Author Topic: Loudness, Am I on to something?  (Read 2079 times)

manducator

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Loudness, Am I on to something?
« on: July 02, 2016, 04:49:56 pm »
Hello,

When I play my latest track, which I mixed and mastered myself, Voxengo Span Plus indicates it has an RMS of -11.5 when the song has been playing from start to finish.

That's not extremely loud but I can't stand songs that are 'Death Magnetic'-loud anyway.

I managed to keep some dynamics; take a look at this picture:



The limiter which is of course the last plugin in my masterchain (Fabfilter Pro-L) only catches a few peaks, nothing more.

I'm pretty happy about the result.

You can listen and download the song here. Maybe someone wants to do some measuring on it.

https://soundcloud.com/manducator/butterfly-2

But I'm not looking for feedback on the song itself, there's another forum's section for that.
I'm more into feedback about the mixing/mastering process. I'm interested in sharing techniques.

I didn't use a compressor on the whole mix or master, only on indiviudal instruments.

The trick I used is this: I used a clipper (LVC Audio's Clipshifter, but others will work fine too) and clipped 2-2.5 dB off of the peaks but I only mixed 40% of this sound into the mix, so 60% is dry sound.

I used U-he Satin (the BH Masterbuss Rhick and Warm for -15 dB RMS preset) before the clipper. And the Fabfilter Pro-L after the clipper. That are all dynamics plugins I used.

Do you think I'm onto something for future masterings without destroying all dynamics?

Do you have other tricks to keep dynamics and obtain a decent loudness?
Feel free to share.

hennyhuisman

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 11:58:15 am »
Everyone has his own thoughts about this, but this clipping technique is definitely used in mastering by a lot of people.

I use it when I have some very high peaks getting into a limiter which creates an unwanted pumping effect, then I put a clipper before the limiter (you could also use limiters in series to solve this problem). Sometimes i use it to shave some db off my overall mix, using it after the limiter. HereĀ“s an example using it before limiting. This is an example using it before and after limiting. It got a little bit louder but you don't hear a major difference. Really, most of the time it's just getting your mix levels and frequencies right.

PS, i use GCLIP for these purposes. It's free! 

manducator

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2016, 03:35:05 pm »
I know Gclpi and it's great!

There's a huge difference in loudness between two 2 examples. I hear some vinyl noise, that could be mistaken for clipping artifacts, I think. :)

Crobbins

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 08:41:49 pm »
I'm not a huge fan of clippers, mostly because I haven't found one that I like. Instead, I'll sometimes use Pro-L in series like my normal chain, but setting the first limiter up to act as a clipper which offers a lot more control without completely killing transients and keeps good dynamic range to the track. Here's an example of a track I used the technique on https://soundcloud.com/djheffy/heffy-cycles.

manducator

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2016, 06:01:50 am »
Instead, I'll sometimes use Pro-L in series like my normal chain, but setting the first limiter up to act as a clipper which offers a lot more control without completely killing transients and keeps good dynamic range to the track.

Thanks for the tip!!

Mussar

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 04:44:52 pm »
I'm not a huge fan of clippers, mostly because I haven't found one that I like.

Kazrog's KClip is probably one of the best clipping plug-ins I've seen under $100. It's only $20, and buying it now gets you pre-orderered for the next version that's coming out later this year.

EDIT cuz I forgot to respond to OP:

A good way to not crush your dynamics while still improving loudness is to stack multiple compressors, limiters, and clippers that nudge the perceived loudness up little by little.

In traditional sound engineering, you're taught that it's better to have multiple compressors working a little bit than to have one compressor working a lot to be as transparent as possible in your processing. Two 2:1 compressors with differing attack/release times will function just like one 4:1 compressor in how it affects the dynamic range of the sound, while leaving half the footprint because neither is really doing all that much to the sound and they're not stacking on top of each other.

The same works for limiters, which are just brickwall compressors. Having three limiters (or two limiters and a clipper) pushing 2 dB of loudness will give you the equivalent of one limiter pushing 6 dB, and retains a lot more of the original signal.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 04:59:17 pm by Mussar »

Gabe D

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Re: Loudness, Am I on to something?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2016, 02:12:22 pm »
Mussar, THANK YOU! K-Clip is fantanstic! Purchased it after reading this. Took full advantage of that free upgrade too!
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