How do I get a high volume master and keep the punch? (metal)

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Bystah, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Bystah

    Bystah Active Member


    My name is Buster, and I play in metal band "Humanity's Last Breath". I recently came across Impending Dooms new record "Baptized in Filth". The mix on this album is just ridiculously punchy and loud.
    I myself have been using waves maximizers to get a REALLY loud mix (which I want) but I loose all the punch that i had in booms and the drums before using it. At first I thought it was pretty obvious that this was happening due to the lack of space for the audio wave to be "spiky", it all is flatted out by the maximizer. But then I heard this mix: Impending Doom - Murderer (Official Video) - YouTube
    It seems impossible to me that this is so loud yet so punchy.

    I'm working on mixes for my band and it sounds like this right now: Humanity's Last Breath - 2012 Pre-Production Teaser #2, New riff ideas - YouTube
    Not very punchy if you compare to Impending Doom.

    My question: Any tip on other maximizers/limiters that can make my mix very loud and very punchy?

  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Knowledge, experience and a good room are prerequisites for getting tracks loud and good at the same time. No plugin will magically do it for you. If you want it to sound "professional" you will probably have to pay an established mastering house to make it right. It's also entirely possible they'll send it back to have you make adjustments to the mix which can't be done on the 2-track. I wish there were some plugin to suggest but it's just not that simple.
  3. Bystah

    Bystah Active Member

    For metal, mastering often is a maximizer, and nothing more. And in metal, it sounds proffesional. This is the first I feel like the maximizer is falling short.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Multiband compression is another tool,
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you are being too critical about your material. Your stuff is as loud and as powerful as it can be. The rest has to do with recording technique, the room, all that stuff. It's not about the maximizer. It should virtually sound right before you ever utilize the maximizer. Plus a lot of software stuff utilizes lookahead which I rather loath. You need some overshoot and lookahead prevents that. Once you have that in your mix, then you can use the maximizer. The folks from Metallica utilize not only a large room but up to 30 microphones just for the drums. Jesus Christ, I've never done that but then I don't record that kind of genre of music. Actually I wasn't talking to Jesus Christ. Maybe I should just say Tommy can you hear me?

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. Bystah

    Bystah Active Member

    A thing you need to know about drums in this genre is that it's all samples you hear on the snare and bassdrum. They are filtering the acoustic sound of the bassdrum and snare away. In my case, I just program the drums, cause if I record drums, I'll just edit it and use the samples that I program with and it'll sound programmed. But that's off topc.

    I need to use maximizer to get the volume but when I do, all the punch that I previously had disappears. Is there another way to get the volume?
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well if you know this much about recording and the technique behind it, why are you bothering to ask the question? All the punch goes away because you don't know what you're doing. That seems simple enough to me. Suggestions have already been made yet you still ask the question. You already sound like an accomplished engineer and your stuff sounds good. I think you are fighting windmills? Do they have windmills in Sweden? Maybe that's your problem?

    I like those gummy Swedish Fish mmm mmm good
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Juno60

    Juno60 Active Member

    Hey Buster, Generally try not to over compress your mixes at the track level and mix level - this give scope to the mastering engineer to carry out multi band compresssion which can increase the overall volume level compared to a single band pass - some good infor on how to prepare your mxes on mastering can be found here: A guide on how to correctly supply your songs for audio mastering
  10. eye

    eye Active Member

    I think if you want to keep it simple, do a little extra work in the eq section. sidechain the bass like it was a techno trak! Seriously. If you can stomach the genre, Olav Basoski has some great tutorials on multiband and sidechain compression at The music is wrong for you, but the subject is right.
  11. equivalence82

    equivalence82 Active Member

    Yeah I agree, for Metal, the maximiser is good cus it helps keep the transients in tact. I have tried the waves and that works well but don't push it too hard, you'll lose the dynamics, in particular the L3 Ultramaximiser. But if you want to get more level without touching the EQ too much, try compressing using the LAT/VERT or MID/SIDE mode on the PuigTec Fairchild 670. Or use the TRacks Fairchild 670 which is equally as good. Use extremely low ratios though and low thresholds, fast to moderately fast time constants to retain the punch. Get it to where its breathing with the song, then simply crank the volume, but be careful of low level distortion. Use the phase meter in TRacks to monitor the the phase shift! This way you can get the volume of the mids and the sides up without creating distortion as you are compressing them separately albeit in the same plugin. Saying that, you could try to use one plugin for the sides and another plugin for the mids. Yeah that actually makes more sense when I think about it! Hope you get it sorted. ;-) Ps doing it this way you can also make the track thicker and wider! Good luck man. ;-)
  12. mindprint

    mindprint Active Member

    Tell mixing engineer to make it super punchy, if you have to add a lot of punch to drums sometimes doubling the sound and cutting everything but the click then adding any kind of envelop inducer aka transient designer:)) more punch, blend with the rest of the drums specially kick, snare. Clarity in punch usually comes form short spikes. From here on like "BYSTA" already mentioned after the mix its often maximizer with a little bit in between the usual tools like eq and comp but only to smooth dynamics a bit
  13. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Okay so this other band sounds so much punchier than you think your band sounds....? Well stop listening to that band as that is doing nothing to change how your band sounds. I mean I wished my band sounded as good Zep or Floyd but it never would. I mean as far as playing that's one thing but recording is subjective to so many angles that trying to compete in this format is unfair to your cause. Just try to make what you capture as powerful as you can, but stop trying to compare too much. I challenge you to take a diet from it comparing the other band's recording to yours. Just listen to yours and try to bring it up the best you can.

    Too much compression is the enemy unless it becomes the only solution and in that case it might too late.
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    No doubt about it, I like to use lots of compression and limiting. The difference here, in my technique, is that I never want too fast an attack or release time. I don't want to destroy or actually limit the transients. I want those transients. But I also need to bring up the meat around those transients. So fast attack and release times destroy that. You end up with a fat lump of blob by doing that. And that's a mistake that most everybody makes early on. You don't need to control your recording. Your recording needs to control you.

    I've always been out of control.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. e-mixmaster

    e-mixmaster Active Member

    EQ it.. throw away the frequencies you need less.

    This is very true!

    I think people grab compressors to easily, and like eq, it s not an easy thing, it really takes years to do them right !
  16. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    Um, the answer of how did they get that track to sound so "punchy" on 'Impending doom – murderer', the answer is make at least half the mix kick drum. Not a lot of bass or guitar in there. It's a tactic to make dynamic sounds loudest in the mix if you're going to smash the crap out of it and make everything 0dB, the dynamic structure comes from the changes in sound/frequency content rather than meter level. It's not a very good idea, though. As many have said, if you want loud, use the volume knob.

    Also, with metal, a huge amount of the "punch" comes from the band, and how tight the playing is. I suspect that this has been ProTools elastic-quantised to an absurd level.

    Also, in my opinion they've overcooked the highs and lost some mids, but really not that easy to tell with youtube, the codec smashes stuff up pretty horribly anyway. When they do those synth low bass synth-kick things, the rest of the mix ducks right down, which I find is very obviously audible and not a good effect.
  17. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    It does sound very good already. Can't really tell how "loud" the youtube video is compared to other stuff though.
    Many people say that less compressed music sounds better, and they are absolutely right. But I also think that some music, especially metal, can gain some "energy" from compressing it a bit harder than you would with other styles.

    A great limiter plugin is Slate's FG-X (again a Slate product... they should pay me! :)
    You can get high levels but still keep most of the transients.

    Another one of my favorites is the Sonnox Limiter. The "Enhance"-fader is great. Works a bit like the Sonnox Inflator.

    But a limiter is only as good as the signal that is sent into it. Cut everything under 20-30Hz, cause you won't need that anyway. The limiter will react to low frequencies you can't hear, too. Because low frequencies have more energy than the highs they will make your mix pump very quickly when pushed hard.
    Another important thing are the mids, the more mids the louder the mix will sound. Though if you push them too high it will get harsh.

    This usually works for me.
  18. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    The drums could be a bit louder in the mix, and have a bit more body. Snare also sounds too heavily compressed, should have more snap to it. Also the overall balance of everything is trebly to my ears, could do with more work on the 180Hz-800Hz range, that's where the chunkiness comes from. Probably needs a bit more bass guitar in the mix, too.

    Musically, some of the riffs are excellent! Particularly the two 0.52 to 1.16 and to 1.27.

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