commercial CD sound

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Ron.G, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. Ron.G

    Ron.G Active Member

    I have been stuggling with this issue for a while so I thought I'd toss it out there and let the experts have a go at it.
    When I record instruments it try to capture exactly what I'm hearing.Then when I mix I try to fit them in there own space so there not stepping all over each other, using small amounts of Eq/comp/ect.

    Now I have what seems to sound like a great mix and it translates well with other systems. Here's the confusing part...

    When I listen to commercial CD's in the same type style of music they sound thin and very brite. some actually sound distorted, but that could be a artistic thing I suppose.
    The tracks just seem to be processed to death. I'm not saying that it is happening during the mastering process,rather in the mix or both.

    Anyone else experience this? BTW not all CD's sound like this to me, but there are alot.

    Could my mixes be that far off??
  2. acorneau

    acorneau Active Member

    Welcome to the state of popular music today. Sucks, don't it?!?

    If you like the way your mixes sound, then be happy that you accomplished your goal. Don't bring your material down to be "part of the group". We need to strive for the higher ground, not the least common denominator.

    Good luck, and good mixing!

    Allen Corneau, Mastering Engineer
    Essential Sound Mastering
  3. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) When I got started, I was very partial to my sound, and I would work very hard for decent translation also. But in the jukebox, on the radio and TV my sound didn't belong with the others. My sound was dull, boomy, and lifeless when compared to the others, like it wasn't even HI-FI at all. Now I know what mastering means.

  4. Ron.G

    Ron.G Active Member

    Thanks guys,
    I was hoping it wasn't just me. like I said before, not all the CD's that I'd listen to sounded that way
    but the more popular or modern stuff certainly does.
  5. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    If you'd like, send me an audio CD of one of your mixes that best illustrates the "problem". I'll give it a listen & respond to you with comments. Contact me at the phone number below.
  6. Ron.G

    Ron.G Active Member

    That would be great! Then I could see just how far off I might be. I really appreciate the offer and I'll give you a call.
  7. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Ron: I have had this problem before, when I was making my first recordings. I found that the cause was poor monitors and a lack of acoustic correction. The most common comment I get on my stuff, is that it sounds like a commercial cd. I am not so quick to make these claims, because I am my own worse critic, but musicians and non musicians alike seem to make these types of comments.
    I don't want to mislead you to sound like I have been doing this forever, only a couple of years. I am however also willing to help(if I can), and I'm willing to take a stab at listening to you work as well. If you can't post it on nowhere for a reveiw, then PM me, because I am curious to hear what you do, and anxious to help. :cool:
  8. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Hi Ron,

    I agree that a lot of the CDs out there (ignoring the music entirely, that's another thread) sound absolutely terrible. It's a part of the whole "LOUDER IS BETTER" disease that seems to be running though the industry. Digital compression and limiting in the mastering stage have absolutely destroyed the dynamic range of even the best tracks and God help the mediocre ones.

    I've been called into sessions recently where the digital tracks look like a stack of 2' x 4's. It's impossible to get a good mix out of something like that, it's just so static, has no life.....

    Well, I'll stop moaning and ranting. The topic has been well covered here and on other sights. Just stick to your guns and let those poor tracks breath!

    Uncle Bob

    Can a blue man sing the whites?
  9. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    Ron and Don,

    did you ever do the exchange? I am very curious to hear the feedback, will you share it here?

    Also, Ron, what are the current recordings that you are listening to that sound thin or brittle?

    I am just starting on some initial tracking for some of my first home recordings and trying to learn as much as I can about how decisions made early in the process may effect my final product down the road a bit.

    Thanks in advance,

  10. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    I have not yet heard from Ron. My offer still stands.

    In the "Musicians" section of Recording.Org there is a category where Azure Crystal, Doug and Kurt will do on-line critique & comments on music (which I cannot do right now). Ron and everyone else can try that excellent forum feature.
  11. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Jim, If I could give you one peice of advice, I would say be careful and take your time. When you are starting out a lot of people have the idea that if it sounds ok, then you can make it sound great when you mix. Possible, but not likely. The best thing you can do is spend tons of time making sure each instrument sounds great on it's own, and that the parts are played evenly, and very accurately. I would say that no matter how good each instrument sounds, if one part is a little sloppy, then your recording will be too. The idea that no one will notice is horsepucky.
    Also if everything sounds good and you still have issues with the way the mix sounds, the first thing to ask yourself is if some of the parts walk on other ones. If the peice has adequate space, and the parts are all played to perfection,(absolute perfection)you will only have to tweak things a little to have a great sounding recording. For all the extra time you spend for production, setting up and tracking, you will get it back in a stress free mix process.
  12. Ron.G

    Ron.G Active Member

    Sorry for the delay folks. I'm just sending it out now. Things have been a little crazy the last couple of weeks.
    I could post it in the critique section of the forum if I can figure it out.It's just a short radio spot kinda thing,but I think it shows how I'm EQing and thats where I need some guidence.

    I'm using JBL lsrp28's for monitors which are still a bit new to me, so having another set of ears listen would be a big help.
    Thanks to Don again for the offer and don't pull any punches, I can take it (I think) ;0)

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