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Hi! Can any of you mastering afficionados tell me what you like to see as far as average levels on mixes before mastering? I generally end up with my mixes (mostly rock/pop stuff)having a peak to average ratio of about -14 db. I get this mainly by using some compression on individual tracks, tho not enough to suck out the dynamics of the music. Thanks!

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anonymous Wed, 02/06/2002 - 22:47

I always recommend to have a minus 3dB on the peaks.
If there is more (minus)the better.

I think it's a misunderstood from the studio's
that they want their mix as hot as it can be.

I always suggest them to give the customer two versions.
One for an impression (hot)and two for the mastering.

b.t.w Brad, I don't know where I read it but I remember that they were talking about a plugin which is capable of undoing compression.


anonymous Thu, 02/07/2002 - 08:50

Originally posted by On-Track Recording:
[QB]Please explain "Peak-to-Average Ratio"

The difference between the peaks and average (RMS) in db. A 14db peak to avg would give you 14db peaks referenced to the average RMS level...

Ah-so. :D

I realize that this is very dependent upon the music itself, but for let's say a typical Rock tune, is -14dB RMS (assuming -0.1 Peak) the typical goal then for a mastered cut? I have noticed many major label (mastered) songs that check in around -12 or -11dB RMS. How about dynamic range; do you strive for a goal, say 10 dB? less?

Thanks, as always, for your time.

anonymous Tue, 02/12/2002 - 07:35

Of course what we're talking about now is average level of finished albums ie; POST mastering. I did a little informal check on some of my CDs I listen to regularly and this is what I found. I checked out the first cut on 2 Against Nature (not my fave but I've got clients that love it- it sounds a bit sterile to my ears) the RMS was-16 db for this cut. On James Taylors "One More Time With You" off the Hourglass CD the RMS was -14 db. Lastly On "You've been so good up till now" off Lyle Lovett's Joshua Judges Ruth from all the way back in the late jurassic period (1992) I got an RMS of -18 db. This also happens to be one of my favorite albums from a sonic perspective. None of the stuff I'm currently workingon is of the "needles go to 0 and never move" variety and I guess my original question was what kind of RMS value PRE mastering becomes problematic for the mastering engineer if the goal is to compete with something that clocks in at maybe -14 to-16 db post mastering? I read Roger Nichols EQ mag column in which he basically says that they made 2 Against Nature about 6 db hotter in Mastering. Can one take this to mean that if they wound up with an RMS of -16 db that they started out with a reading closer to -22 db? Sorry- WAY too much coffee this AM!