Track Sounding Weak After Render

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itsHAZED
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Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:33 pm

I produce in Ableton on KRK5's.

I finally have been able to get my snares, claps, drums, all sounding exactly how I want them. Really crisp and snappy snares, claps, and hi hats.

I use parallel compression on my snares and claps, but I don't over-do it.

When I render it out of Ableton, to show people what I am working on, and upload it to SoundCloud, my claps and snares have a weird presence to them, they have an airy time fuzzy noise about them.

Nothing is clipping.
Snares about -9dB
Claps about -9dB
Kick about -8db
Bass about -10dB
Hi Hats about -22dB

I have tried rendering out with POWR-1, 2, and 3. Nothing seems to be making a difference.

Here is an example - http://soundcloud.com/itshazed/keep-it-100/s-avpZp

Nothing is on the master channel.

Any ideas on why it's not sounding as good as it does in Ableton after I render out?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by wub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:43 pm

Is it just when you upload to Soundcloud, or does the export from Ableton sound weak?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:51 pm

wub wrote:Is it just when you upload to Soundcloud, or does the export from Ableton sound weak?
Sorry, I made it a little confusing in the post. It's only when I upload it to soundcloud. I tried converting the wav to mp3 and it still sounds weird on soundcloud.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by wub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:54 pm

So it's more than likely the Soundcloud compression/encoding that takes place when you upload it...assuming the .wav bounced out of Ableton sounds okay?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:58 pm

wub wrote:So it's more than likely the Soundcloud compression/encoding that takes place when you upload it...assuming the .wav bounced out of Ableton sounds okay?
Yeah I never really knew soundcloud made stuff sound worse, most artists tracks I listen to usually sound pretty good, but I'm sure the original wavs sound better.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:59 pm

So there is no fix, or way to counter act sound clouds compression and stuff?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by wub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:28 pm

Try dialling back the compression you've got and just concentrate on getting your mixdown sounding as hot as possible.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by AxeD » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:42 pm

Soundcloud has this to say:

''Sometimes our transcoding system can create audio artifacts, as we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback. Uploading a lossless or high-quality lossy file will usually reduce these to a minimum, but unfortunately there's not much we we can do for the handful of individual tracks that are still affected.

If you choose to make your track downloadable though, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.''

Transcoding as they call it from something like wav all the way down to 128(!) kbps can create huge unwanted and very audible artifacts. 'Lossy' audio compression sheds data obviously but how bad the aliasing created by the filters is depends entirely on the algorithm. It might add quite a bit of high frequency distortion.
They state that uploading a high quality file usually helps, but I'm not too sure. I would always try uploading a low
quality version.. maybe the smaller difference in bit range makes for less compression problems.

Like Bob Katz says: for satellite radio, it's really not all that weird to render to 96kbps.
He of course means, that the listener will be subjected to the music at that range anyway.
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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:31 pm

AxeD wrote:Soundcloud has this to say:

''Sometimes our transcoding system can create audio artifacts, as we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback. Uploading a lossless or high-quality lossy file will usually reduce these to a minimum, but unfortunately there's not much we we can do for the handful of individual tracks that are still affected.

If you choose to make your track downloadable though, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.''

Transcoding as they call it from something like wav all the way down to 128(!) kbps can create huge unwanted and very audible artifacts. 'Lossy' audio compression sheds data obviously but how bad the aliasing created by the filters is depends entirely on the algorithm. It might add quite a bit of high frequency distortion.
They state that uploading a high quality file usually helps, but I'm not too sure. I would always try uploading a low
quality version.. maybe the smaller difference in bit range makes for less compression problems.

Like Bob Katz says: for satellite radio, it's really not all that weird to render to 96kbps.
He of course means, that the listener will be subjected to the music at that range anyway.
So correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm seeing it as very similar to Facebook's photo compression deal. If you upload a super high quality, large photo. Facebook tries to compress it and make it smaller, but it ends up looking like crap, so they recommend to upload a smaller file to avoid the compression system. Soundcloud kind of functions the same sort of way?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by wub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:42 pm

Except Soundcloud (in your example) is taking something that already has compression applied and then compressing it further.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:46 pm

wub wrote:Except Soundcloud (in your example) is taking something that already has compression applied and then compressing it further.
Got it, when I get home I'm going to throw a compressor and limiter on the master and see if I can get it to sound a little better when uploaded. When throwing a compressor on the master to fill up headroom, what's a good ratio, attack and release?

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by ArkCell » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:51 am

A lot of the time people don't compress the master channel, just throw on your limiter. Fast attack. Fast release means the track will be louder but it can clip if the release is too fast, slower release is safer but less loud. Try both, do what sounds best.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by GregoryTJ » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:07 am

Limiters are technically a form of compression. If he renders to WAV there will be no data compression, this is best as it will not have to be compressed twice.

Dynamic range compression and data compression are two vastly different things.

Your transients are probably getting screwed up, there really isn't much that can be done about this except making them more defined and rendering to WAV instead of some compressed format like MP3. Turn off any dithering at render if you have it on, dithering will introduce noise that can create masking problems with your transients/highs as well.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by AxeD » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:00 pm

Yes we're mostly talking about data compression of course. Which also limits the dynamic range, but let's not get into that.

So what Gregory is saying here is what Souncloud says as well, but like I said I would try actually compressing
yourself.. maybe it leaves less room for SC to fuck it up.

Dithering is an interesting one. Never apply dithering when the format/resolution is going to change before the listener hears it. So as a general rule I wouldn't dither something that will be uploaded to SC or Youtube etc..
I'm not sure if it would create masking problems though, as it's basically white noise at about max 2 bits.
I think the good folks at Fabfilter say dithering is actually useless most of the time as the level of modern music is pushed to the maximum anyway.
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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:10 pm

Here's the WAV of the track: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rhl1zpz6363spa2/LOL.wav

and here's the same one uploaded to Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/itshazed/kinda-sick/s-Mrhmj

The hi-hat transients are all messed up... same with the claps,

Hi Hats -
Decay: 150ms
Everything cut under 600Hz, and boosted slightly at 11khz. They were at about -13dB in the mix aswell.

Claps -
Decay: 500ms
Two claps layered over eachother
Cut under 120hz, notched slightly at 400hz, boosted at 1khz, and another slight boost at 12khz, then compressed with The Glue compressor to add some punch.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by Samuel_L_Damnson » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:32 pm

i swear you should just do the best mix you can and stop looking for problems. like your head will be more clear if you stop focusing on soundclouds lossy compression.
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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:05 am

Sinestepper wrote:i swear you should just do the best mix you can and stop looking for problems. like your head will be more clear if you stop focusing on soundclouds lossy compression.
Yeah /: it just bothers me that my uploads sound like crap.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by itsHAZED » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:20 pm

here's some ss's of my mixdown...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by wub » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:24 pm

Pictures of a mixdown? :|

Isn't that a bit like listening to a painting? Not really sure you're trying to achieve.

The issue is with Soundcloud and what it does to your already compressed track. If it's only happening when you upload to Soundcloud, just send your mates a copy of the .WAV directly from Ableton if you want them to hear your mastering job.

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Re: Track Sounding Weak After Render

Post by skimpi » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:28 pm

ahh yeah, looking at your daw, you track must sound wack
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