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Old 08-10-2017, 13:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
Loudness wars....
Prospero Prospero is offline 08-10-2017, 13:38 PM

Kind of responding to a comment from Terry about one of my Plastic Palace People tracks posted yesterday. Probably something that's been discussed to death on here, but I found this interesting and thought I'd post it: https://audioskills.com/tips/mastering/loudness/

It's comforting to know that the same dilemma I constantly face re loudness v dynamics is something that pro mastering engineers also struggle with. There's no "right" answer of course. Have to say that some tracks I listened to on here last night (in my aka as Plastic Palace People) were Unlistenably loud without turning the master volume down to about halfway.

I don't suppose the techies can introduce something on here that normalises all tracks to the same basic volume......? I believe websites like Soundcloud do that. Or is it Spotify?

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Old 08-10-2017, 14:47 PM

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I'd hate that to be fair, one of the things this site has going for itself is the players. Soundcloud players are awful.
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Old 08-10-2017, 17:36 PM
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Don't think I've ever listened to anything on Soundcloud, so I wouldn't know. We're talking mp3s here I guess so the quality isn't going to be top notch on any of these sites. The loudness thing is a b*gger though. Even where something has been mastered using decent software (I use Izotope) it can sound quieter - smaller - than other stuff. And I suspect people don't use the volume control, they just take it as it comes. I know that I do that - unless something is so f*cking loud it makes me tear my headphones off before turning it down. Hey ho - there's no answer to this one other than automatic normalisation at upload. And I'm not sure I'd like that either really - it'd be someone else messing with my music and it'd probably be too loud
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Old 08-10-2017, 19:00 PM

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There is quite a difference between hearing music on here and on Soundcloud.
That is what I was meaning about not wanting them to auto normalize our music on here. I would hate it big time.

The issue you are getting is a user thing, not so much the players here. Simply lots of people don't have high standards when it comes to their mixing. A lot of the guys probably don't care that much about that element.

Most weeks I hear close to 100% of the stuff I listened to didn't hit my own standards. That's not an ego thing its just my opinion. There is a very small handful of what I would class as Pro producers on here and then some who are decent. Then their is stuff that its what it is and then others that I think raw is the only way I'd like to hear their stuff.

There used to be lots of high standard producers in the edm field on here, Now days, not many, if any of late. Couple of all rounder producers who set high standards but it really is only a couple.

Tracks I have heard on here of late are more than likely mixed using headphones. I find those kind of mixes that I have to turn down more often than not to be able to listen.
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Old 08-10-2017, 20:40 PM
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You may be right about headphones. Some of what I've heard on here has made me seriously concerned about people damaging their hearing (if it's not already damaged I MEAN DAMAGED!!).

I tend to mix on both headphones and near field speakers, and try to get a happy medium between the two. I also try to get it to sound ok in mono - that's often a good way of seeing if anything is really off-kilter. I'll also check it on earbuds and cheapo bluetooth speakers. I've found you know when you've nailed a mix/master because it sounds good played back on anything.

In the end though "it's all about the song" innit. I'd rather have a crap recording of a good song than a good recording of a crap song. Often it's not the mix or the mastering that's the problem - it's that the song is sh*te and we all know you can't polish a turd
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Old 08-10-2017, 21:56 PM
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Mixing and mastering as we all know is a bit of an art form and a skill set in itself. I agree with David here that it's the quality of the song that is most important though of course, a bad mix can ruin a potentially good song. Personally, I'm more of a musician than a technician so tend to fly by the seat of my pants when I come to mix/master one of my efforts. I never work with headphones, no matter how good they are and always mix with my flat response monitors. Having said all that I'm more used to working the 'other side of the desk' so production technique is a relatively new paradigm for me. I've managed to glean a lot of useful info from music magazines such as 'Sound On Sound' .. a monthly periodical published in the UK; plus of course, a lot of trial and error.

Loudness wars? Hopefully there is a ceasefire in place as it did seem to get a bit ridiculous. Wasn't there a Metallica album that pi$$ed all their fans off as it was so over-cooked or something?

I guess one sad fact is that most people these days listen to their music of choice through earbuds as compressed MP3's so perhaps good quality audio is becoming a thing of the past?
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Old 08-10-2017, 22:07 PM

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I'd say most of the artists I hear on here are musicians first, producer/engineer second. All the guys I rate are at least great musicians and small few are damn good producers too. Some of my fav songwriters on here don't care about the production and it works for them. Bad Love Junkie for example. Not saying hes a bad producer, far from it but I don't think I'd like him as much if he was over produced.

Not blowing smoke at you Ray but I'd class you as one of the best all rounders on here or at least the ones I have heard. I don't listen to much on her now days, I just return comments. So I'm probably missing quite a few.
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