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I listen to tracks on SoundCloud and everyone's stuff is really loud. With my stuff I have to turn up my speakers. What are people using? Waves MultiMaximizer? Are they adding C4 compression to individual tracks?

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RemyRAD Thu, 02/10/2011 - 00:50

I pretty much think you've answered your own question. Many folks hire mastering engineers for just the reasons you observed (heard). And it doesn't come from just mooshing some compressor plug-in on your entire stereo mix. That can make it sound UNloud even more if you don't do it right.
The mixes you are hearing typically do already have all sorts of processing on all sorts of individual tracks to begin with. That pumps up the level in the mix process alone.

After it's mixed, you either send it to a Mastering Engineer or you master it yourself. Not all mastering is done in a computer, either. Many of these guys are utilizing very sophisticated hybrid analog/digital pieces and not some popular compressor plug-in at all.

What you do want to do with your mixes however is normalize your mixes to -.6 DB or 0 DB. The -.6 just gives you an added margin of safety of preventing overloads if you have that option. Normalizing is generally not a compressor nor limiter type function. It simply finds the highest peak in your recording and sets that to 0 DB FS for the entire overall recording or cut.

Mastering Mastering
Mx. Remy Ann David

leopoldolopes Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:56

Mastering is the right key to those differences! As remy said some use mastering studios, some do their pseudo-mastering totheir tracks which is using a maximizer / loudness plugin and increase the loudness of the stereo track! I often alert on soundcloud some artists, djs etc, that they must pay attention to this major detail! Some ask me what's mastering but they use a maximizer because it put their tracks to 0dbfs! Wrong choice... after that they cry and flame everyone 'cause their tracks are the best (for them) and no one pays attention to it...

nolimore Sat, 07/23/2011 - 03:42

I use FLStudio10Producer.

Sometimes when I use compression on the instrument channel tracks, I use a tool in FLStudio called 'SoundGoodizer' on the master track. I haven't tried this tool on instrument channel tracks.

'SoundGoodizer' basically adjusts the peak threshold, EQ, gain structure overall. It has 3 fixed settings (A,B,C,D) and a level setter (dial).

So far... In a strange way... it works wonders.

ben123 Fri, 08/26/2011 - 11:23

I personally think cubase has a high quality mastering suite already built in. So if you have that just tweak the limiter and the maximizer and it does it for you. If you dont have cubase i would say like others have said before, record you mix into a stereo track. Then open it in a different project and add a limiter and a maximizer. You can repeat the process if you want. Thats an inexpensive way to do it or just hire some one with a pro studio.

Ripeart Sun, 09/04/2011 - 19:56

Dr_Willie_OBGYN, post: 364020 wrote: I add loudness maximizer to individual tracks but ....

Uhhh.... I would say try that however what I use comps and limiters for on individual tracks is for taming peaks. I leave headroom by sending everything to a 'pre master' bus before it hits the master fader.

For 'mastering' if can call it that I'll bring the mixdown into a dedicated mastering app such as T-racks and play with EQ, soft clippers, single and multiband compressors, and brickwall limiters until I hear what I'm after.

A quick shortcut to get your project loud is to set yhe output of a brickwall limiter on the final mix to -.02 db and then pump up the input gain. However you really should make sure the entire range of frequencies is well represented, when and where appropriate.

DrGonz Mon, 09/05/2011 - 05:35

I think sometimes people are hearing analog compression being sampled into a digital format. Let's say a DJ for example has something that is coming off a mix that used many samples that mostly came from LP records, well then there is a natural amount of coloration and compression. Recently I was transferring old audio tapes to a digital format, and I really love how the mix of signal is warm. Looking at the wave form in an audio editor you can see a solid wave form that is really difficult to match in an all digital domain. It is already driven and compressed not much else you need. However, that is not exactly all this thread is about, but that's about all my 2 cents is worth these days...

DrGonz Mon, 09/05/2011 - 05:43

Oh one more thought to add... Who cares if something is loud! As long as it sounds good that's all that really matters. Yeah we can all try to maximize the heck out of our projects to make them jump out at the listener. But what ever happened to listening and whatever happened to dynamics? I challenge all to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be what they are... What is that you might ask? Well, it's not a good idea to keep making loud masters anymore. Try to push the noise ceiling back down a few decibels and try push the noise floor up a bit more. I don't even want CD's that were made in the last decade. I really only look for CD's that were made between 1988-1996. Those CD's have much headroom and you can turn up the volume to make them sound loud!!!

x_x Mon, 09/12/2011 - 16:58

EQ tip

Try Boosting a Bandwidth of about 1kHz to 3kHz. Psycho-Acoustically a boost in between these frequencies make our brains naturally perceive this as a louder sound. The type of plug in is never the case it's the users ability to use and understand the effect that make it sound great

Ripeart Mon, 09/12/2011 - 18:33

x_x, post: 376180 wrote: Try Boosting a Bandwidth of about 1kHz to 3kHz. Psycho-Acoustically a boost in between these frequencies make our brains naturally perceive this as a louder sound.

Almost. Our ears are physically more sensitive in that range which isn't actually a perceived loudness, it's actually louder. Though there may not be more pressure being exerted, at approx 2kHz to 4kHz our ears are reacting as if there is more.

I suppose ultimately it's just semantics, though.

x_x Tue, 09/13/2011 - 11:36

Ripeart, post: 376182 wrote: Almost. Our ears are physically more sensitive in that range which isn't actually a perceived loudness, it's actually louder. Though there may not be more pressure being exerted, at approx 2kHz to 4kHz our ears are reacting as if there is more.

I suppose ultimately it's just semantics, though.

That makes sense I was just trying to think of something other than over-compression which everyone seems to turn to when trying to emphasize there sound

I always used 1 to 3k as a reference bc that's what i was told, but now that I think about it it does always seem to end up more around the 2 to 4k region when i get it sounding right.

Thanks dood

chavernac Sat, 10/15/2011 - 16:48

You re in for a ride...
Yes it feels frustrating to hear that other people's work sounds louder... but I you take the time to compare at the same volume... it is very much likely to your stuff sounds better.
If you really want to make thinkgs loud... slam a limiter on it... Anything will do.
If you want to do it so that it is a bit transparent and the bass is preserved, then multiband compression is the way to go (gentle!) and use compressors that have a key input so that you can tell it not to trigger too much on the bass. Years of practice and listening are required though...

RemyRAD Tue, 10/18/2011 - 14:25

Loudness levels through dynamics processing a.k.a. limiting/compression is more of a factor of the release time utilized. Making your release times faster creates more " apparent loudness". By the same token it will also crush the life out of your mix. That's when you also utilizes parallel processing with the original mix track & the dynamically modified mix track to bring back some of the dynamic kick (an expression that has nothing to do with the bass drum). And over compressing with fast release times also can increase listener fatigue which can be a big turnoff to all lot of people. So it's a careful juggling act overall. That kind of thing affects me just as adversely as fluorescent lighting in a work or living environment. So I guess I'm doomed to spending the rest of my professional career by incandescent lighting that is dimly lit. I mean think about it? How would it feel to try to get that ultimate mix to sound great under blaring fluorescent lighting? Notice how the sound of music changes when you're at the bar and suddenly the lights all go up full for last call. It changes the way everything sounds without changing the way everything sounds even though we perceive a difference. And so, how does lighting affect sound? It's all a part of the ambience that has nothing to do with audio but is influential just the same.

It's looks too bright in here I can't hear anything.
Mx. Remy Ann David

JohnTodd Wed, 10/19/2011 - 04:11

I often hear fluorescent lighting in my music - and it affects my mood when that happens! :tongue:

Seriously, a dark studio helps because of less sensory input to the eyes means more brain power for the ears. Just like a computer - use your CPU ('wetware') where you need it.

As for loudness, try paralell compression, also called New York compression:

thor Thu, 11/17/2011 - 15:11

Like anything else, practice is key.

That said, the better your monitoring environment (i.e. room + monitor chain) and the better you train yourself to hear, the easier it will be.

I often encourage people learning about mastering to try getting the most out of a limited range of tools, f.x. just an EQ and compressor, to really dig in and see how a change one place affects everything else.

It's a bit like cooking - the more you do it, and familiarize yourself with what works with what, train your palette to understand the subtleties, the better you get.

Hope this helps. Keep at it!


chavernac Sat, 12/03/2011 - 01:29

I usually use several plugins to achieve loudness.
I have not found a plugins that allows me to go SUPER loud with killing the sound.
I would use, a bus compression , 1 or 2 db with on open attack for glue
then some peak limiting to tuck in the snare and the kick
then some parallel processing for loudness
then a limiter

I know it sounds like a lot, but they all do a little bit of everything here and there.

RemyRAD Sat, 12/03/2011 - 10:35

What's being described here is the difference between a bologna sandwich and a club sandwich stacked high. It's the alchemy of audio. While doing this, we all wear long purple robes with dark purple pointy hats with stars on them. And then it all sounds wonderful directly from the pig's ear. Especially since I look even better in silk. But add the wrong ingredients, the wrong way in the wrong amounts and you get a meal nobody wants to consume. Sorry, I've got to run now.

The galloping musical gourmet
Mx. Remy Ann David


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