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Loudness Button... friend or foe?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mike Simmons, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    How does this little marvel affect your mix approval process? Does anybody have a good work around or make mixing concessions to the loudness button? Do all consumers/bands use this at full volume on home stereos? And, finally, should I just give up and roll-off everything under 100 Hz? ;)
     
  2. Foe.

    I do look forward to some war stories though...
    Ted
     
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    It's not going to go away and you just have to learn to deal with it.

    ..... and the personal music players all have their own bass lift, super bass, bass max thing.... what can you do?
     
  4. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    Does anyone know if there is a "loudness button standard" or is the eq boost some random curve each manufacturer comes up with? If you're trying to get a big kick/bass sound in your mix, are there any strategies to achieve reasonable translation?
     
  5. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    The loudness button issue is one little piece of the puzzle that can be broadly defined as getting your mixes to "translate". What that means to me, is getting your mixing technique together to the extent that your stuff sounds good just about anywhere. This is one of the hardest things to master and requires a lot of practice. Another prerequsite is having monitors that you trust. Getting familiar with a control room also helps. IMO moving from studio to studio, which I do a lot, is a bit more difficult than finding a room you like and working there consistantly. So how do you arrive at consistant translation? You have to mix a lot. You have to check your stuff out on all kinds of systems. You have to make notes, mental or otherwise, and then go back to the scene of the crime and adjust. Sometimes you can't always do this. I will say in general that I wouldn't modify mixes to sound best in only a certain environment(loudness button on xyz stereo). It is natural to want your mixes to sound good on your home system, but just be careful that things don't sound too far in one direction or another as compared to other discs mixed by pros that you think sound good. For example, you think the new Megasquat CD mixed by Zach Jusef Lateef sounds great but your lastest mixes sound really cool at home cause they have sooo much more bottom. It's quite possible your home system is a bit bass shy as well as the studio environment where you mixed it. You have to be a bit of a detective sometimes to really get your frame of references together. I remember years ago I couldn't get the kind of consistancy I wanted in my mixes until I dropped some bucks and got a decent home system happening. Other foks might spend money on studio playback and all they need at home is a jambox that they know really well, whatever works for you. I am still amazed when I bring something home from a new place I'm working in and I've nailed where I think the low end should be, as referenced to my home system. That is the toughest thing for me.
     
  6. Solfatio

    Solfatio Guest

    IMO, anyone who uses a "loudness" button or MaxxBassss switch is wanting to hear that silly extra boost, y'know?

    I think the best compensation is not to compensate. That way people will get to hear what they want to hear--after all, if you roll off everything under 100Hz, Curious G, then "they" are just going to "have" to come up with a button that will "compensate" for all the mixes with 'compensation'! =P

    Imagine! 9 levels of loudness! 7 levels of MaxBass! It's like a religion...
     
  7. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Since a true Loudness circuit cuts out at higher volumes to simulate the Fletcher-Munson curves, just mix at 130 dB - you'll be above the point where the Loudness control cuts out, so you won't notice it :=) ... Or anything else for that matter, just in case anyone couldn't tell I was kidding... Steve
     
  8. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    I know that Julian has a boom box wired to his monitoring system... I'm assuming he keeps it with the loudness button pushed in. Does anyone else do this sort of thing?
     
  9. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Presently all my nearfields are passive. I use an amp/spkr 2x6 matrix to choose between the KRK's and Tannoy's (hate the Tannoy Titanium tweets so only use as an "over the top" check) Sitting in the middle (back far enough to avoid reflections from the REAL spkrs) is a Sony boombox. It has no actual loudness control, but a 5-band EQ, which I set to a "smile" (sorta loudness) - It's just another check to use without having to leave the studio... Steve
     
  10. Driven1

    Driven1 Guest

    Ok, big lesson here! Listen up. And this is for most of you home studio/demo studio folks. Take a couple of professionally recorded cd's, pop it into your player and then adjust your amp/stereo so that it sounds good based on the output of those cd's. Then mix your stuff without changing any of your amp/stereo settings so that your mix sounds as good as the stuff from the cd's. Occasionally play part of a cd and part of your mix for comparison purposes. When you're done, your mix should sound as good as the one's on the cd's. Loudness button or not! When you're done with that make a tape or burn a CD of your mix and pop it into something else to see how it holds up.

    As for the mention of the reason a loudness button is available on various systems in the first place, it is to compensate for the loss of bass at low volume levels or, on less expensive systems, to compensate for poor amp and speaker response in the first place.

    So in other words, the loudness button is a moot point when mixing. Get your monitor system sounding good with a professionally done cd first and at a level you're comfortable with. If it requires the loudness button so be it. After that mix your brains out! :w:
     

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