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why are my RMS levels still so low? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 10th June 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 

why are my RMS levels still so low?

Hi guys, very happy to find this forum. I'm an independent DJ/Producer. I usually make custom mixes everytime I play out so it doesn't make sense to send every mix to be mastered. I tend to use har-bal + waves & izotope plugs to make my "pseudo-masters". I'm not trying to compete in the loudness war, just want to match levels to records i play so mine mix well and compete at the same level. But no matter what combination of plugs I use, the final render is still -4db to -6db short in "loudness". That's with the limiting threshold under -3db. To get my mixes to the level I want I have to smash the crap out them in L2 or izotopes limiter. Below are two links to some chains I've been using. The waves one in particular has a "dance music" chain (first one in the pdf) that sounded great but still short in loudness at the end. Am I missing something? I know my mixes aren't the greatest yet but they still sound pretty good. I render @ 24bit/44.1 ususally around -6 to -3dbfs.

http://www.waves.com/objects/pdf/gen...Errata-web.pdf

http://har-bal.com/mastering_process.php
Old 11th June 2006
  #2
Mastering
 

When you're saying "short in loudness" you mean on an A/B comparison with some other stuff. Well, it's a two-fold answer:

1) Some of the guys doing mastering have had to develop some pretty special "tricks" to increase the absolute loudness at the end of this loudness war, where the last salvo is a nuclear bomb. So it's real hard to "compete" using an all-plugin-chain. You may have to use some analog outboard and clip an A/D (arrrrgggggggggghhhh!!!!!)

2) But so f-ing what! At the levels you appear to be "competing" with, it's going to suck. Current levels are, in general, 3 to 4 or more dB hotter than is necessary not to compromise the sound. Get the DJs to turn their own volume controls up. It's real hard, but it is the answer, the one true and only answer.

BK
Old 11th June 2006
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz
When you're saying "short in loudness" you mean on an A/B comparison with some other stuff. Well, it's a two-fold answer:

1) Some of the guys doing mastering have had to develop some pretty special "tricks" to increase the absolute loudness at the end of this loudness war, where the last salvo is a nuclear bomb. So it's real hard to "compete" using an all-plugin-chain. You may have to use some analog outboard and clip an A/D (arrrrgggggggggghhhh!!!!!)

2) But so f-ing what! At the levels you appear to be "competing" with, it's going to suck. Current levels are, in general, 3 to 4 or more dB hotter than is necessary not to compromise the sound. Get the DJs to turn their own volume controls up. It's real hard, but it is the answer, the one true and only answer.

BK
Talking to the DJ's is about as practical as asking A&R's not to request loud records cause records that aren't loud sound better.

Not gonna happen in real life.

Unfortunately, the first thing most DJ's do when they start their set is to turn ALL of the gain stages up to maximum level. This ensures that there's gonna be an "energy" drop equal to how much lower your track is compared to the other tracks. With everything running wide open there will be no way to compensate for the lower level. It's a real dance floor killer and if your track kills the dance floor that DJ will never play it track again no matter how good it sounds.
You'll have to choose between your record sounding good at a reasonable level and your record sounding as loud as most other stuff and maybe not so good.
From a practical standpoint there are several very easy ways to make your record louder. After a certain point non of them will sound very good. You really don't need to do any analog converter clipping as it will be of little benefit in terms of raw level. Just start by turning it up in whatever DAW you are using and add as much limiting as you feel necessary. This won't make your record sound better of course but it WILL make it louder.

Or you could forget all of this and just worry about making it sound really good.

No easy answers I'm afraid.
Old 11th June 2006
  #4
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer
Talking to the DJ's is about as practical as asking A&R's not to request loud records cause records that aren't loud sound better.

Not gonna happen in real life.
You're right, no easy answers. I know it's tough. I know it. And digital audio painted us into this formidable corner. But the only solution is trying, and education, education, education. Or give up audio and start growing asparagus for a living.

I master dance and other style records for Six Degrees Records, a progressive Indie located in San Francisco. Not once have they asked me to raise the level! And when I received a terribly smashed, distorted mix from a well-known UK re-mixer, I said I could do nothing very well with it; I told the A&R guy, and also the artist. They both were dismayed and respected my observation. Through talking with the re-mixer, and applying respect and gentle persuasion, I was able to get a nicer (quieter) mix that I was able to turn into a very impacting master that's about a K-12 to a K-10 and sounds quite impressive for such a hot level. Yet still, a K-12 to a K10 is 2-4 dB lower in RMS than a lot of sh*t that's out there! But the way I make them, they are so impacting and danceable they sound pretty loud anyway, and to get the rest of the way, most of the DJs get the idea right away. At least in San Francisco, or wherever Six Degrees records are played.

Maybe the DJs that play these Six Degrees Records are a step above, because I've never heard a complaint! The head of the record company is dancing around the office when he gets my masters! I'm not saying this to be egotistical, I'm saying it to find a ray of light in all the gloom and doom around here.

Here is a point, to be a devil's advocate:
What do the DJs do to play older records? No one just play new ones, do they? They know for a fact they have to turn up the classics...

All that said, I can recognize the doom and gloom attitude you mentioned. I did lose a job to a DJ in Spain who said I had to turn up 6 dB to match his fave, "Let's Get It Started" by the Black Eyed Peas, which he said didn't sound too "smashed". Yet this is my all-time example of the loudest and worst-smashed, fatiguing record of all time. Put B.E.P. in your CD changer after nearly any other record and prepare to blow out your tweeters. But the Spanish DJ had the incredible chutzpah to say that the Black Eyed Peas is "not too "smashed". I'm glad I lost his gig; there are some gigs you should turn away.

So, obviously, the Spanish DJs are not too enlightened and do represent examples of the "volume controls locked all the way up" school. There is a long road to go, but honestly, where else can we turn but to "education, education, education," which includes teaching DJs how to use their volume controls.

It wouldn't be like this if we were still on Vinyl! The loudness difference between the lowest and highest pop CDs between 1980 and 2006 is about 15 dB. The difference of the average loudness between the lowest and highest pop LPs between about 1965 and 2006 is no more than, I'd say, 5 dB!

Point noted? :-)
Old 11th June 2006
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz
It wouldn't be like this if we were still on Vinyl! The loudness difference between the lowest and highest pop CDs between 1980 and 2006 is about 15 dB. The difference of the average loudness between the lowest and highest pop LPs between about 1965 and 2006 is no more than, I'd say, 5 dB!

Point noted? :-)

Now that's a fact!


I'm not completely doom and gloom. I'm just answering the guys question in the most practical way. It was after all about making his record louder. He may not have the same good fortune you're having with that particular Label in San Fran. There are plenty of gray areas. As the artist he can make multiple masters for instance [say one for a release format, one for the clubs etc]. Of course nothing is stopping him from attempting to convince DJ's to play a softer record. It's a long row to hoe though.

Not to argue your point about the old records Bob but keep in mind that the vast majority of older tracks played during sets are very well established hits that rarely clear the dance floor. Artists trying to establish themselves have to deal with a lot of hurdles that the established tracks have already cleared.

Maybe I am all gloom and doom.




P.S. Yesterday I had to send a track back to a client because the mixes were "not suitable" for mastering [this time it was a drag cause I really like the client]. This is happening all the time now. It's such a waste of time and energy.
And for the record you couldn't pay me to listen to that Black Eyed Peas record [uness you paid me to master it - then maybe I would].
Old 11th June 2006
  #6
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Hello Bob,

What about a production like "Redemption Day" from Sheryl Crow?

I don´t know where current releases are in levels now, maybe even louder ( though I can´t imagine ), but the Crow CD is loud as hell yet great sounding.

Not all that is loud sounds bad, sometimes people seem to achieve loudness and great sonics in the same time. I´d love to know how for certain.

Ruphus
Old 11th June 2006
  #7
Here for the gear
 

well i just wrote a long ass reply hit preview and the session timed out.





bob let me ask you, in reference to the waves pdf i posted...do you think it's possible to get the level you are getting for Six Degrees with this chain only?

“One and Only”
Dance Music Production
As we discussed in chapter 1, “One and Only” is a dance track that needs to come through powerfully with punch in clubs. We want to further enhance the power and punch in this recording. In mastering, we want to create more depth and body than is already present in the final mix.
Plug-ins used in chain (in order):
• Waves Linear Equalizer Broadband
• Waves C1 Compressor Sidechain
• Waves Linear Multiband 5 band Compressor
• Waves L2
Old 11th June 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruphus
Hello Bob,

What about a production like "Redemption Day" from Sheryl Crow?

I don´t know where current releases are in levels now, maybe even louder ( though I can´t imagine ), but the Crow CD is loud as hell yet great sounding.

Not all that is loud sounds bad, sometimes people seem to achieve loudness and great sonics in the same time. I´d love to know how for certain.

Ruphus
When you gain it's like putting a magnifying glass on top of the mix. The reason why a CD that is loud can sound good is that what's under the magnifying glass is really clear and detailed and by magnifying it seems better than it is. This comes from a great signal in the first place (in the context) and a very efficiently processed signal later. (the need is basically due to the limitations in the digitalization process and the playback medium with its limitations) What a lot of engineers really try to do by setting the loudness high is telling: "Look, this is how efficiently we can handle the signal". However, the reality is that a lot of mixes are telling the following: "Look, this is how inefficiently we can handle the signal". At some point though, the loudness changes the shape of the original sound. When the magnifying glass magnifies the sound to such an extent that the proportions of the original image changes, it no longer musically sounds and feels the same because it becomes unnatural. We can hear this thing happening already in popular music for instance in the form of singers screaming instead of singing or the music becomes aggressive in a non-aggressive context. This can be heard for instance on Carrie Underwood's latest album. For this reason this whole loudness war will reach a point when engineers start backing off again. Magnifying the signal should be used in a CD context. It's like magic, it's a great way of creating the illusion of a good signal. But know what to magnify, what magnifying glass to use and by how much to magnify.
Old 11th June 2006
  #9
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There are a variety of DJ's.

Some do not know better than to crank all faders all the way up on their pity mixers. If the amplification stage behind the mixer has got no boost possibilities then they are screwed from the very first second of the operation. Those people are not very much DJ's in my opinion. More likely are they hyped individuals who have gained too much respect for doing nothing.

If hyperlevels are defended with that some DJ's are lacking professionalism...well, how on earth will they ever figure out how to operate a simple DJ mixer?

But, then there are DJ's who know better. They leave faders in positions allowing them to keep the loudness on the floor steady. They create a room for manouvering. It makes it possible to play the latest smashed piece of junk AND some old electro from 1988 without making anyone leave the floor.

They know that the punch and the swing makes people go much wilder than making everything so loud that a Boeing 747 on full throttle would be inaudible in the same hangar. And if there is a demand for LOUD (can very well be an issue when the floor gets more and more crowded and more and more bodies begin to absorb the sound), well then hopefully there is some kind of knob on the amplification stage that can increase things, gently. Not the MEDIA ITSELF!

Some are even so smart that they use the eq to fiddle with the apparent loudness from one trck to another, and those DJ's are not only playing records. They are doing a live performance. Putting a lot of energy into keeping the beat going, mixing stuff together so two songs are kissing each other for MINUTES. Not just crossfading stuff for three seconds worth of time. Some are even operating three spinning turntables at once and manage to keep the beat pulsating. Yikes! Respect for godssake! The media turns into instruments!

They are making it to an art, and right there are where the powers of a successful DJ are. The loudness on the media has nothing to do with it as long as the man or woman behind the mixer knows the deal and does not shrink the manouvering space.

There are a lot of CLASSIC dancefloor-hymns from the past which get re-issued at the same levels they were cut at back in those days. Those classics does never die and people go MAD when they are thrown out on the dancefloor. In many cases even WILDER than when the latest piece of smashed, muffled and pity-assed production try to accomplish the same kind of roit.

20-25 years back in time people in NY danced a lot to soulful housemusic in crowded locations. The loudness on the media was never an issue. The art and unsmashed movement on the media, the skills of the DJ and the thump was the thing. It still is.

I think it is extremely naive to defend a smashed media (CD, vinyl, whatever) just because that would be the only thing that saves DJ's who haven't got a f-cking clue about what they are actually supposed to do behind their mixers. They should sweat it!

A good DJ should end up with at least one (torn-from-the-mixer) eq-knob and fader in each hand when the night is over. The media is not supposed to mix itself and the level on the media has no connection to how many smiling faces that are crowding a dancefloor. That is a big, big hoax in the context of audio reproduction systems that are built around massive amplification stages and massive loudspeaker systems.
Old 11th June 2006
  #10
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruphus
Hello Bob,

What about a production like "Redemption Day" from Sheryl Crow?

I don´t know where current releases are in levels now, maybe even louder ( though I can´t imagine ), but the Crow CD is loud as hell yet great sounding.

Not all that is loud sounds bad, sometimes people seem to achieve loudness and great sonics in the same time. I´d love to know how for certain.

Ruphus
I'll pick up the Sheryl Crow. Even if it sounds great, it's not going to help the main issue, which is that above a certain level, the depth and space and transients go to pot. Thus, those who push the RMS above that level (and I'll bet the Sheryl Crow falls in that, as do much of what I'm making today for demanding clients) are painting the ones who wish to paint with a better palette into a terrible corner. For when our clients want us to have a "competitive RMS", then often all I end up making for them is a seriously sonically-compromised product.

If you put on some of the fantastic-sounding dynamic discs mentioned on my honor roll at digido.com you'll find their RMS level significantly low. Would Steely Dan have a chance to make it in the current marketplace if they were starting out now?

BK
Old 11th June 2006
  #11
Mastering
 

Thank you, Patrik T! Excellent response.
Old 11th June 2006
  #12
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellcat
well i just wrote a long ass reply hit preview and the session timed out.





bob let me ask you, in reference to the waves pdf i posted...do you think it's possible to get the level you are getting for Six Degrees with this chain only?

Well, first of all, the EASIEST way to get punch is to lower the level. What happens to the bass drum as you raise the RMS level above a certain point? It gets wimpy. The laws of physics will prevail.

As for the Waves Plugs.... while I can talk about the tools till the cows come home, in the end it's not the tools but how you use them and recognize their limitations.

Waves makes some fine plugins.... but the laws of physics will determine that the harder you push ANY compressor, the more transients you will lose, the more "wimpy" the sound will get. I'm totally familiar with and often use the Waves plugsin that you describe below, but the laws of physics are against you if you want to go above about a K-10, for much of the dance material.

I'm sorry to tell you that my personal experience has shown me that in the dance world, RMS levels above about a K-10 will probably require some analog gear to achieve a punchy sound in addition to or replacing ANY brand of plugins or ANY external compressor. That's not to say that even with the analog gear a lower RMS level will not help. Of course it will. But in general I've found EVERY digital compressor, no matter what brand or type, will begin to "choke" before their analog counterparts at a given RMS level. Plus, and this is also sad to say, the analog gear add a certain kind of distortion that tends to increase the apparent loudness without forcing heavy gain-reduction action. And finally, and this is not an endorsement, it's a left-handed compliment----if you clip the A/D you can get another dB or two of level (depending on the A/D model) without as many artifacts as if you stay in the digital domain alone. God, I hate to have to say that. Because it simply puts another salvo in the loudness war.

Because when everyone is clipping, there are no more salvos left. Can you hear the sound of square waves? Arrrrggggggggg....

I could be wrong, and I really feel very comfortable with my digital gear. I use my Weiss compressors and TC Electronic compressors all the time and am very familiar with the Waves Plugs and the L2 and the rest and I highly recommend them. But when I need punch and "slam" and at the same time A VERY HIGH RMS level, I am forced to turn to my analog chain, not out of choice, but out of necessity. One of the best tools for this I find is the Cranesong Trakker. One of the most versatile analog compressors ever made. I've only seen one or two other mastering engineers embrace this product, but I'm sold on it.

Oh I'm sorry, I forgot to answer your question. The answer is a qualified "yes." As long as you went for about a K-12 to a maximum K-10, you PROBABLY can get the Six Degrees "level" that made my clients happy with those plugins and the L2 or possibly the L3. I cannot guarantee that you will get the same quality of sound as I or someone else manipulating these. For that you need a lot of experience and excellent monitoring. Monitoring that tells you when to PULL BACK as much as when to PUSH. For I've seen many an inexperienced mix (or mastering) engineer get all hung up on pushing all those plugins and ending up with mush and thinking he's got it going, but NOT!


BK
Old 11th June 2006
  #13
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Thank you Bob, thank you Rainbow.

What Rainbow said seems pretty clear. It needs a certain quality of the material for to allow such levels and still sound good.

I suppose there have been great rooms, great gear and before all very knowledged recording engineers involved to enable that kind of sound-to-level ratio.

I´m very curious to hear what someone like you, Bob, with a higly educated hearing and very special playback system will be finding when auditioning that album.

For me as humbly educated, with maybe a sense for musicality and an above average household listening equipment the quality on that album seems to met all my needs. It sounds so good to me that I wouldn´t expect sense in lowering the levels for a still higher degree of sonics.

There is no brittleness, no mush, no impression of bordering on limits, and it doesn´t sound as restless and flattened as my stuff would if I tried to come only close in overall volume.

I suppose aside of all the other criteria of gear and technique, that I have to figure out yet about the right individual measure of compression before hitting tape ( HD ). Not too much nor too little.

In the past I used to compress only in potsprocessing and that just wouldn´t do it.

Another point that I´m wondering about since a while now:

Could it be that stellar sounding productions are being related to some hefty investment into AC quality supply in the studios?

Ruphus
Old 11th June 2006
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellcat
I tend to use har-bal + waves & izotope plugs to make my "pseudo-masters". I'm not trying to compete in the loudness war, just want to match levels to records i play so mine mix well and compete at the same level. But no matter what combination of plugs I use, the final render is still -4db to -6db short in "loudness".
It's a strange phenomenon of these forums. People tend to want to talk about whatever they want to talk about rather than answering a simple question. "I'm not trying to compete in the loudness war, just want to match levels to records i play so mine mix well and compete at the same level." It's a simple honest question about how to better use the gear he has to make his record louder. He didn't ask "what wrong with DJ's today?" or "why do loud records sound bad?" or "what expensive gear would you recommend?". Telling him that he might want to clip his converters is not bad advice considering the question, but that is a last resort, last db type of technique and apparently he's not looking to crush this thing. Not to mention nobody bothered to ask if he has converters "worth" clipping.

There are plenty of threads on "loudness wars" and maybe we should start a new one on "how to be a DJ and not suck". In the meantime, grandstanding, as amusing as it is, doesn't seem very helpful to me. I don't know, maybe Hellcat likes it in which case carry on!
Old 11th June 2006
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrikT
Yes, one more thing: ...

Yeah, I loughed my butt off back in the days when this "DJ" thingy started out. Suddenly the guys who were putting venyls on the table were supposed to be "artists" temselves.

I mean there are people with taste and others without, and there are peeps who know how to arrange a good playing order of songs and other who don´t, that´s right.

But if you want to consider yourself on the creative side go and try making music yourself and let the music of the people play the way it was intented to. Noone really needs any pseudo musicians messing around with other people´s music.

Not to speak of touching venyls with fingers and pushing them against the needle and all that self-defeating nonesense.

When the sun of creativity stands low midgets make long shadows.

Give us back dedicated diskjockeys with sense for the art who can rock the places!

Ruphus
Old 11th June 2006
  #16
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer
It's a strange phenomenon of these forums. People tend to want to talk about whatever they want to talk about rather than answering a simple question. "I'm not trying to compete in the loudness war, just want to match levels to records i play so mine mix well and compete at the same level."

The fact is that I DID address the question and then moved on from it. The answers were contained in my first few sentences! I usually try to stay on topic and answer questions as directly as possible.

And my answers were, at the top, essentially:

1) the hotter the level you want to match, the harder it is going to be for you to do it. And with today's levels you're going to have a VERY HARD TIME doing it with just plugins.

Without writing a total essay on attack and release times and the aliasing artifacts of typical low-resolution plugins, that was a good summary.

and

2) I wrote: Why bother? When the discs you are trying to match sound so bad anyway and you can do better and cleaner at a lower level?

I see nothing wrong nor diverting from the topic with those essential responses and hopefully all the other additions and support that I added.

If someone wants to know better how to use the gear, you have to GET SPECIFIC with a specific source, use it as an example, and then master from it. Each piece of music, each recording is unique, and to say that a Waves C1 with a C4 and a blah blah will work for him "in general" is a specious argument, so I didn't talk gear or settings.

I also tried my best trying in this thread (or in another on this forum, closely related) to discuss a little bit about attack, release times and bands of importance. After that, the best we can do on gearslutz is speculate, OR, do an example mastering of a source and describe what we did and how we did it.

If I have the time, I'd participate in that. Brad Blackwood did something of the sort on PSW and we all learned something!

BK
Old 11th June 2006
  #17
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O.K. Cool. NOW can we get back to discussing magnifying glasses, ****ty DJ's, and clipping the converters please??
Old 11th June 2006
  #18
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Since this is mix'n'master in one swoop, I'd look into smashing individual tracks or subgroups of the mix if there is a level problem on some of the sounds. If the results turns sour in the final two track squishing, you might be better off doing some off it to the individual tracks.

Also, look into paralell compression. Try paralell anything - from distortion FX to limiting, mixing the results with the source gives a different result that may make it easier to get level.



Hej Patrik! Loads of good thoughts there, heartily agree with most it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrikT
Can that be done with three hyperlevelled records when the faders on the mixer are at full gain? No, no and no. Hell no! With the faders lowered? NOOO! You will have no beat, no movement and nothing that pushes the crowd into extatic moods. You're lost, screwed, gone.
....
You need headroom and movement ON the media in order to create excitement, or else you're down with those 3 second long crossfades because two smashed songs can not create ANY kind of NEW and INNOVATIVE funk when they are being blended. So, if DJ's scream out for hyperlevelled media carriers, they don't have a clue.
As much as I love these posts on dj'ing, I'll have to respectfully disagree with the above. A good DJ don't need movement in the record. That's what (s)he's there for!

As an extreme example, take the 'tractor' techno sound that became popular in the late nineties. A typical track is a bare five minute loop, no start, no end, no dynamics, no nothing - just banging rythms. Everything is up to the DJ. In the right hands, these tracks can be made to dance and jump around as good as any other tracks with the aid of EQ, level faders and various FX. In the wrong hands, it'll be as stale as the recording itself is.

Most dancefloor tracks is somewhere inbetween a self sufficient track that sounds good on it's own and the DJ-only records that craves for manipulations to be of any use. Good dj's use all the available options and transforms any record into whatever suits the dancefloor at the moment.

Smashed or not doesn't make much of a difference IME. The dynamics change, obviously, but the content of the track is way more important than groove levels or degree of squish. Nothing helps if there is no depth in the composition. Of course, going for sheer level often makes it sound like manure!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruphus
But if you want to consider yourself on the creative side go and try making music yourself and let the music of the people play the way it was intented to. Noone really needs any pseudo musicians messing around with other people´s music.
A lot of dj's make music and vice versa. There's a million records released every year that's intended for dancefloor use through the creative shaping hands of dj's. Patrik gave a nice vivid description of it above!


Andreas
Old 11th June 2006
  #19
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Lupo.

I deleted my post #2 and #3 here because as Masterer implies; the DJ discussion serves no purpose for the original poster (who is a DJ and producer it seems).

So.

Well.

Why bother about that?

Best regards.
Old 11th June 2006
  #20
Jax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz
I also tried my best trying in this thread (or in another on this forum, closely related) to discuss a little bit about attack, release times and bands of importance. After that, the best we can do on gearslutz is speculate, OR, do an example mastering of a source and describe what we did and how we did it.

If I have the time, I'd participate in that. Brad Blackwood did something of the sort on PSW and we all learned something!

BK
Bob, thanks for all the highly useful info you freely share. I have always found it educational and practical.

I am not aware of the threads you mentioned, or where to find them.

Can anyone provide links?

Thanks!
Old 11th June 2006
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax
Bob, thanks for all the highly useful info you freely share. I have always found it educational and practical.

I am not aware of the threads you mentioned, or where to find them.

Can anyone provide links?

Thanks!

Just use the search function and type Bob Katz. You should be able to see all posts.
Old 11th June 2006
  #22
Jax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer
Just use the search function and type Bob Katz. You should be able to see all posts.

I did that already and it didn't narrow it down much...

Old 11th June 2006
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax
I did that already and it didn't narrow it down much...


Hmmm... You might have to troll through the subjects in that case. Bob's been pretty active so chances are he's posted in the threads you're interested in.

Sorry for pointing out the obvious twice now.
Old 12th June 2006
  #24
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To find the limiter test thread on REP, simply do a search of my forum with the words 'limiter test'. There were about five, iirc, so there's tons to read about.
Old 12th June 2006
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer
Talking to the DJ's is about as practical as asking A&R's not to request loud records cause records that aren't loud sound better.

Not gonna happen in real life.

Unfortunately, the first thing most DJ's do when they start their set is to turn ALL of the gain stages up to maximum level.
As a DJ for 15 years I know that you have to adjust the gain for each and every record that you put on. The only way to get maximum level doing it once at the begining would be to start with your loudest record every time. If you didn't you would distort. Most djs I know mix more with the gain than the fader.

Vinyl coming from Europe is usually hotter and cleaner because of the mass production facilities and the mastering know-how. Phase, psychoaccoustics and high frequency/low frequency releationship play the biggest part in how loud a vinyl release is. Even vinyl coming from the same plant and mastering engineer can be worlds appart in actual loudness because of the skill of the recording engineer and the experience of the premastering engineer.

I just had a track mastered here in nyc for both cd and vinyl. The vinyl waveform is much lower in overall volume and all the high frequencies / highest mid frequencies are rolled off towards 20k. This enables the volume to be increased when we cut the plates. Anyway, cd and vinyl are apples and oranges when it comes to mastering. The cd master would never be able to cut loud vinyl with clarity because of how much limiting has already happened on the highs.
Old 12th June 2006
  #26
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Blackwood
To find the limiter test thread on REP, simply do a search of my forum with the words 'limiter test'. There were about five, iirc, so there's tons to read about.
Thanks BB!
Old 12th June 2006
  #27
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
As a DJ for 15 years I know that you have to adjust the gain for each and every record that you put on. The only way to get maximum level doing it once at the begining would be to start with your loudest record every time.
Good to see you hear, danasti!

True, but I assume you have a gain control after the faders and you know your system well enough so it stops being an issue after a while. After a while I assume you know your records so well you can put on any record you know and know how much headroom you have after the mixer to run a show.

Quote:


plates. Anyway, cd and vinyl are apples and oranges when it comes to mastering. The cd master would never be able to cut loud vinyl with clarity because of how much limiting has already happened on the highs.
It doesn't have to be that way. It's only true for the smashed CDs of recent years. But it does show why we're in such a mess that Vinyl beats CD every time! At least vinyl made from the right master and not from an overlimited CD master.

BK
Old 12th June 2006
  #28
Here for the gear
 

this has all been great information, some of it even entertaining.

would it be better if i posted one of my songs (one version mastered and another non mastered), plus a "target" sound source, a la something i'm trying to match?
Old 13th June 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz

I could be wrong, and I really feel very comfortable with my digital gear. I use my Weiss compressors and TC Electronic compressors all the time and am very familiar with the Waves Plugs and the L2 and the rest and I highly recommend them. But when I need punch and "slam" and at the same time A VERY HIGH RMS level, I am forced to turn to my analog chain, not out of choice, but out of necessity. One of the best tools for this I find is the Cranesong Trakker. One of the most versatile analog compressors ever made. I've only seen one or two other mastering engineers embrace this product, but I'm sold on it.

BK
I'm really interested in that Cranesong Trakker! I've been using the L3 for a while, but currently I am trying to use the Waves C1 instead. Basically I feel out of options with my current gear. I pretty much stopped using the L3 after I noticed that I lost some important signal with it, dimension is everything for me. It happens though that I still make attempts to get that L3 work the way I want it to, much also because it has the best dithering algorithm I have available (Type1 Ultra)... Are you familiar with the quality of this dithering algorithm? Are there any better software/hardware alternatives? In order to replace my L3 I would need two Trakkers. I read that Cranesong has a STC-8 stereo compressor also. How does it perform compared to the Trakker? Should I choose two Trakkers or one STC-8?

What kind of converter quality is needed to do analog reroutes like this from the digital signal when you track everything directly to the DAW and want to use the Trakker after the digital mix bus?
Old 13th June 2006
  #30
Here for the gear
 

does the term thread hijacking mean anything to anyone here?
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