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Dynamic range for individual instruments(compress for sound character vs for control)
Old 3 days ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Dynamic range for individual instruments(compress for sound character vs for control)

When you guys begin a mix do you have a general rule-of-thumb target dynamic range for individual instruments? Assuming just for a single genre, like rock, do you have your own guidelines that you've found to work as a starting point?

For example,
Kick drum after compression/limiting would have around XdB of dynamic range.
Bass guitar after compression/limiting would have around XdB of dynamic range.

Do you use any tools other than your ears to measure this (meters, plugins)?

I know compression is often used for sound character and texture but I'm that's not really what I'm concerned with here. For instance, a clean bass DI w/ a 15dB swing in signal might sound great on monitors in the studio or whatever but on a typical playback system, like a car stereo, the bass would probably sound inconsistent (too loud and/or not loud enough). Anybody know of any good analytical guidelines for this sort of thing?

I see that Nugen makes a plugin called VisLM that looks like it could be useful for this sort of thing but it seems absurdly expensive to me for what it is.
Old 3 days ago
  #2
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
No.
Old 3 days ago
  #3
Worth mentioning that it makes little sense to look at the dynamic range of signals. Storage, capture, playback and transfer systems have a certain dynamic range, which, in case of a modern digital environment, equals the noise floor.

A signal's dynamic range would it its max peak level, as all AC signals touch "zero" anyway. Worthless.

What you mean is likely the so called crest-factor (peak to average ratio), it has nothing to do with dynamic range.

Last edited by FabienTDR; 3 days ago at 03:13 AM..
Old 2 days ago
  #4
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Pollo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Worth mentioning that it makes little sense to look at the dynamic range of signals. Storage, capture, playback and transfer systems have a certain dynamic range, which, in case of a modern digital environment, equals the noise floor.

A signal's dynamic range would it its max peak level, as all AC signals touch "zero" anyway. Worthless.

What you mean is likely the so called crest-factor (peak to average ratio), it has nothing to do with dynamic range.
I think you're both using the term in different contexts. Within a technical, engineering context you are absolutely right. But the OP was using the term dynamic range in a music theoretical sense. And then he confused the two meanings.
Both contexts are valid as long as you keep them apart.
Old 2 days ago
  #5
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zvukofor's Avatar
Using ears only, blinking lights can fool us easily. Especially GR meters.

Sometimes i look at the channel meter, when i feel maybe it is too much compression - and if PPM is not moving as i hear, i can bring the thresholds higher. Or not. )
Old 2 days ago
  #6
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I would like to think the presumed large number of "professional music mixers" that participate in this forum could provide the OP, din, better pragmatical advice than has been advanced thus far. Too this end, unfortunately, I am not in a position to offer advice pursuant to a best practice protocol for rock & roll since I work exclusively in the acoustic Americana genre. However there are a few well known factors that are universal to musical performance;
1. Performers within a competent rhythm section will present a uniform db level and mixers generally will assign pan envelops that will create the separation we always look for. In the event less than session ready pickers are in play compression and brick wall limiting will become necessary however these activities can not approach the sonic quality of a great original performance.
2. Lead vocals and instrumental breaks need elevated db levels and again too this end session ready pickers never play over the top of leads of any sort.

Unfortunately the vast majority of today's young musicians do not manifest the professional qualities I have described. They could learn a lot from the old jazz masters that were so prevalent back in the last century: but alas the more me generation of musicians only have ears for their own axe. Given this perspective din perhaps you had better be ready to twist a lot of knobs!
Hugh
Old 2 days ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollo View Post
I think you're both using the term in different contexts. Within a technical, engineering context you are absolutely right. But the OP was using the term dynamic range in a music theoretical sense. And then he confused the two meanings.
Both contexts are valid as long as you keep them apart.
Technical terms are precise for a reason! Music theory is also a technical field.

Dynamic range - Wikipedia

Or do you enjoy world where yes means, no, and no means yes, or sometimes no.

Quote:
Audio engineers use dynamic range to describe the ratio of the amplitude of the loudest possible undistorted signal to the noise floor, say of a microphone or loudspeaker.[18] Dynamic range is therefore the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for the case where the signal is the loudest possible for the system.
There is no second meaning of dynamic range. What you have is some ppl in the music scene that naively assumed the wrong meaning, out of ignorance (you see similar idiocies with M/S, headroom, filters, src, dither and other largely misunderstood concepts, all technically surprisingly wrong).

Signals have no dynamic range! Only systems have. Allow me to be clear: Giving signals a dynamic range is literally naive and ill informed. A bit like confusing the tank size of a car with its maximum speed. It's funny at best!

For signals, you have this: Crest factor - Wikipedia

Also very well defined btw.
Old 2 days ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Worth mentioning that it makes little sense to look at the dynamic range of signals. Storage, capture, playback and transfer systems have a certain dynamic range, which, in case of a modern digital environment, equals the noise floor.

A signal's dynamic range would it its max peak level, as all AC signals touch "zero" anyway. Worthless.

What you mean is likely the so called crest-factor (peak to average ratio), it has nothing to do with dynamic range.
Woops. Yea, that's exactly what I meant. didn't know the term for it.
Old 2 days ago
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
I would like to think the presumed large number of "professional music mixers" that participate in this forum could provide the OP, din, better pragmatical advice than has been advanced thus far.
I'm not sure what I'd call myself, but a "uniform dB level" provided by compression doesn't necessarily translate into what I want to hear.

Bass (guitar) in particular -- sometimes I have to ride it like a maniac to get it to sound even.

And with lead vocals, those are often comped from a bunch of tracks, maybe done in bits and pieces on different days, and you're never going hear a producer (or yourself) say, "the emotion and pitch of that punch-in were perfect, but you were an inch too close." You don't iron that out with a compressor. Or at least I don't.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
What you mean is likely the so called crest-factor (peak to average ratio), it has nothing to do with dynamic range.
I'll just throw this out there:

There's also the issue of the duration of which we measure the signal. It's possible that some people when talking about music aren't actually referring to a crest factor as much as they are what the difference is for average values between sections. So for example the verse may average out one way and the chorus another. Or perhaps the duration is shorter; a four-bar musical phrase has a bass line falling off somewhat towards the end and being noticeably louder in the first bar. In those cases I think "peak" isn't necessarily the issue, but the "short to medium term average", if you know what I mean.

Curious if there's a term for that.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
Good question. Not aware of any term for it.

Fast average to slow average ratio. Doesn't sound sexy Or maybe an EBU r128 inspired Momentary to Integrated loudness ratio. But it's always some sort of "crest" (also visually).
Old 2 days ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Good question. Not aware of any term for it.

Fast average to slow average ratio. Doesn't sound sexy Or maybe an EBU r128 inspired Momentary to Integrated loudness ratio. But it's always some sort of "crest" (also visually).
Sure, I agree there's a "crest".

For R128 or BS.1770 there is however "short term" that sits between "momentary" and "integrated", so I'm guessing as far as looking at meters go that's the closest we might get.

Either way "ears" win.
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