The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
The loudness war just dropped a big giant pile into the middle of my life
Old 9th June 2006
  #31
In the old vinyl days we would insist on a test disc before production was approved. Even more so these days when so much more destruction can be done.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 9th June 2006
  #32
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x
HOLY ****ING ****
always happens... you get a mix perfect and they ruin it in mastering.

i stopped listening to masters years ago... too painful.
Old 9th June 2006
  #33
Led
Lives for gear
 
Led's Avatar
Hey, just get in touch with the band, and instruct them in no uncertain terms you don't want your name anywhere on it. Tell em it's been changed so much you feel it's not reprasentative of your mix. It's heartbreaking, but there's not much you can do. Trust me, you're not the first guy to go through this. It's hard to let go I know, I'm worse than anyone, but it's out of your control now, and stressing over things you can't control can be a waste of energy.
My comisserations, now maybe focus more on your next job and learn from this one.
Old 9th June 2006
  #34
Gear Maniac
 
DigitalDrugLord's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x
I just got my copy of a bands finished CD, it is my first full-length that will actually be released that I engineered and produced.
I excitedly tore it from it's plastic wrap and threw it into the CD player. I was curious to see what mastering had done to my mixes as I was not in the loop for the the mastering stage.

HOLY ****ING ****

NO DYNAMIC RANGE AT ALL, DIGITAL DISTORTION EVERYWHERE

average RMS -9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of these mixes had 12db jumps in dynamic range, now a flat line across the board. Gentle ambient passages are as loud as full on rocking.

THE BAND APPROVED THIS?

I just went from proud poppa to "oh my god my name is going to be on this" in 4.2 seconds

I had Jay Kahrs lined out to do the mastering for them and they decided to go with Discmakers

Well you get what you pay for


The first wave you see is from a pseudo mastered version I did before it was sent out. The second is the "mastered" version
You are looking at identical sections of the song!!
Here's some clips
The original one here isn't an actual mix I just pulled it from a file that was just pumped up for a reference, even it is too smashed but JESUS look at this mess!
Dude, can i get your permission to post my mastered version of your great song utilizing our XQR proccess? You can be loud and clear and you want to on a song like this that start mellow then needs to slam hard! I am sure the ME you had lined up would have done a fantastic job, im just sorry that this happend to you. This band will terribly loose due to the poor sound of their CD compaired to major label artist....

This song DO by listening to our version sounds like the great record it was made to be. Let me know if its ok to post or i can send it to you private if you PM me a email address (ill send the uncompressed wav file through yousendit).


Regards

"If im the DigitalDrugLord then B. Katz is the DigitalGodFather!"
Old 9th June 2006
  #35
Lives for gear
 

Just to throw in a different perspective ...

Dynamics is one thing, but to start a song off quietly and then suddenly bring in a sudden 6dB increase is annoying. Also potentially dangerous, because some listeners on headphones etc might crank the volume, thinking it's lower than average (which it is) and then get their ears popped when your mix jumps up 6dB.

I hate distorted, smashed material. But I also hate annoying dynamic shifts.

There is another solution, and I don't hear much spoken about it: it is possible to mix your material so that there is an illusion of wild dynamic extremes, and yet the average and peak levels stay fairly constant. Music like this can survive the extreme crushing of radio station compressors, and still sound dynamic and maintain interest. All without dangers level shifts and constant knob turning, even in a noisy car.

It can also be a huge artistic and commercial success. Take Bohemian Rhapsody as a very good example of what I mean.

I know that the current state of 'mastering engineer' butchery can still ruin a classic track like that even. But I think it's very desirable to mix so that they don't have as much opportunity to butcher it as what you gave them.

Level is all relative - that's what so crazy about the loudness wars. In many ways, highly dynamic material is much more anarchistic. Brickwall loudness is for woosies. And it's self defeating for radio play.

But the human ear is much more sensitive to changes in timbre - it sort of compensates for all levels of loudness, but a change in timbre always grabs you attention. Think about talking to a person as the walk around a room. You don't really notice the dramatic changes in level so much. But if they changed their accent, or started talking through their nose or something, you would instantly pickup on the change in tone.

So if you can make a mix that has the illusion of going from soft to loud, but actually has constant dynamics, your mix will survive smashing (whether radio or mastering or whatever) a lot better.
Old 9th June 2006
  #36
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x

And yes it has been pressed, so the band (who are in love with it for some reason) had to have approved it or they wouldn't have pressed it.

So sorry bro
Sweet Jesus..unF*cking believable that they approved that..
I just can't see any mastering house screwing it up like that.
..aside form the distrortion and 0 dynamics,the stereo image is completely f*cked..
I mean REALLY F*CKED..
what bunch of dumb****s.. ..and a complete waste of your time..
they need to be taken out a summarily shot
Imagine how it's gonna sound when they load it up on Myspace...!!!??
Old 9th June 2006
  #37
Here for the gear
 

LONG time lurker, but this is worthy of my 1st post. The difference here is absolute night and day. The waveforms are one thing, but to actually listen, it is ridiculous. Many years ago the same company did something similar to a project of mine...you live you learn.
Old 9th June 2006
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalDrugLord
Dude, can i get your permission to post my mastered version of your great song utilizing our XQR proccess? You can be loud and clear and you want to on a song like this that start mellow then needs to slam hard! I am sure the ME you had lined up would have done a fantastic job, im just sorry that this happend to you. This band will terribly loose due to the poor sound of their CD compaired to major label artist....

This song DO by listening to our version sounds like the great record it was made to be. Let me know if its ok to post or i can send it to you private if you PM me a email address (ill send the uncompressed wav file through yousendit).


Regards

"If im the DigitalDrugLord then B. Katz is the DigitalGodFather!"
Knock yourself out, you can't possibly hurt anything
Old 9th June 2006
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge
Imagine how it's gonna sound when they load it up on Myspace...!!!??
OH GOD NO!



I am going to call DM tomorrow and see if I can get something done about this
Old 9th June 2006
  #40
Lives for gear
 
john caldwell's Avatar
Do you think it's worth a frank discussion with the band over your disappointment? The mastered result that would please you should please them; this result which horrifies you will imapct them the same way once they recover from the initial high of seeing their names in print on a CD. They'll get other feedback like that which you'll offer, and they might reconsider.

John-
Old 9th June 2006
  #41
Gear Head
 
radiated's Avatar
 

That is seriously digital signal destruction... The original mix was louder that I might prefer anyway, the master was absolutely horrible.
Old 9th June 2006
  #42
Gear Addict
 
rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
No amount of limiting is going to pull that first soft passage up to a brick wall where it rides -.3db of full scale (at least IME, I've mastered plenty of extreme dyamic music and neither an L2 or Sonic Timeworks does this to this extreme). It's going to basically be relative to what the rest of the audio was brought up by. They would have to actually bring the waveform of the beginning of the song up and then limit. I smell BS in some form here.

I agree......Smells a little funky to me too, the front of that song would have had to be processed seperately.........I'm not saying discmakers are the best, but they are a reputable company and its highly unlikely that they could f*** up to that extent. ....what about the reference copy they send the client for final approval? It would have been noticed early on in the process before manufacturing.
Also lets just say for the sake of argument that something like this was to happen,
it was stated that "the band made the decision" so it was thier responsibility to proof the reference and voice any concerns.... so at best your problem would be with the band and not the mastering house.
I know for a fact that discmakers would have corrected the problem. I dont use discmakers myself,( but I know a lot of people who do) and I have never seen anything like this..tutt
Old 9th June 2006
  #43
Lives for gear
 

the reality is....most people today will like it.

i'm just a serious hobbyist and had a friend come over to do a song. after i mixed his tune i tried to keep some dynamic integrity. but he asked me if i could make it louder. i rolled my eyes and SLAMMED it with finalplug (i think i remember it was that one)

it wound up looking just like that second wave form.

he said "YEAH, now its kickin' "
Old 9th June 2006
  #44
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
I studied classical guitar for a while (or rather struggled with it) and one of the theory teachers at the Conservatory was a borderline-deranged guy who nevertheless had some very interesting histortic perspectives he would frequently utter in speech.

He said that most styles/periods in art have a tendency for exaggeration in their final phase. Baroque for example showed almost comic overblowness as seen in certain arichtectal structures/decorations. it seemed like these artist were almost desperately holding on to an aesthetic on the wane. Naturally, the end of the 'style/phase' can never be precisely drawn and becomes a 'period' only in retrospect.

The loudness race reminds me very much of what that teacher had to say. We've reached a point where it doesn't make sense anymore but people still try to 'top' themselves.

Whose fault is it? Often it's the 'artists' themselves. Do what everybody else does to be 'competitive'. Right. We need punch! Right.
Mastering is about the last place you should look for that actually. I guess the opposite is true, you gain some and you lose some. Mastering will make your album sound coherent if done right and it will give some polish and sparkle to your mixes. So it's obviously better to have slightly bigger dynamics in your mixes than you'll envision your end product will have.
Unfortunately, the standard today is the opposite. Send slammed mixes to the ME and expect him to make it 'punchier' and 'louder'.

Another aspect IMO is the often lacking expertise/gear of the artists/mixers. Missing 'punch' that is the fault of bad engineering or arranging decisions is 'enhanced' by mediocre converters,etc. The lack of 'punch' will be then blamed on 'Digital' in general and 'warming' and/or 'summing' gear will be introduced to get a more 'analog' sound.

I recently put some tracks from U2's 'Joshua Tree' into iTunes and it's about half as loud as most other stuff, both old/reissued or new. But 'Joshua Tree' is still a great record and turning up your volume knob (remember those?) will make you hear that the 'loudness war' doesn't do anything at all. A bad/mediocre mix will still sound bad or mediocre but only louder. A great mix MIGHT 'survive' the race but there's a high chance that some of the 'punch' will be lost in the name of loudness.
Old 9th June 2006
  #45
Gear Addict
 
Eide's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
Dynamics is one thing, but to start a song off quietly and then suddenly bring in a sudden 6dB increase is annoying. Also potentially dangerous, because some listeners on headphones etc might crank the volume, thinking it's lower than average (which it is) and then get their ears popped when your mix jumps up 6dB.
Dude, are you serious? Do you really find a 6dB sudden increase annoying and/or dangerous?? If you were talking about a 15+ dB jump I would agree more with you, but those 6 poor dB's should really not anyone be afraid of! By the way the stuff you say further down in your post about creating an illusion of dynamic changes while keeping a steady level I'm totally into but setting the dynamic interval of your track to maximum 6 dB's is a bit overkill if you ask me... But as always, whatever works for the song...

Anyway, with a quick look in my iTunes libary I can name several mastered (loud) songs that have a 6 db jump or more within the first 10-12 seconds of the track:

RHCP - Snow (second track on last album)
Coldplay - Yello
Smashing Pumpkins - Today (Over 20 dB jump!)
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

***






...
Old 9th June 2006
  #46
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
I hate distorted, smashed material. But I also hate annoying dynamic shifts.
Listening to the radio these days makes me pretty much CRAVE for 'annoying dynamic shifts'. It was called 'surprise', 'push-pull' and 'buildup' in another age.

Thank god for classical music.
Old 9th June 2006
  #47
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

My clients who have pressed at Diskmakers have always been required to sign off on a CD-R made from the disk image that will cut the glass master. I can't imagine they wouldn't require that of something they have also mastered.

And yes, the intro bump is currently very popular in modern rock.
Old 9th June 2006
  #48
Gear Maniac
 
DigitalDrugLord's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x
Knock yourself out, you can't possibly hurt anything

Thanks

This is the Discmakers one Here

The original unmastered version Here <--- right click and select "save as" or the mac equivs


DDL XQR mastered version Here

I hope you personally enjoy it, and again i hope there is hope in this band getting another pressing of this disc...

In the future demand that your mixes are not placed on a butcher board like the discmakers situation.
Old 9th June 2006
  #49
Gear Head
 
Dahmen's Avatar
 

Hello there.

Hey man i feel with you. Nearly all of the 'bigger' records i recorded and mixed (two for ROADRUNNER Records, one for LOCOMOTIVE Records and one for AVALANCHE Records) were ruined by the mastering engineers. This to a degree where i felt personally 'attacked' in my artistical integrity. All dynamics got killed, a big and beautiful bottom end was rolled off in order to 'make it more hurtful for the listeners' (thats what the artists wanted from the ME) and all in all the sound got worse. Loud but worse. i contrast to that the stuff i mastered myself got only good reviews on the sound. Of course it was not as loud and brilliant as the others but it had no distortion and some dynmics left. The funny thing is, that when you just go and turn up the fu**ing volume knob it sounds good and heavy. Its sad.

Hope the future is better for your mixes!
Old 9th June 2006
  #50
Lives for gear
 
john caldwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eide
RHCP - Snow (second track on last album)
Coldplay - Yello
Smashing Pumpkins - Today (Over 20 dB jump!)
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
...
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture: probably 40db
Old 9th June 2006
  #51
I was just about to say that classical music must make him want to kill himself
Old 9th June 2006
  #52
Moderator
 
Oroz's Avatar
 

Yesterday I felt like loosing the "Loudness War". A client had just finished their recording and now where at the Mixing and Mastering stage. Before starting to mix we even talked about the "Loudness War" and he seemed to understand and I even tought he was against it. Well today they came back and told me that they wanted it louder, more "in your face". Some of their friends also listened to the Rough Mixes and they aslo wanted it louder. I need my client to be satisfied so I'm gonna make it louder. It's sad but that's what they want.

Bottom line is that everybody wants it louder, how are we going to stop that when your client (and pretty much everybody else) wants everything squeezed to hell?
Old 9th June 2006
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
asylumdigital's Avatar
 

I was just about to say about the same thing...
I am just about sure that that is exactly the way that the band in question wanted it. LOUD as hell. They probably love it.

Everything is loud as hell now & the client justs want it to be equal to current examples. They don't care about the loudness war anymore than the consumer.

They just do NOT want a quiet song.
Old 9th June 2006
  #54
Gear Head
 

I agree about the DYNAMIC swing in dynamics can be a pain in the butt for the listener. One of my all time favorite songs "Stars" by Hum has a HUGE swing in dynamics from the clean guitar intro to the song itself and I am always turning it up and turning it down when it comes on so I can hear the whole song - especially in the car.
Old 9th June 2006
  #55
Gear Maniac
 
asylumdigital's Avatar
 

"DYNAMIC swing in dynamics can be a pain in the butt for the listener"


Whatever, Now I disagree with that... Builds, intros, soft passages are all good things. Everything does not need to be on blast the entire time.
That is what volume is for.

All i'm saying is that almost all artists just want their project to be perceived to be "professional", "commercial" or what have you. It is unfortunate, but many times now, "commercial" is equated with that sound.
Old 9th June 2006
  #56
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

The only thing that sucks is listening to Roger Waters' Ca Ira while doing 75 on the highway with the windows down...

Other than that, I don't understand why people prefer this squashed **** most of the time...don't most people listen on headphones these days? That's ideal listening environment for really dynamic stuff!
Old 9th June 2006
  #57
Gear Maniac
 
asylumdigital's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis
Other than that, I don't understand why people prefer this squashed **** most of the time...don't most people listen on headphones these days? That's ideal listening environment for really dynamic stuff!

exactly!
Old 9th June 2006
  #58
Lives for gear
 
Masterer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahmen
Hello there.

Hey man i feel with you. Nearly all of the 'bigger' records i recorded and mixed (two for ROADRUNNER Records, one for LOCOMOTIVE Records and one for AVALANCHE Records) were ruined by the mastering engineers. This to a degree where i felt personally 'attacked' in my artistical integrity. All dynamics got killed, a big and beautiful bottom end was rolled off in order to 'make it more hurtful for the listeners' (thats what the artists wanted from the ME) and all in all the sound got worse. Loud but worse. i contrast to that the stuff i mastered myself got only good reviews on the sound. Of course it was not as loud and brilliant as the others but it had no distortion and some dynmics left. The funny thing is, that when you just go and turn up the fu**ing volume knob it sounds good and heavy. Its sad.

Hope the future is better for your mixes!
It's the artists that are ruining "your" records bro, cause the records belong to them. They get the final approval so they get what they want or they don't approve it till they do. Simple.
If you want to make better sounding records your gonna have to work with smarter, more tasteful clients. Sad but true.
Old 9th June 2006
  #59
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis
The only thing that sucks is listening to Roger Waters' Ca Ira while doing 75 on the highway with the windows down...

Other than that, I don't understand why people prefer this squashed **** most of the time...don't most people listen on headphones these days? That's ideal listening environment for really dynamic stuff!
it's not the ideal listening environment if the people wearing the phones are in public noisy places where they are trying to drown out the background noise with the music they are listening to.

also most of these phones and headphone amps in ipods and other mp3 players are far from ideal so....the louder the better for this kind of "listening".

if you try to drown out the background noise on a subway platform (i see this EVERY day) or in your car with the windows down or...whatever....with a dynamic recording you will barely be able to hear some parts and be deafened by others.

this is the sad truth.

****ty listening situations = high demand for squashed recordings.

i never bother to listen to recordings in these situations anyway because it is also a great way to destroy your hearing. the background noise PLUS the squashed recording is very harsh on the ears after long periods of time.

so it's earplugs (instead of headphones or earbuds) on the subway and listening (which includes -gasp- classical and jazz recordings as well as rock and pop) is saved for when there is NOT tons of background noise. ie, play em back through the lavry's and bm6s at home.
Old 9th June 2006
  #60
Gear Maniac
 
Tubefreak's Avatar
 

On the other hand..... yesterday I watched MTV who played a Tool video from Lateralus and it sounded like pure crap. The station limites the last drop of dB out of the audio, to be the loudest music channel.

And what sounds "good" on MTV? Stuff that's already been slammed by a pro. If it has no dynamics, it will not get squashed by the station limiters. Red Hot Chillies sound "fine" on MTV, Tool sounded like a mediocre little schoolband who didn't have enough money to properly master their audio. The sound shifted as the song progressed, vocals dropping, etc, etc.

So to come to a conclusion..... IF airplay is a serious option for your music, then a proper slamming for the loudness war can prevent it from being a mediocre Toolband on MTV.

Am I pro loudness war?.... no, I love my volume knob and I'm glad it works just fine. Does (proper) slamming have a function: yes, if you get airplay.

BTW.... I don't understand why Tool didn't make a more slammed version for their video.... they know it's gonna be aired by MTV (etc) and know they slam it. Or am I missing something?

Maarten
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump