Mastering not very loud...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by rec5, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. rec5

    rec5 Member

    Hi to everyone!! :wink:

    I'm a beginner in mixering and mastering and I've composed and recorded 5 or 6 songs, but I would like to increase the volume level of the songs because it's not loud enough.
    I've compared with some song mixed and mastered professionaly and there is a difference about the volume level... I don't know if I need a plug-in for my software or anything else...
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    A warm welcome to our forum!

    At first, please give us more info about your equipment (Profile).

    I see, you work with Cubase. In Cubase you find all software plugins to perform a decent semi-professional mastering.
    You must read through your manual to get behind the use of those plugins. Also good monitoring loudspeakers and good
    acoustic in your room is very important.
    From your entry-level type of question I take it that you have not dived deeply enough into recording, mixing and mastering....
    So, I think you must learn the basics first, because there is no Golden Rule how to do things that is valid for all the same.
    Of course, you need plugins or outboard gear for the job. But this is like telling you: you need a car if your want to drive...
    In your manual everything is explained in detail... when you know the necessary tools at least with their names, I will gladly help you to go on...
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The basic tools for making anything have a higher average volume are compression and limiting (really just a type of compression). It's probably easier and better to learn how to use these tools on individual tracks than on a whole mix. There are lots of tutorial describing the basic process in our archives and elsewhere (including your manual). But if you don't want to wait that long put a stereo limiter on your master fader and start playing with the knobs. That will give you an idea of how easy it is to make loud and bad.
  4. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    Check out Bob Katz. He has authored several books on your question.

    Ultimately, knowledge and technique will help your recordings more than gear or plugins.
  5. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Yes, the Bob Katz book is very good. Total thumbs up! [icon??]

    Although, just so you know, a master that competes with commercially mastered material in terms of loudness and clarity is not just related to processing. It's a result of proper frequency balance, a great arrangement, a focused mid vs side phantom image, and a well tailored mix. It begins in tracking, really. So don't get down if all the tips and tricks you find don't seem to work immediately. There's no big secret is except for a keen ear, a thorough knowledge of your tools, a lust to learn, and years of experience to increase the quality of your work through trial and error.

    That being said, I would advise to rather not focus on achieving loudness but (if you intend on seeing your projects from mic to master) to rather focus on your recording and mixing chops. How a mix stands up to processing, especially at the mastering phase, is highly dependent on those processes.

    Hope that helps!

    Cheers :)
  6. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    The key point for mixing and mastering is your monitoring system. Bob Katz has defined what is usually called the K-System. It's a kind of norm for calibrating the sound pressure level of a monitoring system. You have here a lot of great documents to improve your skills: Articles & Demos
    You have to know that loud means nothing. Technically, the best way to get loud tracks, is to turn them into a square wave topping at 0 dB fs. Of course that simply destroys your music.
    Maybe, you'd prefer having a nice, clear and punchy sound for your songs? Then you have to ingest a lot of audio knowledge.
  7. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    I'm sure a professional mastering facility, who's invested years of their lives, thousands of dollars in equipment, professional room treatment, and custom mastering speakers, can and be more than willing to help you with mastering services and be able to apply the finishing touches and use their knowledge and ears to raise the volume. Here's a directory I found with a quick google search: Performer Magazine // Directory | Mastering Studios | Page 1

    If you don't want to have it professionally mastered, then just add any limiter plugin on your master fader channel and crush the $*^t out of it. There's a reason these places are built and are around. You can easily use your mixing and tracking engineering skills of compressors and limiters to know that using them, you can lower dynamic range and make things louder. If you're unfamiliar with those concepts, you should just put it in the hands of a professional, or not worry about it, and listen to it for what it is. I'm sure there are thousands and thousands of this same exact topic posted over the past 10 years, more and more with garage band users wanting to have their song they just recorded, sound as loud at the new foofighters album playing on the radio. Do you think foofighters engineer(s) used some cheap/free software and an 8 channel interface to record their music, and then handle the mastering themselves?

    Don't worry, I am working on a new plugin, called the radio volume level plugin, it's a one size fits all. it will be free, and will be auto linked for download for every single forum posting and web search. Goodbye mastering facilities, you won't be needed once my free plugin comes to the market.

  8. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    Here's the link you need:
    Sonos 4 Radio Broadcast Processor
  9. twobob

    twobob Active Member

    There is a very useful article at

    Mastering - How To Get A Loud 'commercial' Master

    which covers many of the basics... hope that helps.

    @Laurend not to be churlish but that product is not free at $99. bobbo's was. just saying it's not an identical solution and to be honest for a mastering thread it's not actually that helpful.
  10. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    Sorry, that was humour.
  11. twobob

    twobob Active Member

    Ah. Sorry, Light bulb. ;)
  12. Boywonda

    Boywonda Active Member

    Loudness is accomplished best using a limiter. I have to say though, how for you can push your limiter is largely down to the mix. Things like appropriate low cuts on channels, good separation, no muddiness in the low mids all contribute to how far you can push the limiter without it sounding bad.
  13. Le Vab

    Le Vab Active Member

    Loudness, the big discussion for many years.
    I am curious to which songs you compared ?
    Compression will certainly help, but first find out what compression actually means and for which targets you can use one.
    If you look into loudness history I personally like the eighties/nineties, but that you can't compare that to most of today's recordings.
    Bob Katz wrote a lot about this.
    Just listen to some great recordings at Honor Roll
    Find out what you like and compare, maybe your songs are not that soft !
    le Vab

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