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…]

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.

It’s a kind of magic
- Or: It’s not about the f****** format !

needle_groove


OK, enough is enough.

I’ve made various videos over the last few years comparing vinyl and digital releases of different albums – because sometimes vinyl is mastered with more dynamics than the digital formats, which is something I care about.

But I always try to avoid passing comment on the actual formats themselves – CD versus vinyl, analogue versus digital – because I feel these discussions are actually red herrings. They’re distractions from the real issues of what makes our music sound great.

But inevitably in the comments of these posts and videos, someone will eventually jump in with the timeless old chestnut:

‘Digital can never sound as good as analogue’

Now this is a popular belief these days, but the fact is there’s no theoretical reason to believe it’s true – correctly implemented digital audio can exactly reproduce any analogue audio signal with complete accuracy.

But when I say that, there’s always someone who says something like

“people who listen to CD are missing out on the emotional experience. I don’t expect you to understand, but I know it’s true”.

To which my response is – how dare you ?!

[Read more…]

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

spoons

UPDATE – Disclaimer / Rant: When I say “EDM” in this post, I mean in the “old-school” way of – what, a whole couple of years ago ? Back when EDM was a broad term meaning pretty much any kind of dance music – trance, techno, dubstep, house, electro, electronica (whatever that is) etc etc etc.

Since posting this yesterday I’ve taken all kinds of criticism from people either offended that I’m lumping their favourite underground sub-genre of dance in with ‘trashy, commercial, mainstream pap’ – or sniggering because I they think I don’t know what EDM really means or that I can’t really like dance music if I think those songs are EDM.

Well, I have news for the critics – it doesn’t matter.

The comments in this post apply equally to any genre of dance, regardless of your opinion of it’s artistic merit, or whether it was released after 2012 or not.

Is the current “mainstream pop” version of EDM typically far more crushed than the all-time classics ? Yes. Does that mean it “needs” to sound that way ? No. Don’t believe me ? Watch this – then read on.

Oh – and for all the people saying ‘you don’t understand, it HAS to be loud for the clubs’… keep an eye out for the follow-up to this post.

Now, where was I ? Oh yes…


[Read more…]