...do my mastering with Ardour?

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calimerox
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peder, thx for your advice, and yes, I know that big knobs. Actually I´m often asked to make something "louder" or "fat" or however you call it when it comes to mastering, and I get your point that louder is just louder, but loudness is not just louder. if you have a decent recording and master it so that it sound louder, you finally also have a better signal to noise when the consumer put it in his consumer mp3player or whatever it is(if you don´t limit too hard), it feels louder and the average volume is louder... I´m not in pro of having generally everything squared to 0dB, but often it´s an issue for semiprofessional studios that what you get out doesn´t sound loud, e.g. a rock band. and the idea of a rockband is to sound loud (maybe this is a major mistake of rock music, but thats another story..)... therefore for me loudness is a good thing to know.

pleasebeus
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On a recent (latest?) Metallica album, people playing Guitar Hero realised the version on there was way better than the cd. They had been mastered differently and I think even the band agreed the game version was better. The game version had much better dynamics; the cd version pushed loudness:

http://www.nme.com/news/metallica/39816

Guns 'n Roses latest effort is apparently mastered with decent dynamics, so it seems even the heavy rock boys are learning the mistake of 'pretend loud'. Here's what the engineer says about the experience: he offered three versions and the band chose the one which had dynamics preserved:

http://www.gatewaymastering.com/gateway_LoudnessWars.asp

And here's a description of how dropping dynamics in favour of loudness is a bad idea:

http://tinyurl.com/2opok4

peder
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master it so that it sound louder, you finally also have a better signal to noise when the consumer put it in his consumer mp3player
If buy that you mean a more even signal versus the listeners surrounding noise I agree. For my jogging mp3player I actually normalized the soft parts of Frost*s EIMA to be able to enjoy it, but the question is: who are we mastering for? Is it the jogger, the DJ at the loud party or the concentrated listener?

Perhaps all records should be released in two versions: a hifi version for the purists and a brickwalled version for the jogger/party DJ.

And if you want a rockband to sound loud dynamics and eq:ing are the way to go. When you have a dynamic span of 3 dB's you don't sound loud, you just sound even.

I'm glad Bob Ludwig and G'n'R went the dynamic way: http://www.gatewaymastering.com/gateway_LoudnessWars.asp
(Edit: hey, pleasebeus, you beat me to it ;)

peder
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And to be fair, regarding the latest Metallica the mastering engineer claims the levels were already hard brickwalled (as in visible square waves in any wave editor) when he got the stuff.
Listen to "Broken, Beat & Scarred" or "The Judas Kiss" to hear the terrible distortion.

calimerox
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peder, i got your point with the dynamic span, its not that I like it "even", its more that usually I like dynamics too much, or when I listen back on it on my monitoringsystem, I enjoy full dynamics, but the "use" of music takes place in subways, streets, kitchens, TVs.. and like usually you should listen and produce with similar conditions like the final consumer listens to, but thats difficult nowadays.. we should maybe open a mastering contest :) but again, what is discussed here partly is a question of taste, but I was mostly interested in how people just do it and are happy with it for themselves, whatever they are working on... like for me the last good metallica album was kill 'em all.... but this was definitley bad mastered.. :) ...

calimerox
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rtp , send you a file! it´s just a stereo guitartrack of a solo artist... better would be having a band recording... if someone of you are up to maybe we can make a "mastering - contest" or something like that.. ;) if someone contributes a band-song.... guess we would all learn quite a lot..this night I´ll put a link were you can download the song (I´m at work and forgot the link)... lets see if someone is interested....

peder
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If I have to nitpick, mastering is something done to a collection of songs, like and album, not to a collection of tracks (that's mixing) and absolutely not to a single track (that's, idunno, EQ:ing?)...

pleasebeus
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Unless it's released as a single :-p

calimerox
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so lets say its a single :-p

http://rapidshare.de/files/45604863/alexformastering.wav.html

rtp405
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calimerox,

Thanks for sending a link to the file. I sent a link of the mastered version to you. Download and feel free to post my master of your song--I really enjoyed the song, performance and production quality. Please note that my master was performed in six or less seconds. And I've done this to prove a point.

Because mastering is an often debated topic I've decided to produce a mastering video. My partners and I did the first camera shoot, yesterday. There's a bunch of video screen capture, graphics and written material to produce but I think we'll have a finished product within a week or two. Production is mostly an issue of having time to work on the project.

I'll revisit the Loudness document and perhaps address a couple points that have been brought up in this thread. Despite having a garage full of 1/4, 1/2 and 1" tape our tutorial will only address digital audio. It will not cover topics from the analog tape and vinyl era.

rtp405
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Let me know if there's a need for a "band" song, I'll provide full band productions with live players produced using Linux and Ardour. I'll leave sequenced and electronica to musicians who are more adept at those styles and have more interesting contributions than me.

calimerox
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http://rapidshare.com/files/202744753/alexMastered.wav.html

rtp, thanks a lot for your work! I´m really looking forward to your video-tutorial! above is your mastered file, so people can compare and take a listen! I´m really happy that the ardour-forum is a place where you can not only share technical problems but also practical experience with sound and recording!

GodLikeCreature
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Calimerox,

I agree with you, very good conversation, and I am glad this is all being shared, great stuff!

Regarding JAMin, I have had short experience with it yet, have read a few docs, and I am a bit confused as far as scenes are concerned. After reading those documents, it seemed to me they are meant to store some specific settings for a particular moment of the song, kinda like patches.

However, I don´t see how they can be linked together with those song parts, so they are applied automatically on the fly. Is that even possible? If not, can someone explain the actual purpose of scenes?

Thanks!

peder
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I haven't used it myself but there's a ladspa plugin by Steve Harris called Jamin Controller. Using that as a plugin on Ardours master track, for instance, allows you to automate the scene changes.

Oh, and I listened to the "masterd" track, and sure it proves the point that it takes less than 6 seconds to lower the limiter to -0.2dB and boost the overall volume by 5(?)dB. But to call that mastering...
I sure hope the video will delve into the real aspects of mastering, otherwise it'll be a real short one.

rtp405
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JAMin controller is used to automate changing of mastering settings for each song in the sequence of songs that your working with. Insert the controller into ardour:masterBus. Put the plugin into automation write at 00:00:00, engage transport Play to write a second or two of automation, position playhead at the end of your session and engage Play to write an automation line from start to end of the session. Put automation into touch mode and manually manipulate the line by inserting nodes and raising the scene in sequence from 1, 2, 3 to the last song. When the playhead reaches any node JAMin will switch to the scene of that node.

I realize your gonna have to fill in some blanks but based on what you've stated your already understanding. Keep your controller study simple, there doesn't even need to be any songs on the timeline. We're only using it to switch JAMin scenes. Let me know how it goes.

I have a vague recollection of having documented the controller but maybe I'm wrong.

rtp405
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s/settings/scenes
JAMin controller is used to automate changing of mastering settings for each song in the sequence of songs that your working with.