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Mixdown Levels--Mastering?

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Anonymous
April 18, 2005 12:57:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen &
Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I use
very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this mastered
at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.

Do you guys have any suggestions?
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 4:25:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jmoorefield@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113839851.100875.181420@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen &
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?
>

The typical commercial CD has a shitload of compression and limiting. You
can't get RMS levels anywhere near that high without it. The problem is the
lack of compression in the mix. Compressing a stereo mix to the degree
you'll need doesn't work nearly as well as compressing at the multitrack
level. If you want to sound trashy, use less/no EQ, don't time-aling drum
mics, get some nasty ambience working, and leave some mics open when they
shouldn't be.

And I hope it's finally safe to say that the actual musical content of the
top ~4.5dB of peaks is effectively nil, since a good peak limiter can shave
them off and there's no appreciable difference until the gain is raised to
occupy the newly available headroom. I trust nobody is going to raise the
"That's 40% of the sound!" argument...
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 6:15:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jmoorefield@gmail.com wrote:
> I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0

> I just want the overall level to be higher.

Just go to Transform | Amplitude | Hard limiting...

Click on Help for an overview of that transform.

If you enter a value in "Boost Input By" and click "Gather Statistics
Now" you'll see just how clipped it's going to be.

Beware! It's really easy to get a nasty, squashy sound out of it.
Unlike the other dynamics processors built into CEP, you can't apply
the hard limiter to a frequency band. There are plugins you can buy to
do that, like the dB-Audioware dB-M multiband limiter, which is still
easy to overuse and has more controls, so it's easier to misuse.
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 8:11:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jmoorefield@gmail.com wrote:
> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen
&
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I
use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this
mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?


Yes. Go against the flow. Don't follow the dark side into the loudness
wars. Go for quality sound and let the listener turn up the volume
control if s/he want's it louder.

Maximum loudness involves much processing of the individual tracks
along with much processing of the 2 bus. This is where a rack full of
compressors and limiters can be handy, providing you want to process
the living daylights out of your music.

bobs

Bob Smith
BS Studios
we organize chaos
http://www.bsstudios.com
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 12:50:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 4/18/05 10:57 AM, in article
1113839851.100875.181420@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com,
"jmoorefield@gmail.com" <jmoorefield@gmail.com> wrote:

> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen &
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?
>

First, you need to understand that you're comparing apples and oranges; in
your case, mixes versus fully mastered material. In order to get it to sound
like the "professionally recorded [and mastered] CD" than you need to do
what they are doing; i.e. get it mastered.

If all you want to do is raise the RMS level, than look at a limiter, like
Waves L2 or something along those lines. Just understand that it WILL NOT
sound like a fully mastered product.

Good luck.

Allen
--
Allen Corneau
Mastering Engineer
Essential Sound Mastering
Houston, TX
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 1:03:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1113839851.100875.181420@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> jmoorefield@gmail.com writes:

> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD.

You can't do it. It's not really magic, but (I assume you mean)
commercial pop CDs tweeze and tease every bit they can out of the
music. This starts with mixing skills that evolve over many years, and
then mastering skills, tools, and great monitoring (so you know how
badly you're buggering it) that are a whole different skill set.

Just turn up the volume on the player and you'll be fine.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 1:09:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It's been said. Do Not try and get the LOUDNESS by comparison of a
commercially agressively-screwed-up dynamics push.

Play with this and get an idea what you like and how this works:
Mix it naked (like you;re doing) and get it as damned good as you can (NEVER
comparing it for loudness!).
Save that final mix forever.

NOW, get a compressor of choice/availability, start out with a fairly long
attack time and a midlin' release time so you get -some- dynamics work out
of it but aren't planing off EVERYthing resembling a dynamic hit and thus
whole feel of the thing. Listen, push, and see where you start really
disliking what you're losing to get MoreLoud. Go back a notch and print
that.

Repeat bunches with modifications.

Again, you are NOT going to get COMMERCIAL-ABUSE-HYPERCOMPRESSED results
here... You'll get a better overall sound.
If you want it louder, tuen up the playback volume.



On 4/18/05 11:57 AM, in article
1113839851.100875.181420@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com,
"jmoorefield@gmail.com" <jmoorefield@gmail.com> wrote:

> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen &
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?
>
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 11:36:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Little or no compression is fine, but you might want to investigate some
compression across the two bus on the way out. Also, not sure what can be
done with the metering on CE 2.0, but if you can pull up average RMS and
peak hold at the same time, you can bring it up to about -15 dB (well,
that's my recipe) and limit at maybe -.1 and have a reasonably sounding CD
with decent dynamics. If you try to do what's being done today on CDs,
you'll be cramming every bit of dynamics into the last 3 dB of space and it
will flatten out that nicely spaced mix you have. Too much compression
simply collapses the stereo field.

I would absolutely avoid any idea of using individual track normalization
(well, normalization on anything), which may well bring up the individual
tracks, but then they won't fit together well.

If you've got VST compatibility, try BlockFish from DigitalFishPhones
(http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?item=2&subIte...) for compression
across the master. It's a pretty nice compressor and it's free.

--


Roger W. Norman
SirMusic Studio
http://blogs.salon.com/0004478/
<jmoorefield@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113839851.100875.181420@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen &
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room. I use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't
> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?
>
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 11:55:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

DIGITAL CLIPPING IS BAD, BAD, BAAAAD
(now that that's taken care of ...)

jmoorefield@gmail.com wrote:

> I have a home studio and I'm recording a group of songs with my band.
> We are not trying to make this a clean/glossy pro studio recording.
> I'm having some problems with matching my final mixdown levels with a
> professionally recorded CD. I use Cool Edit Pro 2.0 and an old Allen
&
> Heath board. I have some decent mics and a good sounding room.

There are several ways to get levels louder or
to sound apparently louder.

Compression
Limiting
Distortion
Clipping

(Depending on how serious you are about
it not being "clean/glossy")

> I use
> very little almost no compression. I do not want to get this
mastered
> at a studio. I just want the overall level to be higher. I don't

It's not really fair to expect results like a
'professionally recorded' CD if your not using
gobs of processing both on individual tracks AND
on the mix. Simple truth.

> think it is the mix. I have had a lot of practice mixing and I make
> sure each instrument/vocals has its own space in the mix.
>
> Do you guys have any suggestions?

Creating space in the mix for each part is in
essence like multiband, but allows more dynamics
than whole-hog squeezing.
I don't like what excessive clipping does to the sound
in most cases, and particularly on the drums.
I would suggest using a little bit of compression on
the appropriate tracks (vocal, bass, drum mix, clean guitars)
and limit just below clip on the main mix.
Just don't clip your drums to pieces.
Don't forget that toob-type soft distortion can fatten
up some instruments (even vocals).
Average RMS levels of -12dB (max) with peaks limited
to within a tenth of clipping will sound loud
enough for a 'loud rock' mix.

good luck
rd

ps- digital clipping is bad form, in poor taste
and causes cavities. Might even blow up a satellite.
!