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Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

Production Advice

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LANDR: Automated online mastering – but is it any good ? My test

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I’ve had so many people asking me what I thought of the new LANDR automated online mastering service, that I decided I just had to check it out !

LANDR offers “Professional Audio Mastering”, saying you can “Sound like a pro. Instant results at a fraction of the cost of studio mastering.”

But is it any good ?

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Mastering monitoring – how to choose speakers that are up to the challenge

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speaker


This is the tough one.

We all know that the most important tools we have are our ears, taste and experience, but right after that come the speakers we use and the space we use them in.

In mastering, that’s more true than ever.

The goal is to make your music translate to the widest possible range of replay systems, from the best, to the worst – and sound great on all of them.

That’s a big ask.

If your speakers are too bright, you’ll be tempted to master everything too dull. If they don’t have enough power to play cleanly, they could be hiding distortion you don’t want. And if they don’t have good enough low frequency response, you could end up leaving way too much sub-bass in there… and no-one likes a master with a flabby bottom !

In a nutshell, if your mastering monitoring isn’t good enough, you’re always going to struggle to get great results.

(And if you think it’s OK to just make your music sound great on the “lowest common denominator” systems like Apple earbuds, because that’s what everyone is listening on – think again.)

Every speaker is different, so this post won’t tell you how to choose a set of speakers simply by reading specifications or manufacturer’s blurb – but hopefully it will give you an idea what you should be looking for, and why.

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Loudness War Myths Explored: 2 – Do some genres NEED to be crushed ?

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Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.

The plan was for the second of these Loudness War Myths videos to be about listening in noisy environments – but the controversy over a brand new metal release made this week makes it the ideal time to tackle another myth entirely.

Namely:

Some genres NEED that ‘loudness war’ sound

This one gets trotted out with depressing regularity, even by people who should know better.

Metal and EDM are the most common styles that are supposed to only sound “right” if their level has been pushed up as hard as possible against digital’s brick-wall ceiling.

So, is it true ?

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Using my Perception plugin with reference tracks

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The main feature of my Perception mastering plugin is to help you quickly and easily find the “loudness sweet spot” for your music, by giving you the ability to make seamless, loudness-matched comparisons “before” and “after” your mastering chain processing.

However because Perception can balance anything to play at your chosen reference loudness, it also gives you a quick and easy way to compare the songs you’re working on with other commercial releases you admire, in a truly objective way.

Lots of people have been asking how to set this up, so the video above demonstrates exactly how to do it using Perception running inside Logic, but the same method will work in any DAW (including Logic X and Pro Tools version 10 and higher).

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Building a Home Mastering Studio – Part 4: The End Result

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Wow – I thought people would be interested to see how I got on converting the garage of my house into a “home mastering studio” – but I never thought it would be this popular !

The room has been finished for months now, and since the last episode loads of people have been emailing asking for this final video – it was held up by the launch of my Perception plugin . But now here it is, at long last!

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Ian Shepherd


BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars

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