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I need a LOUDER MIX!!!
Old 22nd December 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 

I need a LOUDER MIX!!!

Basically I'm just trying to find out how to make my mixes just as loud as the Cd's that I purchase from the stores. I've tried using different limiters to bring up my mix but it is just not LOUD enough. Now, I know the louder can lead to distortion ( hope I spelled that right) however, I can hear a huge difference between my levels on a cd compared to the levels on another cd @ 0db.

I do everything basicall digital. Is that my problem or is there certain plugins or chain of plugins to use to pump up the volume without making my mix sound crazy.

PLZ HELP!!!!!
Old 22nd December 2006
  #2
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Any good ME is your friend for this. Plugs will work if you're mix is balanced. Bottom line, dont mix it for volume ... mix it for musicality. If you ignore the volume, how good is your mix??? More ideas here




p.s. post the mix on the forum for mp3 comments, you might get some good help there.
Old 22nd December 2006
  #3
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That what you need is called SONY INFLATOR
Old 22nd December 2006
  #4
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No, you need to master it the right way. There is no magic box or plug-in!
Old 23rd December 2006
  #5
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
And on top of that (trying to avoid a rant) - It takes a helluva great mix to be able to handle the ridiculous levels that people shoot for. A great sounding mix will generally sound - uh, "less damaged" than a lesser mix.

And the way so many people try to *track* with the hottest levels possible (uh oh, I feel the rant) and overdriving their input chains (therefore all but insuring they'll *never* have a well-balanced and focused sounding mix)...

The short story - If you shoot for volume, most of the time the only thing you end up shooting is your own foot.

Phew. I almost went into one of my "normal tracking levels" rants...
Old 23rd December 2006
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by cap217 View Post
No, you need to master it the right way. There is no magic box or plug-in!
No you need to mix it the right way to get your mixes to compete with comercial releases apparent volumes.

If you concentrate on the low end and the low mids if your mixes, making sure that there is no mud or booming low end then your mixes will sound louder when boosted at mastering.
Try comparing one of your mixes (at the same RMS average) to a comercial mix and see what one sounds louder. There is a good chance that the comercial mix will be perceived as louder even though the 2 mixes have the same RMS average. (I usually judge RMS average on the choruses, not the whole song)

This is becuase a controlled low end and low mids mix has more energy in the high mids which is where humans hearing is most sensitive. Thus the ix will be percieved (by humans) as louder.

Eck
Old 23rd December 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 

after balancing and compressing a tiny bit, try 2 GClip Plugins with 2x oversampling on doing a few db each, followed by an L2 at -1. It'll easilly get as loud as commercial CDs. Whether or not it sounds good depends on you and how you tweak it, and the mix of course.
Old 23rd December 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecktronic View Post
No you need to mix it the right way to get your mixes to compete with comercial releases apparent volumes.

If you concentrate on the low end and the low mids if your mixes, making sure that there is no mud or booming low end then your mixes will sound louder when boosted at mastering.
Try comparing one of your mixes (at the same RMS average) to a comercial mix and see what one sounds louder. There is a good chance that the comercial mix will be perceived as louder even though the 2 mixes have the same RMS average. (I usually judge RMS average on the choruses, not the whole song)

This is becuase a controlled low end and low mids mix has more energy in the high mids which is where humans hearing is most sensitive. Thus the ix will be percieved (by humans) as louder.

Eck

Well I am taking it for granted that if you are asking this question you know how to mix or the concept of mixing a level spect.... It is common sense to me, but if the mix is not perfect a good ME can level it out. I mean it all makes sense.... Right?
Old 23rd December 2006
  #9
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Reptil's Avatar
 

Verified Member
2 Reviews written
Why would you want it as loud?
Old 23rd December 2006
  #10
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Why would you want it as loud?
If only there was a valid answer to that, all these crappy sounding (but really loud) recordings would make sense.
Old 23rd December 2006
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Why would you want it as loud?
why wouldn't he want it as loud? loud is the standard now, why should he fight that. The key is to make it loud but make it sound good. It can be done.
Old 23rd December 2006
  #12
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ISedlacek's Avatar
People should get back to their senses, to be cured from this dreadful "loudness" disease and realize that there is a volume knob on their players. If they want to have the music louder, they can simply adjust it.

This absolutely mad and disgusting (ovecompressed, oversmashed, overlimited) mania with a volume meter desperately nailed at zero should stop. One of the advantages of the digital domain is bigger dynamic range than analogue (not smaller).

Some effective vaccination against this highly infectious and destructive loudness plague should be introduced very urgently.

If everything is loud - nothing is loud ...

Let the music breath ! Don´t kill it ...

Or then better don´t make it at all ...

Yet ... unless this is cured, everybody is forced to spread this virus, including me (otherwise people would not be happy with mastering)
Old 23rd December 2006
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
unless this is cured, everybody is forced to spread this virus, including me (otherwise people would not be happy with mastering)
which answers reptils question

because the people who pay us equate having their CD quieter than a "real" CD, as not good enough or not up to pro standards.

that's why

I seriously doubt any mix ae would give a **** about it if their customers weren't screaming for it., if you have the cure please chime in

I cant speak for everybody, but I know when I give a client a mix that is 6dbs quieter than everything on their iPod they think I suck, even when they love it in the CR

I explain what mastering is to every client, I recommend some of you to do it. I tell them the cd is quiter because it has not been mastered, yada yada. fact is, in a small market demo studio you have to compete. I cant afford to NOT smash my mixes at this point.
Old 23rd December 2006
  #14
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studjo's Avatar
just chain a few L2s - but don't complain if it sounds like all the boring **** on commercial releases (with few exceptions of course)



Jo
Old 23rd December 2006
  #15
Gear Nut
 
brandy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x View Post
I explain what mastering is to every client, I recommend some of you to do it. I tell them the cd is quiter because it has not been mastered, yada yada. fact is, in a small market demo studio you have to compete. I cant afford to NOT smash my mixes at this point.
I hear you.

But what i don't understand: After you explained the mastering yadayda and the level/loudness difference - why do they NOT understand??!

I have to deal with similar scenarios, but i have no problem when i hand out pre-mixes or final-mixes for checking at home. I tell them that they now get a CD with a pure mix, that that mix is NOT mastered yet, so that it will NOT sound as loud and fat and ballpark and stuff at home (compared to other, allready mastered CDs).

It is so easy to destroy all the work in a quick "mastering" - done after 4 days mixing at 2:00am bevore clients are leaving.

How should they judge and coment the mix and prepare a list with modifications etc when they don't listen to MIX? When they just listen to a inflated, flat mess?

Ok, it realy needs some time and lot of education to explain them the stuff. To explain them that off course the overall mix can sound a little duller at the moment because you love it to make up the high end later with this and that EQ in the mastering a little and stuff like that.


And what i don't understand as well:

You said "in a small market demo studio". Do people expect that they can spend - say 1000 bucks (not talking about their ****ty instruments, playing skills, songs etc) and will get a record wich is sounding as fat and proud as a 100.000 bucks major release with top notch people/gear/songs etc all around?


brandy
Old 23rd December 2006
  #16
As with most things in life, once something is done its hard to go back. I cant see commercial releases giving in to the volume wars unless they are very ballsy and really care about the quality of sound.
Saying that, I beleive that mixing and technology will get better and loud mixes will sound less limited. I hope.

Eck
Old 23rd December 2006
  #17
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandy View Post
And what i don't understand as well:

You said "in a small market demo studio". Do people expect that they can spend - say 1000 bucks (not talking about their ****ty instruments, playing skills, songs etc) and will get a record wich is sounding as fat and proud as a 100.000 bucks major release with top notch people/gear/songs etc all around?
I know of entire forums that seem completely in the dark about why their $300 recording rig won't make the same quality recordings as artists with $300,000 budgets in $3,000,000 facilities. Many have no clue whatsoever.
Old 23rd December 2006
  #18
Gear Head
 
incongru's Avatar
 

a few good plugs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmingo View Post
Basically I'm just trying to find out how to make my mixes just as loud as the Cd's that I purchase from the stores. I've tried using different limiters to bring up my mix but it is just not LOUD enough. Now, I know the louder can lead to distortion ( hope I spelled that right) however, I can hear a huge difference between my levels on a cd compared to the levels on another cd @ 0db.

I do everything basicall digital. Is that my problem or is there certain plugins or chain of plugins to use to pump up the volume without making my mix sound crazy.

PLZ HELP!!!!!
Hi there! I was wondering about that before too.
Some records are amazingly loud because they are overcompressed and
display the minimum dynamic possible. radio standards....
sad but true...louder has become better.
I can give you names of a few plugins that will make your mix as loud
as commercial standards (maybe not as good because I don't believe plugins can yet make up for thousands $ gear but "levelwise" no problem):
urs compressor bundle
psp mastercomp
the limiters in the bluetubes bundle (nomad factory) are very good
and of course maximizers (no advice for that...I use L2 but there are many
and in my opinion all of them are to be used lightly...)
I also encourage you with all the other stuff from these brands...some of these plugs are frightening! I fell in love with nomad factory's analog trackbox
hope it helps!
Old 23rd December 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 

what I have found is if the song allows and the mix is good and balanced, then mastering is very easy. I mean it takes the pros under an hour to get the results maybe a half an hour if the mix is good. But dont blame a not so great mix on the mix engineer. I am also learning that if I produce and record a song the way I feel is good.... then mixing it becomes a lot easier and the instrumentation is a lot better and the final result is far better. Cleaner, louder, more balanced!

What I mean is a bad song cant be fixed by good mastering or great mixing. A great recording can be ****ed up by a bad mix or master, etc....

It is a complete chain. And sometimes we have the control and push out a GREAT product! I have noticed that if a great engineer tracked it and I can mix it and Sterling can master it. Its great! But the mastering didnt do the magic. Honestly, sometimes you cant even tell the difference if something is mastered, if the rest of the chain was great!
Old 23rd December 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 

And for plug ins....


Get Lin MB and the L2 and you hopefully can get a lot of volume out of it. Will it sound good? Maybe!

And PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

use a cieling of -0.1 or -0.2 on the L2!
Old 24th December 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
I can achieve commercial release loudness levels with my modest mastering rig, but it takes a lot of trial and error, and lots of listening and thinking. You need to know how certain frequency ranges affect the limiting process. Put it this way: A great sounding, uncompressed mix will not sound good if you squash the **** out of it with a limiter. A great sounding, loud-as-**** master will not sound good if you bypass the limiter, leaving the rest of the mastering chain in. Its all about how certain frequency ranges hit the limiter to produce the loudness required without pumping or other unwanted artifacts. It usually takes me about ten tries or so to get it right, and I take time with each version to critically listen and strategically plan what I'm going to do on the next try. When you're talking about extreme limiting, even a 0.2 db cut or boost with a small Q can produce a big change in how the limiter affects the program material.

No, I'm not a professional mastering engineer, but I'm slowing figuring out the process to produce great results. What takes great MEs a day or less to do, takes me a few hours a day for a week. But for me, its about taking pride in what I love to do and getting results.
Old 24th December 2006
  #22
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drew's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang View Post
why wouldn't he want it as loud? loud is the standard now, why should he fight that. The key is to make it loud but make it sound good. It can be done.
That's debatable. Have you heard Chevelle's first record? It sounds terrible, audible distortion all over it. Yet some people like the sound of that record. The Green Day record on the other hand sounds great, but then it would have even if it wasn't that loud.
Old 24th December 2006
  #23
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Reptil's Avatar
 

Verified Member
2 Reviews written
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
People should get back to their senses, to be cured from this dreadful "loudness" disease and realize that there is a volume knob on their players. If they want to have the music louder, they can simply adjust it.
aaah the volume knob. but then the lazy have to reach nervously for their remote, every time a "louder" version comes along. (which is of course not really a valid argument)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
This absolutely mad and disgusting (ovecompressed, oversmashed, overlimited) mania with a volume meter desperately nailed at zero should stop. One of the advantages of the digital domain is bigger dynamic range than analogue (not smaller).
difficult to explain. louder does not equal greater dynamic range? try to explain that in one sentence. (=attention span)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Some effective vaccination against this highly infectious and destructive loudness plague should be introduced very urgently.
something with directed high currents. if you sell it as a mood enhancer, you'll probably get away with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
If everything is loud - nothing is loud ...
everything will be a mediocre sonic soup (which is great if the music sucks)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Let the music breath ! Don´t kill it ...
or slam that snare with the full dynamics into the face of the listener make him/her bleed. heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Or then better don´t make it at all ...
too late

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Yet ... unless this is cured, everybody is forced to spread this virus, including me (otherwise people would not be happy with mastering)
not me. I limit at reasonable levels, and for vinyl I leave the cutter enough headroom to let the bass come through.
I REFUSE to destroy my mixes. "Dan maar de lucht in" (which sort of equates into: I'd blow myself up first)

merry xmas, and peace in all your hearts
Old 24th December 2006
  #24
Deleted User
Guest
The CD's cut by the top ME's out there might very well be much more "silent" than you think.

The sensation of loudness has not a strict connection with figures like "RMS" and so on. More has it a connection with someone who knows what to do to utilize the CD-format and it's limitations in a proper and hopefully also musical manner.

At some point your music will sound smaller the more you push it. Can you hear when this happens in your system or not?

BR
Patrik
Old 24th December 2006
  #25
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matucha's Avatar
 

Verified Member
1 Review written
Every post suggesting using any sort of limiter plugin is very misleading IMO. I expect he's doing that already without getting results he wants. It is so easy to work with L2 or similar plugs. Everyone can grab down the treshold and let the automatic gainup to do its "work".

But that's not where the problem is. As some wrote here, you one need to target the sources and mix first. Not having your instruments tracked well or samples picked and used well, you're gonna have hard times doing your mix. But if you do your mix without putting the energies in the bad spots, with conficts, unoptimal transient/envelope characteristics you're not going to get any reward after limiting, no mater how low you go with the treshold .

So if you miss the loudness address your mix or tracking. And then maybe you'll find yourself not wanting to have your mixes massacred like that...



And RMS, while it is not a bad indicator, it still have it's "imperfections" for 100% reliable loudness comparisons. Tracks with a lot of sustained bass will always have higher RMS values than "staccato" ones. So when you force the "staccato" mix to the RMS value of the "sustained" you'll ruin the thing and without any reason, because percieved loudness is going to be just fine with the different RMS values.
Old 26th December 2006
  #26
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Why would you all still recommend the L2? If software, the MPL-1 from Kjaerhus sounds a million times better to me ...
Old 27th December 2006
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master View Post
I know of entire forums that seem completely in the dark about why their $300 recording rig won't make the same quality recordings as artists with $300,000 budgets in $3,000,000 facilities. Many have no clue whatsoever.
That's funny, you didn't mean our forum, right?! heh
Joking...

BTW, funny how we have talked about the evil of loudness for a long time and all of a sudden a thread like this pops up and we need to start all over again... But, that's what mastering is all about these days?! Just kidding, tmingo wants it loud and we can make it loud can't we, time to reveil some facts...!

tmingo, the loud mixes of today go through very professional and expensive signal processing. Besides this, there are a few psychoacoustic effects that need to be utilized to make it sound louder when the ceiling can't hold any more transients.

As in almost all processes a certain result is possible only with a certain focus. The big commercial engineers typically focus on high frequency integrity and high preserved dynamic range. This focus involves high quality sound source capture, good playing, clean effect application, high quality gear, efficient panning, high quality amplification, few elements in the mix and so on. The result of that is that the mix that goes into the gaining process is very dynamic and contains low amounts of noise.

From here there are many different routes to get the mix as loud as the commercial competitors. But typically you need to prepare the material for some harder limiting further down the road. In this process you make sure that there are no unnecessary track transients making the whole mix clip causing too high preassure on the limiter's ceiling. This process is about locating the biggest transients in the mix and using track automation on individual tracks to lower these peaks. You want the input to be dynamic but also very smooth so that it is as light as possible once it reaches the limiter. Typically the bass and the kick drum causes some pretty high transients, so you work on these, especially since the kick drum velocity is pretty hard to control by the session player. The next step is the pre-limiting step. This is the foundation for all limiting further down the line. It smoothes out the mix and makes the track automation in the previous step less audible. It also introduces some additional loudness. One route is to process the material through the analog tape's built-in compressor. Another route is a high quality compressor. At this point the mix is still dynamic and the perceived noise is still low. That's perfect. Now comes the actual limiting for loudness. Many different techniques work. One technique is to apply a peak limiter on the mix bus with 0dB threshold as a transient filter and working with multiband compressors on M and S channels. This peak limiter needs to be top-of-the-line in terms of frequency integrity. Typically you want the vocals to be big and clear, so you might want to gain the mid bands on the M channel a little, you target the band where the vocals are overall (typically in the high mids). This might cause some additional punch on the bass and kick drum so you might want to lower the low-mid band slightly. This will add some softness as well. If the mix is not yet soft enough you might have to gain the lowest band slightly and reduce the low mid band slightly. At this point the mix might be as loud as you want it to be, when not you can balance the M and S channels such that the frequencies that are perceived as loud will become heavier on the mix. You might reach a point though when this is not possible without ruining the mix integrity (stereo image, color, the characteristics of the vocals change etc). At that point you use the peak limiter for the remaining loudness.
Old 28th December 2006
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

Hi,
the loudness .....a lot of people think that there are some incredible limiter plug-in or analog who can add an infinity of gain. People dreams on specials tips really unknowed and mysterious. The secret is not a secret but people doesn't want to use it because it's the hardest way ...the best way.
First, people has to stop thinking that compressor is made to increase the loudness ...is an artistic paint brush which can add harmonics, distortion and can change the attack and release of a sound. It's not the tool for the loudness war ...Don't think that put a compressor on the master can increase the loudness !
Second, there is a misunderstanding about the dynamic on a mix. Analyse that there is less than a few dB of dynamic on a commercial master don't mean that the engineer didn't create dynamic on his mix ! There is a "human law" and it's one of the most important : take 2 same snares playing at the same level ( saying peak at -6 dBFS ) one after the other and the 2 same snares playing one, first, at -18 dBFS and the second at -6 dBFS. Which track seems to be the louder ? ........the second one : something seems to be loud because something other is tiny. Always create relative, not absolute !
But the most important thing people has to bring under control is the frequency spectrum ! This is the "secret" but people thinks that they already know about this subject .....the best engineers in the world continue to learn day after day about it. The human hear functions by band along the frequency spectrum and if one of them saturates, you can always turn the volume up, the loudness perceived will not change ! Try with a great mix : listen it through a radio system at twice the volume used through a HiFi system. The sound listen through the HiFi one seems always to be louder ......
Be more hard with you. If your mix is not as loud as a great mix ......mix it again !
80 % of qualities of a mix is not about gear ! It's about your choices. Great mixes with big loudness can be made on poor gears...... don't forget it !
Best regards to all.
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Old 3rd January 2007
  #29
Lives for gear
 

pull a track from a commercially released cd into your DAW and just start comparing your mix to it, and try to get it closer with eq. you will be surprised how muddy your mix sounds...that mud is really what is keeping it from sounding "loud", more than the amount of compression. keep your monitors really low...then compare your new eq'd track to you old mix. you will barely have to eq it once you have a feel for it, but small amounts in the right places make all the difference.
Old 20th August 2011
  #30
Here for the gear
 

put a waves GRP maserati on it, put the preset on master. Have a coffee
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