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is there a way to approximate radio processing

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kmetal, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    is there any way to try to 'demo' the efx of radio/cable versions of final mixes? any way to estimate the effect?
  2. Blue Bear Sound

    Blue Bear Sound Active Member

    Not sure, but if a song gets mixed properly, it's not something one has to worry about....
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL... in theory.

    There are local stations here - mostly talk radio - that implement such a high degree of limiting that when the announcer stops speaking it's like a recording of the ocean is being played in the background...

    But yeah, by and large, those stations that are music oriented have a handle on it... yeah, your stuff is going to see some limiting, it's inevitable, but if the stations you are listening to sound okay on most music, then as long as your stuff is mixed and mastered decently, you shouldn't have any trouble.


  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Squash the crap outta it and then play it back through little Avantone Cubes. For years the accepted method to check for compatibility was to have Auratones - aka, "Horrortones"- on the meter bridge for this. The Avantones have replaced them these days. If the mix sounded decent through THOSE, it would sound good through anything!
  5. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    Unfortunately your question is so broad that it is difficult to answer. There are so many different kinds of radio. I will try to take a shot at some of them but the best advice probably has been already posted above by Blue Bear to do your best mix and not worry about it.

    - US terrestrial FM. Terrible and there isn't much you can do about it. Please read this discussion from Bob Orban......

    - US satellite. Even though there has been a merger and they are working on a combined structure, there are still 2 distinct systems. The former Sirius system uses a PAC (perceptual audio codec). The former XM system uses AAC+ HE just like iTunes. This will all be history soon but for now that is the case. I can't help you much with the PAC, but you can use a neat tool provided free by Apple to evaluate the effects of AAC+ encoding. Unfortunately it only works on Macs so Windows users are out of luck (more on this later). Here is where to get it....
    Apple - iTunes - Mastered for iTunes

    In addition to the CODEC, XM uses Neural Audio Processors. These were specifically tweaked by Neural (now owned by DTS) for XM and are used very lightly. The major part of the damage today is done by the CODEC.

    - Internet radio. There are a vast number of station and all do their own thing. In general though I have found most of the processing to be much less drastic than commercial broadcasters but they are often seriously degraded by low rate MP3 coding. Just like the free Apple evaluation tool, there are evaluation tools that exist for other CODECS. Unfortunately I don't know of any free ones. But they will work with Windows. An excellent choice is the Sonnox.
    Pro-Codec Product Overview
    It will run as RTAS, AU, or VST (sorry no AAX yet). It has monitoring to illustrate just what is lost when you encode.

    So, I didn't really answer your question, but I hope these resources will help you to understand the issue. ......and yes, I do have Auratones.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    hey thanks alot evryone. my main concern was terestrial FM radio, and the effect of the limitimg/eq curve. i've had the horror tones on my wish list for a while, my boss has a pair maybe he'll bring 'em down to the studio. otherwise i'll have to pick up a pair.

    what are you guys using for an amp on those?

  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I think you get real close to the 1980s style of FM broadcast processing that was popular for the times. This was basic three band spectral limiting/compression. The FM processors also included the composite clipper circuit along with the necessary 75 µs preemphasis curve and the other necessary L+ R & L- R Matrix, which is how stereo FM is broadcast. And it was that preemphasis circuit that also required additional high-frequency limiting to keep your levels up at a competitive level.

    So much of this can be reproduced just through putting your mix through a multi-band limiter to give you more of that FM like sounding feel depending upon how aggressively you tweak your multi-band limiter up for? Yeah, the rest of the horror stories are around that 75 µs preemphasis causing the out of band splatter of stuff already too rich in aggressively processed high-frequency content. That and all of the severe and semi-illegal inordinate amounts of composite clipping. And that's not an audio clipping but it causes and the result is audio clipping. It's RF clipping. Still just as bad. But you could jerk your level of all higher than your competitor if the FCC let you get away with it. And those were the stations that cause huge ear fatigue to listen to. But sounded perfectly fine in your cars with the windows open at 60 mph LOL. Which is what it was actually designed for. Because if you couldn't hear the station under those conditions, you'd just punch the button. So real FM processors can make the audio sound really gnarly which ain't good but if it gets the ratings that's all that matters.

    I have found that the IK Multimedia, T-Racks, standalone or plug-in, provide for most of what was the real meat and potatoes of 1980s style FM broadcast processors. Want it more realistic? Put a brick wall 15 kHz filter on your mix LOL. Add some high-frequency limiting and voilà. FM 1980s processing.

    Mr. Mike was talking about the codecs and the other different processing required for low bit rate digital audio broadcasts. It's all like MP3's and how it garbles your sound. Ain't nothing you can do about that. Extra phasing, flanging and bubbly water effects are truly cool for rock 'n roll. Not so good with Opera LOL. And all low bit rate audio codecs do that. Not to worry, we are moving in a good direction we are different compression codecs and algorithms will improve just as we went from 78 RPM records to 30 IPS 24 track analog recording and beyond. So we just have to be patient. Because if we are not patient, will become patients of the local mental health facilities in your area.

    Starts Friday at a theater near you. Rated Z, for zapped.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    looks like i got some work ta do. thanx. at least my cousin has the t-racks, i dunno i stay away from multiband limiters because of my experience level, but hey i'll have some fun messing around over there. thanx!
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I currently use a Symetrix 45-watt stereo rack-mount amp for a home-made version of Horrortones. But you can use pretty much any home stereo amp you can find on Craigslist...
  10. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    I use an old Crown D-75 for the Auratones. Please don't interpret my response as an endorsement of Auratones. IMHO they are terrible!!! If you can't get a pair dirt cheap, get something else. That goes for Yamaha NS-10s also. Although I have purchased many over the years, that was back when they were new and relatively inexpensive. It actually makes me a little sad to see what some people will pay for them on ebay.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    What the D-75? Or the Aura Tones? NS-10's? Yeah that's sad.

    Better still, find an old pair of Radio Shaft Minimus 7's. They sound better after you blow out the Tweeter. Then they are more solid sounding Aura-Tones LOL.

    Mine are on the D-60, the " Predecessor ".
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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