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Question about "Setting Master Volume."

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martinweeks
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby martinweeks » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:28 pm

Thanks guys...keep 'em coming. Mark I'm not getting to complicated. My lyricist/partner/fiancee writes sophisticated lyrics that requires a lot of learning curve on my part. Nearly everyone I know (excluding you nice folks in the forum) from years and years of playing together has shown the least interest in collaboration with us. they are all about "Look at Me" in FB. So there are no really great players, pickers and so on to actually do any playing. Either I find a way to do it or the material will sit on the shelf till we turn to dust. Here's the link to the CD that's out now. The first song is important for it's message I will run down the list right now of the problems I hear on the master of the first song that I haven't been able to pin down and fix. But I assure you compared to the original recording it is light years better than when it started.
First song- "Homeless Heroes." :
1.) pumping on vocals at specific points.
I believe I screwed up with gate on either guitar or master track...not sure which.
2.) Pesky frequency that I haven't been able to find and fix using three different parametric EQ's. I've tried all kinds of adjustments, taken them out put them back in. Use the correct chain of effects for all tracks plus trimmers to keep the over all mix well below 0db.
3.) Phase cancellation. that is why I was asking about the different ways to control reverb and effects. I suspect again the frequency issues as the effects "affect" the EQ. (pre fader vs post)
4.) Compression/Limiter issues.

Go hear for yourself and you will see what I'm talking about.
http://linmarproductions.bandzoogle.com ... start=true
The link takes you to the home page. Click the tab that says "Music" (not Music Store)

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aquataur
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aquataur » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:56 am

Mark Bliss wrote:I'll have to look into those meters more again. Honestly, I should have looked at the links better.


This may interest you:
The best loudness metering plugins money can buy.

Expensive, exorbitant, beyond the scope of a mere mortal, but interesting and beyound doubt useful. Watching the video alone gives you a good clue how to set your master fader next time.

-helmut

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:16 am

Thanks Helmut.
I follow Ian's stuff pretty closely, always looking for useful clues. He is a frequent source of good info IMO.

For what its worth, I have been using the (Free) meters included in TRacks, which includes Peak, RMS, and some degree of perceived loudness info and phase info.
Its not real sophisticated by any measure, but like many things, its useful once you become familiar with it. Willing to try alternatives and see if I like something else better though. Evaluating the Kmeter now.
But I am uninclined to push the loudness issue. My playback devices all have amplifiers and volume knobs..... :D

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aquataur
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aquataur » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:19 am

This is becoming a bit OT, however:

For an individuum, it is entirely irrelevant, how "loud" a song is. I totally agree with you.
This whole issue stemmed from songs being played by local radio stations, the louder one was perceived, the more it got played, the more money it was earning and so on.

I think it became kind of a phallic thing to have a loud CD.
Loudness would mainly concern a mastering engineer.

What we hereabouts can make use of is those meter´s ability to look at signal macrodynamic and microdynamic, which would help to better balance a track´s loudness within the mix, and to take care of safe signal levels.
The built-in meters do nuthin´to support this. No problem, third party meters are available freely. This works except for the master track - the volume slider comes too late (as you detected), but a gain plugin first place in the queue fixes this.
So the Acoustica staff can concentrate on other things. :wink:

I like the meters Ian shows that let you look at signal history.

-helmut

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:52 pm

Agreed. 8)
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aj113
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aj113 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:22 am

aquataur wrote:...For an individuum, it is entirely irrelevant, how "loud" a song is...
Not entirely sure what is meant by 'individuum' in this context but if the track is going to played anywhere outside of the environment in which it was recorded then its loudness is not only relevant but crucial.

Firstly, if the track is to be played with others (for example on a CD) then each track should be mastered to an equal loudness so that the listener does not have to reach for the volume knob every time a new track is played.

Secondly, the majority of playback environments are loudness normalized these days. Multiple loudness normalization logarithms are used by each individual service or device and they are applied to achieve varying db levels depending on the environment and the service provider. There is no uniformly accepted optimum level.

Mix a song too loud and it will be severely attenuated, thus losing any (debateable) advantage of loudness and retaining the (also debateable) disadvantages of a reduced dynamic range.

Mix a song too quiet and it may not necessarily be played back at a boosted level, as some loudness normalization systems, for example Youtube, only attenuate loud recordings, but don't boost quiet ones.

It's all very well to state that you have a volume knob on your playback devices but this is not how the general listening public wants to listen to audio, they want to hear all audio played back at the same level, that is the sole reason why the CALM Act is law in the USA.

So if you're recording audio it is vital that you know about and understand loudness, how to manipulate it to desired levels, and to understand from the beginning the loudness level that you are aiming for with each new recording.

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aquataur
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aquataur » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:50 am

aj113 wrote:(...)but if the track is going to played anywhere outside of the environment in which it was recorded then its loudness is not only relevant but crucial.


You answered your own question. :wink:

As soon as a track is in competition with another one, be it on a CD, on the radio or whatever, you ought to think about its loudness. The loudness meters are a convenient tool for that.
For a beginner, for somebody who wants to learn how to set the levels and gain some experience on balancing them (thats what this thread was starting out with...), other things may have priority. But the mentioned meters happen to be helpful for this case too.

-helmut

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davefk
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby davefk » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:07 am

Personally, i'd have the master set at -18db and give plenty of headroom. You can then always turn up the master or better still normalize the file to -1db in something like Audacity and keep all those lovely transients but have a louder track.

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aquataur
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aquataur » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:43 pm

Not a bad idea.
I have seen in one of those mastering videos (maybe Ian Shepherd, but not sure...) how they used several finished tracks (rendered to clip form), arranged in the DAW like they would during recording and mixing.

There was similar laws going on concerning dynamics and loudness weighting.

-helmut

In a way, it is good to strive for the utmost (I do not say "perfection"), but it is easy to lose focus if the goal is too far away. I learn this the hard way.

-helmut

martinweeks
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby martinweeks » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:45 pm

I found both TT DR and kmeter for free (no sign up) and have more or less figured out how to use the both of them to get much better control over levels across the board. With the kmeter I click the option k-12 (which is re calibrating the unity gain of zero to be actually at -12db) and leave the TT DR alone. That way I can compare in detail peak levels, vs over all levels, and when the meters all equal out and stay at consistant -1db even at the highest sounding levels voila.

Also found a very good and VERY SIMPLE limiter vst called "LoudMax." Not complicated. Two faders, one for volume and one for limiting by playingwith the relative levels of both faders (and watching the meters very carefully I've been able to consistently get exactly the right master volume out levels now for half a dozen songs. Thanks you guys for the input on metering. Because of this forum I'm finally gaining control over the levels of my songs which means better Album/CD projects as time continues.

Thanks a bunch and check out that LoudMax. Sometimes simple works better than techno complication.

martinweeks
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby martinweeks » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:54 pm

Ian Shepherd is wonderful. I'm a huge fan of his after only a few videos and signing up for his "free" mastering tutorials. He's also afan of Graham Cocrane's "Recording Revolution which I have found extremely helpful. Another great YouTube Channel is "MixbusTV" this guy is also very well learned and has a funny "I don't give a shit' way of delivering his message. He also has very helpful tips on great plug ins for free or very inexpensive. Check his YT channel out if you haven't already.

As to my questions about loudness meters previously let me kind of clear up some confusion I've accidentally created ina this thread. Due to severe (and I mean severe) poverty on my part I have had to postpone some essential hardware upgrades...specifically good monitors and of course an A/D interface. That will all change next month when I start a new job in a different division of the company I work for. (radically better pay and hours) So my need to better understand how to work with meters was in fact a need as while the speakers I'm currently using are better than decent, I already know well why reference monitors are so important. 10 year (+) back I owned my own Roland Vs Studio set up. VS 1880 workstation, XP 61 key keyboard sequencer and Roland DS-90 Studio Reference Monitors. Those monitors spoiled me and retrained my ears as far as listening to music for mixing purposes.
So not having good reference monitors made it actually essential to have meters as I know that the speakers I'm using are going to fool my ears no matter how much I attempt to recreate a "flat" sound pallet from adjusting the base and treble knobs. By carefully watching the:
meters, frequency analyzer and EQ I can make up for the obvious false acoustics of the speakers. I also upload to differrent sites wav file mixes to compare how the sound hits the speakers, and email the files to my cell phone for comparison. (For example the player on "Dropbox" seems to favor more bottom end, so always sounds "louder" and "fatter" then say listening to windows media player (SUCKS!!!) and Broadjam's mp3 player also uh...SUCKS!!

But I still want to thank Mark, Helmut, and the others as the more I ask the more I learn. I'm not expecting to suddenly hit a platinum song early retirement I know better. (sure would be nice though) But steady improvement of over all quality of the mixing means that over time I can possibly start doing mixes for other artists, sell "Beats" possibly get a few licensing deals for commercials or "On Hold" background music, not to mention make much better "background tracks" for One Man Band Shows I book etc. And...the quality of lyrics my fiancee seems to be able to produce on an almost daily basis does in fact mean their is potential for selling original music. I come from a family of writers and literally grew up watching my dad and mom (as a team) create, publish and distribute no less than seven NYTimes Best Seller Novels between my age of six and 14 years of age. So for me these are not "Pipe Dreams" but workable realities. They "Worked" their craft. Lot's of late nights editing, arguing rewriting etc. So I know this is not just a couch potato arm chair quarterback endeavor. And I could not improve without the great advice, and helpful pointers of this forum and the tutorials that I mentioned above. Thanks to all.

And now I need to start a new thread as next month I will finally be able to get the interface I've needed since day one and decent monitors and condenser mic. I still have excellent headphones from the studio as well as the tried and true Sure 58 and 57 dynamic mics so I'm not really too far behind the eight ball as some might think.

So I shall now start the new thread and thanks again all of you. This has been a great and very learning thread for me.

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Studio 919
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby Studio 919 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:39 pm

Hey Y'all,

Sorry for reviving an older thread, but it is easier than creating a new thread and cross-referencing to this one.

With that said, apparently I've been doing things wrong. Let me explain. I have recorded quite a few songs and some are "complete" except for mastering. I mixed them down to mp3 and took them to a local karaoke bar and they played them for me on their pa system. That gives me a better feel for how they sound and any adjustments that may be needed. Most times, however, they are "hot". I looked at each one and the waveforms appear to be normal size. They sound good but my friend has to turn down the volume. I have also created a "test" cd and played it in my car. I had to turn the volume extremely high to hear my cd. That brings me to this thread, which I have read several times.

My goal is to create mp3's and cd's.

It has been said to set the master fader at unity and leave it alone. What about the individual track faders? Should they be set to unity also? If so, does this mean that during the recording process the gain knob on my interface is to be used in place of the faders?

It has also been said to record at -12 or possibly -18. Is this setting to be on each individual track or on the master?

The OP had this question. "So when I'm ready to "Record" to Master Track I see in the "Mix" drop down menu where it says "Set Master Volume." Also when I click "Record" for the actual Master Track the Master Fader always jumps back up to 0 db." I must be missing something. I don't understand what this means. How do I "Record to Master Track"? Also, is this process the same for both mp3's and cd's?

I'm currently looking at each of my songs to see if I need to re-mix. Hopefully, I won't have to re-record.

Anyway, thanks for your time and any replies.

Barry
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:11 pm

Hi Barry!
I have to admit you've lost me on a few points here, but hopefully we can pull something out of this.

Studio 919 wrote:apparently I've been doing things wrong. Let me explain. I have recorded quite a few songs and some are "complete" except for mastering. I mixed them down to mp3 and took them to a local karaoke bar and they played them for me on their pa system. That gives me a better feel for how they sound and any adjustments that may be needed. Most times, however, they are "hot". I looked at each one and the waveforms appear to be normal size. They sound good but my friend has to turn down the volume. I have also created a "test" cd and played it in my car. I had to turn the volume extremely high to hear my cd.

My goal is to create mp3's and cd's.

I don't work in MP3, but I don't think that is relevant to the question. And I don't "master" as I have said before.
But this portion of your question leaves me wondering how you are metering. Waveforms IMO can tell you a little about where you are roughly level wise, recording especially, but its certainly not an accurate way to meter levels. It also makes me feel I need to point out there's often a difference between watching peaks and loudness, which can be another thing entirely.

Studio 919 wrote:It has been said to set the master fader at unity and leave it alone.

When? Theres so many ways people work, theres no single right way IMO.
The method I currently typically use is to MIX with the main fader at unity, with a target of my mix peaking with allowance for my desired headroom. Often roughly -10 dBfs. Once I am happy with the mix, I might adjust the main for rendering the file, to the level that meets the goal of the rendering. For instance, it depends on what I am doing with that rendering. And this answer may rely on whether there is any further processing on the main bus and just what that is.
Two examples I used in another discussion recently were setting peaks to -6 as requested by a mastering engineer, or pushing the peaks up higher for presenting a demo or example. I usually dont, but some people mix into, or add a limiter and render right up close to the hairy edge of 0dBfs. Some even use plugins that allow overs and hyper loud mastering. Depends on your goals.
If I understand you correctly I think the answer is that I use the main fader differently for mixing than rendering, .
And again, other people work differently, as shown again and again.

Studio 919 wrote:What about the individual track faders? Should they be set to unity also?

Again, not sure about the meaning of the question, but....
The track faders are for setting relative balance between the tracks. One common problem is level creep. As you mix, the main level gets too hot. With experience I learned to consider when to pull down some tracks to suit instead of turning up the one that was too low. Again, watch your target level range on the main bus. And this brings me back to metering?

Studio 919 wrote:If so, does this mean that during the recording process the gain knob on my interface is to be used in place of the faders?

How have you been setting your recording levels?
The best method for you is going to vary a little depending on your specific rig.

Studio 919 wrote:It has also been said to record at -12 or possibly -18.

Rule number one about recording is NO CLIPPING. There is no reason to record at high levels, anywhere near 0 dBfs.
I dont think theres a hard rule beyond that. If you can record at 24 Bits, I would strongly encourage it.
-18 is a good starting point, and a good idea. But it doesn't HAVE to be -18. Personally I like to consider where the recording will ultimately fit in the mix. Louder sounds COULD start a little louder, quieter sounds a little lower.
I also take into consideration any unwanted noise that might be captured in a recording. For example If I have to turn a recording way up in a mix, that noise is getting turned up. There's often ways to deal with that if necessary, but its always best to avoid it in the first place. There's a lot more to it, many things to consider, but I think that's the crux of the biscuit.

In a perfect world, recording levels would allow a rough mix to be created with all the track faders close to unity. Easier said than done, but worth keeping in mind. There are ways to manipulate this as well.....
Another thing, if you notice the range of adjustment on your faders, the resolution is finer near unity and courser further away from unity..... When you get to the end of mixing and desire very fine adjustments, doesn't it make sense to utilize that where possible?

Studio 919 wrote:Is this setting to be on each individual track or on the master?

Not sure what you meant there.

Studio 919 wrote:The OP had this question. "So when I'm ready to "Record" to Master Track I see in the "Mix" drop down menu where it says "Set Master Volume." Also when I click "Record" for the actual Master Track the Master Fader always jumps back up to 0 db."
I must be missing something. I don't understand what this means.

Neither do I. No idea. I wouldn't dwell on the OP's comments to deeply. 8)

Hopefully there's some help in there. Have we narrowed in on some things at least?[/quote]
Stay in tune, Mark

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aj113
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby aj113 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:26 pm

I couldn't really get past this part:
Studio 919 wrote:.. my friend has to turn down the volume...I had to turn the volume extremely high to hear my cd.
So which is it - does your track need turning up, or turning down?

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Studio 919
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Re: Question about "Setting Master Volume."

Postby Studio 919 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:48 pm

Thanks for the response Mark.

With the information that you and others have shared in this thread, I'm going to experiment a little to see what I can come up with. I've also watched videos on this subject and feel they will be helpful as well. I'll let y'all know what I do and how it works.

aj113, thanks for your response also.

To clarify, I was talking about two different occasions. The first was when I created a sample cd and the volume was very low. The second occasion was when I created a mp3 and had my friend play them on his pa system. That's when I found out they were "hot". So, from the first occasion to the second I must have "over adjusted" and ended up making things worse.

Thanks again,
Barry
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