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Old 16-03-2018, 06:44 PM   #61
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

Loudness seems more like an amateur quality these days anyway. I thought this thread was originally about fidelity, but upon rereading the OP it's clear that loudness is the sole focus. I wonder why.

FWIW, some of the best albums out there beg you to turn the music up a little instead of lowering the volume because the perceived loudness is violating your eardrums.

Focusing on the mix / master with the sole intention of loudness just seems bizarre

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Old 17-03-2018, 01:28 AM   #62
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

I get the mix as good as possible and leave 6-8db of headroom and then run my master track (after cutting sub 20hz) through Izotope Ozone 8. You can find a similar track and reference it's loudness and it will make your track just as loud without clipping. This can distort your mix afterwards but I usually go back and forth until my final project sounds decent. I bought this during some discount deal for $35. I've used Landr before and it blows Landr out of the water.
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Old 19-03-2018, 04:46 AM   #63
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

I've been doing some research. ...a lot of people feel actively referencing is important. ...Pick sounds you're targeting and reference the hell out of it. Also at least for drums I've found rather than dealing with peaking bands I found band stops are useful for keeping a natural sound that isn't exaggerated when compressed (I stick with a nice hard 4:1 ratio at 50% threshold to kick ass). Also maybe throwing in some wave shaping/distortion while keeping the samples short is important. Punch has to be short Otherwise you're just booming, which makes finding clarity a challenge. Get rid of samples with long tails /built in reverberations because in the grand scheme of things, for authenticity you should be configuring your own reverbs
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:33 AM   #64
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

'Unfortunately' the squashed sound is alive and well from what I have observed. Normalization will hopefully change this once everyone is on board. But does it matter?? I think you can get good results either way, it depends on what sound you want. I think the arrangement and instrumentation / voicing has more effect on dynamics than worrying too much about master compression. Just a theory. Obviously a little glue is nice and too much glue sounds flat. Grooving the transients seems to be a hard thing for me with multiband. I kind of just get close.

I could be wrong but after hopping onto the be super safe have a shit ton of dynamics band wagon I kind of feel like that is also playing it too safe and that it doesn't matter as long as you know what dynamics actually are and when too much is too much. I admit I am still experimenting with this. But I just want to point out that if you think compressing it sounds good, just do it. Make sure it isn't making it louder though.

Speaking of... how many lufs does everyone here master to for streaming? Do you make a separate master for soundcloud?

I have been keeping my stuff around -9 lufs which seems to allow a lot of dynamics but sounds quiet as hell on sound cloud. I am keeping my peak at -1 through -0.7. I seem to be keeping dynamics alive while giving some squash for that crush sound (hahaha sorry). I'm not sure if this is a good method. Still trying new things.

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Old 03-04-2018, 02:44 AM   #65
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

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Originally Posted by clocolan View Post
Get a test master on Landr. Use that master as a reference while using your own software to emulate it. Should get you 3/4 of the way there. Just add youtube video tutorials (yes, really).
Good idea, might give that a shot
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:24 AM   #66
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

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Originally Posted by beigeboxgone View Post
Speaking of... how many lufs does everyone here master to for streaming? Do you make a separate master for soundcloud?

I have been keeping my stuff around -9 lufs which seems to allow a lot of dynamics but sounds quiet as hell on sound cloud. I am keeping my peak at -1 through -0.7. I seem to be keeping dynamics alive while giving some squash for that crush sound (hahaha sorry). I'm not sure if this is a good method. Still trying new things.
LOL LUFS. Nah but seriously, I don't think anyone really knows. Soundcloud, as I understand it, does not normalize at all so the maximized squashed tracks are legitimately still the loudest there. Pretty much every other service, aim for -12 to -14 lufs. I master in that range and personally, I think my stuff comes out a bit quiet tbh. I'm planning to push things closer to -10 and seeing what happens. For what it's worth, these streaming services haven't figured out what's right yet, and I think they're still making changes every few months, so I wouldn't get too deep into the nuts and bolts of what each service wants and doing particular masters for each platform unless you have people paying for that. And even then, I have to question the validity of doing masters for each platform because one of the goals of mastering is to have the track sound the same on different systems, and I don't think different masters for different situations accomplishes that goal.

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Old 03-04-2018, 06:39 PM   #67
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

Yeah I think you are right about nobody knowing. Even the services.
I agree on making only one master, it would be a lot of work making multiple. Plus I like your philosophy on it sounding different defeating the purpose. Also targeting a specific platform or a couple.
That was why I was hoping if I chose a middle ground loudness -9 that it would be mostly good everywhere. But it was still quiet on soundcloud. Which means everyone is doing -6 or louder cd masters. Sound cloud is so convenient it is such a shame. I might have to boycott the service.

1. Does Bandcamp normalize, does anyone notice any loudness differences or know anything on this?

2. Does Landr mastering give you multiple versions? I am interested in knowing about the stats on this. I will likely give it a try on my next round of tracks.

3. Are the big name labels / studios and mastering engineers making multiple masters (not sure if this could even be known unless someone uses a master artist)?

4. How detrimental is normalization or does it seem to do such a good job that loudness doesn't matter? I wonder if people are just throwing CD masters at these places. Obviously there is less dynamics but that doesn't always sound bad. It seems they developed these normalization algorithms to work with older really loud stuff before the normalization / dynamics thing became cool.

It seems almost as if one could make a master -8 through -5 lufs and just let that be your only master and it would work good in any environment and any platform instead of going so quiet.

I think it is beneficial to not be everywhere and choose one or two platforms but it kind of makes sense to plan in more of an open manner in case your track is needed somewhere else that is played along other tracks. Instead of being like hey I am quiet because I know what I am doing. Most people have no idea what I mean when I tell them about dynamics and honestly it makes me wonder sometimes.

To be turned up or turned down, that is the question..

I am starting to lean back to the idea of going louder. At least for the time being.
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:44 PM   #68
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

1. IDK if bandcamp normalizes for streaming, but I'm pretty sure that if you're using it to sell files, people are going to download exactly what you put up. I don't know that for certain off the top of my head though.

2. I think Landr has multiple settings, so you can put your song through each setting to get multiple versions.

3. I believe the big studios are doing multiple masters. I watch Pensado's Place to stay up on industry news, they talk to an ME every few months I think.

4. As I understand it, normalization should have no effect on the audio aside from a proportional loudness increase across the file. It's just raising the volume of the track until the loudest part is at unity gain. If you're already peaking, it would have no effect at all. If you're talking about clipping/maximization, then there's a lot of different ways to go about it, though I don't partake. Airwindows has a lot of interesting options though.

My stuff begs to be turned up, and I think you are rewarded if you choose to do that, but you don't suffer if that's not what you want. I think people don't realize that as you clip/limit harder, it's not just dynamics that suffer. That energy has to go somewhere, so it either gets redistributed over an expanded frequency range (distortion) or, in really hard cases, over time (really bad distortion). In extreme cases, stuff will have tails of noise that were not in the original recording, and that's what I aim to avoid by going so quiet and really only compressing empty space and very high peaks.

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Old 04-04-2018, 01:31 AM   #69
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Re: I really suck at mastering.

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
4. As I understand it, normalization should have no effect on the audio aside from a proportional loudness increase across the file. It's just raising the volume of the track until the loudest part is at unity gain.
That is what I've heard too. And listening to my own tunes on Youtube seems to confirm this. At least on the Youtube platform, I think their loudness normalisation has improved things greatly. It's very satisfying to hear some of my quieter tunes, which I know were only averaging around -15 to -20 RMS, sounding almost as loud as a Skrillex tune (which was probably averaging at least 10db more) LOL !!

I sincerely hope this is the continued direction for things. It gets everyone away from being obsessive about amplitude. Make loud tunes as much as you like, by all means, but make them intrinsically loud sounding.

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