluctant to make any declarations about sound based on a picture of audio, I can say with some certainty that the LOUDEST track is the bottom right one. Meaning, if you played them all back-to-back without making any adjustments to LEVELS (either by altering the file itself or by adjusting the volume of your speaker system), that bottom right one would produce the loudest perceived aural experience.

Note that by newguy's understanding of "loud" -- that is, a louder mix being simply higher in dBs -- the two bottom examples would be equal to one another, while clearly presenting a very different perception of loudness. Ditto the top examples. That's precisely why his understanding of "loud" is flawed. Loudness is a subjective measurement based on perception, separate from levels.
Old 15th June 2018
  #69
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
You are just here to spread the 'fake news' and spin AS USUAL Sad, but true! As one band said
So it did indeed all fly right over your head. Thoughts so.

Alistair
Old 15th June 2018
  #70
Quote:
So it did indeed all fly right over your head. Thoughts so.
The only thing that flew is your spaming this thread and spinning FACTS, AS USUAL. you Bat 1000 at least LOL

LETS GO
Old 15th June 2018
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
FWIW - if I was making my point(s) about higher levels, as opposed to loudness, I would have said "higher levels", not "louder". Loudness is a subjective measurement, levels aren't. All of the engineers I pal around with understand this and don't need to 'read into' anything to have a compelling, informed conversation about loudness (again, the subjective). I've actually made a point to be very precise in my language throughout this thread in that particular respect.

Regarding the four pictures of waveforms: while i'm reluctant to make any declarations about sound based on a picture of audio, I can say with some certainty that the LOUDEST track is the bottom right one. Meaning, if you played them all back-to-back without making any adjustments to LEVELS (either by altering the file itself or by adjusting the volume of your speaker system), that bottom right one would produce the loudest perceived aural experience.

Note that by newguy's understanding of "loud" -- that is, a louder mix being simply higher in dBs -- the two bottom examples would be equal to one another, while clearly presenting a very different perception of loudness. Ditto the top examples. That's precisely why his understanding of "loud" is flawed. Loudness is a subjective measurement, separate from levels.
The bottom right (the two on the right) is a master (the point of that particular chart is letting newbs know not to turn down the self-master to -6b, but make that the peak of your un-limited mix), and its got considerably more content at 0db (pretty much ALL of it) than the one on the left (highest transients only). Not equal at all.

Everyone's talking past each other here.
Old 15th June 2018
  #72
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Actually that picture does bring up a point. I am guessing it is about mixes delivered for mastering rather than actual masters?

I ask because I think way too many people make way too much fuss about the shape of the waveform.


This is Bruno Mars' 24K magic:



It is a sausage! But it doesn't sound bad.

Alistair
Old 15th June 2018
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Actually that picture does bring up a point. I am guessing it is about mixes delivered for mastering rather than actual masters?

I ask because I think way too many people make way too much fuss about the shape of the waveform.


This is Bruno Mars' 24K:



It is a sausage! But it doesn't sound bad.

Alistair
Yes that's what a mastered track looks like of course.

This whole thing is about sending mixes to master. I was ignoring the two on the right, that pic was just the closest thing I could find online to have a visual.
Old 15th June 2018
  #74
Gear Guru
I hate to say it but was dealing with library music that looked just like that yesterday and sounded great! I don't see what the point is showing waveforms. The other samples were the same thing only louder in each instance. Had nothing to do with dynamics.

Loudness can be defined a bunch of ways even with metering. Someone with Mastering in their handle surely knows this? As far as balanced, you talking about center image? Maybe I don't understand what the argument is, other than semantics...... I think the original point was a good mix sounds loud because it's balanced and the mastering guy can crank it without losing stray dynamics. No?
Old 15th June 2018
  #75
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GeneHall's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Yeah it has to do with the balance of the Bruno track.

Balance is the key. Perceived loudness has everything to do with balance.

Actual loudness is measured in dB, when you tell someone to send in a loud mix it means send something at a higher dB. Not sure why you're arguing any of this. . .
I believe you both are saying the exact same things. From years of reading posts of both of you, I know you both know your stuff.
A tint of semantics as infiltrated this thread and hopefully it won't kill what is promising to ultimately be a thread containing some information and solid advice from experienced perspectives.
Just to press the pedal down on this one point, I have a good friend who is also a well regarded renowned mixer all over the radio every week of the years for at least a decade + now, he refers to himself as a sound balance engineer.
Therein lies the answer to the OP's question and has nothing to do with what any mastering person is going to do. A well balanced mix with an exciting perceivable loudness is only for the mastering person to not screw it up.
@ bgrotto and @ newguy1 , @ UnderTow and others, much respect for your attempts to keep floating the crucial correct information to the top of this thread. Your patience with others and each other only serves to increase the value of this thread. Thank you peoplex

Old 15th June 2018
  #76
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Yes that's what a mastered track looks like of course.

This whole thing is about sending mixes to master. I was ignoring the two on the right, that pic was just the closest thing I could find online to have a visual.
Yup. I'm just going off on a tangent.

I've seen many comments by people about the visual shape of a mastered track. (Not in this thread in particular. I mean in general). I'm just pointing out for beginners that they shouldn't worry too much about how the mastered track looks as long as it sounds good.

Alistair
Old 16th June 2018
  #77
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

hahaha, unbelievable. You guys have gone another several rounds around the block and still no one pulls out the distinction that makes everyone's view meet in the middle.

Loud generally means sounds that hold their tails up and don't poke their transients up in the air too much. The can receive this shaping at any time in mixing or mastering. But the real distinction is to do with the mix in question keeping its intended balance and message intact! And if you want to do that by the time it reaches full final loudness at the end, you better inject some of it inside of the mix already, as otherwise the message will entirely warp.

So, sure, and 'good' mix can be made loud. But only a good already fairly loud in the separates mix can be made to hit final full loudness in mastering without losing its intent in the process, 'audio quality' be damned.

But then there are always ones who focus more on 'audio quality' and ones that focus more on the intent of the music staying correct I suppose. What a weird thread.
Old 7th July 2018
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
hahaha, unbelievable. You guys have gone another several rounds around the block and still no one pulls out the distinction that makes everyone's view meet in the middle.
No doubt!

This argument between Benny and CJ...

Any mix can be made loud in mastering. Will it sound good when "lifted"? Maybe or maybe not. I think what Benny means is that if the mix is under control it will sound "loud-ready" or "ready to be lifted" ~ so you're not really altering the dynamic shape of the tune. Sort of like when you normalize...the only thing changing is level. The mixes are ready to go.

An acoustic/vocal song (no drum transients etc) is SO easy to master TOO loud because of the nature of the dynamics. These can "sound too loud" so easy.

I have heard Benny's work (A friend from Austin plays drums in a band he produced/mixed) and it sounded amazing. I heard it years ago and it left an impression on me. Really good work.

My 2 cents for the kids reading/learning ~ No, you don't have to mix loud to get a loud master, BUT, what Benny is getting at is make it to where your mix sounds the same as what you expect the master to sound like if you just turned the volume knob on your stereo/playback a little bit. A good mix will sound "loud" no matter what the actual volume is. It will "pop" out of the speakers. **** is in phase. The drum buss compression and vocal compression is nailed. The low end and low mids are right. Not sibilant etc etc etc...

CJ you got kind of rude to BG and while I see your point it'd be way cooler to not say things like "name dropping" or "LMAO" etc etc ~ they guy is a pro and I like reading what He has to say and I hope He sticks around.
Old 20th August 2018
  #79
Gear Addict
OP: There is certainly "magic" in "big house" commercial masters that is not quite the same as anything else we hear. Understand, these guys are extremely knowledgeable and have an UNLIMITED budget in ANYTHING they so desire where they sit. They could drop 100K on processing for a single frequency for that matter (being outrageous I am, of course). You can certainly practice and become a very good ME, but having something sound like it came out of Sterling Sound of NY will be ...not so likely.

Old 20th August 2018
  #80
Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsound View Post
OP: There is certainly "magic" in "big house" commercial masters that is not quite the same as anything else we hear. Understand, these guys are extremely knowledgeable and have an UNLIMITED budget in ANYTHING they so desire where they sit. They could drop 100K on processing for a single frequency for that matter (being outrageous I am, of course). You can certainly practice and become a very good ME, but having something sound like it came out of Sterling Sound of NY will be ...not so likely.

With all due respect, nearly every point in this statement is incorrect. There’s nothing magic about mastering, and certainly the folks at sterling — as good as they are — don’t possess anything unique or special that can’t be found elsewhere. And rest assured, budgets are far from unlimited. Just ask them about their recent-ish move across the river...
Old 20th August 2018
  #81
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
With all due respect, nearly every point in this statement is incorrect. There’s nothing magic about mastering, and certainly the folks at sterling — as good as they are — don’t possess anything unique or special that can’t be found elsewhere. And rest assured, budgets are far from unlimited. Just ask them about their recent-ish move across the river...

Actually magic was "magic", not magic - we know it's not truly magic.

Actually there is "magic" at Sterling, especially Greg Calbi and George Marino (RIP) - show me one mastering or audio production outside of a "big house" that sounds like their material.

"certainly the folks at sterling — as good as they are — don’t possess anything unique or special that can’t be found elsewhere" "Elsewhere" is open-ended. It can - generally from another "big house" though.

"big house" budgets are virtually unlimited within the constraints of a common sense. If you tell me Warner Brother are sitting around waiting to save money so they can buy a desired batch of compressors, you're ..false.

If Sterling individually is having a spell of "not doing well" it's not really the point I'm making, addressing them in particular like this. I can assure you that the engineers still "get what they want" when they want it.

Also, this was all a generalization of the way things are, and it doesn't mean things are set in stone every single nuance of an instance.

I believe the OP get's the gist of what I'm saying without having to zero in on the technicalities or other exceptions.

No offense taken, not offense given.
Old 20th August 2018
  #82
I've had my work mastered at Sterling many times. They absolutely do great (GREAT) work. But so do countless other places you've maybe never heard of. The fact of the matter is, the famous work we all know from Sterling sounds great not because of who mastered it, but because care was taken at every step of the way to make it sound great, from the basic tracking to mixing all the way to premaster.

(again, having had many projects mastered there [and Gateway, and so forth], I can assure you that much to my chagrin simply having your work mastered by Sterling will not make you sound like Michael Brauer or Bob Clearmountain )

If you've ever heard an unmastered track of a great production mixed by a really great mixer, you'd know what I mean. In many cases, there's very little added at the mastering stage. That's not to take away from great masterers at all. It's simply to say that it seems to me you're overstating the impact the mastering studio has on a great-sounding record. Or at least, understating the work done prior to premastering. Frankly, I'd encourage anyone looking for the best possible results on the slimmest possible budget to spend in the following order: mixing, tracking, mastering. And ideally of course they've already hired a competent producer (though not all projects need one...most do)

With regards to budgets, I suspect you may not have much first-hand experience, which is totally ok, but suffice to say that label budgets are typically not what most folks seem to think they are, and oftentimes the money doesn't go where you'd assume (eg - production vs marketing, etc).

Quote:
No offense taken, not offense given.
indeed, and much appreciated
Old 20th August 2018
  #83
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
I've had my work mastered at Sterling many times. They absolutely do great (GREAT) work. But so do countless other places you've maybe never heard of. The fact of the matter is, the famous work we all know from Sterling sounds great not because of who mastered it, but because care was taken at every step of the way to make it sound great, from the basic tracking to mixing all the way to premaster.

(again, having had many projects mastered there [and Gateway, and so forth], I can assure you that much to my chagrin simply having your work mastered by Sterling will not make you sound like Michael Brauer or Bob Clearmountain )

If you've ever heard an unmastered track of a great production mixed by a really great mixer, you'd know what I mean. In many cases, there's very little added at the mastering stage. That's not to take away from great masterers at all. It's simply to say that it seems to me you're overstating the impact the mastering studio has on a great-sounding record. Or at least, understating the work done prior to premastering. Frankly, I'd encourage anyone looking for the best possible results on the slimmest possible budget to spend in the following order: mixing, tracking, mastering. And ideally of course they've already hired a competent producer (though not all projects need one...most do)

With regards to budgets, I suspect you may not have much first-hand experience, which is totally ok, but suffice to say that label budgets are typically not what most folks seem to think they are, and oftentimes the money doesn't go where you'd assume (eg - production vs marketing, etc).



indeed, and much appreciated
Listen, I could go on, but I won't. I really do believe the OP knows what I'm saying ..and that's really all I wanted.
Old 20th August 2018
  #84
Quote:
Originally Posted by turk sanchez View Post
I have heard Benny's work (A friend from Austin plays drums in a band he produced/mixed) and it sounded amazing. I heard it years ago and it left an impression on me. Really good work.
Hey, Thanks!

Who was the friend?
Old 24th May 2019
  #85
Lives for gear
Loudness is a trade-secret that no one will share online.
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