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Recording Studio Discussion on everything recording based, such as mixing, mastering, mics, monitors and other gear.

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Unread 04-03-2007, 12:18 AM   #1
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Getting my mixes to sound "loud?"

I finally got my tone to sound pretty good for my mixes and all that, but they are really quiet. Like you can go from a good mastered song that seems to use the whole bandwidth your speakers have got, but then my songs are really quiet in comparison.

But when I am mucking around with it in Cubase, the meter shows that I am using the whole amount of sound I've got on peaks, anyway, and if I turn it up anymore it starts to flatten off and distort on the peaks. Should I use more compression so that the whole thing is more or less the same volume all the time and it flattens off the peaks a bit or what?
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Unread 04-03-2007, 01:02 AM   #2
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Well to get things loud, I'd use some sort of limiter (I'm partial to the TLS pocket limiter and it's free too!). I experimented with compression a bit a while back, but I didn't really like what it did to the mix, though maybe I was using too much.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 01:20 AM   #3
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I assume you're using windows, so here is a link for a good master limiter to get that brick shaped wave form that's all the rage.http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/classic-master-limiter.php
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Unread 04-03-2007, 01:52 AM   #4
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get it professionally mastered.

That will cure most any "loudness" or "clarity" problems you have, as long as your mix is solid.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 08:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by desertdweller View Post
get it professionally mastered.

That will cure most any "loudness" or "clarity" problems you have, as long as your mix is solid.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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By Professional, make sure you aren't going to some guy in a home studio using Sonar. I believe there are a few guys over at Masterdisk that master things at around $100 a song. I've sent client material over there, and they've done a great job.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 05:02 PM   #7
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Isn't anyone capable of what the pros can do? Unless they have some kind of $50,000 mastering equipment. It would be nice for anyone with personal experience to give some more tips.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 06:23 PM   #8
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If you want to do more than just compress it to make it "loud," you'll need great monitors, a good room, and trained ears for deciding what needs tweaking, if anything. Otherwise, play around until you're happy.
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Unread 04-03-2007, 06:26 PM   #9
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Yeah I'm definitely not looking for pro masters here.. I just want to hone the craft for myself to crank out tunes in my basement ahaha if I was going to get a pro to master something, I'd get a pro to record me playing and just cut myself out of that loop entirely.

I read this huge article written by a guy named Slipperman and that helped a bit, but he really just kind of ....ed around for most of the time and never really got back to the things I was really interested in (namely, everything to do with the guitar tracks). Any other resources already written that might help me?
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Unread 04-03-2007, 06:41 PM   #10
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There is a book by Bob Katz that is supposed to be quite good, I've forgotten the name. In the meanwhile, if you want it loud just throw on a master limiter and get about -6db of gain reduction so it won't pump.
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Unread 04-06-2007, 12:20 PM   #11
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A lot of it is in the chain of effects. When mastering (do you have mastering software?), use EQ before compression (I like to use two stages of compression -- first a multi-band and then general compression), then whatever tweaking effects (selective band filters, etc) and then a limiter.

If you are just using the host program, make sure that you use submixes for various instruments and then route them through the master channel before they go through the monitors. Most programs default to having the channels go straight to the monitors -- so what you are hearing is not necessarily what gets laid to the track. Then use the best meter the program has, dial up the limiter until it clips and then slowly back it off until there is no clipping.

Don't know if this helps any, but it's the way I work. Also, if you have wav editing software, you can selectively reduce the peaks by highlighting them and reducing the gain on that segment. It's tedious, but if you only have a handful of spikes you can dramatically improve the loudness by reducing them and then boosting the gain on the overall mix.
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