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Thread: I like loud mixes, am I insane? (How to make mixes that extra bit louder)

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    scottmusic22's Avatar
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    Question I like loud mixes, am I insane? (How to make mixes that extra bit louder)

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    First things first, I don't like distorted music or bad quality of course (Californication, Death Magnetic, yuck!), but I do however tend to love a loud, punchy mix. This might make a little sense because I grew up listening to Green Day's American Idiot, and Blink 182 and other really, really loudly mixed music. Although the whole noisy wall of guitars thing has lost much of it's impact to me, I've gotten more into the pop music which takes loudness even further. My favorite mixes are usually really loud, and they sound great. For example, some of my favorite loud mixes are recent albums from artists like Marianas Trench (Ever After album), Ke$ha (Warrior album), and Angels and Airwaves (I-Empire album in particular). (I like pop music, sue me.)

    Keep in mind that I'm mastering my own music, because I don't have a lot of money, but I do seem to have pretty proficient mixing/mastering skills. I'm a beginner, but I think I'm getting the hang of it pretty quick. I'm getting my mixes as loud as possible without hurting the quality much, and it's still just not at that same level as other pop and rock music is. I refuse to make it sound bad obviously (even though a lot of people think all loud mixes sound bad, but I think they may be stuck in the past...) and even if I did all I could they wouldn't be quite as loud as commercial mixes, so what could I do to get some more volume? I'm not even talking about limiting or compressing more because I don't think that would help, it's just the perceived volume, and even pushing the highs doesn't give my music the same volume.

    My goal for my future mixes and masters are a better sound and louder sound, because both will affect how people perceive them. Loudness does matter a little and as part of the new generation, there's a certain in-your-face quality that myself and others like about it.

    The only reason I'm asking is because my mixes are sounding really good, I would just like them a little bit louder personally, and would like some tips on how to make it happen.

    Also my mixes used to be really quiet and not limited dynamically at all, and I didn't really like how they sounded even turned way up. They didn't sound right to me. It's a matter of taste, so don't tell me about all the disadvantages of loudness, because I understand them. Thanks!

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    What's your RMS?

    Generally to get a mix sounding louder, make sure your really taming your peaks. Specifically your snare and kick, they tend to hit the master compressor a bit too hard which sort of gives your mix a pumping type of sound when you get to your limiter on the master buss (if your not compressing the signal correctly). Also make sure your controlling your bass in the mix, this is REALLY Important if you want to achieve a louder mix.
    Last edited by AscendRecording; 02-14-2013 at 07:58.

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    Cue the loud police.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    Cue the loud police.
    Give it time!
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    by the questions you are asking, i'd say take it to a professional, and Pay them to make it loud for you.

    if you don't know what you are doing, you'll cock it up bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AscendRecording View Post
    What's your RMS?

    Generally to get a mix sounding louder, make sure your really taming your peaks. Specifically your snare and kick, they tend to hit the master compressor a bit too hard which sort of gives your mix a pumping type of sound when you get to your limiter on the master buss (if your not compressing the signal correctly). Also make sure your controlling your bass in the mix, this is REALLY Important if you want to achieve a louder mix.
    My RMS for almost all of the songs came out to -9.3. Not bad considering I didn't actually use my meters when I mastered them.
    Interestingly enough the one I thought was the quietest came out to about -8.2, only because of the high level of the chorus.

    I compressed my kick and snare a lot before and it seemed to work, because I got them sounding a little louder without pumping the whole mix.

    60hz and below is rolled off, I don't think I need that rumble unless I'm going for huge sounding drums or really deep bass. However at about 100 Hz, it's very strong and I like it, maybe that could be taking up headroom but I wouldn't want to sacrifice something that's sounding pretty good!

    I don't know why it took me so long to notice, but I'm lacking a bit of what sounds like 10k and above. It just sounds slightly less clear and open than most pop mixes. That could definitely be a big part of the loudness and the quality!

    Thanks a lot for the tips by the way! This is all going to help my next mixes reach the next level

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    Quote Originally Posted by GONZO-X View Post
    by the questions you are asking, i'd say take it to a professional, and Pay them to make it loud for you.

    if you don't know what you are doing, you'll cock it up bad.
    I'd rather try to become the professional than become the guy that pays the professional.

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    @ Scottmusic

    I agree! definitely try to learn.

    What you can try to do is also clean up a lot of the bass mids like at 500Hz. try scooping that range out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottmusic22 View Post
    I'd rather try to become the professional than become the guy that pays the professional.
    if you are serious about that, asking questions on a home recording bbs probably is not going to get you there.

    folks that do this for a living, didn't learn how to do it off the internet.

    maybe find a local studio that will let you intern.
    that's be a good start.


    point is, it takes a real long time to get good at it.
    and dont' get me wrong, i'm not saying 'dont go for it'

    i'm only saying 'don't kid yourself'.


    here's a great place to start on the 'self-learn' curve:

    Mastering Audio Book

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    I've been thinking about getting that book actually, guess it's time for that!

    People that do this for a living probably couldn't learn it through the internet when they started, and I'm guessing they also didn't have the capable tools that I have.

    I'm not kidding myself and my recordings hold up to a lot of professional ones as it is. Like I said I'm just trying to take my skills to the next level, the level that the newest releases are at.

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