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The loudness wars killing our reputation

I had a band in to make their ep in my studio in november last year. As I run a little one-man-studio in my sparetime I try to work with bands as smoothly and nicely I can while doing all the stuff myself. I depend on them to get the feeling of coming in having a great time while recording some music so that they might spread the word around of my little studio. Now as a small project studio I offer my clients a complete finnished mastered record at a very low price so that young kids would be able to afford to make their own record without spending thousands of dollars. That is my vision.

(Yes, I know that it's not so good to master yourself due to the same ears, equipment etc.)

Well, with my latest project a band with years of experience came in and some of the members had a few records in their pocket already, so they knew how everything worked. I told them that for the price they will get a finnished mastered CD at a standard NON loudness war rms level of around -10 to -8db. I finnished the project at -9.7db rms but they wanted the mixdown so that they can compare the mastering from other places. So I gave them the files, waited a few weeks and checked back with them how it had gone with their ep. They had chosen a mastered version from a big commersial studio and I asked if I could get a copy to compare with my version.

As I got to my studio I started analyzing and got chocked by the levels...they where at -6db rms and all the life was gone. So I got in touch with them again to hear of why they chose that master. I already knew the answer...

So I started thinking, how are guys like me who like dynamics supposed to keep a good reputation when the big studios are still squashing the song? Am I doomed to start pushing the limiter, release it and forget about it? Spotify has since the beginning of their musicplayer had a volume control built in to get all songs the same level for the listener. So the loudness wars are pointless there...I recently read that itunes since this year (? Or last year, can't remember) have built in a similar setting to get levels more to be the same. Still records today are being squashed lifeless by the big companies. When will it stop? And am I better of mastering at -5db rms to keep customers happy and to be a bit louder than the big studios? This is sick!

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Comments

bouldersound Wed, 02/12/2014 - 08:36
What are you using to measure loudness, TT DR Meter? I've found that the dynamic range number runs about 5dB louder than the RMS measurement in Sound Forge and Pro Tools.

No, I wouldn't try to match commercial loudness because you won't get it to sound as tolerable as they do at that level and because the future of playback may be one where relative loudness is controlled by the playback system.

Nutti Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:49
Ah yes, that I understand. I never trust numbers that aren't compared with the same tool/system. You don't have to go further than the tempo beat between different daws to get everything messed up. I got a song idea one time that was recorded in garage band and when I loaded it up in cubase to add drums to it, the tempo would never match. Same thing has happened for people using pro tools and studio one for the same song.

Anyways, I got a tip on what to do next time. Give the client 2 versions, one crushed and one as I would master it. Then they can choose themselves witch one they like more, but as I present them I should match rms levels and play them both versions of one song and explain the differences. Maybe, but just maybe, they come to their sences and choose the uncrushed one

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kmetal Thu, 02/13/2014 - 03:49
If you intend on having clients you have to give then something they are happy w. I will put my personal tastes aside after expressing them, but most clients are somewhat reasonable.

i like the idea of two masters, but the common client is comparing their stuff to their fav record. The awesome thing is not everyone like new music, so depending on style and genre and year you'll be able to get away w less limiting.

but it's not just limiting IMHO, that makes loud masters that are also pleasing to hear. It's a lot to do w the mix. As you smash these frequencies into each other, how we'll they blend or crash gets exhaggerated.

either way, at the end of the day, I end up throwing an eq or two a compressor for broad level control, and a waves limiter. I'm not a mastering guy, but will run the mix thru those, which usually has some light bus compression on it. For people who don't have the budget for mastering.

the thing w me is trying to go as loud as possible before the bass goes away, the iminaging is flat front to back, or the upper mids get crazy. In other words as loud as I can go where it's full. If they want more than that, I'll do it, but usually when I bypass and engage the chain for contrast to them, they usually go wow, w even modest mastering processing. But you gotta give them what makes them happy, or sacrifice their business based on personal taste. I can't afford to lose clients based on my artistic integrity, and to be fair they came to me to make them sounds that they hear in their heads, and if I can coax some of my tastes into it, and they like it, great. It's smart business to do what your clients want a w in reason. I set the maximized to -.3 and keep it 3db or less of limiting, in general.

i hate to sound like I have no merit, but the loudness wars aren't going away. I can beat me so I join me when I need to. This is a service job. Your cook or waitress may not like their steaks rare, but they will make and serve it to you. They re job is customer satisfaction, like any service work. Painters may not like every color they put on the wall, but they're job to put what the cliental sees.

the thing where this taste factor is important is if you have a role as a co producer, or producer. That's when you have more say than "hey, let's just listen to this for a min and sees if it's ok". Other than that it's a choice of artistic freedom or making some money. I haven't made enough money, and honestly to get paid for audio engineering is a blessing. I'll let bob Katz fight head the loudness war, I'll do what the client says, either way, but I will always present what think is the best first, whether I do it in free time or not.

The thing is what your recording. Like of you did jazz and didn't have dynamics it'd be weird, if you did rock and roll modern style it'd be weird if you did. I dunno I'd never put personal conviction over work, unless it was really bad.

theres only one recording that I've ever scrapped, and didn't charge the person for the time, and just said it wasn't ready, but that was due to an above average lack of talent to the point of embarrassment to the person. I just didn't feel comfortable w my name on it or the studious name, especially since we were freshly opened in a new area. Other than that, it's too damn hard to get new clients.

word of mouth will get you work, so things like fun to work w, got the sound I wanted, are key at any level. If not the artist telling you it'll be some producer, or some label person, there's a fair amount of, "just do what you do" type clients who are fine w not even being there for mixing, but plenty of the over the shoulder watchers.

to me this is a business relations issue more than technical. So says a rec/mix guy :)

Nutti Thu, 02/13/2014 - 05:28
That was a great post! My education is restaurant chef so keeping clients happy and know that the client is always right is already printed :) but there has never been a situation where someone has told me the mix is not loud enough, not even with this band. After sending them the cd and checking up on them how they liked it, they all said it was good so I never had the chance to even give it a shot to louder points. This is why I think the 2 version master would be great atleast for me, since I then know that I gave the client all I can give.

Yesterday I bought the slate digital fg-x mastering plugin and just by testing it for a few minutes I knew that this would be a great tool for me as I can preserve the transients in the master even when pushing it harder. Also the ability to just focus on the master how I'd do it and then just push the gain knob on the limiter for a louder master seems so easy.

Now, keep in mind that I'm faaar away from any pro standard on this so this might not be the correct way to do it. Also keep in mind that most of my clients are teens who don't have that much cash and are only here to make a demo, so I feel like the standard doesn't have to be abbey road studios. I also like to mention that I do try my hardest for every project I have and spend about 80-100 hours on a 4song demo just becouse I love to do it. For that I charge about 400$, and yes, you can start laughing now, but the point of my studio is not to make money but rather to make happy days for me.

At this point I'd like to share one on my projects just to get you to hear where I am in terms of quality. This is a cover of Nirvana something in the way and everything is played, mixed and mastered by me in my studio.
[MEDIA=soundcloud]fredrik-stennabba/cover-of-something-in-the-way
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anonymous Thu, 02/13/2014 - 08:13
I think you're onto something. It's warm, top end isn't harsh, although I think you're a little shy on your low end "body".

You might also want to tuck the backing vox back a skoodge...( LOL, engineer lingo for just a little bit) and place them underneath the lead vocal more as opposed to equal or on top of.

But those are just personal observations after hearing the original.

And glory be!!! You've got dynamics!! Let the pigeons loose!

All in all, good job.

Nutti Thu, 02/13/2014 - 08:29
Amazing! Thanks! I've had problems with the lowend since day one. Either it's to much or in need of more. I think that this problem roots in my monitors (tannoy reveal 602a). But earlier this week I got a sub (tannoy ts10) and have tweaked it so now it feels as if I might be able to spot it better.

I always refrence my mixes to the nevermind album by nirvana, but not with this since I wanted it to sound like me and not a copy of the real song. The backing harmony vocals are always to loud for me and this is becouse I love vocal harmonies so I always tend to overboost them :)

What did you think about the acustic guitar in the intro/verses? It was the first time ever for me to put nylon strings on a guitar and when doing that first chord I was amazed by the deep tone of the guitar. It almost sounds like a grand piano blended in with the guitar, and I was even more amazed when I listened to the playback realising I had captured the guitar as it sounded while I was playing. That same piano like tone was captured! With 2 akg c3000 going straight into my presonus firestudio interface.

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anonymous Thu, 02/13/2014 - 09:00
My suspicion is that you are having trouble with your low end because of your environment... this is the most common cause for inaccurate low end in mixes. If you find your mixes low-shy, then chances are you have a room that is low end heavy.. and because you have this tilted low end, you think you already have enough in the mix - when you really don't.

Keep in mind that the standard "go-to" 1" sonex tiles that are seen in almost every project studio are put there most of the time without any real regard to if they are actually needed.

Those 1" foam tiles will do nothing for low end problems, they're only good for around 1k and up, so trying to tame low end with those tiles if futile. What you may need are bass traps - low end absorbers that can tame those low end frequencies.

I'm not an acoustics expert... far from it... but the above would help to explain why your low end is shy in your mixes: it's likely because you think you already have enough - when you are really hearing standing waves in the low end, which fools your ears into thinking that you already have a sufficient amount of bass when you really don't. The other thing that low end absorbers will do is to help tighten up the bass in your room, helpring to make it more even so that you can define it more.

Low end traps can actually add low end to a room, but it's a more even low end. If you are facing other issues, like null areas, where cancellation is occurring, this could also explain why the low end on your mixes is off.

Some acousticians will tell you that you can never have enough low-end absorption, while others will calculate the amount needed by taking room measurements and the materials used in construction, and then figure accordingly.

And to this point, I'm gonna have to relinquish further regurgitated opinion and hearsay, and direct you to someone like Space or Max, who can actually tell you facts. ;)

Nutti Thu, 02/13/2014 - 09:37
Yeah I hear you, but since there have been times when I have overboosted the bass also?

Also another thing to point out here is that my room is not even close to what it should be. It's about 4×2,5meters with 3meter celing height and just that is a poke in the eye. Adding to the negativity of a small room is that in the long side from bottom to top half meter deep, my wife got the warm storage I promised her when building this 2years ago. The main plan was that this room was supposed to be a storage, not the controlroom I built it to. So okey, I admit, I tricked my wife there :D but we are still living togeather so I guess it was an okey compromise that she got a very big shelf.

The plus side to acustics are that those shelves are mainly stuffed with clothes, pillows and sheets, lots of bassabsorbing material. And I have always seemed to overproduce bass frequencies, and thought it was becouse of all the material in the room and the speakers not having low enough frequency responce. The nirvana cover was made after people giving me feedback that the low end is to hyped in my mixes, so that's why the lack of low end in the song (I think). When I earlier this week installed the sub to my system, it kinda opened a section in the frequency spectrum I never heard before.

I don't know, it's hard to say what's really going on in my room without having someone with killer ears coming in and listen to some music with my system. I don't know anyone around here that would do that.
Second choise then would be to measure the room, but that costs money I don't have.
Third option (probably the best one in my situation) would be to measure myself. Then there's the microphone problem and software to do it, that also costs money.
So I'm just trying to listen to music I know and try to set my system to that. Not a very good method but it's what I have now without spending money.

I've seen there are some home recording how to's on the measuring your room but I never bothered with those since I feel it's too many different methods and techniques on this that it would take hours and hours to get to a good method witch in the end might result in even worse scenario than I'm already in due to lack of knowledge in the subject.

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MadMax Thu, 02/13/2014 - 10:07
Nutti, post: 410421 wrote: I don't know, it's hard to say what's really going on in my room without having someone with killer ears coming in and listen to some music with my system. I don't know anyone around here that would do that.
Second choise then would be to measure the room, but that costs money I don't have.
Third option (probably the best one in my situation) would be to measure myself. Then there's the microphone problem and software to do it, that also costs money.
So I'm just trying to listen to music I know and try to set my system to that. Not a very good method but it's what I have now without spending money.

I've seen there are some home recording how to's on the measuring your room but I never bothered with those since I feel it's too many different methods and techniques on this that it would take hours and hours to get to a good method witch in the end might result in even worse scenario than I'm already in due to lack of knowledge in the subject.

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So... you can't be bothered to know the deficiencies in your mix environment... Nice... Especially when it's free to find out... Yup, there's a career in the making. Albeit short lived.

You don't have to have a perfect room to mix in... but if you've got a nice big node (or 12) standing in your way of hearing your actual mix, it would sure make your life a bit easier and more efficient to know that those issues are there and then know pretty accurately what it is that you need to pay attention to, or ignore.

There's lots of products out there to measure with, but one of the widely accepted measurement packages is Room EQ Wizard, or REW... Its free.

It's about making mixes that translate well. LEARN YOUR ROOM, and you'll be consistent with your final mixes.

bouldersound Thu, 02/13/2014 - 10:25
I have a reference mic and I use REW, but I would suggest starting to learn your room by listening to lots of familiar, well mixed music in there. When you're in the middle of a mix or master session take a break and listen to some reference tracks.

The point that a mix will influence what can be done in mastering is an important one. I've sent mixes back when there were elements that made it impossible to achieve the requested level without unpleasantness. Certain things simply have to be done in the mix.

Nutti Thu, 02/13/2014 - 10:28
That's the bad thing about posting on forums, sooner or later you'll get stabbed with negative response.

I'm sorry dear mr madmax, I once actually did try one of the how to measure your room and add master room eq to get a flat responce. That was to use an omni mic, your speakers, frequency analyzer and eq. The result I got from that was terrible, and I read and read for 2 weeks on the net on what I could do to find out the problems with me not hearing the bass. I think I even wrote about it in this forum at the time under another thread about overhead microphones I posted.

However me as in me as a person can research in a subject for a long time but when spending 2weeks getting nowhere trying different things in my room, it just came to a point when I gave up and just continnued doing what I love instead.

Now many thanks to you for sharing this info about this program. I will give it a go once I get home from work.

And with my post I mean no disrespect or anything, it's just that sometimes things get to a point when I just give up and after a long period of working on the same thing, it gets tensions around that subject.

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Nutti Thu, 02/13/2014 - 10:54
Crap! I forgot to mention that reference music was my way of going to learn to know my room. But as I listened to professional made music I still couldn't hear the bottomend.

Here's a band I recorded, mixed and mastered in november last year. What can you tell me about the low end here? This band was made with reference of nirvana's nevermind album. As all the low end just was a guessing game I don't know if it's good or bad. I am hoping that the added sub will shred some light on the lowend for me. And I will also look into my room again for analyze.

&feature=youtube_gdata_player">&feature=youtube_gdata_player

That band came in and made 4 songs and 6 months later they came in and made 4 songs again. Within this timeperiod I sucked in every piece of info I could get on mixing, different micing techniques, mastering and everything studiorelated info I could find. So when they told me (after the later 4 songs where done) that they will release all 8 songs at the same time I had to remaster, trigger the later kick sound to the early songs, reeq the bass and vocals on the early songs I got a result that was close enough for me.

Here's a song from the later recordings, the first was from the early recordings.
&feature=youtube_gdata_player">&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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anonymous Fri, 02/14/2014 - 05:33
It's great that you are soaking in as much as you can about the craft...

but if your room is lying to you to the extent that it effects the translation of your mixes to other mediums, then you'll only ever get so far... because sooner or later you're going to need to address those acoustic issues.

The problem with compensating based on other sonic material is that you'll only ever get so close.

It's good that you have some mass in the room, as you mentioned with the shelves with folded clothes and such - but those may only be effecting one particular narrow range of low end, for example, like 200hz - 300hz, and even then, maybe only by a db or so...(this is an arbitrary figure... I can't say what range(s) they may be effecting and to what degree, I'm just presenting possibilities). The current mass may be somewhat effective for those ranges, but it might not be doing anything for the other freq's in the low end spectrum, like 125, 80, 160, etc., and, it also depends on the measurements and shape of your room, too.

You didn't mention if there may be null points in the room... when you walk around, does the low frequency change in volume? Are there any points where it is very shy or disappears altogether? If so, then you've really got problems because you are getting cancellation.

As mentioned, you don't have to have a "perfect" room. But every improvement you add correlates to improving your mixes because you get that much closer to what you are actually hearing.

Try one of those measuring programs Max mentioned. They're free, and at least it will give you an indication of what your problems are, because until you know what the problems are, you can't repair them.

It's a start. Until you know what frequencies you are having trouble with, you'll continue to chase your tail on your mixes. ;)

Nutti Fri, 02/14/2014 - 07:11
Yeah I got the room eq wizard and tried it yesterday but the only omni mic I got is a behringer b2 pro ldc so I will need to get a measuring mic first. I watched a tutorial and there they used a behringer ecm8000 measurement mic and recommended that as it is cheap and wery accurate so I think I'll be getting one this week or next week.

A question about setting subwoofer levels though: as I was tuning the monitors to 75db according to REW spl levels, how will I know when I got the correct level on the sub as to work with my monitors? I ran the same level setting test for the sub and dialed the in at 75db also, but that was hardly a noticable level when playing music through the system. I had to touch the cone of the sub to know if it was playing anything at all. Any of you guys having info on this?

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Nutti Fri, 02/14/2014 - 10:47
I found one step sine wave that sounds each step a second or two. With spl meter one should set sub level to same spl peak as in the high freq peak, for example 85db.

Well I'm gonna research some more, but my main reason for getting the sub was that I feel I can't hear the low frequencies properly. This might well be due to null point, not sure, I'll try and walk some of the few squares I got to see if I hear more bass than when sitting in my chair.

I got very positive again to research in this subject after getting the rew, maybe I'll find my problem one day. I should get the ecm8000 mic next week so I'll post some results here then

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MadMax Fri, 02/14/2014 - 10:50
Nutti, post: 410425 wrote: But as I listened to professional made music I still couldn't hear the bottomend.

I am hoping that the added sub will shred some light on the lowend for me. And I will also look into my room again for analyze.

I busted your nads about a year ago at another forum with the same advice for the exact same problem... Or at least someone using the same handle.

It's extremely plain to understand from your post above, that your mix position is in a null for a fairly large range of low frequencies caused by your room's physical dimensions.

You either need to set your room up correctly and seriously consider adding some proper treatment... or find another room to work in.

Set your room up by first finding the left to right center of the room. Snap a chaulk line or lay down some tape
First, find your STARTING mix position that would be 38% of the distance from the front or rear wall... mark that point.
Next, create an equilateral triangle whose angles are 30 degrees from the mix position to the corners... Mark these positions for where your monitors will sit.
Place your monitors at those positions and set up to measure the room at the starting mix position...
Take your measurements

You may see nulls or nodes at that position... move forward and backward making measurements until you find the location giving you the flattest response.

Once you have that point established, this is your "best" mix position... and where to start with any acoustic treatment.

One thing you need to realize is that until you know what your room issues are, adding a sub woofer is a complete and total waste of time and money.

ALL rooms... not 75%... not 90%... not 99%... 100% of all rooms less than 5000 cu ft in volume have low frequency build up... often referred to as "tip up".

So adding a sub is just plain silly unless you know you can accurately measure it's effect on the enclosure.

Nutti Fri, 02/14/2014 - 11:52
Thanks for that post, I'll do some measurements tomorrow on that.

What if I can't use the exact middle of the room side to side? Or monitors at the 30degree angle? I got a door and lots of drums everywhere so where I'm at now is just about the only option I have unless I build myself a new table to get rid of the rack I got stuffed in. Shit, I should just take some pics and show you guys, it's small and stuffed with things. The only thing I have measured is that I have a triangle of 110cm sides between my head and the monitors now.

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Nutti Fri, 02/14/2014 - 15:31
I just got to my studio and did the measurements. There s no way for me to follow the numbers given to me.

My room is 391cm long and 220cm deep. I measured the position where I sit and that is exactly half way at 195.5cm and 83.6cm from the rear wall witch is 38% of the deepness of the room.

Now things get complicated as I was measuring the angle between the middle (195.5cm) of the room to the corner. At 30 degrees that would be a little under half of the half of the long side of the room, that is 195.5/2=97.75cm so I roughly pulled that to 90cm from the center of the wall. If I then where to follow the perfect triangle between monitors and ears, one side of that triangle would be roughly 180cm. Given that my room is 220cm deep it would be impossible to remain in the position of sitting 38% from the back wall. The distance would rather be almost 0%.

So with my physical measurements on how I have set things up now I maintain a perfect triangle between monitors and ears and the 38% from one wall. The angle from the listener position to the speaker is much more than 30degrees. I don't know how much more since I did my anglecalculations on a paper with a ruler but I'd guess somewhere along the 50degree area.

So what did I get out of this? That my room is not big enough for mixing? Maybe, still I want to do it. So now I'll order the mic and start taking sinewave measurements all over the place and get some fat basstraps. I'm not giving up, I'll never give up. This is the room that I built to mix in. The other thing I could have done would have been to have the recording room and control room as one room. That would have gave me a room that would have been aprox. 760cm×391cm. Would have been a nice mixing room for sure but then I would have sat next to the drummer beating his drums and hearing nothing that's beeing recorded. So I just have to live with what I got and try to make the best out of it. And maybe with you guys help and the tools beeing given to me in this thread, I might be able to get somewhat decent results.

Thanks for all your help!

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MadMax Fri, 02/14/2014 - 19:39
There's no way you're correctly following the directions... So we're loosing something in the translation. (Most likely from my description)

Let's remedy that shall we?
(Pictures are often a lot easier to unnerstand)

In the image below;
The long dashed line is the center line of the room (Left to Right)
The egg shape is supposed to be your head in the "ideal" position.
As you move in or out (from the 38% point) you should resize your equilateral triangle... keeping the 30 degree angle as a constant.(Thereby fitting any sized room for correct listening angle in relation to the size of the soundfield (left to right)

The angle at which your speakers should point is the 30 degree angle. (A lot of folks refer to it as a 60 degree angle... but it's 30 degrees from the center line)

 

My guess is that your listening position is either well inside or well outside whatever shape triangle it is that you have.
In most bedroom studios, you see a lot of guys sitting in a position that puts them inside the triangle by over half, or the triangle is so flattened that there is no way for the speakers to generate anything but incoherent phase from 600Hz down... and why they think they have no low frequencies.

Again, not to bust your chops, (you just happen to be in the crosshairs ATM and I've got a bit of cabin fever) but it's really sad that guys like you obviously think this shits easy... but you don't bother to put forth the due diligence to think through that there are probably some actual standards. But luckily, you stepped into a big pile of poo with folks here who actually give a rats ass about what it is we do as a profession. I've been doin' this insanity for going on nigh 20 years, and I'm just barely able to get a ticket to the clue bus... so take my tyrade with a grain of salt... or not.

It's like your underwear... it's up to ya.

Think about it. There are standards for fire extinguishers, elevators, automobiles, televisions and radio transmission. Why would there not be reasonable expectations, that there would be some sort of standards for audio reproduction?

Sadly, don't bother with the FCC, CBS, NBC or ABC... they "pretty much" follow the BBC and Canadian Standards... I'm sure there are probably standards elsewhere in the EU that you can find.

But where are those standards listed?

Glad you asked!

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.bbc.co.u…"]Search - BBC R&D[/]="http://www.bbc.co.u…"]Search - BBC R&D[/]

There's all kinds of stuff that's either worth reading, or at least browsing over.

This ain't rocket surgery, but it really is engineering... its not just about being a fader fairy and waving your magic wand over the screen and a grammy pops out. There's electronics, physics and a tremendous amount of psychology of children that goes into this gig.

You mention drums and a dresser full of clothes in your "studio"... so, you're at least a musician... but you also kinda' need to at least make a commitment to either be a musician, a recordist, a mixer, producer or whatever other position of merit you think you want... but not try to do all things. One or two, sure... maybe even three... but after that... you're seeking mediocrity. Which our industry is chock full of right now.

Please make a commitment to not be just another goober with a DAW and a mic and think you're an engineer long before you really are one.
Attached files

Nutti Sat, 02/15/2014 - 01:20
I know it's hard to even know just a tiny bit of how everything works. I was once on a class with top engineer Haydn Bendall (UK) and one of his stories told us about a small thing like the compressor. He said it took him well over 15 years to fully understand and hear the effect, before that he said he'd dial in some settings and sit on needles until it was released and the record was given positive credit. :D I have many times thought to myself this shit is way to hard for me and my ears are too damaged to even ever properly do this (suffer from tinnitus and drop in hearing around 3khz). But let's remember this: I'm not aiming for grammys, and I would like to say I'll never reach pro standard. I'll be just a home studio guy where the teens are able to come and do some recording for a small fee. So let's get one thing straight: the intension of building my home studio in the beginning was to record myself and my band. At some point I thought that maybe someone else also would like to record here. I knew from the beginning that with my lack of space I can never take the next step and play with the big boys, not even after 2 lifetimes. But the reason for my mainpost was that the few (2-4 bands) I have per year coming in should atleast be given a somewhat better end result than the one they do at home. Maybe this also is impossible? Atleast the bands have been grateful for what I've done and the results. They happy, I happy. With the latest band that didn't work out as I had planned. They said they were happy, but clearely it wasn't loud enough. So that was my point the whole time, to get some info on what I can do to compensate for me not wanting to crush the dynamics out of the songs.

Now this all lead to my room, witch was great! I've gotten more info and more knowledge here about that with this thread. I love that!

To furthure explain that I fully understanded your discription on how to set it all up, it's me who can't express myself correctly and clear enough as english beeing a foreign language. But if you take the picture and turn it 90degrees but keep all lines unturned, this is where I am. So let's say that the way things are set up in your picture is called "sitting linear to the long sides of the room" I am sitting linear to the short sides of the room. Ok? It's not possible for me to have my setup turned to sit along the long sides of the room. There's just too many instruments stuffed in there ( beeing a 5 piece drumkit and a 7 piece drumkit +harware and cymbalbags) and the shelf along one of the long sides taking the rest of the space. I'll post some pictures tomorrow so you'll see my shit.

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anonymous Sat, 02/15/2014 - 07:14
I was once on a class with top engineer Haydn Bendall (UK) and one of his stories told us about a small thing like the compressor. He said it took him well over 15 years to fully understand and hear the effect, before that he said he'd dial in some settings and sit on needles until it was released and the record was given positive credit. :D I have many times thought to myself this shit is way to hard for me and my ears are too damaged to even ever properly do this (suffer from tinnitus and drop in hearing around 3khz). But let's remember this: I'm not aiming for grammys, and I would like to say I'll never reach pro standard.

Knowing your limitations is admirable. You can't help the tinnitus but you can further your knowledge.

Are you saying you don't know what a compressor is and does?

There are plenty of people here who could explain it to you. But you have to ask.

Nutti Sat, 02/15/2014 - 07:19
DonnyThompson, post: 410469 wrote:

Are you saying you don't know what a compressor is and does?


No, I did not. I showed an example of a great headengineer at abbey road studios saying that it took him about 15 years back in the 60's to fully understand what it does. This was before the time of internet and other media sources was around.

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MadMax Sat, 02/15/2014 - 09:43
OK, you're firing off the short wall... not ideal, but it's what you have and you gotta deal with it.

It's fairly simple geometry... An equilateral triangle is an equilateral triangle... 30/60 degree angles are always those angles... just as 38% is 38%... whether it's from the front or the back.

But don't get psyched out on 38% and think it HAS to be 38%... IT DOESN'T! That's just a starting point for measurement, as it reflects the point in an enclosure that "should" be free from harmonic nodes and nulls... or at least they're usually minimized. Key word is "usually". Physical dimensions take priority.

The 30 degree angle of an equilateral triangle is more important.

The point being that these are reference points that conform to yielding more usable listening environments across a broad range of room sizes.

You should be able to use the same geometry in any room and locate at least some sort of listening environment that will be as accurate as the enclosure and it's associated acoustic treatment will present.

Just as you move the triangle outward as it gets bigger, you move it inward and it should get smaller.... If you can't access that 38% starting point because something is in the way... then move inward... It's no biggie, other than you will be looking at the probability of a low frequency issue of too much low end... until the triangle gets too small, then you typically have no low end, due to low frequency phase cancellation from the room's frequency response interacting with the speaker's energy put into the enclosure.

You'll figure it out soon... Don't make it any more complicated than it is.



(I've been kinda' noted for making things into mountains myself from time to time...)

anonymous Sat, 02/15/2014 - 17:22
... then you typically have no low end, due to low frequency phase cancellation from the room's frequency response interacting with the speaker's energy put into the enclosure.

Without actually being there, my somewhat educated hypothesis is that he's encountering exactly that. To what degree - whether it's partial or full out null - is tough to determine until Nutti does the "walk around", and I don't even think he absolutely needs a tone generator and frequency analyzer to do this, ( although they can certainly help to zone in on the freq's or freq ranges that are the problems) - but if he pushes say, 125 Hz at an average listening level and walks around, he's most likely going to actually hear it. .... if it's there, at least in the audible ranges - he'll know it.

And... it's my recommendation that you don't use your powered sub while you do this.

You don't need to hype or add anymore amplitude in those frequencies than that which is already falsely there.

But...Check me on that Max, you know more about it than I do...

FWIW, and I'm sure I'm gonna take some heat on this from somebody - I don't use a sub when I mix. I have done it, a few times in the past, but rarely - (actually, never) - have I been that happy with the results translating well to outside playback systems. I don't know, maybe it's a mix method that takes some time to get used to. But I'm in so many different rooms that it'd be hard for me to become accustomed to that method, if getting accustomed to it is what it really takes.

My best mixes have always seem to come from a nice pair of NF monitors, both active and passive, with a 5" to 8" front loaded woofer, and to be honest, my preference falls closer to a 6" than an 8".

I've used Alesis Monitor One's (both active and passive), Genelec's, Dynaudio's, JBL's, Focals, Events, Yamaha, Mackies, Tannoy's...

And as long as the room I'm in is decently balanced acoustically, I manage decent, solid mixes that translate nicely to other playback systems - like car audio, home theater, boom box, ipods... and even club PA systems.

But it takes time. As Max pointed out in one of his posts, it takes a very long time to hone a craft. And yes, audio engineering is a science, but it's also an art, too.

I've been doing this for 34 years this coming May. And for as much as I've experience, learned, soaked in and experimented with, there are times where I still feel like a rookie.

I like how Max put it:

I've been doin' this insanity for going on nigh 20 years, and I'm just barely able to get a ticket to the clue bus...

Very well said. I can totally relate to that. ;)

MadMax Sun, 02/16/2014 - 07:01
DonnyThompson, post: 410486 wrote: Without actually being there, my somewhat educated hypothesis is that he's encountering exactly that. To what degree - whether it's partial or full out null - is tough to determine until Nutti does the "walk around", and I don't even think he absolutely needs a tone generator and frequency analyzer to do this, ( although they can certainly help to zone in on the freq's or freq ranges that are the problems) - but if he pushes say, 125 Hz at an average listening level and walks around, he's most likely going to actually hear it. .... if it's there, at least in the audible ranges - he'll know it.

Agreed, but realizing that a nice, convenient tool like REW makes it SO much easier to be accurate.

And... it's my recommendation that you don't use your powered sub while you do this.

AMEN!!

You don't need to hype or add anymore amplitude in those frequencies than that which is already falsely there.

... my reasoning as well.

But...Check me on that Max, you know more about it than I do...

FWIW, and I'm sure I'm gonna take some heat on this from somebody - I don't use a sub when I mix. I have done it, a few times in the past, but rarely - (actually, never) - have I been that happy with the results translating well to outside playback systems. I don't know, maybe it's a mix method that takes some time to get used to. But I'm in so many different rooms that it'd be hard for me to become accustomed to that method, if getting accustomed to it is what it really takes.

If you're gonna take heat for that, I'm puttin' my asbestos underwear on, and standin' right beside ya' mate!

Even if I really could use one in my room, I would NOT use it for mixing... EVER. Since small enclosures have a natural tip up, you have no way to accurately make intelligent decisions with excessive low end build up in the room.

I'm "fortunate to be unfortunate" to have almost a perfectly flat room... and it's everything I can do to explain to clients that there's a LOT more low end in the mix than THEY are hearing... until they get the mixes in their cars/home stereo, etc...

Then they're like; "DAYUM... The low end almost took out my woofers... you do need to turn it down like you said!"

IOW, people are so accustom to hearing the low tip up in rooms, cars, etc, that it makes no sense to overly excite those frequencies with a sub woofer...

Where I DO use a sub, is when I check mixes up at the house on the home stereo... and that's just to make sure that my low end is adequately tamed and controlled. But folks should realize that back in the 60's through the 80's, that sub woofers weren't in use. And the low end in 99% of the recordings, especially from 80Hz down, was plenty loud and didn't require a sub woofer to experience... even on today's playback systems.

Sub woofers were really an advent, and out growth of the movie industry.. where infrasonic frequencies were compressed all to hell, and used for special effects... specifically starting with the movie "Quake".

But I will say, that if you really insist on using a subwoofer, that the correct placement is directly in the center of the room, flush mounted in the ceiling. It's the only place in most (99%) rooms that you can get those infrasonic waves to get into a halfwave condition with adequate free space to develop accurate and phase coherent sound... and even then, you need to set your crossover point with as steep of a curve as 48db/octave to create a flat frequency response transition from your main monitors to the sub woofer. (And that is gonna be one hell of an expensive crossover.)

My best mixes have always seem to come from a nice pair of NF monitors, both active and passive, with a 5" to 8" front loaded woofer, and to be honest, my preference falls closer to a 6" than an 8".

I've used Alesis Monitor One's (both active and passive), Genelec's, Dynaudio's, JBL's, Focals, Events, Yamaha, Mackies, Tannoy's...

And as long as the room I'm in is decently balanced acoustically, I manage decent, solid mixes that translate nicely to other playback systems - like car audio, home theater, boom box, ipods... and even club PA systems.

Agreed...

Although, I'm happy to repeat that in my humble digs, I'm using the Focal Twin 6be's in a "mid field" configuration very successfully... While I was a tad concerned about using the Twin's as a midfield (and mid fields in general), the transition has been worth the effort to learn... Console splash is seriously minimized, and I find that I can work much longer with far less hearing fatigue than using near fields alone.

But before anyone asks, yes, I DO have 2 other sets of NF's... Auratone Mix Cubes and Alesis M1 Actives.

If I have a mix that sounds good on all three sets of monitors, then there's a good bet that it's gonna translate just fine to other systems.

But it takes time. As Max pointed out in one of his posts, it takes a very long time to hone a craft. And yes, audio engineering is a science, but it's also an art, too.

I've been doing this for 34 years this coming May. And for as much as I've experience, learned, soaked in and experimented with, there are times where I still feel like a rookie.

I like how Max put it:



Very well said. I can totally relate to that. ;)

Thanx... I think?!? duh

Nutti Mon, 02/17/2014 - 01:56
I'll do the walk today and I'll order the behringer ecm8000 mic today also and it should arrive next week. So if I scetch down my room and point out locations where I test with the mic, are you able to help me or atleadt point out some directions to what my problem exactly is and where to start treatment to get it flatter? I know it will never be good, but let's say help me to get it as good as it can be. I'll take some pics today of my shit so you can see exactly whqt materials is where and how it's set up. I really appreciate all the help you guys are given me, and I realize now that I've missed out on a very important factor when I started learning the ways of the jedi.

There's soo much to learn and I understand it's frustrating for you guys to see all of us beginners making bad choises and giving that equipment has gotten cheaper and cheaper, the homestudio sound is more and more popping up on the market. Bedroom rappers are everywhere, and I understand you get frustrated with thease people thinking the know it all after a few years.

I'd like to point out that that doesn't count for me. While I'm learning more and more, I know my restrictions and don't aim for the top. In fact, I have reached my goal already in terms of the quality that I'll be able to produce, and that is demos and maybe EPs. And I'm happy with that. Everything from now on is knowledge to make it better, but I know I'll never be recording something that will be released by a company. I also know that this will never be a job for me, so don't worry about me pulling down the standard of todays musicproduction, okey :)

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MadMax Mon, 02/17/2014 - 05:06
Nutti, post: 410516 wrote: There's soo much to learn and I understand it's frustrating for you guys to see all of us beginners making bad choises and giving that equipment has gotten cheaper and cheaper, the homestudio sound is more and more popping up on the market. Bedroom rappers are everywhere, and I understand you get frustrated with thease people thinking the know it all after a few years.

I'd like to point out that that doesn't count for me. While I'm learning more and more, I know my restrictions and don't aim for the top. In fact, I have reached my goal already in terms of the quality that I'll be able to produce, and that is demos and maybe EPs. And I'm happy with that. Everything from now on is knowledge to make it better, but I know I'll never be recording something that will be released by a company. I also know that this will never be a job for me, so don't worry about me pulling down the standard of todays musicproduction, okey :)

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Fredrik,

No one here actually wants you to be satisfied with "good enough", but to strive for "good enough, but it can be better... so I'm gonna learn to be the best I can."

And yes, it IS frustrating at times. It was frustrating at times for those that taught us. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

There's several humps and plateaus in the learning curve... You've just hit one of them... and with a bit of effort on your part, you're moving up the level of your knowledge. Good on ya!

As far as pix, drawings, measurements, etc., I would encourage you to start a thread in the Studio forum. (and be SURE to read and follow Rod's sticky at the top of the forum; "Read This Before Posting".)

And while you're placing orders, I would suggest ordering Rod's book: "Recording Studios - Build It Like The Pros". It may not completely answer all your questions, but Rod covers every aspect of building a recording and mixing space very practically... and with an eye towards the goal of building economically.

Nutti Thu, 02/20/2014 - 03:36
The point with my post was to let you guys know I never try to be a smartazz. Offcourse I'll always be striving for better results and sucking in every piece of info I can get, but I know my restrictions of the rooms I have for recording and mixing. By this I mean I can never play with the big boys. It's hard to express yourself in a foreign language, while I think it makes perfect sence and I understand what I mean about it doesn't always add up for you guys. And that is just my fault for not knowing the language good enough. So by saying I've reached my goal I ment that I have come to the point in knowledge to know I'll be restricted by my room and this is sorta as good as it gets. By gaining knowledge and practice I certainly get better mixes, but as my room keeps lying to me it gives me restrictions.

Sadly your right about me needing to start a new thread, I was starting to feel comfterable here but now I need to go through the frying process again in a new thread. I'm going to wait for that omni mic and do some measurements first so that atleast I got something to show in my first post.

Anyways, THANKS! For all the help and leading me on the right path and giving me a new spark to take up my acustic problem again. The room eq wizard was the great carrot for me to start working with this again, thanks for posting that!

Nutti Sun, 02/23/2014 - 14:53
Hi guys! Breaking news! I did the walk and found that my spot where my head is is a nullpoint for everything under 110hz! Jeez! I pulled my desk and chair back just 15cm and everything was smooth exept for 82-104hz where I'm getting phase issues I guess? To try to explain, the signal gets lower from my left speaker. Can I somehow locate the spot where I should go with basstraps to tame this using REW and a mic?

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kmetal Sun, 02/23/2014 - 15:44
Corners are a great place to treat. I've heard arguments as why or why not front corners are good places to start but my only conclusion was just get em all, if possible. I'm far from an acoustics expert, just a staff studio schlep who's built a couple to varying degrees, but since u have your testing setup, I'd just test each corner, and find the ones that have the most glaring response problems in your area of concern 80-100hz and start there. After the listening position has been established. We were stuck in a null at one of them and just moved the desk a few inches forward and that's how it's been. I have far more trouble w making a smooth mid range than bass or treble, but that's why I don't get paid the big bucks.

Ive have never mixed w a sub, but I do reference on my Bose home theater. I wish I could help ya more, but I will say that good records have been made in questionable spaces. Those old 60s records were mixed in a lot of tiny rooms. I hate to sound to "arty" in a technical convo, but some of my best recordings we're done in normal rooms, w entry level equipment, w headphones (akg 240) as a reference. Granted mic position and selection was time consuming, but to me it's more important to capture the character or essence of a band no matter how good or bad it is sonically. Sometimes "studio" quality sound ain't the ticket. It just has to sound "right".

But that's tracking, I think your in the right direction seeking more realistic response from ur mix room. Most people I know don't get worse w this stuff as they go. And I know dudes who've been at it 30yrs and still learn new things. This would be a lame field if there were rules, or set ways like being an accountant (no offense to any business pros)

bouldersound Sun, 02/23/2014 - 18:35
There's a technique using multiple subs distributed around the room that can help reduce nulls. The idea is to place them so their direct sound arrives at the listening position aligned in time but their reflected paths vary in a way to make them out of phase at relevant frequencies. The result is a greater number of shallow nulls rather than few very deep nulls.

I've never done that, but I have mixed with a subwoofer. It's important to set it up properly in terms of placement, crossover frequency, level and polarity. One nice thing is that you can move it around somewhat to manage its interaction with the room without having to move the main speakers. As long as you don't change the relative distance (to the sub vs. to the mains) by more than a couple feet or so it should be okay. In other words, if you consider the listening position the center of a sphere with the mains at the surface, you can put the sub within a couple of feet of any point on that sphere's surface and it will be sufficiently in phase with the mains at the listening position. That said I still prefer it in the same general direction as the mains.
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