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So my song sounds perfect...but it's 6db too soft Dynamics Plugins
Old 16th September 2011
  #1
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So my song sounds perfect...but it's 6db too soft

I've pretty much got this song sounding as good as I want...but like the title says it's 6db softer than a commercial cd. I threw on some limiting/comp on the master buss to maximize what I can get staying just below the clipping level. I tried turning off everything on the master buss and messing around with my channels to get them louder but there's definitely a breaking point and to push it further sounds quite bad. This is all using logic's plug-ins, and perhaps some outboard comp/limiting could bring it up more, but I'm frustrated that I seem to have hit the threshold of loudness. Am I stuck with this great but under-volume track?
Old 16th September 2011
  #2
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Ben B's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
I've pretty much got this song sounding as good as I want...but like the title says it's 6db softer than a commercial cd. I threw on some limiting/comp on the master buss to maximize what I can get staying just below the clipping level. I tried turning off everything on the master buss and messing around with my channels to get them louder but there's definitely a breaking point and to push it further sounds quite bad. This is all using logic's plug-ins, and perhaps some outboard comp/limiting could bring it up more, but I'm frustrated that I seem to have hit the threshold of loudness. Am I stuck with this great but under-volume track?
There are many techniques that MEs use to get loudness, but it all starts with the loudness potential of your mix. Appropriate use of subtle compression and saturation on individual tracks and groups, as well as low-pass filtering to remove the infrasonic information that will eat up the loudness potential of your mix. Whether or not you've hit the absolute loudness potential for your track depends largely on decisions you've made while mixing.

-Ben B
Old 16th September 2011
  #3
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huejahfink's Avatar
 

Congratulations! You are the 1,000,000th 'Why is my master quieter than....' poster.
Your prize is in the post.

To be honest, if you think that your " song sounds perfect"... why worry. Does it sound great wherever you play it?

If you've got a CD that sounds louder than yours, I'm willing to bet there's a quieter one that has gone multi platinum. Don't sweat it.
Old 16th September 2011
  #4
Shy
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I can't tell you anything without listening to a segment of the track myself first.
Old 17th September 2011
  #5
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decocco's Avatar
 

Most people charge money for advice this good, but I'll give it to you free:

Turn up the volume knob on your stereo. It will get louder.
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
I've pretty much got this song sounding as good as I want...but like the title says it's 6db softer than a commercial cd. I threw on some limiting/comp on the master buss to maximize what I can get staying just below the clipping level. I tried turning off everything on the master buss and messing around with my channels to get them louder but there's definitely a breaking point and to push it further sounds quite bad. This is all using logic's plug-ins, and perhaps some outboard comp/limiting could bring it up more, but I'm frustrated that I seem to have hit the threshold of loudness. Am I stuck with this great but under-volume track?
er............
... um...................

turn the knob on your amp to the right
you can make it as loud as you want
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 

So professional mastering engineers just get their jobs by getting a good track, dithering it, giving it back and saying "just turn up the stereo and it will be loud enough"
Old 17th September 2011
  #8
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47radAR's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by morrock View Post
So professional mastering engineers just get their jobs by getting a good track, dithering it, giving it back and saying "just turn up the stereo and it will be loud enough"
On a regular basis? Probably not...but I'm sure it's happend many times before...
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
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OK so I uploaded it to Soundcloud for you guys to listen if you feel inclined. As you can tell by the image it's been limited to the gills. The ambient beat that starts at the beginning hits the meter pretty hard, but it's quite soft (relative to everything else) so to gain headroom I would either have to make it almost inaudible or significantly reduce the bassline. Neither option is particularly appealing to me because I like them both to be present.

Too Soft?
Old 17th September 2011
  #10
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mastringshuset's Avatar
 

I agree not to sweat it if it already sounds good, but if you really want it louder, try another limiter than the ones found in Logic. It just doesn't go as loud as others :-)
Old 17th September 2011
  #11
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huejahfink's Avatar
 

Listening to it (and bearing in mind that I H A T E soundcloud compression and don't particularly trust it as a sonic reference) I thought that maybe a "little" more upper mid and treble detail on select elements in your track would make your piece sound a touch clearer and therefore a little " louder ". Not a huge amount, I think a little will go a long way. Not just for level either.......
I also don't think your bass part is as prominent as you think it is.

For this type of music, I especially don't see why volume would even be an issue. You could ease up on the dynamics processing from this I think, this music (generally) sounds better to me when everything has it's space to unfold in full and become part of an epic journey. In order to have a sense of epic scale you need a wider view (no matter which direction you are looking in).

I'm regretting recording some unreleased ambient pieces too hot through compression, cos there's no way to get them back now.
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
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IIIrd's Avatar
 

Listen to everything else quieter. End of problem...now your track sounds great and the others sound sqaushed and lifeless. Don't go to war and be a victim.
Old 17th September 2011
  #13
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Thor's Avatar
 

When working with artists who:

a. produce music where dynamics are important and
b. know better than to ask for it to be squashed (i.e. are not participating in the war)

the answer is a resounding "yes". Although more often than not there will be some EQ going on.

Some artists actually like it that way. They know that the radio will do any necessary squeezing when broadcasting, and it will sound great both there at in listeners homes.

Cheers,
Thor

Quote:
Originally Posted by morrock View Post
So professional mastering engineers just get their jobs by getting a good track, dithering it, giving it back and saying "just turn up the stereo and it will be loud enough"
Old 17th September 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
Sounds good... pretty compressed right now too. 6dB more will sound squashed to ****.
Old 17th September 2011
  #15
Or you could compromise, and just bring it up 3dB.

A compromise nonetheless.

JT
Old 17th September 2011
  #16
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I would buy ten times more music if the loudness war didn't exist.

IOW I have no problem using the volume knob and by now you realise that I am one of those who does not only like rythm and melodies but also dynamics! :-)

Disclaimer: I did not listen to the actual tune in this thread but if it's good it's good and I get sad everytime I see someone jumping on the train of smashing and squeezing the music to death.


/Peter
Old 17th September 2011
  #17
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mahler007's Avatar
 

FWIW, I actually don't think that it's too soft. The tune has a very mellow quality to it, and its current volume translates that quality appropriately.

If you record a cello playing softly, and then limit it to the point that it's extremely loud, you lose the emotional impact of a cello playing softly, which is its own thing... I don't know if you are going for a softer or more intimate mood with this tune, but if you are, then let it be. You might also find that in the context of other, surrounding tracks, it works quite well as it is.

The only thing I might point out (and as somebody else offered above), the mix seems very focused in the low mid/mid range area. I feel like there is (relatively speaking) very little high-frequency information happening here. Psychologically speaking, this gives the track a very "velvety" quality, but I think it's definitely contributing to your impression of its being "too soft."

Cheers,
Andrew
Old 17th September 2011
  #18
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spectacular g's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by decocco View Post
Most people charge money for advice this good, but I'll give it to you free:

Turn up the volume knob on your stereo. It will get louder.
They put it there for a reason dammit!!!!

I've got a little image of a volume knob I ask people to put on there cd covers that say's just that...

Well it really say's "the further you turn this clockwise the better it will sound"

G
Old 17th September 2011
  #19
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Agree with previous posters who have pointed out the preponderance of low-mids.

It doesn't sound muddy, but it certainly doesn't sound bright either. The handclap (or whatever it was) - the equivalent of a 'snare' - just doesn't have enough crack to it.

The bass doesn't have enough presence.

Rather than go straight to EQ, I would use some distortion. Logic has some great underappreciated distortions that will often add perceived volume without increasing the literal volume, preserving headroom.

I like the Distortion II plug and also Bitcrusher. Experiment with Distortion II in either "Bitey" or "Nasty" mode (you could try "Growl" as well, but I generally find the other 2 work better). Experiment with the three parameters, but I generally find keeping 'Tone' set low, or at zero, works better. Bitcrusher is obviously more radical, but give it a go if you're not getting anywhere.

Try these first independently on the handclap, and then various drums. then move onto your bass. I would leave the wash synths untouched. By distorting, you're increasing the harmonic content of the instrument. Don't be scared off by the word 'distortion': your sounds will change a little, but you'd be surprised how little, and how much perceived volume you get for those little alterations. A little distortion on a kick will get it cutting through. Sometimes you luck out with the right sound immediately, sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error.

You can also try putting a distortion plug on a send, and thus adjusting the amount an instrument receives, while preserving more of the undistorted sound.
Old 17th September 2011
  #20
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Lute's Avatar
 

Sounds fine here. Job done. Just leave it for the ME to add any sparkle
Old 17th September 2011
  #21
Quote:
I would buy ten times more music if the loudness war didn't exist.
I don't think I would go quite that far, good melody, musicianship, passion, energy and songwriting will always be good irrelevant of how hot it is. (within reason) With care you can usually get things up a tad without detriment, sometimes it's better. It's the extreme end of increased perceived levels which starts to rear it's ugly head.
Old 17th September 2011
  #22
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I actually am going to say what I think a lot of people here are thinking.... Send it to a mix engineer to do a lot of correcting on your mix. Its a cool tune but it really should go to a mixing engineer before it comes to us in mastering, there are somethings going on compression wise, mid to low range wise, and panning wise that could be corrected by a mix engineer.

Then send us or have the mixing engineer send us in mastering the upc code, any images, label and artist information, and a final version of the track and what mediums you would like to have the song published, we'll take it from there. heh
Old 17th September 2011
  #23
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like the doctor said to the patient
who said his head hurt
stop hitting it with a hammer

if your mixing attempts are bad after doing mbc
then dont do that
Old 17th September 2011
  #24
Do you think its is a big deal that dance music created a few db's lower than other artists? Meaning, do you think dj's would decide not to play a track because its not as loud as the next? I have made it my goal to not over compress my music and I am now releasing on major stores. I am a tad concerned that my tunes will receive less play because I am not pushing them as hard.
Old 17th September 2011
  #25
Gear Addict
 

One of the first thing a DJ learns is to match gains between tracks. Or the software that the DJ is using does it automatically. If anything, your tune will sound better because it's not distorted to begin with. If it's good, it will get played.
Old 17th September 2011
  #26
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Thanks for the help guys!

Can I ask another question: If I was sending this to a ME, would they want me to disable to the master buss plug-ins (comp & limiter)? I ask this b/c when I do that the mix sounds quite different and I'm not sure the ME would be able to replicate the sound I want. My mistake was to mix the tune with the master buss gluing it all together--you probably shouldn't ever touch the master buss during the mixing stage right?
Old 17th September 2011
  #27
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If you are only using the compressor for character and not for level, leave it in. But definitely take out the limiter.
Old 17th September 2011
  #28
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Multiplier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
One of the first thing a DJ learns is to match gains between tracks. Or the software that the DJ is using does it automatically. If anything, your tune will sound better because it's not distorted to begin with. If it's good, it will get played.
this.
Old 18th September 2011
  #29
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Surbitone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
I would buy ten times more music if the loudness war didn't exist.
I would buy 10 times less vinyl for sure.
Old 18th September 2011
  #30
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Surbitone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
I don't think I would go quite that far, good melody, musicianship, passion, energy and songwriting will always be good irrelevant of how hot it is. (within reason) With care you can usually get things up a tad without detriment, sometimes it's better. It's the extreme end of increased perceived levels which starts to rear it's ugly head.

Honestly, some people just cannot stand it. Even a little bit. Yeah, if someones mixed the snare or kick too hot, or they went a bit ott with the transient designer, that 'little bit' of limiting can tuck it in just enough to sound subjectively better, definitely. But for a great sounding mix that sounds just right (rare), I've never heard a clipper, limiter, smashed analogue stage, AD or anything else make it sound subjectively better to my personal taste. Everyone is different and has a different idea of what constitutes pleasant sound.
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