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approaching loudness in workflow DAW Software
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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busty_audio's Avatar
 

approaching loudness in workflow

good evening slutz



i understand that there are more than one ways to "skin" a cat and that every project is different but i would love to hear about your approach regarding level during the mastering process.

do you start by setting programm level first and work backwards?
do you set it after you've done your thing, as the final stage of the process?
or do you go back n forth constanltly adjusting and tweaking stuff until it's there?

mostly interested regarding "loud" genres .

any input would be much appreciated

thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
If it has to be "loud", you need to hear it that way from the start, IMO. I have a combination of limiters that I start with, and the first thing I do is push the level of the track to roughly where it "needs" (usually based on the client's request) to live. I'll usually then adjust EQ or whatever else needs adjusting, before coming back to tweak the limiter(s) later on in the process.

I don't, personally, think it makes much sense to process a track that's going to end up heavily limited without hearing the effect of some limiting while doing so. Optimum EQ moves, especially, can be quite different depending on the desired level.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Trakworx's Avatar
What Tom said - exactly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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yep. "loud" or not, i get the level up first and make all decisions at a calibrated volume.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Yep, Tom described my workflow to the letter.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Giuseppe Zaccaria's Avatar
 

Thats exactly what I do too
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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busty_audio's Avatar
 

thanks for your answers guys

Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

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I'm totally the opposite. Do the limiting right at the end in a separate document/stage.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Giuseppe Zaccaria's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
I'm totally the opposite. Do the limiting right at the end in a separate document/stage.
How do you cope with the differents in tonal balance? Will you re-eqing while boosting? Are you doing this to save CPU power? Thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Silvertone's Avatar
I use a mastering console that has an input level offset to raise the gain of the program material to the desired mastered final level. From here I can A/B compare what my mastering quipment is sounding like against the mix with the volume raise.

I rely on my calibrated VU meters to tell me just about everything I need to know on what level to print.

Starting with processing engaged just makes it more difficult, you really need to listen to the mixes turned up to mastered level as then you are comparing apples to apples. Processing puts it own sonic signature onto the program material so you are not really hearing what the mix sounds like loud... and that is the place where you need to start.

Loudness, level and volume are three different things so when we speak we must make sure we are talking about the same thing. Something Bob Katz pointed out to me 30 years ago and I never forget that.

Have fun.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Silvertone's Avatar
One last thing... proper gain staging is imperative to achieving loudness. No one limiter should be tasked with that chore. lol
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
I'm totally the opposite. Do the limiting right at the end in a separate document/stage.
I capture the processing with the limiter bypassed too but if it's gonna be loud I want to make EQ decisions while monitoring through the limiter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Starting with processing engaged just makes it more difficult, you really need to listen to the mixes turned up to mastered level as then you are comparing apples to apples. Processing puts it own sonic signature onto the program material so you are not really hearing what the mix sounds like loud... and that is the place where you need to start.
I don't think people are saying they start processing before even listening to the mix, Larry. Just that when they begin processing and it's going to be pushed, they set that up at the beginning to avoid chasing their tail later.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I capture the processing with the limiter bypassed too but if it's gonna be loud I want to make EQ decisions while monitoring through the limiter.



I don't think people are saying they start processing before even listening to the mix, Larry. Just that when they begin processing and it's going to be pushed, they set that up at the beginning to avoid chasing their tail later.
Understood. If the genre calls for it or I am asked to do it, I do the same thing... but always have that input monitor offset set to the final level to a/b regardless.

I deal with so many projects that want loud but want their mix retained as is. Such as all the movie trailer music I do. In that world it’s a sometimes a mix of real orchestra and electronic sounds and fx and you have to try and retain the naturalness of the orchestra while trying to get EDM or hip hop levels. I try to make it so you never hear any limiting. Try being the optimum word. Everything is a compromise to some degree. The yin yang of life.

All the different ways to listen and work are valid IMHO... as long as you know your system.

Doing it as long as we have been doing it You can tell just by listening and looking at a few different meters to know you’re in the ballpark of where it needs to be. Second nature to guys like us.

Have fun.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuseppe Zaccaria View Post
How do you cope with the differents in tonal balance? Will you re-eqing while boosting? Are you doing this to save CPU power? Thanks
Generally not applying so much limiting (max 1-2dB) that it affects the tonal balance. And on the odd track where extreme loudness is required, I usually seem to manage alright doing it this way.

Nothing to do with CPU, just the way I've always worked. I like having the 'loudness' in a separate session at the end, after all the main mastering is done, to tweak the track to track levels etc. Might also be due to the fact that I am doing 90% of the work in Audiomulch, and have little experience of mainstream or mastering DAWs.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I capture the processing with the limiter bypassed too but if it's gonna be loud I want to make EQ decisions while monitoring through the limiter.
It's a fair point, perhaps I'll give it a go.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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I work more in line with how Gregg and Larry do it. If I'm going all ITB and the goal is loudness for loudness sake I'll work with a limiter on from the start.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
I'm totally the opposite. Do the limiting right at the end in a separate document/stage.
I'm with you on this most of the time. Two separate passes. The first is for best sound and the second is to make loudness compromises for formats that require it. That gives the artist a future-proof master for streaming, TV/film, broadcast, vinyl, etc. and a loud master for CD and non-loudness normalized download sites.

The only time I start with the limiter on is for genres where loudness processing artifacts are part of the sound of the genre.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Some things never change, when I used to go to George at Fantasy, Paul at Rocket Lab, Glenn at Matersphonics or Bob at Masterdisk they all had different approaches as well but all could achieve similar great results.

Just like anything in this industry there are many paths to reach the same goal.

I love the art aspect to what we do... and make no mistake mastering IS an art form.

Keep up the good work ladies and gentlemen.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
I use a mastering console that has an input level offset to raise the gain of the program material to the desired mastered final level. From here I can A/B compare what my mastering quipment is sounding like against the mix with the volume raise.

I rely on my calibrated VU meters to tell me just about everything I need to know on what level to print.

Starting with processing engaged just makes it more difficult, you really need to listen to the mixes turned up to mastered level as then you are comparing apples to apples. Processing puts it own sonic signature onto the program material so you are not really hearing what the mix sounds like loud... and that is the place where you need to start.

Loudness, level and volume are three different things so when we speak we must make sure we are talking about the same thing. Something Bob Katz pointed out to me 30 years ago and I never forget that.

Have fun.
thanks for the input mr Silvertone
it makes perfect sense to me and 9 out of 10 it's my approach too. techno/house/electronica is my thing so i want to feel it from the get go

a quick question now ,it might be silly , are you monitoring the output of your transfer console post, pre conversion ,or both ?
i am assuming that raising the volume of the source (mix) to match the final master level will require a hefty amount of headroom above 0dbfs (assuming you are post conv)

thanks in advance
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Mastering consoles generally raise the level of the unprocessed mix in the analogue domain: that is one of their major advantages. It allows decisions to be made at a consistent mototoring level without constant mental arithmetic and adjustment.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
Mastering consoles generally raise the level of the unprocessed mix in the analogue domain: that is one of their major advantages. It allows decisions to be made at a consistent mototoring level without constant mental arithmetic and adjustment.

understood. i am assuming multiple monitor options also then?

thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by busty_audio View Post
understood. i am assuming multiple monitor options also then?

thanks
My mastering console (a Crookwood) has the option for multiple speaker pairs but I only use one pair of speakers. Multiple pairs of speakers just muddy the waters when it comes to mastering, IMO.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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thanks mister

have a nice day
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
I'm actually doing the opposite, lowering the "mastered" version to A/B with the mix boosting my monitoring by whatever amount I need)
I'm doing this in the DAW that allows me to delay the mix so I don't have time skipping when A/B'ing.
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