The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Stem Files for loud masters
Old 21st January 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Kris75's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Stem Files for loud masters

I know that loud mastering has its drawbacks, but to the average listener, the louder the better. I have yet to meet a fan of music who says this CD is too loud, although I often hear, this CD is to quiet.

My question is, since I am not a Mastering Engineer, when doing such loud masters I find that the drums especially suffer a lot. The snare loses all body(due to the high end boost) and it gets way to quiet compared to the mix(due to compression and limiting). I have now tried 2 different ME's in the city (both are well respected and have done some major mastering work in the city) and when they are done, they are happy, but I find that I cannot live with the snare and how it suffers. I asked how I could improve my mixes to avoid this, and was told by both that my mixes were fine, and this was a result of getting it "Loud".

When I listen to commercial records mastered by the big boys, this result does not happen. The snare is still super beefy and huge (most times).

Can I acheive this result by running a stem file of the snare along with the master?

I am very happy otherwise with the results, although I would rather have a dynamic master, but as an Artist, and Engineer, I have to deliver what the client wants(in this case the client is me)

By the way, it is a rock record with big guitars.
Old 21st January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Masterer's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Don't bother. The records you are comparing your work to rarely come from stems.
Usually it's just a matter of a good recording, good mix, and good mastering techniques and decisions [it's all subjective of course].
Stems can be usefull but they are not a magic bullet for loudness without consequence. Past a certain point loudness will effect your mix in ways you do not like. You're much better off staying below those levels [that extra db will not sell more records].

Good luck.
Old 21st January 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Kris75's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer View Post
....Stems can be usefull but they are not a magic bullet for loudness without consequence. Past a certain point loudness will effect your mix in ways you do not like. You're much better off staying below those levels [that extra db will not sell more records].

Good luck.
I agree with that statement fully, but the reason I ask is I like the way the mastering tech. affects the guitars, bass and vocals, but the drums fall out of alignment.
Is there a better mixing technique I can use to make sure the drums stay in alignment when my mixes get squashed? I am a starting mix engineer, I have only been mixing seriously for about 3 years, and I understand that it takes much longer than that to get really good, so any advice from you ME's would be more than appreciated, because if I do get really good, my mixes will sureley get squashed by the best, so why not learn what to do now


Thank you in advance.
Old 21st January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1320 P. View Post
I know that loud mastering has its drawbacks, but to the average listener, the louder the better. I have yet to meet a fan of music who says this CD is too loud, although I often hear, this CD is to quiet.
I totally disagree with that. If (and I hate to even say this) we had a "standard" for loudness 10 years ago, this wouldn't be the slightest issue. Recordings would still sound good - which is what most people I know care about - except the clients and labels who just care about getting their $5,000 budget recordings in line with $500,000 budgets.

In 1990-ish, if someone would've said "Let's just make -15dBRMS the standard overall finished pop volume" I would've said "that's too loud."

Now, I'd *kill* to have something that low as a "normal" level.
Old 21st January 2007
  #5
Gear Head
 
brethes's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1320 P. View Post
...I cannot live with the snare and how it suffers. I asked how I could improve my mixes to avoid this, and was told by both that my mixes were fine, and this was a result of getting it "Loud".
You know now the effect of loud mastering on the snare. So mix accordingly. In the olden days before reliable total recall (ie: pre Pro Tools), we used to print a mix and do a version with the vocal up. Why don't you apply this technique to your mixes, but with the snare up? That way if the mastering engineer is struggling to maintain the level of the snare while trying to achieve the desired loudness level, he can use the version with the snare up. As long as you keep a line of communication with the ME, all should work out fine.
Old 22nd January 2007
  #6
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer View Post
[that extra db will not sell more records].
Old 22nd January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

most of the time the conversation goes "this cd is real quiet for some reason" as the person turns up the volume knob and starts a dialogue... what better reaction could you possibly want from a listener??
Old 22nd January 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
thephatboi's Avatar
 

as said above, you can do alot with the mix to remedy this:

1) Don't compress the snare much (or as much) in your mix knowing that it might get squashed in mastering.

2) often the drums (and snare esp.) get lost when a big chorus hits and all the instruments get loud(er), make balance adjustments in the chorus so the snare doesn't get lost, ride other stuff down a bit, snare up a bit in the chorus or louder sections of the song, a bit more mid high eq on snare maybe in those sections only so it doesn't lose bite.

3) use slower attack times on drum compressors (and perhaps master bus compressors) to preserve the front transient attack of the snare, that's a big one, too fast an attack on the snare compressor and your smack is gone, also using parallel compression on drums/snare instead of directly on its track helps this.

anyway there are a few ideas. Also make sure whoever masters it is using a great limitor, NOT L2 or something like that, and not too fast an attack again...
Old 4th April 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
six_wax's Avatar
 

All true, but I've been sent a handful of projects to master where having the stems really did help. As you start to push into the limiter, it becomes evident what elements are obscuring your "perception" of the mix as it gets loud.
Old 4th April 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
six_wax's Avatar
 

Oops. 3yo thread!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Remoteness / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
9
RichT / So much gear, so little time
20
nemisis633 / High end
19
jazzius II / Mastering forum
76
JSAudioTN / So much gear, so little time
4

Forum Jump
Forum Jump