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Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

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Why your online discussions about mastering are probably pointless

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elephant-in-the-mastering-studio

There’s a huge amount of discussion about mastering issues online these days – and most of it is completely pointless, in my not-so humble opinion.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty of debating all this guff just as much as anyone – but when we do, we often we miss several very large elephants in the mastering room with us. And this came out really clearly in a new interview I just did with Matt Butler from The Modern Producer website.

I really enjoyed the interview – it was relaxed, informal and covered a wide range of topics, including getting deeply nerdy at some points.

But while I was listening back, trying to find some juicy teasers to tempt you to listen to it with, I realised there was a clear trend in the things Matt and I were talking about.
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Even Skrillex sounds better with more dynamics ! (And even on mobile phones)

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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.

Using my Perception plugin with Magic AB by SampleMagic

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One of the most common questions people ask me about my Perception plugin is “can I use it with SampleMagic’s Magic AB ?”

The short answer is Yes, in fact using Magic AB a great way to enhance what’s already possible with Perception, if you like to work with reference tracks – or to add extra functionality to Magic AB, which doesn’t have Perception’s loudness-matching capabilities.

This video shows you how I like to use Magic AB with Perception for even more power and flexibility when you’re mastering, to help you find the loudness ‘sweet spot’ for your music, and avoid the ‘loudness deception’.

It also answers two other common questions along the way – “are Perception and Magic AB the same ?” (No) and “if I have one, do I need the other ?” (It depends !)

I hope you find it useful, and I strongly recommend you give Magic AB a try – even if you aren’t a Perception user !

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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How to sound loud on iTunes Radio – the surprising secret of U2′s new album

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Standing out from the competition is crucial, right ?

And the best way to do that is make you music really zarking loud, right?

Wrong.

To find out the real way to make your music stand out in the 21st century, watch the video above – the answer may surprise you.

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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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