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Thread: Mastering/Limiting full band material vs. acoustic only

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    Mastering/Limiting full band material vs. acoustic only

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    I'm very satisfied with my final at-home masters when the tunes are full band, medium to high energy material; drums, bass, etc.

    Those songs sound just the way I want when I'm done.

    But I'm not sure what to watch for with simple acoustic guitar and vocal songs when the two song types are on the same album.

    I assume the same settings used for 'full' songs would result in lighter songs being too loud.

    Overall loudness would be the same of course but wouldn't the acoustic and vocal be too loud by comparison?

    Thanks.

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    Well, first of all, they don't *have* to be the same loudness. I know there's target LUFS numbers for streaming, CDs, whatever, but I'd say if you're mixing those pretty different types for release on a CD, then, as always, use your ears. If you try to create the dynamics and fullness of a band with a vocal and acoustic guitar, I don't think it's going to be pretty.

    So, maybe find a couple references where there's something like this and compare to what you're doing. Listen, adjust, rinse, repeat... Burn a CD or two and play them on a home stereo, or (probably both moving & non-moving) car, to get a sense of whether the transitions between the types work (on all levels).
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Thanks.

    Yes, I know I can just use my ears and settle for whatever I decide, and I can used references.

    I'm wondering if there is a basic or typical way to approach this.

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    part of mastering,
    is getting to the point where you know how to level songs together in an album format.

    individual releases, not as important,
    but when you have a soft song next to a loud one,
    you have to base the ultimate 'loudness' of the soft one relative to the loud one.

    this also relates to how you compress during mastering....
    the dynamics can also rule the utlimate LUFS of each song,
    in relationship to each other.

    it's mostly a judgement call.

    but it helps if you know how to hit your targets first.

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    Been there, done that. (Okay, that saying is getting old) My approach is to match perceived volume of the lead vocal between the two songs. The full band song has more density to it and the acoustic song is sparse(?). It doesn't behave the same as a full band song when using a limiter to bring the volume up because there isn't as much going on to raise the floor. So, match up the lead vocal and hope the rest fills in properly.

    It might also help to put the acoustic song in between two slower full band songs. Ease in, ease out.

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    Thanks guys.

    Think I'm all set now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    My approach is to match perceived volume of the lead vocal between the two songs.
    That's what I'd do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    That's what I'd do.
    Me too - the vocals are the one thing in common between the two styles so it makes sense to keep them at the same level (provided they aren't too buried in the mix for the louder songs).
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    I have seen, my dad also did the same.

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