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NEW GUY WITH Final MASTERING Questions Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

NEW GUY WITH Final MASTERING Questions

Hello Guys i am new to GS as far as membership but have been reading posts for several years now.

I mix cheer leading music professionally and built a dedicated studio to my craft a couple years back. My space is concrete block construction with double sound board dry wall surfaces and Auralex bass traps. In a corner of mythe studio is a vocal booth built the same way with added 7 auralex kits insulating the inside> It is used for voice over and rap overs for our mixes.

Cheer music has became extremely demanding over the last couple years and the expectations of the mixes are extremely high.

I have been mastering with Ozone for a couple years and have had good results. I feel like i am a bit hung up on trying to achieve best balance between maximum loudness and still retaining dynamics.

I have event tr8 studio monitors and what i believe to be a great space to listen in. There are probably 3 to 4 other guys in my industry that i consider mixing at a higher level that me. My goal here is to get over the edge by delivering and evn more polished final mix.

When studying wav files of my competitors i find it common to sit around -7.0 RMS which seems like really loud. Yet the mixes do sound high quality and side by side sound more impressive that the lesser compressed mix. Is there some magic frequency that i can cut out to achieve an apparent louder yet still clear mix<

eq wize I usually cut out at 20 htz, 200 htz, and 18 k.

any help would be appreciated
Old 20th December 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Tubefreak's Avatar
 

Based on the above, it's next to impossible to give really good tips. Who knows, the problem might be in the mixing, not the mastering. Maybe you can upload an unmastered track and your own mastered version of it. This makes it easier to give advice.

Kind regards,
Maarten
Old 20th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Virtalahde's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I had no idea there was separate music for cheerleading, but on the other hand I didn't know there was music for baby swimming until I was working on it.
Old 20th December 2010
  #4
jdg
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jdg's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtalahde View Post
music for baby swimming
Old 20th December 2010
  #5
Gear Head
 

Sample upload

Ok here your go I am uploading mp3 versions . I hope its ok ? This is for younger team so be kind as it may a bit corny for some tastes
Old 20th December 2010
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Considering it's meant to be played on a boombox it ain't all that bad. One thing i would do though is set the brickwall limiter ceiling to -0.5dB to make room for MP3 encoder overshoots. I'm clearly hearing distortion on the loud version, but it might well be the MP3.
Old 20th December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

thanks

thanks for tip!!! Really appreciate will try it now>

I typically email my clients the mp3 version and then they either use ipod or burn audio cd for play back at their competitions.

The venues are kinda big with at least 5000 attending usually in milk hous at Disney or World Center in Atlanta. The system are somewhat substantial as it is filmed by ESPN.
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Tubefreak's Avatar
 

First of all, clearly you've done a lot of work and it shows. It sounds very explosive.

A few things stand out in your mix, just by listening to it on earbuds. The FX and the male MC are very wide and loud, it over powers the beat and female vocal sample.

I guess this type of music has to be spectacular, but you might want to work on the main material first. Get the music to a higher level, especially work on the drums. They sound a bit basic/flat/taken from a sample CD and that's it.

There is so much going on, it's hard to tell what really is the music. It's hard to find out what elements are the basis of the song. Of course the music has to support the dancing, but there is so much secondary information that it doesn't grab me or makes me want to move to the music.

For sonics you might wanna check some European electronic music, especially in the euro-dance and euro-house scene, like Basshunter's Saterday. There are loads of artist that are very capable of making busy, pumping music with lots of vocal samples. Hell, you might as well check Prodigy ('firestarter')/Basement Jaxx ('where's your head at')/Chemical Brothers/Bomfunk MC's ('freestyler')/Aphex Twin ('Window Licker')/Luke Slater ('All Exhale', buy the whole Wireless album!) might even be a good education material. The sound will most likely be too European for cheerleader music, but learning from their sonic knowledge might bring you to a higher level.

Good luck
Maarten
Old 21st December 2010
  #9
Gear Head
 

Thanks

I really appreciate the suggestions. I live in Miami and for the most part i mix the songs the clients ask for and try to use my own swagger to make it as electro as possible. I am familar with allot of the artist you mentioned and try to sample as much electro /house as my clients will allow. Any suggestion for finding better back beats is greatly appreciated and i will research the artist you mentioned. The vocals are myself and a female voice talent that i use. My profit margins revolve around avoiding outsourcing as much as possible. Again thanks!!!!!! I am now trying t-racks out and it seams to introduce less distortion Will post something new soon
Old 21st December 2010
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubefreak View Post
Get the music to a higher level, especially work on the drums. They sound a bit basic/flat/taken from a sample CD and that's it.
That's coz they are limited to hell. To the OP: If you absolutely must make it that loud, you should back down the bass a little. Cut some 3dB at 50Hz and see the difference it makes.

The limiter i use in most of my stuff is a VST called Event Horizon+, it has a very special sound (especially in "clip" mode), however it distorts badly if driven too hard. It probably doesn't suit your needs now but i'd grab it anyhow (especially since you get a free and not time limited evaluation version), you may need it sometime. I'd try heavier compression, like 2.5 or 3:1, with longer attack time, and then using the limiter/maximizer just to remove the peaks. Bounce the file to wav after compression and open it in a wave editor to see exactly what the limiter will work on, then limit it, bounce again and compare the two.

I have T-Racks too, but don't use it often so i can't comment on that.
Old 21st December 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Tubefreak's Avatar
 

Using T-Racks or other software for mastering can only slightly improve the result. Imo the problem is in the mix and should really be solved there. There are some great forums here on GS that can help with that. Also reading the 'Sound On Sound' mix rescue articles can be very helpful.

Good luck,
Maarten
Old 21st December 2010
  #12
Gear Head
 

thanks guys for tips

just went through the mix and track by track looked at frequencies.

It appears that i have too much build up of frequencies below 35 to 50 htz

I clean up all the back beats and tried cut as much mud out as i could see and hear in eq for each drum tack. Almost immediately felt more clarity when i cut the freqs around 50 htz 3 db worth< Thanks for that tip big time!!!! I also notched out a small bit at 200 htz

Also i had been using a limiter on the master volume plug in chain. It appears that was causing a redundancy of sorts since as i end up limiting again in O Zone or t-racks in the Final master. Am i correct in this thinking ?

Posting new version to get feed back. I am not doing mix completely over but will definitely step my drum game up in my next project as you guys suggested!!!

I genuinely appreciate the feed back especially appreciate the respect you guys have given me since i am sure cheer leading music is a bit odd for your typical discussion.
Old 21st December 2010
  #13
Gear Head
 

two new versions

I cant really make mind up between the two yet. One feels warmer and other feels more clear and fuller stereo field (but also really loud).

The point of my dilemma is to achieve maximum loudness and intelligibility on a PA style system with 5000-10,000 people attending in 70,000 sq ft arena. It is suppoosed to be cocky and contain amounts of trash talk with older teams.

Nevertheless i do feel that the suggestions you guys gave helped and if not even mildly i hope you can tell some improvement form my modifications

Let me know
Attached Files

T-RACK VERSION.mp3 (4.65 MB, 140 views)

OZONE 4 VERSION.mp3 (4.65 MB, 159 views)

Old 21st December 2010
  #14
Gear Addict
 

The ozone version is more "in your face" but it also has some sort of "mush" which affects inteligibility quite badly. The T-Racks version is decent. Still too gritty for my taste, but whatever. The bass cut did good, who said making ringtones won't teach you anything? Haha.

And yes you won't need a limiter on the master channel in your situation.

But as far as the PA thing goes... if it isn't loud and clear it's the sound guy's fault. And he'll get blamed for it anyway even if it's not, so i wouldn't really worry about it. heh
Old 21st December 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Lute's Avatar
 

You need to clean this up a bit still (both versions). The vocal should sit on top and be clear. The whizz-bang FX are drowning them out unfortunately.
Old 21st December 2010
  #16
Gear Head
 

thanks Again

As far as making vox more center and on top should i do this with eq or stereo shaping plug in or both? Any suggestion helpful ?

again appreciate feed back

PS What tends to happen is they set the music station over to side and set gain based on a particular db meeter not sure what that level is though.

So if a team goes after a team that had a louder mix (perceived) it sometimes feels like the next teams mix is not as good to the general person. It seems that most of my competitors hover around -7 rms with their mixes so makes me feel like i need to be there too>
Old 21st December 2010
  #17
Gear Addict
 

I'd keep the vocals dead center and apply a stereo effect to the whizzing sound. Last thing you want is phase issues causing your vocals to disappear.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Tubefreak's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
I'd keep the vocals dead center and apply a stereo effect to the whizzing sound. Last thing you want is phase issues causing your vocals to disappear.
Exactly. Don't forget that the stereo spread in a large hall is totally different from your studio. Concentrate on very, very good mono/center inteligibility and drop the fx a lot of dBs.

I would work on a ‘music only’ version first and get it kick-ass good. Then add the vocal/mc parts and get the overall balance right. Currently it sounds like a lot of MC and FXs, but I struggle to find the music which should be the driving force. Bracketing is a method worth looking up. Give each element a defined space (EQ wise, front-to-back wise and stereo/mono/left/right wise) in the mix and it should work out great!

Maarten
Old 22nd December 2010
  #19
Gear Addict
 

^^ What he said.

Also the best way of thickening the vox in this situation would be a mono reverb IMO. Just remember to highpass it at 400Hz or so to prevent muddiness.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #20
Gear Head
 

Ok

Ok couple considerations I want to mention

Our genre if you can call it that is very similar to a mix between a movie trailer and pop radio mashup for radio imaging. The vox we shoot for should feel very ominous and in your face. Sound effects are a huge part of routine cause they highlight big moments. It's like we're soundtracking. The routine of the whole mix less than 6 8 counts are actual dance
Old 23rd December 2010
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

multi-band compression would help you tremendously
Old 23rd December 2010
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionaudio View Post
multi-band compression would help you tremendously
Yes but it would also give him the opportunity to screw it up completely.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #23
Gear Head
 

Explain

Multi band compression ?
Years ago I got on this kick where was side chaining but got too CPU heavy . Normal to have over 200 tracks in one mix! Although I wonder if sidechain compression in regards to the builds and swells could create a better drum presence? Thanks again you guys are helping a bunch
Old 24th December 2010
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

multi-band compression is a wonderful thing when used properly. It is a big part of the reason why modern mixes are so punchy. It is also how you can acheive a mix that SEEMS louder than it actually is. If you have never used it, try it out.. Even the pre sets can sometimes give you better results. It takes some practice, but multi-band on the mix bus can take your mix to an entirely different level
Old 24th December 2010
  #25
Gear Head
 

ok messing with it a bit

i have the following vst to work with which do you suggest

OZONE 4
Alloy
T-racks S3 Suite

Also do you put vst in master bus or in the track chain?

PUNCHY/CHESTY is definitely what i want !!! so i am all ears on this
Old 26th December 2010
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Sidechaining is useful, if you actually have something to sidechain. I always sidechain thick leads to the kick (i'm doing mostly hip-hop), because i like the kick to be the driving element. I also have an aversion against loud snares, so again, it's always the kick punching thru my stuff.

In your type of music there's nothing to sidechain really. Multiband would help but only if you take the time to understand it. I didn't take that time - so i rather avoid it rather than using it without knowing exactly what it does. As for the plugins - no experience with Alloy, but i'd take T-Racks against Ozone anytime.
Old 26th December 2010
  #27
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I'd be looking at how clean the signal is in the mix prior to the final limiting. All compression and limiting contributes additional distortion and at some point the signal simply becomes too distorted. A cleaner signal can usually be made louder without too much distortion.

The other thing to look at is that low frequency information robs power so getting the balance right in the low-end is crucial to achieving a loud clean mix. Headphones can help you get the low-end right although they can screw up other things in the mix.
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