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Newb Question about BLOWN LEVELS


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#1 Magnetic Forces

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 11:07 AM

Serious question: 

 

What's with the sound levels around here?  Is everything compressed out and blown up for style?  Or is it a method of keeping people from ripping your tracks? Is it just a way to get more notice from voters?  I'm just trying to understand why 90% of the beats are making me back my stereo off 15dB, and wondering if I'm missing the point.

 


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#2 EdTheYounger

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 07:06 PM

Welcome to the STBB's where technicality is more important than musicality.

Enjoy your stay.

#3 Magnetic Forces

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 07:40 PM

Thanks, there are tons of talented producers here, I'm glad to hang out.



#4 dopplereffectent

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 02:07 AM

im not 100 percent sure as to the specifics of this question.

 

for one, what level do you normally mix it to?

 

i get the impression that a vast majority of dudes in this battle use a basic master channel chain that probably finishes with a solid brick wall limiter, as to the levels, there is no pre-determined setting (i.e. aes standard, ebu, katz system, etc) so i wouldnt be too suprised as to the fluctuation of the levels. but as your mix sounds halfway decent, id say this is a good chance for you to work on your mixing abilities and quickness as there is a solid deadline for submissions, and this is good practice for any serious producer.

 

At least thats what i think and how i approach these battles. btw, most 'mastering' engineers mix to -10 dbFS which is pretty hot as it is, and there definitely are several of the more advanced dudes on this comp that mix to the same ballpark.



#5 teeraje

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 03:59 AM

Yeah magnetic, questions are always welcomed, just not in this thread. See freq. Questions or discussion topic thread on recording techniques members like to discuss and share. But, everyone usually has a different perspective on what mastering really is.

100% of the tracks uploaded here have not been properly MASTERED at a mastering facility and with someone else's fresh ears. That is the expensive route and big time radio/commercial levels you ultimately want to achieve, but not feasible with 99% of us "bedroom" producers.

But, with current technology of relatively cheaper mastering software, anyone can achieve s final mastered mix that is close to commercial levels.

The music is what actually matters to me around here, the recording second.

Peace and happy mastering.

#6 Magnetic Forces

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:37 PM

Thanks for the replies.  I think it was an ill posed question in the first place.   Excuse me for posting in the wrong forum.  I tried to look for a delete button as soon as I noticed my post stuck out like blown levels.   I'll check out the other side of the forums for info about production methods in the future.

 

That said, I suffer greatly from lack of mastering knowledge and have only room to learn.

 

Also, I seriously was wondering if people intended to blow the levels to deter rappers from ripping the tracks.



#7 Rosm1

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:49 PM

 "Is it just a way to get more notice from voters?" - yes, the louder the better  :mellow: 

 

and soundcloud also uses multiband compression and destroys every mix a bit with that.



#8 ODK

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 02:01 AM

I think we could all do with knowing a bit more about volume to be honest, it's also battle related so it's fine being here, lets not turn into category Nazis, with the "You can't comment here", It's valid and actually, shouldn't people learn what they're doing instead of smashing the mix through the roof and breaking peoples speakers.

 

It's going from "Stones Throw beat battles" to "Competitive compression chaos tournaments". Magnetic call these beat blowers out, ask them what are they think they're doing, tell them the track is too loud. I've skipped various tracks as they hurt the ear too much. And yes Soundcloud fucks the sound so we have that to deal with as well.

 

we don't help each other enough on these boards to actually improve ( well not enough), the soundcloud comments reflect this, and for weeks you can be knocking the same old out because of the Yeah man or dope or cool comments. But valid question I think.


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#9 N2DeepBeatz

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 02:21 AM

I personally just like to have that punchy and loud mix so yeah hella compression and limiting is involved but as someone else said, we don't master our shit solely because they're all for just listening and voting purposes. i'd definitely mix and master correctly when my track is going to be used somewhere other than just soundcloud. if you get what i'm saying.


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#10 GPBear

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 03:12 AM

I think it's a few things, for one, kids these days are kinda handed a ferrari. You can do so much to sound now compared to days of electro-optical LA2As or whatever that obviously things are going to get louder. Like having jet engines in your car. 50 compressors in one DAW

 

Another aspect is people just don't realize they're doing it? Once you point it out it's obvious.

 

Every sample has its own way of being dealt with, and samples are already mixed and mastered, it's hard to chisel away at that, so people end up just piling on top. Already mastered samples + More sound = Loud as fuck


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#11 EdTheYounger

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 07:29 PM

Theres actually a thing called the war on loudness. This dosent have much to do with the tools (or sounds) used but more the misuse of those tools and the fact most people reference their shit against commercial releases. Unfortunately commercial releases have been getting louder and louder year on year while sacrificing dynamic range, even though study's all point to the fact that most consumers prefer dynamic range over loudness and light compression over heavy...

6960369151_f449d37678_b.jpg

People need to stop squashing their shit and then blowing their speakers up, basically...
 
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#12 GPBear

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 12:14 AM

I blame Rick Rubin. He hides lunchbox EQs in his beard (produced Death Magnetic and Californication...)

 

 

Hm funny, I was just reading how Pink Floyd is notorious for being too quiet on iPods because they left headspace for dynamic peaks


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#13 ODK

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 01:37 AM

So basically it's all down to apple Ipods. bad marketing and us falling for it, Probably started with digital remasters. It's the people past the producers that have ruined sound.

 

looking above at that graph says it all, anyone actually able to read by volume measures so it makes sense to them though ?, all these different ways of reading volume. I blame faders on daw mixers, you have numbers and a gauge filling when the sound plays, usually you move the fader and it will tell you the amount of decibells, BUT!! it never fucking tally's up, You can't go visually or trust it in a daw like Samplitude everything is hotter than it should be, Maschine lies completely, Ableton well I don't know what the hell is going on with their sound, loud and harsh, presonus sounds dope as does cubase and pro tools I can't comment on. Why even give these ranges way past 0.00 if none of your tracks in the mix should go past -10.00. I'm not talking percieved sound by our ear I'm talking how loud is it actually.



#14 GPBear

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 02:00 AM

Common misconception. It doesn't have much to do with music at all, same way cell-phones have cameras because of NASA.

 

It actually comes from radio advertisers. The reason compressors were invented was to make commercials louder.

It still comes up on  youtube. The ads are always louder because companies are spending more money on less time. 30 second ads, million dollar companies as opposed to 4 minute songs by poor musicians. Companies are going to make it as loud as possible to get consumers attention. Can't blame people on soundcloud (Or Rick Rubin) for doing the exact same thing compressors were somewhat invented for in the first place

 

Also comes in handy like when the DJ starts talking over music. Or more recent contexts, when Howard Stern and whoever he has on laugh really loudly instead of blowing out everyone's ears, compressors bring the volume down automatically so the guy on the boards doesn't have to bring the mixer's faders down himself, riding the board for hours trying to anticipate every laugh. He can just leave the levels of the people's microphones in a normal dB range. Like if the main host always has more energy than his side-kick, you always bring the main guy's fader on the board down a few decibels to compensate for how loud he's going to be.

 

edit: it's really fucking weird the places my shitty childhood spent in musical theater comes up...thanks dad.



#15 ODK

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 04:13 AM

Just found this,

 

At the time of this writing, SoundCloud converts all uploads to 128kbps Mp3 format. There are some significant sonic limitations with 128kbps Mp3 format, however, those limitations are a necessary evil because of today's internet bandwidth limitations. Despite those limitations, it is possible to achieve a high sound quality when streaming music on SoundCloud. 

 

the site is here:

http://www.justmaste...ixingformp3.php

 

I really don't agree with the despite it's limitations sentance, if it's knocking our tunes out at 128, they're fucked. always thought it sounded messed up.


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#16 GPBear

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 03:50 PM

I mean, what do you suggest we use



#17 BeatsByNonsense

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 04:43 PM

Just found this,

 

At the time of this writing, SoundCloud converts all uploads to 128kbps Mp3 format. There are some significant sonic limitations with 128kbps Mp3 format, however, those limitations are a necessary evil because of today's internet bandwidth limitations. Despite those limitations, it is possible to achieve a high sound quality when streaming music on SoundCloud. 

 

the site is here:

http://www.justmaste...ixingformp3.php

 

I really don't agree with the despite it's limitations sentance, if it's knocking our tunes out at 128, they're fucked. always thought it sounded messed up.

 

Damn, never knew soundcloud drops the bit rate on uploads. I've been uploading at 320kbps on everything lately. 



#18 Cheel

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 05:49 PM

Yeah that's ridiculous.

I haven't bothered with 128kbps since the 56k modem days.

#19 Magnetic Forces

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 07:51 PM

yeah 128 is some old school napster shit, but it's not causing what I was referring to originally.  I was talking more about tracks that are compressed to 11



#20 ODK

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 01:26 AM

yeah 128 is some old school napster shit, but it's not causing what I was referring to originally.  I was talking more about tracks that are compressed to 11

Evolution of the conversation my man, you've brought a lot to light, like I say ask the guy's who is squashing their track why.

 

I think it's shit when you pay for a pro account, your tunes are 128, I think we should email them everyday until they get it sorted, I personally upload wav's, as of now though don't think it matters what we upload it's still going to get molested sound wise. Infact I'm going to email them now.



#21 BeatsByNonsense

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:06 PM

yeah 128 is some old school napster shit, but it's not causing what I was referring to originally.  I was talking more about tracks that are compressed to 11

 

It's Spinal Tap's vision finally realized.

 


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#22 ODK

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:44 AM

So I got a reply, and basically they haven't thought of sound quality first.  :huh: here's what I got back.

 

Hey there,

Thanks for writing in about this. Sometimes our transcoding system can create audio artifacts, as we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback. Uploading a lossless or high-quality lossy file will usually reduce these to a minimum, but unfortunately there's not much we can do for the handful of individual tracks that are still affected.

Basically we're fighting on two fronts here. We want uploading to be easy and accessible to everybody and to keep lots of content on site from a wide range of people. This is why infrastructure is paramount to our scaling plans and is why audio quality hasn't been the number one priority up to this point. With this said, we acknowledge that sound quality is very important and hopefully we can address this in the future.

Please note that if you choose to make your track downloadable, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.

Cheers,
Greg.

 

I love the downscaling of the problem in their eyes, "the hand full of tracks that are effected" what the fuck!?, do they not get it at all, everything is affected and downgraded, and look how much they charge you to have a pro plan, so we can listen to each other in shit quality. 

 

So this could answer why some of the Lo-Fi beat makers can sound weird, and sampler made (I'm talking hardware not samples) tunes lose quality, Distorted sounds getting replaced with shit distortion and transcoding. Add people limiting there shit through the roof and BOOM!! broken speaker cones will flap like like broken pigeon.


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#23 GPBear

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 04:06 AM

Once you get them to put it into words that sound quality wasn't their main concern...

 

You're fucking soundcloud.

 

What is your concern?

 

Just call yourself "cloud" if you're not going to care about sound quality.

 

Because they called themselves "soundcloud" they take on the culpable responsibility of representing quality sound to the public, 128 is not quality. They set a new standard for audio aesthetics that will create a foundation of art that is less concrete than it could/should be thus leading to shittier music.



#24 EdTheYounger

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 03:19 PM

So why not just have an option for stream quality like any other site..? 128/320 or uncomp? The server space argument is redundant because if the download is the original file then that shit must exist on their servers already, right..?

#25 Magnetic Forces

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Posted Yesterday, 09:32 AM

I think they are more concerned with bandwidth than storage.  For free users - 128kb/s is reasonable.   I'm really surprised Pro members don't have more options.   I don't pay for Pro but it'll need to come with a higher streaming bitrate option before I start to consider it.


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#26 Grifty-Rodriguez

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Posted Yesterday, 11:39 AM

For a free streaming service, 128 is more than adequate. You don't expect them to be streaming lossless files do you? Your average connection in the US would take fifteen minutes to steam a damn three minute track

#27 mangoes cash

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Posted Yesterday, 11:41 AM

Serious question: 

 

What's with the sound levels around here?  Is everything compressed out and blown up for style?  Or is it a method of keeping people from ripping your tracks? Is it just a way to get more notice from voters?  I'm just trying to understand why 90% of the beats are making me back my stereo off 15dB, and wondering if I'm missing the point.

 

 

 

I think there is a certain sound that sounds good from this mucky mastering, but there is a degree of consideration these engineers must consider. While it may sound hype on your apply ear pod headphones, on anything else, its sounds shit. Dudes got to recognoize that they got to find a happy medium between topline and bottom line speakers. 


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#28 James Frank.

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Posted Today, 11:15 AM

this took me years to figure out, and i still can barely explain it in a coherent way. basically, from what i understand about mixing, in technical terms your mix can never go above 0db or it'll just literally clip out and skew that data forever...

however:

within the practice of mixing and using things like EQ's, limiters and compressors, that supposed ceiling of sound volume can be manipulated...for example, you normalize your entire beat. that means it raises the volume up to the loudest peak of your songbut if your song is mixed poorly to begin with and it's way too dynamic, then the mix will still be fairly quiet overall.

technically, i could take my stock distortion VST on FL Studio 9 and create an ear-piercingly loud mix that still "technically" peaks only at like -10dB or something, because the compression within that plugin is so severe that it effectively bypasses that aforementioned ceiling of noise.

this is why mixing/mastering is such an expenseive, specialized process...basically, everyone's winging it. there is no real limit to how loud you can make something once you figure out the tools. i think if there was some sort of meter that displayed the opposite information (i.e. the amount of decibels a track is reaching on a 0-180 dB scale), then i think the industry could finally begin to standardize mastered output levels, and thus end all of this madness with the "loudness wars".




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