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Targeting Mastering Loudness for Streaming (LUFS, Spotify, YouTube)-Why NOT to do it.
Old 29th March 2019
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
This morning I saw a long and animated discussion about this video in one of the Facebook mastering groups. A lot of agreement with Streaky but some good points against. Mainly I think Streaky overreached by choosing -8 to stand his ground on. I think most people assumed that he meant -8 integrated LUFS, but in the video he never utters the word "integrated" and he says RMS many more times than he says LUFS, so I suspect he may have been thinking about just the loud sections of songs or songs that are loud all the way through rather than integrated averages. I wish he had been more precise with his language. For a ME I think it's kind of sloppy the way he talks about levels. Still, I think his main point rings true, even if the specific RMS or LUFS level can be quibbled with...

Last edited by Trakworx; 29th March 2019 at 04:47 PM..
Old 29th March 2019
  #32
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Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
I have a bunch of reference material from the band and some of it is severe as -6.4 and such... (!!)
Some of that reference materials are records I have listened to for ages and, as a simple listener, never had any issues wanting to lower the volume, or thinking "there is something wrong with the recording"... I actually always thought they sounded amazing.
Yep, but I've also noticed that a lot of Rock and Metal music that always sounded great to me at home, in the car and in earbuds turned out to be really crushed and hard to listen to on my B&Ws and Genelecs at work. It's surprising how forgiving consumer playback systems can be. It seems that most of the major MEs have been aware of that for a long time...
Old 29th March 2019
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Yep, but I've also noticed that a lot of Rock and Metal music that always sounded great to me at home, in the car and in earbuds turned out to be really crushed and hard to listen to on my B&Ws and Genelecs at work. It's surprising how forgiving consumer playback systems can be. It seems that most of the major MEs have been aware of that for a long time...
I had the same impressions. In the studio at hi levels those records sound on the side of a bit too aggressive, while anywhere else they sound just great to me and the compression/limiting effects are generally not at all as audible (at least as a problem).
Also when A-Bing at home/car a very loud master with different version which is more conservative, the loud one sticks out more positively, even when I try to match the perceived level..
Weird. Maybe I just like the actual sound of limiting....
Do you think it is just a matter of "forgiving" systems or there could be other explanations? Maybe those system are simply too inaccurate compared to our DAC/Monitors in a controlled studio environment therefore cannot reproduce some dynamic aspects, which in a way get ironed...
Logic tells me the opposite should happen and one imagines a very loud master would actually sound even worse elsewhere... Interesting.
Old 29th March 2019
  #34
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I still hate the sound of over-limited stuff, on any playback system.

Old 30th March 2019
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
I had the same impressions. In the studio at hi levels those records sound on the side of a bit too aggressive, while anywhere else they sound just great to me and the compression/limiting effects are generally not at all as audible (at least as a problem).
Also when A-Bing at home/car a very loud master with different version which is more conservative, the loud one sticks out more positively, even when I try to match the perceived level..
Weird. Maybe I just like the actual sound of limiting....
Yeah, despite all the well intentioned online railing against loudness processing it seems that many actual humans in real life do like it. Streaky's point in the video. Logically, technically, it seems like it shouldn't be so, but if you just step back and look at the big picture over the last 25 years it just may be that logic and technical correctness as understood by AEs is trumped by lay people's, consumer's and artist's preferences. Of course I mean as long as loudness processing is done well and not overdone. The popular backlash to Death Magnetic shows that there is a line that can be crossed even with the general public.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
Do you think it is just a matter of "forgiving" systems or there could be other explanations? Maybe those system are simply too inaccurate compared to our DAC/Monitors in a controlled studio environment therefore cannot reproduce some dynamic aspects, which in a way get ironed...
Logic tells me the opposite should happen and one imagines a very loud master would actually sound even worse elsewhere... Interesting.
I think it's mainly the clarity and transient response of high end monitoring environments that reveal the distortions from limiting and especially clipping. So "forgiving" means "inferior in a favorable way".
Old 1st April 2019
  #36
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Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
Great post! I tried to follow these guidelines for an EP I released last year..didn't crush it, set the output to -1db...etc. It plays softer than most everything else on Spotify/iTunes, etc...unless I set normalization on in Spotify. So yes, I'm back to making 1 master as loud as I can that still sounds good and being done.

I do have a question...what are you setting your final output limiter to for the ONE master to work on everything? If I set the masters to -0.1db...is that going to sound bad on iTunes? Am I better going with -0.3 or -0.5?

Thanks!
Mastering is a dark art. Maybe you shouldn’t master your own releases and get another party with a fresh perspective to do it for you.

Last edited by miscend; 1st April 2019 at 09:21 AM..
Old 1st April 2019
  #37
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Originally Posted by locnus View Post
It’s amazing that loudness is even a topic of conversation when really all it takes it turning up the volume on the playback device, go figure right. But when you look at the audience, the consumer who listens, buys and views loudness as a must have, it forces artist into a corner where they have no choice but to follow what the consumer wants.
This started with the iPod shuffle culture. People stopped listening to individual albums and listened to generated playlists of tracks from wholly different genres and styles of music. One minute you could be listening to rock and the next could be an a Capella. It’s imperative that when you listen to a computer generated playlist that all the tracks are of a similar level so that you are not continuously reaching to adjust the volume.
Old 1st April 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miscend View Post
Mastering is a dark art.
It's absolutely not, in my experience.
Old 20th May 2019
  #39
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iTunes

But what about Mfit? Does that still exist? Do Apple whitelist mastering studios still?

Mfit means a TP of -1dB?
Old 20th May 2019
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
But what about Mfit? Does that still exist? Do Apple whitelist mastering studios still?

Mfit means a TP of -1dB?
MFiT and the list still exist.

Though MFiT seems to have become somewhat marginalized.

But MFiT has nothing to do with loudness targets. MFiT is mostly about peak headroom not LUFS/RMS. You could make a -4LUFS master with -2dBTP headroom that qualifies for MFiT... if you wanted to...
Old 20th May 2019
  #41
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I still can't understand why some trap records sound ridiculously louder with iTunes or Youtube loudness normalization. It's not working as intended, instead now you have a one fingered keyboard alone sounding louder than AC-DC. Am I crazy? what am I missing here?
Old 21st May 2019
  #42
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Hey girls & boys!

I am (most likely) very very low on a mastering food chain but I will let you know on my thoughts. One part is what you're all seeing and relying to observing your different types of scopes and meters... And by observing their values trying to achieve the highest "top" value and the highest (powerful) RMS values which is overall loudness value. So, you're trying to "squeeze" as much as possible less difference between this top value (for digital content anyway) of cca. -0.3 and -1 dB FS and that other one, a RMS value of cca. -14 and -9 dB.

So, how to achieve it to be as highest as possible on the RMS part (which is loudness) and top part, a limit of your material to be just fine for many different content delivery which is -0.3 and -1 dB. You just need it to get it a little below 0 dB for ISP which will cause distortion. We all are aiming for that 11-13 dB of range between those two.

How to achieve it? Well, with professionally made gainstaging and all processing while mixing (producing) is what should everyone pay attention to. And your ears, of course.

Me personally don't care that much about different values for different streams as long as content is delivered with max. dynamics (sometimes it means lower values) possible even when it seems to be quieter.

People lost the very best and most important thing from their sights. Just trying to be as loud as possible. Whatever happened with one single value which will let you enjoy in your not so loud according to numbers music? A volume knob?

I know we are having this debate just because we gave all those companies possibility to tailor their own standard. That's what's wrong here.

If you ask me I am for getting the content just below 0 dB (digital content, clipping) to be OK and that other part, dynamics should be left for pros whp knows what they are doing to achieve max. possible loudness and keep the music undistorted and unsquashed because then we loose all dynamics and soul of music.

Everyone should look upon some magnificent cuts done some twenty years ago and aim for that mix type and dynamic type and everything that makes it amazaing. Dynamics, definition, clear and defined details, sound image and natural sounding music. That can just come from professionals with hands-on experience which kitchen laptop production more often than not can not deliver.

Hope any of all this makes any sense.

Happy mixing and mastering all!

Krešo
Old 22nd May 2019
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
MFiT and the list still exist.

Though MFiT seems to have become somewhat marginalized.

But MFiT has nothing to do with loudness targets. MFiT is mostly about peak headroom not LUFS/RMS. You could make a -4LUFS master with -2dBTP headroom that qualifies for MFiT... if you wanted to...
But if you are trying to make sure that there are no inter-sample peaks by having a -1dB True Peak (or even less) before conversion you are affecting the loudness. As was mentioned earlier in the thread.

Can a master with a true peak of -0.3dB actually qualify for MFIT? Seems unlikely to me.
Old 22nd May 2019
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
But if you are trying to make sure that there are no inter-sample peaks by having a -1dB True Peak (or even less) before conversion you are affecting the loudness. As was mentioned earlier in the thread.
You can lower the output ceiling to leave 1dB or more of peak headroom and then you can increase the amount of brickwall limiting to make up the difference if you want to. Of course that comes at a cost to dynamics, but the point is that peak headroom and loudness/LUFS/RMS are different things that can be controlled separately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
Can a master with a true peak of -0.3dB actually qualify for MFIT? Seems unlikely to me.
It could if it was not limited or clipped for loudness. But most "modern loud" masters will need about 1dB of peak headroom to pass the Apple Droplet test.

But there are no ISP police at Apple to check it. It's an honor system. All they check is that it's 24 bit and done by someone on their approved MFiT ME list.
Old 1st June 2019
  #45
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Apple just announced the end of i-Tunes.
So **** them and all this nonsense about
mastering for their “standards”. Master
as you see fit. Dont go by what the meters
look like. If it sounds good to you then
that is all that matters.

The few people in the world who even care about
sound quality and who will sit still and listen
to a song will buy CD’s. The people listening
(well, not REALLY seriously listening) on
streaming platforms do not give one crap
about distortion, clipping, you name it.
Old 1st June 2019
  #46
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Best news I've heard in AGES. I HATE iTunes!
Old 7th July 2019
  #47
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Just released an album following the -14 LUFS and loudnesspenalty.com readings to get it to around the +/- 0.0 mark for Spotify. Listening to it now on Spotify with loudness set to 'Normal' it's much quieter than most other tracks/albums. I think I'll take-down the release and do it all over without using numbers
Edit: here it is: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5eLh...RyWlvSSerxRcSw

Last edited by White Falcon; 7th July 2019 at 07:21 PM..
Old 7th July 2019
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Falcon View Post
Just released an album following the -14 LUFS and loudnesspenalty.com readings to get it to around the +/- 0.0 mark for Spotify. Listening to it now on Spotify with loudness set to 'Normal' it's much quieter than most other tracks/albums. I think I'll take-down the release and do it all over without using numbers
Many times have I seen this same unfortunate story. Yet I can't recall ever seeing anyone report that they got a good result by following the -14 advice. Surely it can't be all bad... it never works for anyone?

This thread has been up for 4 months with almost 11,000 views and still no pushback. Honestly I was expecting someone to chime in saying their -14 mastered music streams perfectly. I thought someone would argue against my point (I mean this is Gearslutz after all), but no dissenting opinions... Huh.


P.S. I see Hermetech's account has been deleted. Bummer...
Old 8th July 2019
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Honestly I was expecting someone to chime in saying their -14 mastered music streams perfectly. I thought someone would argue against my point (I mean this is Gearslutz after all), but no dissenting opinions... Huh.
I seem to remember Riccardo having something to say about it when we floated the idea of this sticky.

Quote:
P.S. I see Hermetech's account has been deleted. Bummer...
Bummer indeed!
Old 8th July 2019
  #50
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I don't personally believe in strict rules and again my opinion is that any choice should be an informed and motivated one.
It depends on what you are relesing (genre) and for what expected audience.

Let me give you an example based on my workflow just to make things clear.
Hi-res releases (both reissues and new material) that fall within classical, classical crossover and jazz usually go aout around -14/-16. They get delivered to platforms that accept up to 24/96 and offer both standard as well as premium subscriptions to users. (i.e. Deezer, Tidal, Qobuz and so on).

Pop, rock and indie (depending on niche) as well as hip-hop, Trap, Rap as well as say Future Bass , D&B, EDM and so on will tipically be much louder for many reasons, as an example, the customer requests super loud masters, or they want a single master for every format, or they simply don't have the knowledge to make an infomed choice or they just can't be asked ... To cut a long story short I believe a masters should be cut based on client request (within reason of course) but with a plan in mind. This is why I consider it a "marketing" or better a "label" decision even if the musicins or producer is self releasing. The issue is not to be worried about streaming LUFS it is about who am I selling/pitching my music to?

I believe ME are there to give advice, yes, to adopt strict rules certainly not. How many of you are running labels and making a living out of them. If I were to send one of my releases to an outside ME and getting classical at -9 and Psytrance at -15 I would never ever use him/her again.

Just my opinion of course.
Old 8th July 2019
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Falcon View Post
Just released an album following the -14 LUFS and loudnesspenalty.com
When the website was first released, I pointed out to the owners, that the choice of words (at the domain name) would create confusion, rather than be helpful.
The idea behind it (ie not brickwall beyond a certain point where the sound suffers) is noble.


But if the creators wanted to really help out they should have at least chosen a different domain name (maybe loudnesscompensation.com would be more appropriate and even then it would create some confusion) and state that it does not work on all occasions as it is advertised.
Old 8th July 2019
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
I don't personally believe in strict rules and again my opinion is that any choice should be an informed and motivated one.
It depends on what you are relesing (genre) and for what expected audience.

Let me give you an example based on my workflow just to make things clear.
Hi-res releases (both reissues and new material) that fall within classical, classical crossover and jazz usually go aout around -14/-16. They get delivered to platforms that accept up to 24/96 and offer both standard as well as premium subscriptions to users. (i.e. Deezer, Tidal, Qobuz and so on).

Pop, rock and indie (depending on niche) as well as hip-hop, Trap, Rap as well as say Future Bass , D&B, EDM and so on will tipically be much louder for many reasons, as an example, the customer requests super loud masters, or they want a single master for every format, or they simply don't have the knowledge to make an infomed choice or they just can't be asked ... To cut a long story short I believe a masters should be cut based on client request (within reason of course) but with a plan in mind. This is why I consider it a "marketing" or better a "label" decision even if the musicins or producer is self releasing. The issue is not to be worried about streaming LUFS it is about who am I selling/pitching my music to?

I believe ME are there to give advice, yes, to adopt strict rules certainly not. How many of you are running labels and making a living out of them. If I were to send one of my releases to an outside ME and getting classical at -9 and Psytrance at -15 I would never ever use him/her again.

Just my opinion of course.
+1. Absolutely yes, whenever possible loudness should be discussed with the client and decided on solid grounds... other than streaming loudness targets.
Old 8th July 2019
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostolos Siopis View Post
When the website was first released, I pointed out to the owners, that the choice of words (at the domain name) would create confusion, rather than be helpful.
The idea behind it (ie not brickwall beyond a certain point where the sound suffers) is noble.


But if the creators wanted to really help out they should have at least chosen a different domain name (maybe loudnesscompensation.com would be more appropriate and even then it would create some confusion) and state that it does not work on all occasions as it is advertised.
I agree. Ian Shepherd has said many times that the name was chosen to be deliberately provocative in order to attract attention to the issue of loudness. Well done then. I think "loudnesspenalty" has succeeded at that, for better and for worse. Now he has to keep explaining why not to master to the level his own website appears to recommend! http://productionadvice.co.uk/no-luf...xxExOnekpP9ZSw
Old 11th July 2019
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
Apple just announced the end of i-Tunes.
So **** them and all this nonsense about
mastering for their “standards”. Master
as you see fit. Dont go by what the meters
look like. If it sounds good to you then
that is all that matters.

The few people in the world who even care about
sound quality and who will sit still and listen
to a song will buy CD’s. The people listening
(well, not REALLY seriously listening) on
streaming platforms do not give one crap
about distortion, clipping, you name it.
As far as I understand it, it's the iTunes software in it's current bloated form that's being EOL'ed not the store itself.

IIRC They are splitting it up so that there are separate apps for TV/Movies, Music, and Apps rather than the horrible Frankenstein mess iTunes is now
Old 4 weeks ago
  #55
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Just read a reply in Sound on Sound magazine to a reader in the letters section telling them to do the -14 LUFS integrated -9 short term thing.

Two years ago I did one album for a songwriter in the US and made all the tracks -14 LUFS -1TP.

They were all ballads. I was asked to play it at a bbq on a smallish but nice bluetooth speaker. I have to admit that it sounded great, really natural, the mixes just seemed to flow in a really nice way. But then I decided to put on Becks "Colors" album. Its sounded massively louder! in my estimation probably -8 or -9.

This still seems to be a confused area of music production that has no standardisation.

Currently throwing caution to the wind @ -0.3TP and -11 to -9 integrated and relaxing to -14 if its really slow sparse etc.

Not in the studio for a few days. Anybody know how loud Becks "Colours" is? I mean the industry certainly is not sticking to -14!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
...Anybody know how loud Becks "Colours" is? I mean the industry certainly is not sticking to -14!
Pretty hot according to this:
Attached Thumbnails
Targeting Mastering Loudness for Streaming (LUFS, Spotify, YouTube)-Why NOT to do it.-skarmavbild-2019-07-17-kl.-22.27.30.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
This thread has been up for 4 months with almost 11,000 views and still no pushback. Honestly I was expecting someone to chime in saying their -14 mastered music streams perfectly. I thought someone would argue against my point (I mean this is Gearslutz after all), but no dissenting opinions... Huh.


P.S. I see Hermetech's account has been deleted. Bummer...


No one will disagree.

It's all about a great result, the rest takes care of itself.

And they may change all these things tomorrow, so there's that.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Ridley View Post
Hey Justin,

Great post. For awhile I got on the bandwagon of multiple masters, one for CD, one for streaming. It was clunky, confusing to clients, aggregators wouldn't receive both, more questions arose, etc. I have since moved back to a single file that is optimized mainly for CD while being auditioned as an mp3 to make sure there aren't any nasty side effects of file compression to the track. Haven't done any work that has requested MFiT, so I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I think one of the fundamental issues here is the question of what is the purpose of making a track "loud". I remember running into this way back with my mentor in live production. I was constantly questioned on my use of relatively heavy compression on numerous channels for rock and metal music (vocals, kick, snare, bass, etc). The challenge was that there was no need to reduce dynamics because of the excessive amount of available headroom. I couldn't articulate my reasoning 14 years ago and I may not be able to today, but I will try.

I believe the goal here should be to find the appropriate "density" for the track. Rock or Pop tracks with full instrumentation mastered at an Integrated Loudness of -14 LUFS lack density and everything that comes with that (harmonics, distortion, saturation, pumping, balance shifts). Yes you can turn it up to sound as loud as a track with an Integrated Loudness of -7 LUFS, but it feels drastically different. Maybe everyone understands this already and I'm late to this experience this personal revelation.

Now I realize I was compressing tracks heavily in live production to create density and for shaping, not necessarily to prevent running out of headroom or for volume. While mastering, I compress, saturate, clip, and limit tracks fairly heavily to create density and for shaping and adding some amount of saturation and harmonic distortion. I find this more pleasant than the alternative of minimal to no clipping, saturation, limiting, etc. Who am I to go mucking up peoples well crafted mixes? I don't know.

There are obvious examples of pushing tracks too far and the dangers of that. I am looking to strike the appropriate balance of perceived density for the track and not necessarily "volume" or "loudness". Basically I'm trying to say, I agree.

Christopher
I like that term "density" as opposed to overall loudness - though try using it around Gregorio, bigshot, and other regulars over at Head-Fi, and you'll be laughed off the forums! Perhaps a different form of 'dense' would apply in their case.

Take, for example, Charlie Puth's "Attention". It measures louder(RMS-wise) and less dynamic on the Dynamic Range meter in Foobar 2000 than, say, a thirty year old equivalent track by Michael Jackson, but: 'Attention's arrangement has lots of space in it - making it almost as easy to crank-it-up as, say 'Billie Jean'.

I would almost venture to relabel the loudness wars as the 'density' wars in this regard.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Falcon View Post
Pretty hot according to this:
Wow thanks for finding that. I don't know what those "Dynamic range" numbers mean
Is it saying that its -4dBs RMS?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
Wow thanks for finding that. I don't know what those "Dynamic range" numbers mean
Is it saying that its -4dBs RMS?
Those numbers are showing the "crest factor" - the difference between the peak and RMS levels.

That site http://dr.loudness-war.info/ uses the TT DR Meter (Dynamic Range Meter), which is poorly named IMO because "dynamic range" has a specific definition that is different from crest factor. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dict...ynamic%20range

Check this article: http://productionadvice.co.uk/how-to...sing-your-mix/

Last edited by Trakworx; 3 weeks ago at 06:23 PM..
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