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Thread: It's worse than I thought.

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    BrentDomann is offline Has a Dedicated Member.
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    It's worse than I thought.

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    So I admit that occasionally I like to play with limiters to push a mix. However, even when I do so, I still get a wave form that is visible (unlike these commercial mixes that look like bricks).

    So just to see how much it took, I made the attempt today to create a brick. I must say it involved some unconventional mixing with smashing in mind. The drums just thin out too much if you smash, so I found myself smashing the drums in the mix, too. Then I pulled the guitars and vocals waaaay back, and pulled the bass down a moderate amount. Overheads and anything sizzly got pulled back, too - only kick and snare got the limiter in mixing.

    BTW, at this point the mix sounded like crap.

    Then, I bounced to stereo and hit the mix with the limiters. I like freeware, so I've been using TLs_Maximizer and Classic Master Limiter just a bit. To really crush this bastard I ran two of the TLss into one another adding 7dB to one and 9dB to the other. Then I ran a Classic Master Limiter with 5-6dB on it.

    Now the mix starts to balance out and sound closer to how I mixed it earlier, just with no dynamic range at all. Funny, it's approaching the commercial sound. Funny. And disgusting.

    That's what it took. A lot of posters smash with a limiter and ask why it's still not there. I had to use three limiters and over 21dB of fat-lady-sitting-on-the-mix.

    Thoughts?
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    masteringhouse's Avatar
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    Forgetting about all of the reasons why it's best not to do this, but assuming that the goal is to bake bricks, yes this is one way.

    Spreading out the load of dynamic reduction is often done with a series of compressors, automation, clipping, various types of saturation, and as you have described sometimes with more than one limiter working in concert with each other. The idea however is to have each one react on a different aspect of the dynamics, not just run the same type of dynamic reduction in series. For example you may have a comp working to help bring the average level up by using a slower attack and release with another to smooth out the bottom end or reduce or fatten the kick or snare slightly then going to a limiter to reduce fast transients.

    It's very easy to make a brick, another to make it sound reasonably good.
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    Waltz Mastering's Avatar
    Waltz Mastering is offline Force of Nature
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    Quote Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
    Forgetting about all of the reasons why it's best not to do this, but assuming that the goal is to bake bricks, yes this is one way.

    Spreading out the load of dynamic reduction is often done with a series of compressors, automation, clipping, various types of saturation, and as you have described sometimes with more than one limiter working in concert with each other. The idea however is to have each one react on a different aspect of the dynamics, not just run the same type of dynamic reduction in series. For example you may have a comp working to help bring the average level up by using a slower attack and release with another to smooth out the bottom end or reduce or fatten the kick or snare slightly then going to a limiter to reduce fast transients.

    It's very easy to make a brick, another to make it sound reasonably good.
    I gotta agree with this ^ . With any out board compression I would use, I rarely ever see "any" gain reduction on the meters.

    I also have this thing where if I see more than a dB and a half on a brick wall limiter, I just feel dirty, so more than 2 dB is out of the question; )

    Balanced Eq, and spreading the load through proper gain staging is key.
    Last edited by Waltz Mastering; 08-08-2010 at 12:47. Reason: mizpeling

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    SouthSIDE Glen's Avatar
    SouthSIDE Glen is offline independentrecording.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentDomann View Post
    Funny, it's approaching the commercial sound. Funny. And disgusting.
    ...
    Thoughts?
    It would seem to me like the operative word there is "disgusting".

    I'm not going to get into it here beyond saying this: I'd modify what Tom V. said to say, "It's easy to make a brick, it's impossible to make it sound reasonably good." Replace the word "brick" with the phrase, "pile of crap" and the word "sound" with the word "taste", and you'll see where I'm coming from.

    Not to take away from what the two Toms can do with bricks; yeah bricks could sound whole lot worse without their expertise, but to my ears, no matter how you massage it, to take something that was born into this universe by the laws of nature to have a certain dynamic nature, then remove those dynamics, is a simple and guaranteed recipe for sounding awful. They have the skill to make bricks sound less awful, but there's a long distance in my personal dictionary between "less awful" and "reasonably good". It's not their fault, it's simply the law of nature.

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    Greg_L's Avatar
    Greg_L is offline Gregois le Bloodshit!
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    Lol. Some of you need to get over the stupid "loudness war". Loud won a long time ago. Bitching about it aint gonna reverse anything.
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    Waltz Mastering's Avatar
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    For sanity's sake lets change what was referred to as brick to waveform.

    I don't scrutinize mastered waveforms all that much, but I do know the less you rely on gobs of hard clipping and limiting for loudness the more the waveforms will resemble and sound like there are dynamics present... ya, I know that's sort of ironic.

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    SouthSIDE Glen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    Lol. Some of you need to get over the stupid "loudness war". Loud won a long time ago. Bitching about it aint gonna reverse anything.
    As usual, you haven't the slightest f*cking idea of what you're talking about. The "loudness wars" have ebbed and flowed for almost 100 years now. Nobody ever wins, it's just a cycle of fashion.

    What doesn't change are the laws of nature and the way the ears and brain are wired, and because of that, stealing too many dynamics will ALWAYS sound like crap.

    G.
    Glen J. Stephan,
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    masteringhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
    I gotta agree with this ^ . With any out board compression I would use, I rarely ever see "any" gain reduction on the meters.

    I also have this thing where if I see more than a dB and a half on a brick wall limiter, I just feel dirty, so more than 2 dB is out of the question; )

    Balanced Eq, and spreading the load through proper gain staging is key.
    And I have to agree with the above. Tom I don't think that we've ever disagreed on anything. We would be a very boring couple.
    Tom Volpicelli
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    Greg_L's Avatar
    Greg_L is offline Gregois le Bloodshit!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthSIDE Glen View Post
    As usual, you haven't the slightest f*cking idea of what you're talking about.

    .
    Says the "pro" hobbyist hack.
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    Chibi Nappa is offline 1K Silver Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    Lol. Some of you need to get over the stupid "loudness war". Loud won a long time ago. Bitching about it aint gonna reverse anything.
    Dude, you know better than that.

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