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Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

Production Advice

make your music sound great

Skrillex mixes with dynamics shocker !

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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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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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Ian Shepherd


BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars

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