FACEPALM: “It sounds great! Now can you make it louder ?” – My simple four-step solution

louder facepalm

 

It’s the question we all dread.

You finished the master, everyone is really happy, and then they hit you with it:

Can you just make it a bit louder ?

Because even though we know that loudness is pointless, even though we know that if you want to sound louder on YouTube, or iTunes Radio or Spotify or anywhere, the answer is to master with balanced dynamics – no-one else believes it yet.

The artists don’t believe it

The labels don’t believe it

The producers don’t believe it

The A&R people don’t believe it

And plenty of mastering engineers still don’t believe it, either !

Even though we know that:

No-one believes us.

They’ve bought into the myth, they’re feeling the FUD.

Don’t Panic

Luckily, they don’t have to believe us, because now we can show them. Quickly, and easily.

This strategy is free, non-techy and simple to implement.

Here it is: [Read more…]

YouTube loudness normalisation – The Good, The Questions and The Problem

youtube loudness
 
So, yesterday was the big headline:

YouTube just put the final nail in the Loudness War’s coffin

And the news has had a fantastic, positive response from almost everyone.

But there’s a problem, as I mentioned.

And I’ll get to that in a minute.
 

Before we start

First, I should be clear that everything here is based on research and speculation. As far as I know, there has been no official word from YouTube about normalisation at all. Which means…
 

This is a moving (dynamic ?) target

Some of what I say here will probably be wrong, or go out of date really fast. But for now, here’s what (I think) we know.

[Read more…]

YouTube just put the final nail in the Loudness War’s coffin

youtube-loudness-lcast
 
This is HUGE.

It may not look like much, but if you’re involved in music production, recording, mixing or mastering, this image could be the most important thing you’ll see all year.
 

What is it ?

It’s the loudness output of a YouTube playlist, as measured by the MeterPlugs LCast loudness meter.
 

So what ?

First – it’s quiet. The loudness levels are all quite low, especially by modern “loudness war” standards.

Second – it’s very consistent. More importantly than the low loudness, they’re almost all playing at the same loudness.
[Read more…]

Even Skrillex sounds better with more dynamics ! (And even on mobile phones)




I got into trouble with a few people a while back for this post:

Why your EDM will sound better with more dynamics – and 6 places to find them

They said:

  1. I didn’t know what EDM was, and
  2. I was wrong – EDM needs that crushed, “loudness war sound” – that’s it’s an essential part of the genre

So, here are my replies to those criticisms.

  1. Bite me
  2. Watch the video above – unless you think Skrillex isn’t EDM, that is…

And then bite me.

Any questions ?


(By the way, the most excellent Matthew Weiss from the Pro Audio Files has just released a new video pack, called Mixing EDM – to find out more, click here.)

Update

This video has been getting a great reaction, but people have also raised a couple of valid points.

First – the sound effects make it hard to hear exactly what’s going on, and might contribute to the more spacious sound of the video

Second – several people think the iTunes version actually sounds better on the small speakers of smartphones, iPads etc !

So, I made another video, to address those points head on.

And here it is.





Short version – translation to mobile devices is NOT a valid reason for “loudness war crush”.

Nothing is.

Discover the dangerous, destructive, delicate delights of distortion




I love distortion.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Now that might surprise you, coming from the founder of Dynamic Range Day, but it’s true. Some of my favourite songs simply wouldn’t exist without it – like the sublime example in the video above, for example !

Distortion has been an integral part of the sound of recorded popular music since the very beginning, and it always will be.

And I love it.

So how can this be true ?

How can someone who bitches almost daily about the squashed-flat, distorted sounds of most modern releases, someone who has developed a plugin specifically to make sure people can hear exactly how much damage the Loudness War Sound is doing to their music – how can I claim to love distortion ?

[Read more…]