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Is mastering needed today? What's the point on this? Dynamics Plugins
Old 19th December 2016
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
I would say it will never be as quiet as back then a few decades ago instead :D

You must understand that distribution ways change:
Spotify e.g. normalizes audio to -11 Lufs, Youtube -13, Apple -16.
Maybe that changed, I'm too lazy to look up numbers but generally speaking it's in that ballpark.
-11,5 lufs is like around -10,x rms!
And it is the loudest a streaming service offers today..

So when your master is -4rms you introduced distortion, clipping, limiting, compression to achieve those 6rms difference in loudness and you compromised your track, you squashed, your transients lack punch etc. etc.
You know the drill, you compromised dynamics. A kick will never hit as hard if it is just sitting right at 0 and poking at it, it needs room to breathe.

What then happens is that spotify dials back your music to -11Lufs so all the squashed dynamics will just be played at a lower volume.
What that actually means is that suddenly an extremely hot Kanye West track is as loud as a more dynamic and less squashed track with the difference that Kanye gave up all that sweet transient punch, 3D, dynamics and heft and destroyed a track for...NOTHING. He even made it worse.
Now there is a certain sound to loud music and nobody said it will be quiet like in the 50s again but the levels achieved these last years are..well, yesterday. You can thank apple, spotify, youtube and EBU128 for it.

CD is a different thing, it is limited by the 16 bit bandwith and a CD which is louder will sound louder when played on the same system, that is true, there is no normalization process only if you ask itunes for it when burning.
But you really think people will listen to CDs in 10 years or even 5 from now? Maybe our parents will. The rest will buy from Beatport or whatever instead.
There is a reason why guys like Universal want to become independent from CD sales as soon as possible.

You think DJs will play non-dynamic, squashed distorted flat dead club tracks in MP3 in a few years from now?
I always tell DJs to update their library to lossless or they will be in for a bitter surprise soon.
Many Clubs don't allow audio in MP3 anymore and a lot of (especially electroguys) changed to playing from vinyl alone, no digital vinyl emulation anymore, believe it or not.

Loudness wars peaked a few years ago, people already have been at the event horizon and back again, as always people think it will always be that way because they got used to it.
Seriously in a few years when every smartphone can easily store a few TB NOBODY will want to listen to mp3 on their device, it was simply a bridge technology, same as the idea to destroy your delicate music to just make it loud.
You have a lot of convincing ideas., but as long as audio files are available, the loudness war will still be there. I don't imagine a club playing a session with the sound engine of spotify, for example, it looks absurd to limite the lufs of the songs without the dj taking part on it. He should choose if doing it or not.

I know the loudness war has ended for online platforms, but send an already mastered -10rms pop song to the a&r of a company, and wait for the answer...
Old 19th December 2016
  #92
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
I know the loudness war has ended for online platforms, but send an already mastered -10rms pop song to the a&r of a company, and wait for the answer...
Every DJ software normalizes audio, when I DJ in serato I can actually choose the normalization level..otherwise I would have to adjust the channel gain a lot more when DJing.
Itunes normalizes, broadcast normalizes (EBU128, google it up), Youtube, spotify..you should probably just send a digital file instead of a CD to that A&R and it gets normalized in his itunes library anyway :D
I tell you these ueberridiculous loudness levels will vanish.

When I DJ I can see it first hand. Play a fry dead song, it jumps at people at the first second but it cools down so soon, it feels flat, like 2d grizzle in front of the audience, no dynamic, no deepness, no transient punch, just soft, fatiguing distortion.
Play from vinyl or at least some good mastered losless files and see them jump, no joke.

PS: lots of pop songs are not that loud anymore. Mark Ronson uptown funk e.g. is -12,3 Lufs, pretty quiet.
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Old 19th December 2016
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
Every DJ software normalizes audio, when I DJ in serato I can actually choose the normalization level..otherwise I would have to adjust the channel gain a lot more when DJing.
Itunes normalizes, broadcast normalizes (EBU128, google it up), Youtube, spotify..you should probably just send a digital file instead of a CD to that A&R and it gets normalized in his itunes library anyway :D
I tell you these ueberridiculous loudness levels will vanish.

When I DJ I can see it first hand. Play a fry dead song, it jumps at people at the first second but it cools down so soon, it feels flat, like 2d grizzle in front of the audience, no dynamic, no deepness, no transient punch, just soft, fatiguing distortion.
Play from vinyl or at least some good mastered losless files and see them jump, no joke.

PS: lots of pop songs are not that loud anymore. Mark Ronson uptown funk e.g. is -12,3 Lufs, pretty quiet.
Very interesting what you say BumBataa
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Old 19th December 2016
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
Loudness wars peaked a few years ago, people already have been at the event horizon and back again, as always people think it will always be that way because they got used to it.
Seriously in a few years when every smartphone can easily store a few TB NOBODY will want to listen to mp3 on their device, it was simply a bridge technology, same as the idea to destroy your delicate music to just make it loud.
Some confusion here I think, no? :-)

MP3 has nothing to do with sounding loud or not, lossy compression and coding has nothing to do with dynamic compression.

Loudness war is/was a tragedy (IMHO), high bitrate MP3 or AAC does insignificant damage to the music compared to what many mastering guys do.
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Old 19th December 2016
  #95
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Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
Some confusion here I think, no? :-)
Haha you are right, my mistake, relic of those countless mp3 vs wav discussions and a lack of sleep :D

What I mean is play a good mastered song with dynamics (preferably lossless) and see them jump in comparison to a flat dead squashed song.

I must say that same as a uebersquashed master mp3s could be put in the same category of 'compromised audio' which is still being accepted as of now'.
Both will vanish in the not so distant future, I am pretty confident in that.
Old 19th December 2016
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
a&r prefer the louder and punchier.
I should know better than to enter this kind of thread, but...

"Louder" and "Punchier" are contradictory terms.

The louder (higher average RMS) the material, the LESS punchy it will be. The more punchy something is, the lower the overall RMS level will be.

Sorry about that. As some guy once said on TV, "I canna change the laws of physics, capt'n".

Higher RMS = less dynamics, less room for transients = less punchy.

I sometimes wonder why home stereos still have volume knobs...

Cheers,
Thor
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Old 19th December 2016
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I should know better than to enter this kind of thread, but...

"Louder" and "Punchier" are contradictory terms.

The louder (higher average RMS) the material, the LESS punchy it will be. The more punchy something is, the lower the overall RMS level will be.

Sorry about that. As some guy once said on TV, "I canna change the laws of physics, capt'n".

Higher RMS = less dynamics, less room for transients = less punchy.

I sometimes wonder why home stereos still have volume knobs...

Cheers,
Thor
Try out things like Softube Transient Shaper. You could be amazed.

As I said, getting punchy and dynamic masters with high rms is what defines a good engineer from an average one.
Old 19th December 2016
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I should know better than to enter this kind of thread, but...

"Louder" and "Punchier" are contradictory terms.

The louder (higher average RMS) the material, the LESS punchy it will be. The more punchy something is, the lower the overall RMS level will be.

Sorry about that. As some guy once said on TV, "I canna change the laws of physics, capt'n".

Higher RMS = less dynamics, less room for transients = less punchy.

I sometimes wonder why home stereos still have volume knobs...

Cheers,
Thor
In theory you are correct but there is no fixed and absolute correlation between level and punchiness. A more skilled engineer could easily make something both louder _and_ punchier compared to a less skilled engineer. A more skilled engineer could make something sound more dynamic while having a higher RMS level than someone with less skills.

I've heard some rather flat and lifeless mixes that sounded (and measured) low in loudness and I've heard some much more dynamic and punchy sounding mixes/masters that were much louder.

If audio wasn't so subjective and situation and circumstances dependant, we would long be out of jobs and all mixing and mastering would be automated...

Alistair
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Old 19th December 2016
  #99
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Try out things like Softube Transient Shaper. You could be amazed.
True you can make the attack of the sound sharper and more pronounced and maybe fiddle around with the ADSR with the those tools but what Thor means is this I think: if you kick e.g. has the dynamic range to get louder, hit, get silent again and the actual transient event has more (dynamic) room to develop in comparison to other instruments it has more impact and punch.
The kick has 'room to breathe' as I said before and the ear perceives that auditory event as more significant. I mean dynamics is the difference between the loudest and most quiet part of the song, isn't it? If everything is the same and very loud, there is not much to distinguish for the ear, therefore less impact in that kick.
The kick has to share the dynamic space with other instruments, too..that's the very idea of ducking / sidechaining, to make room for the kick or whatever.

Let's say you have a song consisting of timpani and cymbals:
If the cymbals are as loud as the timpani all the time the impact of the timpani is not perceived as significant as if there is quiet cymbals and suddenly a loud timpani hit occurs..
Also the timpani has to share the headroom with the cymbals if they are very loud and play at the same time.

I hear that, too. Imagine boxing against a sandbag, with no dynamics it feels like somebody is doing punches from a very short distance all the time, it doesn't have the impact of somebody who has room to swing.

Weird comparison I read somebody doing somewhere on the internet, but really fitting I think.
Old 19th December 2016
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I should know better than to enter this kind of thread, but...

"Louder" and "Punchier" are contradictory terms.

The louder (higher average RMS) the material, the LESS punchy it will be. The more punchy something is, the lower the overall RMS level will be.

Sorry about that. As some guy once said on TV, "I canna change the laws of physics, capt'n".

Higher RMS = less dynamics, less room for transients = less punchy.

I sometimes wonder why home stereos still have volume knobs...

Cheers,
Thor
I must agree with Thor here, in the loud vs punchy scenario.

The louder and more compressed & limited the audio, the less punchy.

But shaping the transients during mastering could alter the level of punchlines.

But for a dedicated third party ME like Thor & myself, using transient shaping might be considered heavy handed and taking great liberties with the mix, radically changing the sound and mix balance, moving away from the producers vision.

Perhaps EDM is the exception, where it's all about the beat, often more so than the other more musical elements of the mix, aka melody and harmony.

In my world, mastering mainly indie songwriter music, levels of -6dB or higher is pretty nuts, and considered unnecessary.

But in EDM & Hip Hop probably commonplace, I do very little of either of those styles.

Best, JT
Old 19th December 2016
  #101
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I would never try to use a transient shaper in a mastering situation if I can. I mean using it at the mixing stage, giving some sounds a little bit more transients, so it hits the limiter a little bit more and make it more dynamic. As I said, getting a high level rms mix without killing it's dynamics is what differences the masters from the average. If you know how to do this, you can do everything else. And at the same time, this is why I think loudness war has forced to mixing and master engineers to become even better than they used to be someday, because now they need to force the machine x2.
Old 19th December 2016
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
I must agree with Thor here, in the loud vs punchy scenario.
just_manu was talking about two specific masters of the same track. (I'm not sure Thor and yourself realised that). One done by himself and one done by someone else. just_manu and the label are the only people that have heard both masters so maybe we should refrain from applying huge generalities to these two specific masters. One master could indeed well be both louder and punchier sounding.

To be clear, I agree with the rest of your post and Thor's comments in general but I am always weary of applying generalities to specific cases.

Alistair
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Old 19th December 2016
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
But in EDM & Hip Hop probably commonplace, I do very little of either of those styles.

Best, JT
I think these high levels are too much in both of those genres as well.
I remember busy (mastering a lot of hip hop over here in germany) suggesting K14 back then. I wonder if he still does lol. Let's hope so.
Old 19th December 2016
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZooTooK View Post
When I take Galantis - Runaway from Spotify I get around -13RMS and from Youtube around -14RMS in Audacity, using the Analyze/Contrast on about 10 second chorus section and first normalizing the section. Could there be differencies in measurement methods in this thread?
spotify use in default setting replay gain (around - 12 lufs), YouTube set all song to around - 14lufs (it looks like they use also the replay gain algorithm) .
this has nothing to do with the loudness of the master for all services without a level matching.
Old 19th December 2016
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumBataa View Post
I think these high levels are too much in both of those genres as well.
I remember busy (mastering a lot of hip hop over here in germany) suggesting K14 back then. I wonder if he still does lol. Let's hope so.
most hip-hop masters he made are around -7-9lufs. this is a common range.
less than -10lufs is very conscious for a commercial hip-hop release
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Old 19th December 2016
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
In theory you are correct but there is no fixed and absolute correlation between level and punchiness. A more skilled engineer could easily make something both louder _and_ punchier compared to a less skilled engineer. A more skilled engineer could make something sound more dynamic while having a higher RMS level than someone with less skills.

I've heard some rather flat and lifeless mixes that sounded (and measured) low in loudness and I've heard some much more dynamic and punchy sounding mixes/masters that were much louder.

If audio wasn't so subjective and situation and circumstances dependant, we would long be out of jobs and all mixing and mastering would be automated...

Alistair
The theory is correct. It's called physics. Regardless of what you've heard, how flat and lifeless something sounded or not, physics are physics. Whether the engineer took advantage of the physics involved or not is a different point.

Music is subjective. Audio is a discipline, a science.

There is indeed a fixed and absolute correlation between level and punchiness:

Low RMS = more room for transients ("punch")
High RMS = less room for transients ("punch")
this is because the ceiling (0dBFS) is FIXED.

Note that LOUDER (higher average RMS) will always sound better, especially on first listen. Better does not mean more punchy in this case, it means louder.

To compare apples to apples you have to gain match - by RMS, not peak (I expect that's obvious, but this is GearSlutz after all).

Same RMS with 18dB to highest peaks = punchy as h*ll.
Same RMS with 6dB to highest peaks = flat and lifeless, regardless of how loud it sounded in the studio.

You can't argue with physics.

If you want it punchy AND loud, mix/master it in order to leave the dynamics intact (K-14 or better, -18LU, etc), and TURN UP THE VOLUME ON YOUR STEREO.

I can't believe this has to be explained to engineers....

Thor

(Can material be too dynamic? Of course. Is that a problem today? Not as far as I can tell. The opposite seems to be our biggest problem.)
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Old 19th December 2016
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
The theory is correct. It's called physics. Regardless of what you've heard, how flat and lifeless something sounded or not, physics are physics. Whether the engineer took advantage of the physics involved or not is a different point.

Music is subjective. Audio is a discipline, a science.

There is indeed a fixed and absolute correlation between level and punchiness:

Low RMS = more room for transients ("punch")
High RMS = less room for transients ("punch")
this is because the ceiling (0dBFS) is FIXED.

Note that LOUDER (higher average RMS) will always sound better, especially on first listen. Better does not mean more punchy in this case, it means louder.

To compare apples to apples you have to gain match - by RMS, not peak (I expect that's obvious, but this is GearSlutz after all).

Same RMS with 18dB to highest peaks = punchy as h*ll.
Same RMS with 6dB to highest peaks = flat and lifeless, regardless of how loud it sounded in the studio.

You can't argue with physics.

If you want it punchy AND loud, mix/master it in order to leave the dynamics intact (K-14 or better, -18LU, etc), and TURN UP THE VOLUME ON YOUR STEREO.

I can't believe this has to be explained to engineers....

Thor

(Can material be too dynamic? Of course. Is that a problem today? Not as far as I can tell. The opposite seems to be our biggest problem.)
Since when is punchiness a scientific term? You are confusing subjective terms like "punchiness" with measurable metrics like RMS which makes your whole post sciencey rather than actual science.


Alistair

Last edited by UnderTow; 20th December 2016 at 12:10 AM..
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Old 20th December 2016
  #108
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https://www.gearslutz.com/board/memb...-vs-punchy.png

Punchiness is usually related to Crest Factor of the drums and or bass.

Guess which one of the above graphics has a larger crest factor?

a nice little sciency article on the subject:

Recording: Tech Tip Of The Day: The Crest Factor In Mastering - Pro Sound Web

Best, JT
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Old 20th December 2016
  #109
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while Bruce Lee could deliver quite a punch from one inch, most of us would need a foot!

https://youtu.be/pC6vRJsBZEg

best, JT
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Old 20th December 2016
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
I would never try to use a transient shaper in a mastering situation if I can. I mean using it at the mixing stage, giving some sounds a little bit more transients, so it hits the limiter a little bit more and make it more dynamic. As I said, getting a high level rms mix without killing it's dynamics is what differences the masters from the average. If you know how to do this, you can do everything else. And at the same time, this is why I think loudness war has forced to mixing and master engineers to become even better than they used to be someday, because now they need to force the machine x2.
Anything can be used in mastering as a tool. Brian Lucey has an Elysia Nvelop strapped as the first point in his analog mastering chain. Never say never. Also, I'm not for or against folks doing their own mastering if they are successful. But it would be good to get context as has been asked. Post a mix sent to an ME, then the ME's non-satisfactory version, then your satisfactory version. Would be great to get some context.

Last edited by Slug1; 20th December 2016 at 05:21 PM.. Reason: Sp
Old 20th December 2016
  #111
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Nevermind.

Last edited by bmanic; 20th December 2016 at 11:11 AM.. Reason: Off topic
Old 20th December 2016
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Which negative connotation is there? I'm starting to think u guys do not know how to read.
There you go again..

Perhaps it's not our reading skills that should be in question? Do YOU read what you write? Do you understand how negative and entitled you come off as? I've only now read through the whole thread and man.. my first thought up to now was "I pity the people who have to work with this guy".

Are you really that blind to your own writing? It's derogatory, insulting and downright malicious in many of your posts.

Is this a language barrier thing? I hope so. I really do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by just_manu View Post
Try out things like Softube Transient Shaper. You could be amazed.

As I said, getting punchy and dynamic masters with high rms is what defines a good engineer from an average one.
Or "punchy and dynamic" is defined differently from person to person. Your reference example on youtube sound neither punchy nor dynamic to me. I have a few clients who use the word punchy for anything that is a bit flat.. not "ticky" or what I'd call punchy (a sound that hits the chest with a "thump!"). Example: A vanilla 909 kick completely flattened through a limiter is what some people would call punchy whereas to me the original 909 sounds punchier when compared at the same volume.

These are all subjective terms and can not be used as universal descriptions for things.
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Old 20th December 2016
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/memb...-vs-punchy.png

Punchiness is usually related to Crest Factor of the drums and or bass.

Guess which one of the above graphics has a larger crest factor?

a nice little sciency article on the subject:

Recording: Tech Tip Of The Day: The Crest Factor In Mastering - Pro Sound Web

Best, JT
Hi Jerry,

That is a good primer for people new to the subject. A good primer with a good caveat: "Further, there’s almost surely a lot your meters don’t/can’t tell you.".

I hope everyone here that calls themselves an ME will understand that generally speaking, the louder you make something, the more compromises you have to make and the less punchy it will tend to end up if all else is equal but, and this is the important thing, that this is a generalisation.

In the real world you can have two different masters of the same track that have the same RMS value yet one is punchier than the other. You can even have one that sounds louder, measures louder yet sounds punchier.

I guess the same kind of thing applies in martial arts. Usually, the shorter the distance to punch, the less momentum you can build up and the less impact you will have but with different techniques (or more skill) you can still achieve the same impact with less distance.

One example of using a different technique in the case of "loudness mastering" is mixing straight into a "mastering chain". This gives the advantage of being able to tweak the mix while feeding it into the mastering chain. You can adjust the individual elements to retain more punch despite pushing the levels harder. Skilled ME's can probably achieve similar results but it is harder to do if you don't have access to the individual mix elements.

Alistair
Old 20th December 2016
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/memb...-vs-punchy.png

Punchiness is usually related to Crest Factor of the drums and or bass.

Guess which one of the above graphics has a larger crest factor?

a nice little sciency article on the subject:

Recording: Tech Tip Of The Day: The Crest Factor In Mastering - Pro Sound Web

Best, JT
Thank you Jerry.

In case the other participants in the thread haven't seen it, this is as clear an explanation as I've seen on the issue. This is not something subjective. It's measurable, quantifiable and one of our duties as engineers to know about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

Now whether or not you want to crush your masters, mixes or whatever or not is entirely up to you, is entirely an aesthetic choice, and you do what suits your musical vision, expression and/or clients wishes. We've made as many bricks as anyone else. But I don't for a minute delude myself by saying it's punchy when all the red lights are lit up.

Around here most, but not all clients have abandoned the chase for absolute loudness. Metallica won that competition with Death Magnetic. These days most of the people we work with want things to sound good, which can mean a variety of things - clean, clear, punchy, 3D, a deeply layered soundstage, detailed, etc, but always in a way that's appropriate to the music.

Do you want more punch and impact to your music? Leave the average level lower and use the headroom you gain by doing so. If you want it louder, that's what the volume control is for (and by doing that you preserve the punch and impact and dynamics). Just a friendly tip

Thor
Old 20th December 2016
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal View Post
I think this thread already happened....
Right?!

Maybe it's the ghost of music past?

I think it's awesome that in 8 years he cracked the illuminati world of mastering all on his own!
Old 20th December 2016
  #116
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Originally Posted by bmanic View Post
There you go again..

Perhaps it's not our reading skills that should be in question? Do YOU read what you write? Do you understand how negative and entitled you come off as? I've only now read through the whole thread and man.. my first thought up to now was "I pity the people who have to work with this guy".

Are you really that blind to your own writing? It's derogatory, insulting and downright malicious in many of your posts.

Is this a language barrier thing? I hope so. I really do.



Or "punchy and dynamic" is defined differently from person to person. Your reference example on youtube sound neither punchy nor dynamic to me. I have a few clients who use the word punchy for anything that is a bit flat.. not "ticky" or what I'd call punchy (a sound that hits the chest with a "thump!"). Example: A vanilla 909 kick completely flattened through a limiter is what some people would call punchy whereas to me the original 909 sounds punchier when compared at the same volume.

These are all subjective terms and can not be used as universal descriptions for things.
In September he was musing about quitting.., no money, girlfriend left him because he spent too much time in the studio...

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/moan...e-give-up.html

I wonder how many hours of the OPs time is spent on these threads instead of making music and learning how to engineer.

This whole thread is silly... This one time at band camp? I did this mix an I mastered it better than the ME...

Tubular!
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Old 20th December 2016
  #117
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Originally Posted by Thor View Post
This is not something subjective. It's measurable, quantifiable and one of our duties as engineers to know about.
Again, "punchiness" is not a technical term and is not objectively measurable. Crest factor gives and indication of "punchiness" just as RMS gives an indication of perceived loudness. No more than that.

Alistair
Old 20th December 2016
  #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
In September he was musing about quitting.., no money, girlfriend left him because he spent too much time in the studio...

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/moan...e-give-up.html

I wonder how many hours of the OPs time is spent on these threads instead of making music and learning how to engineer.

This whole thread is silly... This one time at band camp? I did this mix an I mastered it better than the ME...

Tubular!
Yes. I suffer from some depression episodes. Wish it didn't happen but it is what it is. Of course I don't think it is something to reproach, quite mean by your part.

In fact, after that thread you talk about, I decided to make music part time only and have a more healthy life. Not because I'm bad at this, but because it is hard for me to manage this life style. But without promoting myself, I keep on getting requests for jobs, probably more than ever since I started on this. Anyway, I try my best and of course, don't try to hurt anybody, something that certain people here seem to like doing.

About 8 years as you say... I'm proud to say I'm making mixes that engineers who have been doing this for more than 20 years, start asking me for opinion. No ego here, but only to make you know the effort I've been putting into this, something you are discrediting.

Again, if you think this thread is silly, I don't think you have too much knowledge about audio engineering, or you are simply a hater. I guess it is the second one.

Last edited by just_manu; 20th December 2016 at 12:39 PM..
Old 20th December 2016
  #119
Lives for gear
 
Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
Thank you Jerry.

In case the other participants in the thread haven't seen it, this is as clear an explanation as I've seen on the issue. This is not something subjective. It's measurable, quantifiable and one of our duties as engineers to know about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

Now whether or not you want to crush your masters, mixes or whatever or not is entirely up to you, is entirely an aesthetic choice, and you do what suits your musical vision, expression and/or clients wishes. We've made as many bricks as anyone else. But I don't for a minute delude myself by saying it's punchy when all the red lights are lit up.

Around here most, but not all clients have abandoned the chase for absolute loudness. Metallica won that competition with Death Magnetic. These days most of the people we work with want things to sound good, which can mean a variety of things - clean, clear, punchy, 3D, a deeply layered soundstage, detailed, etc, but always in a way that's appropriate to the music.

Do you want more punch and impact to your music? Leave the average level lower and use the headroom you gain by doing so. If you want it louder, that's what the volume control is for (and by doing that you preserve the punch and impact and dynamics). Just a friendly tip

Thor
Good stuff Thor, that's a good video, with the volume matched examples really nailing the issue.
as dedicated Full time ME's, finding just the right balance between volume level & punchiness is an issue.

Mixes are often too dynamic and punchy when they arrive for mastering, so finding the right balance between loudness & punchiness is key, always with preference to the vocal.

I heard a new Lady G track on the radio yesterday, the EDM style kick drum was so loud & dominating the mix, you could barely hear the vocal.

Giving the big beat preference in the mix, over everything else is a bit of madness I've seen in recent years, reminds me of the disco era of the late 70s.
Of course pop music has always been about the beat and the vocal.
Best, JT

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 21st December 2016 at 11:43 AM.. Reason: Removed my top secret EQ tricks comments :~)>
Old 20th December 2016
  #120
Lives for gear
 
Slug1's Avatar
Post examples? Give us some context. Some folks may even do a pass on your original mix and on the mix you used to 'beat the pro ME'. Then we can all compare if your master actually sounds better. And when you do that, you never know who might drop by and take a shot at a pass. This actually might be just what you need to put to rear your questions about the need of an ME after your mixes. All of the banter and talk hasn't really provided any real relevance to the issue. Unless the typing and banter is what you actually are seeking. Which in some situations is ok. But for the sake of the topic, if you posted:
1. Your original mix sent to ME
2. The pro ME's unsatisfactory pass
3. Your 'tweaked' mix based on ME comments
4. Then you final master that claims to be better than the ME's initial try.

This would be so much more meaningful towards anyone coming to this thread than more chatter, banter, and unproductive bickering. I think you make a good point asking the question about mastering. But I think it's the approach you've taken. The approach of posting audio clips and letting the community take a listen will be far more informational and much more objective, and it could make this actually a great thread in the end.
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