Jump to content
Marcello

Is this Master Too Loud? (LUFS/Youleanmeter)

Recommended Posts

11 minutes ago, Glenn Stanton said:

and that's the crux of the matter... so some experimentation might be needed. for example, if you "master" your song @ -10 LUFS, and you upload it to Spotify, what happens to it? does it really get cut -6 LU? (50%?)... this is where an experienced master engineer is worth their weight because they can a) spot issues with the mix that will be problematic in just about any situation, b) any negative impacts from online platform normalization schemes, c) do the work to ensure best competitive levels on your material to work across platforms...

Right, I'm noo much of a newbie for this maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2021 at 7:35 PM, Glenn Stanton said:

and that's the crux of the matter... so some experimentation might be needed. for example, if you "master" your song @ -10 LUFS, and you upload it to Spotify, what happens to it? does it really get cut -6 LU? (50%?)... this is where an experienced master engineer is worth their weight because they can a) spot issues with the mix that will be problematic in just about any situation, b) any negative impacts from online platform normalization schemes, c) do the work to ensure best competitive levels on your material to work across platforms...

I noticed that the master I did is squashed, In the limiter I can see that when the drums kick in its’ getting squashed and distorted. Might be that I should place a limiter or a compressor on the drums track in the mix before the master? To attenuate the drums transients so that then in the master I can raise the overall volume without getting distorted?

this is what’s happening in the master limiter

 

image.thumb.png.b393a4242170845f26ce639de2f8d33c.png

Edited by Marcello

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also consider slightly raising the input level (or output level) but raise the threshold to say -6db, and yes adding some multiband compression (looking for 2-3db GR) may be helpful as would be removing any really low frequency not really needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Marcello said:

I noticed that the master I did is squashed, In the limiter I can see that when the drums kick in its’ getting squashed and distorted. Might be that I should place a limiter or a compressor on the drums track in the mix before the master? To attenuate the drums transients so that then in the master I can raise the overall volume without getting distorted?

Bingo. This is how it usually pans out: you address the instrument that's causing the excessive peaks rather than trying to fix it in the overall mix.

And, as you observed, it's quite often the kick drum that's the culprit. And yes, a compressor and/or limiter on the drums or kick track is the usual solution. Don't worry that shaving a couple dB off the kick might lessen its impact. There are ways to make sure the kick remains impactful even when peak-limited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually listening to the Ozone mix I can't even hear the drums when you get to that loud part as they are downed out buy the excessively loud guitars. And I'm not sure what the reference songs are but I had to actually turn your song down when it got to that end part,,. I had been watching a You Tube prior to that and I had my system level at 12'0 clock which is 90% of where it should be. Possibly the song is out of whack because of the long intro part which is defiantly not as loud as that last part. 

You're ( hopefully) learning. Just keep at it and try different mixes. You can use Mix Recall to do this easily. That's what it's for. Nobody became a Mastering Engineer overnight. I'm still learning after 30+ years. I wouldn't advise trying to match your composition with any commercial releases out of the starting gate. It's a great idea to compare but your using a very basic set of tools. Those guys have $$$$ worth of tools as well as years of experience using them.  Be happy with what you create and move along to the next song. You will keep learning and you can always come back in 3 years and fix what you didn't like. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a process. And, on a professional level, a specialty. It can indeed be daunting at first.

Best advice is to get the best-sounding mix you can get without any mastering. Once you're good at mixing, mastering will be much, much easier. A really good mix won't require much finalization other than a volume boost and maybe - maybe - a smidge of EQ.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2021 at 10:49 PM, bitflipper said:

It's a process. And, on a professional level, a specialty. It can indeed be daunting at first.

Best advice is to get the best-sounding mix you can get without any mastering. Once you're good at mixing, mastering will be much, much easier. A really good mix won't require much finalization other than a volume boost and maybe - maybe - a smidge of EQ.

I agree with you, I'm not a very professional mixing engineer, I'm quite DIY. :D

ANyway I have realized a couple of problems were in the mix indeed, I exported the mix not leaving enough headroom for the master, so I lowered the mix bus faders and on the drums bus I placed a limiter, which worked pretty well to reduce peaks, even if now the snare is not as loud as it was previously and is sitting a bit back in the mix.

So now the threshold in the master can be raised until -9/-10 dbs without having too much gain reduction, still slightly less loud then my reference track.

If I understand well, the track i s squashed when there is too much gain reduction right? I should keep the gain reduction around -2 db roughly correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's really about dynamic range (the ratio of the quiet parts to the loud parts) and average RMS to peak ratios (crest factor). These things are objectively measurable and  therefore controllable.

How impactful a snare hit is isn't about how high its level is, but how it compares to the audio surrounding it. The short video below illustrates the concept, using a snare drum as an example.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, bitflipper said:

It's really about dynamic range (the ratio of the quiet parts to the loud parts) and average RMS to peak ratios (crest factor). These things are objectively measurable and  therefore controllable.

How impactful a snare hit is isn't about how high its level is, but how it compares to the audio surrounding it. The short video below illustrates the concept, using a snare drum as an example.

 

 

 

Allright!

Edited by Marcello

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2021 at 3:49 PM, bitflipper said:

It's a process. And, on a professional level, a specialty. It can indeed be daunting at first.

Best advice is to get the best-sounding mix you can get without any mastering. Once you're good at mixing, mastering will be much, much easier. A really good mix won't require much finalization other than a volume boost and maybe - maybe - a smidge of EQ.

Absolutely. If the song is mixed well enough, it practically masters itself.

And if it is recorded well enough, it practically mixes itself.

I am of the firm belief that the more (useful) effort you put into this on the front end, the easier it is for you on the back end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, bdickens said:

Absolutely. If the song is mixed well enough, it practically masters itself.

And if it is recorded well enough, it practically mixes itself.

I am of the firm belief that the more (useful) effort you put into this on the front end, the easier it is for you on the back end.

I agree! indeed I fixed some things in the mix, can you just check last time if I somehow improved the master or is still squashed and harsh??

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S8k5HucMEfrYd7YWw1I8SybC9Yptioim/view?usp=sharing

 

The problem I had was that I was trying to push the threshold down to increase the overall volume, but the kick, snare and also some cymbals they were causing a big gain reduction, so the transients of those were  not helping to raise the overall volume.

SO in the mix I placed a limiter on the drums bus, and I tried to balance, I had to find a compromise because the more I was limiting the drums the more the snare disappeared compared to the rest, so I increase the snare volume and compression.

Now I have less peaks caused by the kick and snare but still there are if I try to bring the overall volume to match my reference track.

SO I understand I should maybe compress more the drums, or maybe use parallel compression on the master but I'm afraid to compress it too much, I'm still not too confident with compression in general

Edited by Marcello

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're on the right track, Marcello. Lots of trial and error and experimentation to figure out what works and what doesn't. There is, unfortunately, no recipe book.

As I said, it's a process. Much like learning to play the guitar - the more you learn the more you realize you don't know. Every experienced guitarist knows this. And yet many of them, including those who've been playing for 30+ years, are confounded and frustrated because they're still struggling with mixing and mastering after a whole year of practice.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of playing whack-a-mole with all this continual squashing and boosting, you should be carving out a space for each instrument by using complementary EQ.

https://blog.discmakers.com/2016/04/complementary-eq-home-studio-audio-mix/

https://www.recordingrevolution.com/5-minutes-to-a-better-mix-ii-kick-and-bass-eq-part-12-of-31/

 

Also, you should consider a high pass filter on almost everything. While the range of human hearing might extend down to 20Hz, there really isn't much in the way of musically useful information down tthere. No hard and fast rules, but generally anything below 50Hz can be drastically cut. Guitars and especially vocals can't have a high pass considerably higher.

 

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: bass traps will do more for your mixes than all the magic plug-ins in the world.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2021 at 12:37 AM, bdickens said:

Also, you should consider a high pass filter on almost everything.

Not a great idea. Although this is good for extra headroom in the mix -  it narrows the sound too. Certain instrument just need a low shelf cut to tame its low frequencies and still keep its body. 

Why use a high pass or low pass if its not needed? Your ears should always be the first plugin in your chain.

Don't rely too much on visual when EQ'ing too. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2021 at 7:24 PM, Marcello said:

.The problem with my track is that if I set the true peak at -1 and set the Limiter Threshold so that the track won't exceed -14 LUFS integrated (as suggested on Spotify website) ,  it will sound too freaking QUIET!!!

No incorrect. Do more research on the K-System, but before doing another song learn "GAIN STAGING." Once you pickup on it - your mixes will sound better. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Will_Kaydo said:

No incorrect. Do more research on the K-System, but before doing another song learn "GAIN STAGING." Once you pickup on it - your mixes will sound better. 

Thanks Will.

I think I improved it a bit but I still have an issue.

There is a part of my song where the drums are more quiet and then an explosive part where it hits hard.

Since the drums were causing some peaks in the master, mostly kick and snare, I placed a limiter on the drums bus in the mix.

Now what happened is that the volume of the snare is a bit lower than before and is sitting back in the mix, is not anymore slammed as it was.

Also basically in the quiet part of the song, the snare remained the same volume so quite ok for me, but in the explosive part is actually lower in volume compared to the quiet part!!!

This because the limiter is attenuating the snare transient in the explosive part while keeping it normal in the quiet part, result: a lower volume of the snare in the explosive part which is not good.

Raising the snare volume or increasing the compression won't change much because the limiter is stopping it from peaking.

So I don't know what to do here, if I don't put a limiter my overall volume of the master will not be as loud as my reference track because if I raise the Master Limiter Threshold down to increase the volume the transients will cause a gain reduction over 4  or 5 db!

From my understanding in order to have a Loud Master without clipping and distorting, I should place limiters in the mix busses like drums or bass for instance so that the mix will sound louder but maintaining headroom for the master, correct? The problem is that if I use the limiter too much in the drums bus it results in what I just explained, so basically it mess up the song dynamic limiting the snare for instance where it should be slammed and not limiting it where is less slammed, so the snare gets low where is shouldn't be.

It's like a snake biting its tail.

Edited by Marcello

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Marcello said:

Thanks Will.

I think I improved it a bit but I still have an issue.

There is a part of my song where the drums are more quiet and then an explosive part where it hits hard.

Since the drums were causing some peaks in the master, mostly kick and snare, I placed a limiter on the drums bus in the mix.

Now what happened is that the volume of the snare is a bit lower than before and is sitting back in the mix, is not anymore slammed as it was.

Also basically in the quiet part of the song, the snare remained the same volume so quite ok for me, but in the explosive part is actually lower in volume compared to the quiet part!!!

This because the limiter is attenuating the snare transient in the explosive part while keeping it normal in the quiet part, result: a lower volume of the snare in the explosive part which is not good.

Raising the snare volume or increasing the compression won't change much because the limiter is stopping it from peaking.

So I don't know what to do here, if I don't put a limiter my overall volume of the master will not be as loud as my reference track because if I raise the Master Limiter Threshold down to increase the volume the transients will cause a gain reduction over 4  or 5 db!

From my understanding in order to have a Loud Master without clipping and distorting, I should place limiters in the mix busses like drums or bass for instance so that the mix will sound louder but maintaining headroom for the master, correct? The problem is that if I use the limiter too much in the drums bus it results in what I just explained, so basically it mess up the song dynamic limiting the snare for instance where it should be slammed and not limiting it where is less slammed, so the snare gets low where is shouldn't be.

It's like a snake biting its tail.

LOL!

The advice Bitflipper gave you for that was top free advice. It's an old age trick. What you need to understand is: think about the old phrase "Why fix something that's not broken." What I mean by this is - does it need both compression and limiting or just limiting? Is your limiter on a drum or the entire drum track (assuming you have created you own drums.) 

With that being said: Next time you're doing shopping - listen to every sound around you. Take a mental note of how you hear things. What sits where and how you perceive everything - Depth! Learn mono and stereo placement | most importantly| >> what is SIDECHAIN and what's the purpose of the attack,release, ratio and threshold on a compressor. 

It will take you an hour to understand this, but without practice it wont mean a thing. Don't beat up yourself with your current project. Theres know real fixed advice on creativity. It can't be taught | and | mixing is all about creativity. What works now, won't work in a next mix. Every mix comes with its own new problems. You might need both compressor and limiter on drums now and just one of the two in the nex mix. That's why your ears needs to be the first plugin in your chain. 

TIP: Once you hear what you want to hear in your mix - write it down and move on to something else save the project and close the DAW. Take 10/15mins break from the project and go back to it and see if you hear the same as before. This will train your ears faster. 

Edited by Will_Kaydo
Typo's
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Will_Kaydo said:

Not a great idea. Although this is good for extra headroom in the mix -  it narrows the sound too. Certain instrument just need a low shelf cut to tame its low frequencies and still keep its body. 

Why use a high pass or low pass if its not needed? Your ears should always be the first plugin in your chain.

Don't rely too much on visual when EQ'ing too. 

I gotta disagree. There just ain't no "body" to nothin' down as low as I'm talking about. The "body" of most instruments is in the 200 - 500Hz range.

The lowest note on a bass is about 40Hz, Guitar about 80. (Standard tuning, of course). Anything below that can go. Vocals? Unless you're recording an operatic Bass, anything below about 100Hz can go. Often higher.

Obviously, if your ears are telling you that things are thinning out, you'll want to move your cutoff back down but you'll be surprised at just how much low end you can cut without losing anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, bdickens said:

The lowest note on a bass is about 40Hz, Guitar about 80. (Standard tuning, of course). Anything below that can go. Vocals? Unless you're recording an operatic Bass, anything below about 100Hz can go. Often higher.

Obviously, if your ears are telling you that things are thinning out, you'll want to move your cutoff back down but you'll be surprised at just how much low end you can cut without losing anything.

The irony is if you can cut the lows without losing anything, then there probably wasn't anything down there to cut anyway. This has been a controversial subject, because most vinyl cut the lows in order to accommodate bass, so people got used to hearing that sound. However there are many instances where energy exists below notes. Plosives on vocals are a good example, as are vocal wind blasts associated with "f" and other sounds. Often you want to reduce these, but you do not want to get rid of them entirely. 

If you look at an instrument like guitar on a spectrum analyzer, you can see there's energy happening below the lowest notes. So then you have two issues:

  • Can you hear it?
  • Does it reduce headroom in your mix?

Here's an experiment you can try. Do a mix with no high-pass filtering, and see how much you can turn up the master fader before the peaks hit 0. Then, high pass everything, and see how much you can turn up the master fader before the peaks hit 0. Then you can answer those two questions based on data instead of conjecture. FWIW, I high pass tracks rarely, and selectively. There definitely are cases where add a high-pass filter tightens the sound, and other cases where high passing below an instrument's notes takes something away.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...