'The Loudness War' Dynamics of music. 15 Steps To A Better Mix. Audio mixing is one of the most interesting of all operations when completing a recording. For the rare few it's purely intuitive and comes out great without much thought, but for most everyone else, it's an operation in which you only get better by comparison and repetition. Many musicians and beginning engineers will often flail on a mix, trying everything with wild abandon and no focus, or not trying anything at all. It really helps if you have a process and this excerpt from the latest 3rd edition of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook provides just that.
"Mixing is a nebulous art in that most musicians and engineers learn more by feel and listening than being taught. Does your mix have dynamic contrast? An interesting mix is all in the details and those take time to sort out. Comments. 31 Microphone Tips from Recording Hacks. 5 Things You Need to Know About Mastering Your Music. Mastering Engineer Michael Romanowski The mastering engineer is the last step of the artistic phase, and the first step of the manufacturing phase. It’s the final opportunity to listen, polish, and make a change in the sonic presentation. It is also the first step of the manufacturing phase, because it prepares the master in the way that best suits the needs of the manufacturer. The goal is to listen to the broad picture; the actual content is immaterial. The mastering engineer is paying attention to EQ presentation, to level presentation, to dynamics presentation.
It’s taking a collection of songs, and creating a flowing body of work. A Bit of History Mastering has changed greatly since the late 1950s, when mass-produced music became the norm. As the studio/label relationship broke down over the years, engineers became independent, and started working in different studios. Preparing Your Mix for Mastering 1) Be Prepared When you show up at the session, it’s essential that you are prepared.
5 Ways To A Better Mix That Don't Cost A Penny - Pro Tools Expert - Avid Pro Tools. Mixing can seem like a dark art reserved for the chosen few, for some mixing their first tracks can send their head in a spin. Great mixers are worth their weight in gold and in high demand, but for many the chance of ever having a top mix engineer get near your stuff is highly unlikely. Here are 5 ways to a better mix that don’t cost a penny. 5 Ways To A Better Mix 1 - Listen To Reference Tracks This is something that even top engineers do. Find tracks that sound the way you want your track to sound and then spend some time listening to them.
Listen to the tracks on speakers, listen on headphones. Listen to the tracks at different volumes and start to listen into the track to the component parts. 5 Ways To A Better Mix 2 - Learn About Instrument Range It’s no good chasing 60Hz if you are trying to get a flute sound right, or tweaking 10Khz to get a kick thumping. 5 Ways To A Better Mix 3 - Find The Problem Frequency 5 Ways To A Better Mix 4 - Start Using Filters Filters. 50 Must-Read Pro Audio Articles from 2012. 2012 went by so fast. Every year goes by fast. Only minutes and hours go by slow. I spent most of my days freelancing for a great audio software company, while simultaneously exercising my inherent need to build and promote my own products. I’d prefer the world didn’t end. The world didn’t end. I want to thank the awesome contributors who made The Pro Audio Files possible in 2012: Matthew Weiss, Rob Schlette, Randy Coppinger, Mike Moschetto, Sam O’Sullivan and Chris Conover.
To close out the year, I thought I’d curate compile some great articles for you. Recording Hacks: Production Advice: Randy Coppinger: Designing Sound: The Home Recording Show: Audio Geek Zine: Pro Sound Web: Sessions with Slau: D.I.Y. Silver Lake Studio: Slam Academy: Home Studio Corner: Audio Issues: Behind the Mixer: The Recording Revolution: Audible Mention: Audio Fan Zine: iOS Musician: Jordan Rudess: The Wizard of Apps by Pierre Fontaine. 6 Ways to “Reboot” Your Studio. When you think about your studio, what comes to mind? I’ll admit, it’s easy to hone my attention on the things I don’t like about it. Perhaps the fact that a few of my mic stands don’t work very well anymore. Or how I need to stain the wood on my homemade gobo/booth.
Or that I don’t have a dedicated monitor switcher box to switch between speakers and sources and quickly listen to things in mono. Or maybe I think about how I need to tidy up the cables back behind my desk, which makes me think that I really should buy all new cables, so I don’t have mismatch of different brands and lengths. It’s endless, really. It’s a real shame. But what if that’s not how you feel? I’m not sure if PC’s are like this, but on every Mac I’ve ever owned, when things start to run slowly, or something starts to act stupid, a nice reboot almost always fixes the problem.
Maybe that’s what you and your studio need – a REBOOT. [Quick side-note here. Let me reiterate this. Here’s how it works. You get the idea. Audio: What is loudness? Hypercompression, R128 Loudness Meassurement and normalisation explained. Creating seamless loops in Sound Forge | Brad's Sonic Musings. This is a simple trick I’ve used for years. It’s straightforward, but my designers and interns I’ve showed it to have appreciated it as a quick, easy, intuitive way to create seamless loops every time.
This method is useful mostly for static sounds at least a few seconds in length. It works great for ambiences, environmental effects like fire, wind, steam, water, or lasers, and even for sports sounds like skateboards, snowboards, and car engines at constant rpms. Also, of course, this method will work in any audio editor or DAW. Sound Forge is just my wave editor of choice, and for me at least it’s the easiest way to quickly make seamless loops. Step one: Design a longer than desired sound! The first thing to do to make a seamless loop is to design a sound longer than you anticipate using.
Step two: Find a zero crossing in the file where you want the end of the loop to be Step three: Cut off the tail. D-U87 Build. Hi I'm Daniel Noga. I'm a professional audio engineer based out of Nashville, TN. A couple of years ago, I decided to learn about electronics. I wanted to learn what was inside these “magical devices” I used on a daily basis to record and mix projects, hoping I’d become a better engineer in the process. I decided to build a GSSL which, I think, everyone in the DIY community is familiar with... After completing it, it works great, I still use it, and I learned a lot in the process... mission accomplished! I stumbled across some information saying the newer 2nd gen.
Dan Rudin decided he was “in” and graciously “sponsored” the endeavor. There’s a ton of well documented information on how to build these D-U87’s, so rather than repeating what’s been done before, I’ve decided to document my personal experience with this build... trying to connect some dots and document what I discovered along the way. By the way, Ferlyn Reyes was instrumental in this build. D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell (Monty Montgomery @ xiph.org) Dither Explained (and shown) Dither or distort ? Listen and decide for yourself. Hacking Your Listeners Ears: 9 Psychoacoustic & Sound Design Tricks To Improve Your Music. When talking about improving the perceived quality of our productions and mixes, its easy to focus mainly on the technology we use, or the layout and acoustic treatment of our listening environment.
It’s easy to forget that just as important as our software, equipment and studio is what happens to the signal after all of that, once the sound has made it into our internal hearing system – our ears and brains – and how that sound is actually experienced. So that’s what this article is about: some tips and tricks for operating and manipulating your listeners built-in ‘equipment’! “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain…” This basically falls under the heading of psychoacoustics, and with knowledge of a few psychoacoustic principles, there are ways that you can essentially ‘hack’ the hearing system of your listeners to bring them a more powerful, clear and ‘larger than life’ exciting experience of your music. 1.
Hide Secret Messages In Audio. How to Create Width, Height and Depth in a Mix. The hallmark of a great recording/mix for me is one where the music all lives within a tangible, dimensional world. The exception being songs that call for a two-dimensional or more lo-fi approach. In general, a recording that has width, height, and depth creates for a compelling sound. And truthfully I think part of the magic of a song is pulling the listener into a different world — creating the illusion of that space only adds to that effect.
What is width, height, and depth? So let’s start with “height.” It’s a strange and interesting phenomenon that we hear high pitched frequency content as coming from above, and the low tones coming from below. Partially this is due to suggestion. For these reasons and probably others, we tend to hear high harmonic content as “up” and low harmonic content as “down.” Width Width is also about contrast. While this seems fairly simple, remember that in a dense mix its very easy to get harmonic stew. A prime example is doubled guitars. Depth Contrast. Keep It Calibrated! Learn How and Why You Should Calibrate Your Studio Monitors for Video Game Audio | Play Dot Sound. An important skill to learn is how to calibrate the levels of your studio monitors.
Most of the pros and professional studios have their systems properly calibrated. If you haven’t taken the time to learn how, or why you should calibrate your studio monitors then you have found the right article! The good news is that calibrating your system is actually a very simple process. This article is written for people in video games, tv, and film. None of this is intended for mixing music since the loudness wars destroyed that medium’s dynamic range already… I think it’s important to mention that calibrated systems are only best for checking sounds at mix level and mixing.
When working on individual assets, doing sound design, or other tasks it’s important to save your hearing and turn down the volume from where it will be calibrated. Ok, let’s get started. #1 Headroom By calibrating your system you will give yourself headroom in your mixes. . #2 Standardization #3 Better Mixes That’s it! That’s it! LUFS - the new loudness unit measurement, and how to read it. LUFS, dBFS, R128, dBTP, ITU BS 1770, ATSC A/85, TT DR… There are now so many ways to measure your music these days, it’s not surprising that one of the most common questions I get asked these days is What do all these acronyms mean ?
In particular, people want to know about the new “ITU-based” loudness meters, which use mysterious new “Loudness Units” – LU for short, or LUFS to be more technical. Especially as mainstream software like Cubase 7 and Ozone Insight begin adding support for them. You know they’re important, you know that meters using the new system are appearing in more and more places – but how do you know what they mean ? Well the good news is, it’s not as complicated as it seems. The video above demonstrates all of this, as clearly and simply as I could make it – as well as an important complication with RMS levels that everyone needs to know about. You can download the “pink noise” test file I use in the video to try this for yourself here. Appendix: Get your RMS right ! Mid-Side (Part 1) | Mychal Herron Sound.
Ever since the days in school Mid-Side (also refer to as MS) has always been a mysterious recording technique, almost like some weird voodoo! I remember one of my college professors showing us the Fostex M22RP Mid-Side microphone. This was also my first introduction to ribbon microphones. M22RP has always been one of my favorite vintage microphones ever since the first time I plugged it in and heard it. I don’t remember too many students checking out the M22RP; this was probably due to the fact that it was a mid-side microphone which involved a somewhat intimidating method of decoding to us students at the time, oh and it was a ribbon. Although, surprisingly my friends were always so amazed that the M22RP could produce left, center and right signals and a very pleasing to the ear wide image. Well what is Mid-Side? Surprisingly, the M-S technique is one of the oldest stereo recording methods. At this point I will take a break to talk about field recorders.
Sample file description: Mpressors and limiters - how to set them up using cushions. How do you know the best settings for a compressor or limiter ? That’s a question I get asked all the time, especially in attended mastering sessions. And when I’m answering it, I almost always end up punching my fist into my hand. This post will tell you why. First of all though, very quickly: What’s the difference between a compressor and a limiter ? The answer is that a limiter is just a compressor with a very high ratio. Typically they have very fast attack and release times, too. So, limiting is a pretty aggressive form of compression. How do you use them ? At this point people always start asking me for rules of thumb – favourite settings, what instruments you should use compression on, maximum gain reductions and so on.
But I never have any easy answers ! And there’s no easy answer to that, either. But I know how it feels to me, when I’m making these decisions, and that’s why I start punching my fist into my hand when I try to describe it. The Punchbag Analogy Imagine you’re a boxer. Pensado's Place - Learn how to produce, record, mix, and master music and audio. Portable Recorder Noise: The Sounds of Silence. Pro Tools 10 AAF/OMF Export/Import Tutorial. Pro Tools Short Cut: Command + Period. ProTools and H.264 Video « Randy Coppinger. There seems to be plenty of curiosity about video in ProTools, especially the H.264 codec. I’ve previously identified problems using H.264 in ProTools, but let’s take a wider look at how these two interact. TASTES GREAT / LESS FILLING If you’ve ever compared video codecs you know H.264 is compact for the quality level it affords. That explains why it’s so popular. The trick is Variable Bit Rate, meaning that each successive frame of picture isn’t fully represented in the data.
Most of the time the percentage of stuff that changes frame to frame isn’t high, so the codec just saves the difference. SOUND WITH PICTURE If that Variable Bit Rate trick sounds familiar it should. WHAT’S A FRAME BETWEEN FRIENDS? PROTOOLS AND VIDEO Why is it a video will play fine on it’s own, then die horribly in ProTools? The ability to play video is built into your OS, not ProTools. BEST PRACTICES By all means, use H.264 to encode and throw those tiny files around to everyone one who needs video. Like this: Saving Space with Linear Audio in Pro Tools (Part 1) When working on projects with limited audio space, such as apps for mobile, browser-based games or packaged electronics/toys, it is often necessary to squeeze as much out of that space as possible in order to meet or exceed the expectations of the project.
From the standpoint of the sound designer, this is likely achieved through compressing the sound files in various ways. However, when working with linear audio that contains gaps of silence or recalls repeated audio, precious space can be saved by editing within your Pro Tools session and exporting the resultant files and session data for programming.
While the processes for identifying and editing these two elements are different, their functionality in implementation is essentially the same. In Part 1, I cover the process for getting started, staying organized, and identifying and removing silent gaps. What’s needed: Sound File Example 1: “Eins. / Zähl bis / eins. / Eins. / Wow!” Translation: (“Playlist Divider”) (Dummy “Mutes”) Sound Smart: Watch This Excellent Primer on Digital Audio | Gadget Lab. Speaker calibration for Film and TV Sound Mixing. The hum that helps to fight crime. The Loudness War. The Sounds Of Microsphere. Understanding Impedance. Understanding Microphones | Helen Russell Music. Video Repair Tool. What Does Sound Look Like?