Mastering for streaming site

Hello , I have been having major problems mastering a song for upload to SoundCloud. My 16 bit cd mix is fine. I'm uploading my streaming mix at 32 bit -14 lufs , eq'd and leveled for streaming using Ozone. The problem I'm having on this song (and others like it) is when the site applies their processing , they are Totally Destroying my fade ins and outs. The fade in levels are being boosted way up then their compressor slams everything down when the song reaches a normal level. Fade outs are boosted then cut off abruptly. I'm using these uploads as a tool to get mixing and mastering suggestions from my Daw forum. Is this just the nature of the beast using a streaming service , or is it mainly SoundCloud. I just can't imagine anyone not being able to do a fade in or a nice long fade out on a laid back acoustic song. Thanks for any insight .. mark
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
The only issues I have seen with Soundcloud are 1) if people upload already-compressed files (MP3s at low resolution) or 2) use a heavily compressed mix. How are you using 32 bit? Have you tried uploading a 16 bit WAV file?
 
No I havn't used 16 bit. I always upload .WAV at the highest bit rate I have available. Overs are normally taken care of in the mix. I'm using Ozone mainly for eq suggestions and getting my levels up better. I never squash a track or a mix with compression. I'm uploading at -14 lufs so there is no need for the service to do much or any Boosting. As stated above the only songs I have problems with are those with substantial fades. ms
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
AFAIK, SoundCloud does not modify the output level. I've never really noticed anything horrible with their processing, and I've uploaded MP3 (320kbps), and both 16 and 24-bit WAV (nothing higher than 48kHz tho'). I am certain there's no value in uploading 32-bit to SoundCloud, unless you're trying to use it for archival purpose, which I think is risky.

If you're using Ozone's Master Assistant, it's likely applying compression and/or "Dynamic EQ" in addition to the Maximizer (a limiter+), so there is some compression going on, but I've never noticed any gating effect at all in SC. Of course, most lossy compression does toss stuff at the edges, so if your fades are on widely panned parts it might get affected.

I'd upload the 16-bit files from the CD and see what happens to those. Do you use Ozone dithering for those bounces?

And, post a link so we can hear the WAV and SC.
 
Thanks for the feedback. I just read SC recommendations for uploading. They're 16 bit /48k. I should have known that by the 16 bit setting that always pops up when exporting to mp3. (I also usually work in 44.1) I have been loosely been using the term "fade in" but in this song it's actually an 8 bar intro with quiet instruments before drums and main cellos come in. They also said their conversion to 128 mp3 often raises peaks causing clipping if not enough headroom. (not a problem). Tomorrow I'm going to upload two versions of a different song. One of them will be with automation reducing the level of the first 8 bars and see what they do to it. When I get a proper handle on this I'll post before and after using my problem song. Thanks .. mark
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
Thanks for the feedback. I just read SC recommendations for uploading. They're 16 bit /48k. I should have known that by the 16 bit setting that always pops up when exporting to mp3. (I also usually work in 44.1) I have been loosely been using the term "fade in" but in this song it's actually an 8 bar intro with quiet instruments before drums and main cellos come in. They also said their conversion to 128 mp3 often raises peaks causing clipping if not enough headroom. (not a problem). Tomorrow I'm going to upload two versions of a different song. One of them will be with automation reducing the level of the first 8 bars and see what they do to it. When I get a proper handle on this I'll post before and after using my problem song. Thanks .. mark
The reconstructed waves from MP3 can have higher peaks than the original. In the Ozone Maximizer make sure to set True Peaks on, and set the peak limit at -1.0dB. You might get away with higher, like -0.5dB, but [normal] people cannot hear 0.5dB. They do hear clipping though, even if they don't know what it is, so don't set it to 0.0, and the integrated LUFS is what they will sense and compare against other tracks.

I've uploaded 48k/24-bit to SoundCloud without problems.

p.s. you confused me with the "16 bit ... when exporting to MP3." You should be able to export directly to MP3 from whatever your project settings are without having to change the bit depth first. You can, of course, but then the old rules say to dither (at least when going to 16-bit).
 
Yes Boulder , I've noticed it Is floating bit. No Kieth I havn't been dithering before uploading. I've found the perfect song in my files for a test. It's a reprise only 1:11 min. long with a nylon strung banjo for the intro and the same clip for the outro. I'll upload a 16 bit/44.1 Ozone enhanced version to SoundCloud (Test A) and and the same song with the banjo intro and outro reduced by 10 lufs. (Test B). and see what happens. I can (I think) include a WAV version (Test C) without going thru SC for download with the in and out reductions. I'll only leave these files on SC for a few days , so the links will be dead by this weekend in case anyone else wants to weigh in. I'm open for any better test options .. Thanks mark
 
I exported 2 versions out of my Daw this morning. One of them with an automated -10.3 db drop on the intro and outro. Radical difference between the two listening in my daw. The two exported files sounded nearly identical playing them thru windows media player on a different pc. The majority of the problem seems to be on my end before uploading to SC. My export settings look correct with all fx and automation on during export. I'm having a hard time believing this. New test tomorrow just in case I blew this one. ms
 
I don't have internet in my studio. I've been transferring files via flash drive and uploading and listening from a laptop at my house. My problem appears to be in my windows media player on the laptop. I have Cakewalk installed there and imported the song versions into a new project , and they play like they should. I can Easily hear and see the waveform difference inside of Cakewalk , but outside it levels out using a media player. I'm going thru settings but nothing resolved yet. I guess I've been wrongly bashing SC. ms
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Mark, do you have something enabled on the playback computer to normalize the sound or something like that. I usually disable ALL enhancements in Windows audio. Media player SHOULDN'T be adjusting the sound, but the Windows Sound setup COULD.
 
I picked up a cheap 2nd hand m-audio interface and hooked it up to my laptop. Everything is fine now. Apparently some Dell software was auto leveling everything , even with all the enhancements turned off in the media player. Thanks for the feedback and help. This may be a common problem that I've never heard discussed. One more reason to use an interface .. Thanks ... mark
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
On a number of occasions, Soundcloud has significantly lowered the loudness level of my songs. I don't know why this happens.
Well, maybe they *do* have some kind of LUFS limit. I have not been actively keeping track of this stuff and just stick with something between (minus) 14 and 15dB LUFS. AFAIK, nobody messes with that, though iTunes does have a lower limit, I'm not pushing anything - just YouTube primarily.
 
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