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Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s)?

DSP related issues, mathematics, processing and techniques

Re: Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s

Postby nix » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:23 am

Here, too, is the old SM compressor-
maybe I just need to practice with it, but I never have gotten as good somehow as RoughRider with it->
SI_Compressor.fsm
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Re: Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s

Postby noisenerd » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:54 pm

nix wrote:Maybe the mastering device could be a suite of plugins?


That's what I was thinking of, but of course people are free to make whatever they please. My personal feeling, however, is that there's no such thing as an "all-in-one" solution that always works. I like having the option to stick anything I might need anywhere I might need it.

Spogg wrote:It seems there are 2 areas:
(1) Getting individual sounds optimised on their own tracks before mastering.
(2) Mastering to provide the desired overall result.

Am I right in thinking that if you get (1) "right" there will be far less mastering work at the end - just getting relative levels correct?


Indeed. If I find myself having to do too much tweaking during mastering, I go back to the mix. However, I often find that the increase in perceived loudness changes the tonal balance such that I'll make slight adjustments to problem areas. Mixing is a whole other discussion, but yeah, you're on the right track there.

As far as the order of EQ, I'm not so sure there's necessarily a right way to do it, but before and after definitely sound different. This is another one that's easiest to understand by playing around. I do a little of both, and I arrived at this method through experimentation... but you (or anyone) might get equally good or better results with an entirely different chain. I do agree though that it's a good idea to do any frequency cutting (like removing everything below a certain bass frequency) before anything else.
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Re: Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s

Postby Spogg » Sun May 01, 2016 10:21 am

Well, I've spent a LOT of time reading about mastering and examining the details of commercial and free mastering plugins, so now I've something of a reasonable understanding of the tools and processes involved.

The point I'm currently at is thinking that if the mix is "good" then mastering seems only to reduce the quality and impact of the impression. I'm not talking about corrective work where maybe the mix was not balanced due to monitoring speakers, listening conditions or headphones being used but in situations where these things are fine.

I just came across the link below and, to my ears, the mastered tracks actually sound inferior to the un-mastered ones :o

https://www.izotope.com/en/community/bl ... mastering/

When switching between the two I made volume adjustments to allow for the perceived loudness differences and the mastered ones didn't sound so clear or dynamic. I preferred the un-mastered ones with my higher volume settings; they seemed to have more punch and definition than the mastered ones.

I've also read about the so-called loudness war and the recent backlash against it. This rather confirms my experience with the izotope tracks in the link above.

I guess that if you just have access to a sound file, and not the project's DAW tracks, then there is a good case for experimenting with mastering tools to improve the sonic impression. But, at this point, I feel that the best way forward would be to get the individual tracks optimised (using e.g. compression and eq on the vocals) then mix the levels to get the desired balance. Then finally run through a normalise-to-peak and have done with it.

I must be missing something since my views are at odds with the world, or so it seems.

Cheers

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Re: Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s

Postby tulamide » Sun May 01, 2016 11:10 am

Hey Spogg,

I agree to what you experienced. It is what I'm talking about a lot. That's why I always talked of bringing the levels to similar stages. People prefer the louder one, no matter if it is really the better one. But loudness is just a turn on the knob of your receiver (or whatever you use to listen to music).

Remember my application Dancer? It has a full featured professional DR (dynamic range) meter. Not a coincidence. I made it after I encountered songs so flat that they were practically dead. Nice analogy: a flatline. Then I read about the loudness war and a tool (a meter) that wanted to set a sign against this over-compression. I then created my own, based on some info about technical requirements.

Have a closer listen to Bolero. And then imagine hearing that piece of music squeezed by a maximizer. I am using such tools in mastering, but only very carefully and just to make the result homogenous. To take care it brings it all together to build a harmonic soundscape.

What you loose by compressing is dynamic. Nobody will really wonder about that. But dynamic is what makes music interesting. In higher speed dance music there's so much compression going on ("multi-stage compression"), that you need to use another compressor with sidechaining to give the kick a little more room. Although it's somehow terrible, the pumping effect that results from it also introduces some dynmaic again, which makes the music more interesting. Strange ways...

The only things you really need to compress are vocals (if not a choir) and electric guitars (because of their distortion). Apart from that, compression can be an art form if you use it in extreme ways.
If you feel like gifting: https://paypal.me/tulamide
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Re: Filling the gap- community mixing/mastering fx project(s

Postby Spogg » Sun May 01, 2016 12:33 pm

tulamide wrote:Hey Spogg,

I agree to what you experienced.
...

The only things you really need to compress are vocals (if not a choir) and electric guitars (because of their distortion). Apart from that, compression can be an art form if you use it in extreme ways.


Then I am not alone in the world! Thank you tulamide!

I remember that in my vinyl days I was always frustrated by the difference in dynamic range between a recording and a live performance, be it rock or classical. I understand why compression was needed for that medium, to keep the stylus in the groove, to fit more on a disc and to keep all the quieter parts usefully above the noise floor (hiss, crackle, rumble).
When I heard my very first CD (orchestral music on headphones) I was stunned at the apparent dynamic range and inuadible noise floor and I just had to spend £300 (equals a grand now) on a Yamaha CD player. I bought some CD versions of albums I already owned and did A/B comaprisons just to delight in the improvements of literally every sonic aspect. These days vinyl, for some reason that totally escapes me, is considered "better" somehow. I'm simply stunned that some people actually want to make their music sound like it's come from vinyl or even cassette tape. But that's a different issue I guess, more to do with psychology than Hi-Fi reproduction I believe.
I'm probably just showing my age :lol:

Maybe the conclusion is that all this mastering is "horses for courses". In this way it's "right" for EDM and "wrong" for classical and somewhere in-between for other genres. The exception would of course be for addressing older recordings' shortcomings.

I'm currenly experimenting in FS with compression and the like but somehow my heart isn't in it, if you know what I mean.

Cheers

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