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Thread: How loud is to loud 2 ( and dynamic range)

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    How loud is to loud 2 ( and dynamic range)

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    I posted some time ago a post "How loud is too loud" to try and find out the level my final masters should have.

    Indeed i was going for a very high volume as many pointed out. So i amended my mistakes by lowering the volume and not hitting so hard the limiter.

    changing from this:


    to this:


    (There was another example that was a lot louder but i don't have the fixed version yet)

    targeting an RMS level (measured with voxengo span of around -15db).

    That being said the topic of the loudness war arose and the conversation went from volumes to Dynamic range. As I amended my mistake of having the mix too loud I noticed that my master (before limiter) was far from 0db. Even more, my peak avg was around -6db or -5db, and my max peak was around -3db. Even more, using TT DR meter i saw that my dynamic range was about 10db.

    So, here is my question, and it is an open question: how good or bad is having small-ish dynamic range? In my mind I was targeting for 14 db (as k14 standar) but if I took out some compression i did on the individual tracks the mix and the compression on the master the final result sounded a mess.

    I was happy to see that the limiter was used only to adjust the RMS level to where i wanted and not to cut a part of my peaks, but then again, should I rephrase my question by "how compressed it too compressed?"

    What are your thoughts about this?

    Thanks in advance to all for your opinions/suggestions/comments.

    Federico

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    Quote Originally Posted by FedePatane View Post

    So, here is my question, and it is an open question: how good or bad is having small-ish dynamic range?
    It's good and/or bad. It can be either or both. It just depends on lots of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    It's good and/or bad. It can be either or both. It just depends on lots of things.
    well, i may have miss rephrased my question. I usually get answers like "wing it", or "what sound best to your ear", so since i am not a profesional or have a perfect experience and all that, i was looking forward to some reference numbers to look at, and have some way to know if i am doing it right or not.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by FedePatane View Post
    well, i may have miss rephrased my question. I usually get answers like "wing it", or "what sound best to your ear", so since i am not a profesional or have a perfect experience and all that, i was looking forward to some reference numbers to look at, and have some way to know if i am doing it right or not.....
    There are no numbers. Anyone that gives you numbers is wrong. It depends on the music, the equipment used, etc. A metal mix doesn't need as much range as some sleepy jazz song. A pro with millions of dollars in mastering equipment can squash the shit out of a mix and still have it sound fantastic. His "numbers" will not be the same as some home rec guy with freeware that can't make a good mix anyway. Too many variables. You don't wanna hear it, but "use your ears" is the best you can do.

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    Coincidentally, I just read an interesting article about dynamic range vs. headroom a few minutes ago. It aligns to Greg's over-compression statement.
    Recording: Audio Basics: Headroom Is Not the Same Thing As Dynamic Range - Pro Sound Web

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    I don't know the exact figure, but I agree that it depends on genre how much you can squash things, and I get really mad when someone posts a song in the mix clinic and it blows out my ears even when my headphone preamp is at a reasonable level. I won't even listen to their song at that point. My general rule is to put my listening volume knob at like 9 o'clock and have it be a good level there. In general this translates between -19 and -17 RMS when i look at the figures. I find it competitively loud yet musical and pleasing and comfortable on the ear in this range. By doing my mixes around that level, I feel I'm doing a society a service by preserving their hearing, too! Everyone is going to wind up with hearing aids because they record songs and destroy them with limiters. Which is dumb and not worth it. I can't listen to 90% of commercial recordings anymore because of volume/dynamic issues. The mainstream records I do like tend to be more "underground" productions where the engineers have more leeway and taste. At some point there will be major backlash against volume and all the records crushed with limiters will sound so dated, just like autotune sounds so dated after just a few years of it.

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    For music production, I'd forget about thinking about target numbers as well.
    How loud your songs are can be a concern when they are in rotation with your favorite recordings,
    but still matching by ear will be more accurate than using meters. gl

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    This^

    Send your tune to a radio station and get it in a playlist. When you queue up - all your answers will become questions.

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    almost everything to my ears is too loud thesedays, I prefer dynamic range and quality, concentrate on the bloody song and writing a masterpiece, not how loud it is.

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