Mastering Loudness Help

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by neonreymun, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

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    hello i am using izotope ozone 7 to master my original songs and am having trouble with the overall loudness or dynamics of the things i master. for example when i listen to my reference tracks and turn up the volume on my headphones or monitors, i have no problem with distortion or have any problems with irritating my ears. the masters of the songs im trying to emulate sound crisp and clear no matter the loudness or volume i set. on the other hand, the things im mastering sound okay at a regular volume level, but when i turn it up on my headphones they start to irritate my ears. and if i turn down the master, it will sound quieter overall in comparison to my reference track. does anybody know why this happens and can let me know what im doing wrong? thanks!
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    What is your experience level?
    Are you mixing - or attempting to "master" using only headphones?
    Are you knowledgeable in how the mastering process works?
    Are you experienced enough to understand that "mastering" is not about just making things LOUD?
    Are you up to date on the current RMS/LUFS standards?


    Well, most - if not all - of this is because those songs you are referring to have been professionally recorded, mixed and mastered, by highly-skilled and experienced A.E.'s and M.E.'s who have great ears, doing their jobs in impeccably-balanced acoustic spaces, using the best gear ( converters, interfaces, monitors, summing devices) that money can buy. They were also originally recorded and mixed by very knowledgeable and highly-skilled professionals, who are also using the best audio gear that money can buy... (top of the line mics, preamps, converters, IB and OB gear).

    You made no mention of your gain chain - mics and preamps, and the other gear you are using to record; how you are mixing, or the acoustic characteristics of the space(s) that you are recording or mixing in; how you monitored, what you monitored through, what type of conversion you are using, your level of experience and skill in the craft... You'll never end up with a "professional" sound using $50-$100 mics, through budget-level preamps and interfaces, recording and/or mixing in a space that is acoustically skewed... ie - your bedroom or attic.

    Fill in the blanks for us, ( your experience level, your DAW platform, the interface, mics and preamps you are using, what kind of monitors your are listening through, and if your room is acoustically balanced or not, etc.) and we'll see if we can help... but understand that you are attempting to compare your own stuff to reference tracks that are very well-tracked and mixed, by pro's who are highly experienced and who know what they are doing, using the best mics, interfaces/converters, preamps and monitoring rigs that are available, and who are doing all of this in acoustically-balanced spaces .... and which are also being mastered by serious professionals - people who are just as knowledgeable and well-equipped in their own side of the process as those who are handling the recording and mixing of the songs.

    Gear matters. Experience matters. The spaces you record, mix, and master in all matters...a lot.

    It all plays a huge part in how good - or not so good -your stuff will sound upon final output.
     
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  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    the first thing is your expectations are unreasonable. bone up on the Fletcher Munson curve / effect and you will gain a better understanding of what is happening in your mixes.
     
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  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Please understand, no one is trying to be evasive to your questions, or even sway you away from what you want to accomplish, but what you're asking is unreasonable... and really isn't all that different than someone wondering why their 4 cylinder Ford sedan can't keep up in a race with skilled drivers in Lamborghini's and Ferrari's.

    Gear matters, skill matters, knowledge matters. Without any one of these things, your home studio mixes will only ever be "so" good... and that's not to say that you can't get decent results from run-of-the-mill, consumer grade equipment, because you can. But your expectations are too high; with the "average" home recording gear, in the average home space with skewed acoustics, and a limited knowledge of the craft, you're not gonna be able to sound just like professionally recorded/mixed/mastered commercial recordings.

    Izotope makes good stuff... but Ozone alone is not going to make your mixes sound professionally mixed and mastered.

    Kurt's suggestion to learn about the F-M Curve is a good suggestion, and certainly important to know...but there are many other important things to know, too.

    How well your tracks are recorded to begin with matters most, and that includes professional gear, and a strong knowledge of the recording process, including mic placement and gain structure, followed by the space in which you are listening/mixing.

    -d.
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    As others may have said or implied is that to sound like one specific Professional production, you'd probably need to go to their place and use the same Tools and the same craft knowledge and inspiration.. This is quite impossible. That's why no 2 album sound the same.

    That said, I worked for a long time with T-Racks and Ozone and I thought they both weren't able to get a finalised clean level.
    When I need to do a pseudo mastering (not the word pseudo because I don't pretend to be a mastering engineer), I currently use ozone has a correction Tools for problems (if any) and then Fabfilter's Limiter ProL. ProL is the cleanest, most transparent limiter plugin I tried. I can get to 'too loud' results without them to be disastrous.
    After ProL (on the masterbuss) I place Insight which has a nice LUFS meter. Now a day we hear the loudness war starting to fade. With an LUFS of -12 or -14db, you get a fair level for youtube and online medias. If you want to push-it, I went to -8db one time and wasn't in trouble sonicly.

    Know that your source of comparaison might be tricking you.. if you downloaded an Mp3 of your best song. The Creator may have push the loudness way to hot and it's not a good Idea to follow it.
    You better compare with a CD version of the song ;)
     
  7. mactreouser

    mactreouser Active Member

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    This Perhaps the Mix was something wrong?! As I guess, your Gain Staging was an issue? Did you TURN ON the PRE-FADER METER for the Mixer of your DAW? This is the REAL Metering Level of your track "After All Plugins Applied" as well.

    You'll hear nothing wrong during the mixing stage though the track(s) was CLIP.

    In fact, when you boost up the volume during Mastering Stage, the HARSHNESS of some Frequencies (caused by CLIP) will then kiss your ears (should I use bite?) like crazy! Sorry, it fixes no way.

    Just the 2 cents
     
  8. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

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    hey sorry for the late response. im fully aware that im not going to achieve that professional sound with the tools and experience i have. but there are many bedroom producers that do this stuff on their own and get a decent sound in the end without going to a fancy studio and being super knowledgable about what they're doing. im trying to do everything on my own in my room using only a laptop, a UR12 USB interface, a $90 bluebird mic and a couple Hs5 yamaha studio monitors i use only every now and then.

    also i know mastering isnt only loudness but thats what im having an issue with. when im listening to music in my car by other artists, the max volume i set is 50. all the songs by those other artists sound great at that volume level. but when i play my mixes at that same volume they are wayy too loud! i usually have to turn it down to about 42-44 in my car. so then i go back and turn the "maximizer" bar in Ozone down a few dBs, which helps the car volume situation but then the gain is too low when i listen on my headphones. i cant find the perfect spot for it to sound decent volume wise on all devices, so i was hoping somebody in here could point me in the right direction. in conclusion i want my songs to be as loud as my reference tracks (which are not that crazy to begin with. im talking soundcloud stuff from unknown bedroom artists) and i wanna be able to turn it up on all other devices without it sounding too loud if that even makes sense. thanks
     
  9. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

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    gonna go through this today! also here are screen shots of my settings in Ozone where i attempted to master one of my own tracks. i took the screen shots every time the kick drum came in so you would see the peak and RMS level
     

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  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    your expectations are very unreasonable. you think there are producers who attain acceptable results with your tools / circumstances but you are so wrong in this line of thinking. cheap gear in/ cheap sound out. bad listening environment in / bad listening experience out.

    just be happy with what you are getting or be prepared to live with the FACT that you are on a journey that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. just because the butt wipes at (insert you favorite rack crap manufacturers name) tell you you can get great results using a $90 mic and an $85 mic pre and converters, doesn't make it so.
     
  11. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

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    hahaha ok dude calm down. ill figure it out on my own
     
  12. Jay

    Jay Active Member

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    neonreymun, The funny thing is Kurt and Donny were really helping you. If you go to any mastering studio and ask the same question, you will get the same response. "There is no one answer to any question in Mixing & Engineering Music - Tony Mazserati"
     
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    And then, you're A/B'ing your mixes against stuff that was recorded in very nice pro studios, by seasoned and knowledgeable engineers, using really professional level gear, and is then mastered professionally by the same caliber of engineers using high level equipment... of course yours won't sound the same.

    Define "decent"... ??
    "decent" in that the bulk of the bedroom stuff all sounds about the same in quality? Or "decent" as in it could compete on a national commercial level?

    Which is why I mentioned that you may want to learn some things - study up on Gain Structure... And on Gain Reduction. And, as Kurt ( @Kurt Foster) mentioned, learn about The Fletcher-Munson Curve, and as I mentioned, learn about LUFS, Peak, and RMS. All of these things have a direct connection to your dilemma.
    And, these are all "recording 101" basics.

    There is no one, quick and easy answer here. You're going to have to learn some things on your own, or your mixes are never going to improve, and will always going to suffer in comparison to commercial level stuff.

    Yes, gear matters, but so does knowledge. Perhaps the main difference between yourself and pro guys doesn't all come down to the fact that you are using a $90 Bluebird Mic and they are using a $9000 Sony ... in fact, it's really not about that at all...
    It's that you don't really want to take the time to learn, or to do the legwork to improve your craft... you desire "quick and easy answers", and there is no such thing.

    There is no "Make My Mixes Not Suck" Button on any DAW or Recording Console.

    Pro engineers ( of which there are many here on RO) have spent the better part of their lives really wanting to learn all about the craft, and most still continue to want learn all the time, because we are serious about audio, and we know that this is how we all improve.... and because we love what we do.

    And the guys here on RO are here in large part because they like helping younger up and comers to the craft... but you have to carry some of the weight, too.

    FWIW
    -d.
     
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