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Thread: Volume question

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyAmato View Post
    I hate the loudness wars. I'll finish what I think is a good sounding mix, then after I tweak the limiters on the master bus, now it's kind of squashed and doesn't sound as good. Sure it's louder and might still sound great, but it sounded better beforehand.
    Exactly!!!!! My mixes always seem to need just enough boost.......if I want them to be somehow acceptably loud........to make them sound too different from how I mixed them to start with. I've read a number of posts.....articles......and watched videos. I must have something wrong with some part of my brain because......for some reason.......I can't understand what I'm doing wrong. My results are better than they were a long time ago.........but not loud enough still. Since my work is mostly not meant for commercial use.......and I have no problem volume matching a collection / album.......for my own use.......I'm not going to go crazy over the volume.
    Just A Song Writer..........

  2. #22
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    Great thread and I will be back when I get into mastering. I will say much of this does not make sense to me, the db levels your talking about. I have all of the Waves volume maximizers and you can make things about as loud as you want with them with out distorting anything by squashing the heck out of the whole mix. Some of mine were louder than store bought cd's so I had to back off. I am starting to look at areas where I am over doing the volume thing. Again where a little is good a lot might not be great. I've had some mixes where the Durough meters were kicking overs all over the place in the sum/diff mode but nothing was distorting, Also the the virtual plugin VU meter after the volume maximizer was slammed and pegged all the way to the right but nothing was distorted. I don't understand this. In the analog days if I did this I would be cussing and replacing all my tweeters.

  3. #23
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    One of the things that digital does better than analog is "lookahead". This allows these plugin limiters to see a peak coming and start turning down before it happens and just slow down the gain reduction so that it sounds less like distortion.

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    Did an experiment this weekend to see how a finished store bought professional cd would look in my DAW. Sony edit Pro has a feature called extract audio from cd. It allows you to pull audio off of a cd in .wav format then place it on a track in your project. I used Jo Dee Messina's Your Not In Kansas Anymore. I really like her. Anyway I pulled the audio off the cd. Placed it on a new track on the timeline and WOW. Zero on the track fader is zero exactly on the master buss. Squashed to the point that the wave form looks entirely square and filled the track timeline space completely yet the sound was spacious. Big not so squashed. Boy do I have a long way to go. My mixes are all over the place when I do this exact same thing. Tones don't always match and volumes are not consistent.

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    Obviously you're not boosting them enough....

  6. #26
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    Sometimes when looking at waveforms, the zoom level matters a lot. You might be zoomed way out and thing "Wow that's loud", but when you zoom in a little bit it doesn't look quite so bad.

    If you really want loud - like very small DR - that sounds decent, then you need to control dynamics very tightly at every level. Ideally start with the performance and source sound. Then compress that. Then mix it with a couple other instruments and compress that submix. Then mix that with a couple other submixes...

    My approach is different than many, but can work. I like to "start in the middle" and then mess with the tops. I use a relatively long RMS compression that keeps what amounts to the "short term loudness" in a smaller range. Done well, it's a super subtle way to get more consistency over time that doesn't impact the relationship between transient and sustain/decay the way more traditional compression does. Then I can deal with the tops using more "normal" compression/limiting/saturation techniques. Since the slower comp also tends to make the peaks more consistent, it's easier to dial in and requires less compromise between catching quieter peaks and oversmashing the louder ones.

    Again, do that to each track, then to submixes, then to the final mix. It's almost too easy. Like sometimes it sounds great and feels plenty dynamic, then I look at the meter and go "Oh shit I've gone too far!"

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyAmato View Post
    I hate the loudness wars. I'll finish what I think is a good sounding mix, then after I tweak the limiters on the master bus, now it's kind of squashed and doesn't sound as good. Sure it's louder and might still sound great, but it sounded better beforehand.
    That's my experience as well. Maybe it's me, but anything limited sounds worse than the pure mix.

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