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why are the tracks i make significantly quieter than more experienced producers/ released tunes
i do the gain staging thing and try and mix the master to 0 without having 1 element swamping the project, is it just being more skilled at volume levels and sidechains, or using eq/limiter type stuff on a master chain?
Phigure wrote:a life permanently spent off road
not the life for me
1. Volume Balancing - just get the right ratios in your tracks, like the right balance of drum impact/volume to bass volume to lead volume to background/reverb volume. This is actually pretty tricky, it is very subtle, as one element moves down just a bit, and another moves up just a bit you can get a wildly different sound. ALSO, this will change when there is master compression and limiting, those background sounds will become louder/more present.
2. Arrangement - getting sounds to sit in the right octaves, occur at the right time, no toe stepping.
3. Eq - cutting all the phat that doesn't need to be there, so muscular sounds can do the heavy lifting.
4. Compression - raising the rms or average loudness/weight of each of your individual sounds, further pumping up busses, then on to the master.
5. Transient Shaping - what peaks need to be there, what peaks don't? Peaks steal headroom.
6. Limiting - how far can you push into the ceiling and still retain your punch without perceptible/problematic distortion.
It's all in the mix, G. Watch for low and low mid energy accumulation in the mix. Most sounds can be thinned out, and thinned out considerably in this range. There is a lot of energy there, and it stacks up quickly. Strange thing here is higher pitch is louder. Strange, right, but the brighter your mix is, the louder it can be.
And you are listening to mastered tracks. Once you get to a point where you're happy with a song, happy with all the dynamics, send it to someone like Macc, and get it mastered, just to see what it sounds like.
Honestly, you should be mixing up to -6db, that is peaks at -6db. Then to test, set up a mastering chain yourself - eq, compression and limiting. Broad strokes on the eq - like wide curves, small moves, like +- 1 db with a wide q, then some master buss compression like ssl master G/glue compression, just get it so the needle is bouncing - slow attack (30) fast release (.1) high ratio (10), and just get that needle to bounce maybe up to 3, 4db, then hit it with a quality limiter, drive it up to, but no further than 5db into the red (this is extreme). Your track will be around the same perceived volume of a pro track. It will probably sound worse, but it'll at least be up there with some weight. When you pump it up like this, you'll probably want to go back and rebalance some elements of your mix, maybe just pull down your reverb send faders a bit, pull down some delays, some of the ambiance. Also may have to pull up or down your drum buss - that is really what is pumping into your master compressor/limiter.
It's all just experience and good monitoring. It'll come. A/B against pro tracks when you are writing, mixing, and doing your test self masters. Can't stress this enough, A/B. Listen to how hard their drums hit, really how big their sub is. How bright their mix is - bet it is brighter than yours, and thinner in the mids.
Take some guys track you love and take one of yours and put them on two independant tracks in your daw - and then try to match the volume without looking at what the channel read out says. It's a really weird sensation because it's usually the least noticable or less remarkable areas of the sounds that have somehow been tucked away in like 'professionally released'- material or whatever.
Bad practise like hipassing ( !) will help a shit ton with loudness but it will almost always (at least to me) rob a sound of it's spirit.
On the other hand, most commercial vsts will utilize most of the freq. spectrum in the presets to make the synth sound impressive when you flick through the presets, but usually those sounds would benefit from having for example less lowend in the context of a mix.
Some vsts will have limiters set in place to check off high volume type of errors which is handy, but you might not want the limiting etc..
or has anyone got any good eqing tips for this kinda conundrum
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