L2 makes the drums disappear

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

I am attempting to get my band's demo/ep up to the volume of a
commercial CD.

First off, I know we should get it mastered for real, but for now we
dont have the money. Secondly, i know that i shouldnt crush the hell
out of my recording by slamming it up to commercial levels, but try to
tell that to the rest of the band and all the other people who put our
cd in the car and gets annoyed at turning the volume up.

My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
Waves L2. I am also running compression over the mix with about 4-5 db
of reduction with an opto type setting. I've listened without this
compression and it's definately not what's eating up my drums. Once
the L2 is engaged, it's doing TONS of limiting on the snare hits, and
turning the snare up or down in the mix makes little difference in the
overall sound once i'm limiting that much. When comparing to a wav
file imported from a CD at the same volume, the drums have waaay more
attack on the commecial cd. They seem brighter, so it seems that the
solution is to add more presence via EQ. Is this commonplace? I've
already got 4db of high shelving at 7k on the snare and it was miked
with a 57. It's a punchy sounding snare too. I'm just thinking: How
much freaking treble do I have to add to this thing?

Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?

I could post an mp3 sample of the song, pre and post L2 if anyone cares
enough to listen and it would help.

thanks so much guys
jake
10 answers Last reply
More about makes drums disappear
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Jake Saliba <jakesaliba@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    >get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    >Waves L2. I am also running compression over the mix with about 4-5 db
    >of reduction with an opto type setting. I've listened without this
    >compression and it's definately not what's eating up my drums. Once
    >the L2 is engaged, it's doing TONS of limiting on the snare hits, and
    >turning the snare up or down in the mix makes little difference in the
    >overall sound once i'm limiting that much. When comparing to a wav
    >file imported from a CD at the same volume, the drums have waaay more
    >attack on the commecial cd. They seem brighter, so it seems that the
    >solution is to add more presence via EQ. Is this commonplace? I've
    >already got 4db of high shelving at 7k on the snare and it was miked
    >with a 57. It's a punchy sounding snare too. I'm just thinking: How
    >much freaking treble do I have to add to this thing?

    Congratulations! You've just discovered what is so offensive about this
    kind of overprocessing.

    >Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?

    A lot of folks _do_ change their mix in order to bring the levels up. But
    I think the whole notion of what you're trying to do is kind of misguided.

    >I could post an mp3 sample of the song, pre and post L2 if anyone cares
    >enough to listen and it would help.

    MP3 does weird things to the L2 artifacts... you're better off using an
    uncompressed format. And remember that L2 is just the final polish after
    you have squashed the hell out of everything.... it's not a compressor, it
    is a limiter.
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Jake Saliba" <jakesaliba@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1122798944.508453.161840@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > I am attempting to get my band's demo/ep up to the volume of a
    > commercial CD.
    >
    > First off, I know we should get it mastered for real, but for now we
    > dont have the money. Secondly, i know that i shouldnt crush the hell
    > out of my recording by slamming it up to commercial levels, but try to
    > tell that to the rest of the band and all the other people who put our
    > cd in the car and gets annoyed at turning the volume up.


    Reaching for the volume knob every 45 minutes (on average) gets them
    annoyed?

    Even professionally massacred CDs aren't all equally loud.


    >
    > My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    > get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    > Waves L2. I am also running compression over the mix with about 4-5 db
    > of reduction with an opto type setting. I've listened without this
    > compression and it's definately not what's eating up my drums. Once
    > the L2 is engaged, it's doing TONS of limiting on the snare hits, and
    > turning the snare up or down in the mix makes little difference in the
    > overall sound once i'm limiting that much. When comparing to a wav
    > file imported from a CD at the same volume, the drums have waaay more
    > attack on the commecial cd. They seem brighter, so it seems that the
    > solution is to add more presence via EQ. Is this commonplace? I've
    > already got 4db of high shelving at 7k on the snare and it was miked
    > with a 57. It's a punchy sounding snare too. I'm just thinking: How
    > much freaking treble do I have to add to this thing?
    >
    > Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?


    Your mix is probably not suitable for that kind of pseudo-mastering and that
    kind of pseudo-mastering is not suitable for your goal, which is getting it
    to be as loud as contemporary commercial CDs.

    If that's what you really, really want, you should partly reprogram your
    mixing skills by adopting a bag of tricks specifically aimed at making
    individual elements of the mix fit to survive the impending dynamic
    mutilation, as opposed to the old habit of making them sound good within the
    context. That includes triggering/samples and heavy editing on the drums,
    multiple stages of compression/limiting on the individual channels and
    subgroups, multing the signals and combining the original with aggresively
    processed (comp/lim/gate/eq) versions thereof, more aggresive equalization
    throughout etc.

    Just don't expect to be proud of the results 5 years down the line.

    Predrag


    >
    > I could post an mp3 sample of the song, pre and post L2 if anyone cares
    > enough to listen and it would help.
    >
    > thanks so much guys
    > jake
    >
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Jake Saliba" <jakesaliba@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1122798944.508453.161840@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    > get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    > Waves L2. ...
    > ...Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?

    Most likely it's the mix. Sometimes too much compression can cause those
    very symptoms!

    All signal processing is destructive and at some point the audio signal will
    always fall apart. Our goal is to extend that point of breaking to AFTER
    broadcast processing, MP3s, etc. You might consider having somebody with
    fresh ears do some mixes or at the very least back way off on the
    compression and eq. substituting fader moves in order to obtain the desired
    musical balance.

    A good mix rarely needs more than 4 to 6 dB of limiting on just peaks in
    order to be right up at a "commercial" level. I've been doing a little bit
    of tracking lately and am finding that I have no problem attaining
    "commercial" levels with virtually no compression employed at all other than
    an L2 catching a few of the peaks. This experience has been some real food
    for thought!

    --
    Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
    Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
    Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
    615.385.8051 http://www.hyperback.com
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 01:35:44 -0700, Jake Saliba wrote:

    > I am attempting to get my band's demo/ep up to the volume of a
    > commercial CD.
    >
    > First off, I know we should get it mastered for real, but for now we
    > dont have the money. Secondly, i know that i shouldnt crush the hell
    > out of my recording by slamming it up to commercial levels, but try to
    > tell that to the rest of the band and all the other people who put our
    > cd in the car and gets annoyed at turning the volume up.
    >
    > My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    > get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    > Waves L2. I am also running compression over the mix with about 4-5 db
    > of reduction with an opto type setting. I've listened without this
    > compression and it's definately not what's eating up my drums. Once
    > the L2 is engaged, it's doing TONS of limiting on the snare hits, and
    > turning the snare up or down in the mix makes little difference in the
    > overall sound once i'm limiting that much. When comparing to a wav
    > file imported from a CD at the same volume, the drums have waaay more
    > attack on the commecial cd. They seem brighter, so it seems that the
    > solution is to add more presence via EQ. Is this commonplace? I've
    > already got 4db of high shelving at 7k on the snare and it was miked
    > with a 57. It's a punchy sounding snare too. I'm just thinking: How
    > much freaking treble do I have to add to this thing?
    >
    > Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?

    It's the mix. Submix the drums and give them a good smashing. Try L2 as an
    insert on kick and snare too. It can be a nice limiter, and will work
    better like than trying to do the same over the whole mix. Tape sim and
    other fuzzes can do the same kind of thing on snare and give you a little
    added top end too.

    The best way to use L2 on a mix is to use the function that lets you bring
    down the threshold and output level sliders at the same time. (It's a
    little button between the two sliders.)

    The reason for lowering the output at the same time as the threshold is
    that otherwise it just gets louder and louder and 'better' as you squash
    it more, and it's not obvious how much thinner and trashed the mix is
    getting. Keep bypassing L2 and listening (there should be no level
    difference) and you should get an idea of how much you can get away with.

    If you want a *really* loud mix, weapons grade multiband limiting and
    fuzz/exciter are your friends.

    >
    > I could post an mp3 sample of the song, pre and post L2 if anyone cares
    > enough to listen and it would help.
    >
    > thanks so much guys
    > jake
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <p94qe1lmjdc9kso71nkgtjvcgn9k7u048c@4ax.com>, Julian
    <JulianPAdamsNo@SpamHotmail.Com> wrote:

    > >>My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    > >>get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    > >>Waves L2.
    >
    > Try a slower attack setting of course!


    The L2 does not have an attack setting as it's a limiter, not a
    compressor. It is sold as software and, until recently, an external
    hardware box which Waves has discontinued, which is also a great
    converter.

    Anybody here bought the hardware L3?


    David Correia
    Celebration Sound
    Warren, Rhode Island

    CelebrationSound@aol.com
    www.CelebrationSound.com
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Heh, the L2 is my new fave toy! Had a similar problem with my own quest
    for LOUD, what I'm doing is using the L2 just for the limiting, keeping
    the threshold just under 0, but cutting the celing setting quite a bit.
    I'm then going into the RBass plug in which really fills out the sound,
    and then into the linear phase multiband, bring up some mids, a little
    cut in the lower frequencies and a little high end for a bit of
    sparkle. This is where you can get back your kick and snare that were
    lost with the limiting, it gives the guitars a bit more bite aswell. I
    got this through trial and error, and I'm just a hobbyist, so some may
    think I'm speaking out my rear end, but I'm really pleased with the
    results this is giving me.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    This is so sad!

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

    Jake Saliba ha scritto:
    > I am attempting to get my band's demo/ep up to the volume of a
    > commercial CD.
    >
    > First off, I know we should get it mastered for real, but for now we
    > dont have the money. Secondly, i know that i shouldnt crush the hell
    > out of my recording by slamming it up to commercial levels, but try to
    > tell that to the rest of the band and all the other people who put our
    > cd in the car and gets annoyed at turning the volume up.
    >
    > My problem is this: the attack on the kick and snare disappears when i
    > get it to a comparable level of another favorite recording using the
    > Waves L2. I am also running compression over the mix with about 4-5 db
    > of reduction with an opto type setting. I've listened without this
    > compression and it's definately not what's eating up my drums. Once
    > the L2 is engaged, it's doing TONS of limiting on the snare hits, and
    > turning the snare up or down in the mix makes little difference in the
    > overall sound once i'm limiting that much. When comparing to a wav
    > file imported from a CD at the same volume, the drums have waaay more
    > attack on the commecial cd. They seem brighter, so it seems that the
    > solution is to add more presence via EQ. Is this commonplace? I've
    > already got 4db of high shelving at 7k on the snare and it was miked
    > with a 57. It's a punchy sounding snare too. I'm just thinking: How
    > much freaking treble do I have to add to this thing?
    >
    > Is the problem with my mix, or my pseudo-mastering?
    >
    > I could post an mp3 sample of the song, pre and post L2 if anyone cares
    > enough to listen and it would help.
    >
    > thanks so much guys
    > jake
    >
    Keep in mind that L2 is a kind of limiter and will "eat" everything over
    his threshold. L2 raise the RMS power of the mix lowering his dynamic
    range. If your peaks are at 0 dBfs and you set L2 to raise the level
    about 4.5 dB, you will loose exactly 4.5 dB of dynamic range!
    The drum and other high transient signals are often eated by L2 because
    they often represent the highest peaks in the mix.
    Try to process the drum dynamics during the mixdown process to reach the
    right rms power needed with the right balance of attack vs body, in
    order to be able to afford the (better if small) L2 processing without
    loosing too much.

    The simple answer is that commercial records are involved in the so
    called "level madness". Nonsense that is technically and musically WRONG!
    The CD standard has an absolute maximum possible peak level (0 dBfs).
    At this level, the CD is capable of a dynamic range of 96dB. If you need
    more volume, consider to raise the VOLUME setting of your amplifier. The
    result will be very much better than squeezing your hard work of weeks
    with L2 or other hard limiters in a single pass.

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

    Mark wrote:
    > This is so sad!
    >
    > Mark

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

    StraightEight wrote:
    > Mark wrote:
    > > This is so sad!
    > >
    > > Mark
    >
    > ?

    we finally have a widely available medium that can reproduce a wide
    dynamic range, but because it has a clearly defined ceiling, many feel
    they need to be smashed right up against it...

    Mark
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