Posted 17 December 2011 - 08:41 PM
A trick I use is to include a gain plug-in and, then, an adaptive limiter plug-in after it on the master track. Then, I bounce to the audio file and use a program like the offline TT Dynamic Range Meter to calculate the root-mean-square (RMS) volume of the audio. The RMS value is like the average volume, only it tends to be more accurate because the equation tends to discard a lot of the wilder fluctuations in values (it's like minimizing the contribution of stuff of the left and right sides of a bell curve). Set the adaptive limiter out ceiling to -0.3 dB (or wherever you want it to be, so long as you leave at least that). The adaptive limiter will kick-in to take care of any naughty transients that may cause clipping, but do it in a way that is more transparent (and CPU intensive) than a normal limiter.
Bounce the piece and use the TT Dynamic Range Meter to measure the RMS (you can write your own software to do this too). Decide what target RMS you want the piece to be based on the dynamic range you generally need. Car stereos will need less dynamic range, theaters will need more. I've found by analyzing masters that -11 dB is a very common RMS value and seems to work well (I've noticed anything louder than that seems to result in distortion at times). Take the RMS value of the left and right channel and average them together (right + left) / 2. Then, subtract the dB level you want it to be. Go to the gain plug-in and then add or subtract that value from the gain to make it result in that RMS. Check the file again with the TT Dynamic Range Meter and if it is close, you've leveled the audio to where you want. Keep in mind that certain frequencies sound louder than others to the human ear, so this will get you close, but for certain pieces, you may wish to then drop the master level a dB or two to keep it sounding like the rest of the album, while still retaining the same amount of general dynamic range.
Here's an example: You've bounced an audio track and you want to level it. Using the TT Dynamic Range Meter, you find the left dB to be -13.1 and the right dB to be -12.8. Type into a calculator 13.1 + 12.8 = and then / 2. The average RMS of both channels is 12.95 (no minus sign because it is just faster not to deal with it here). Then enter 12.95 - 11 = and you get 1.95, which means you are 1.95 dB away from the RMS you want. Since -12.95 is quieter than you want, you know you have to add 1.95 to the value in your gain plug-in.
Posted 17 December 2011 - 08:46 PM
Posted 17 December 2011 - 09:24 PM
I wouldn't suggest normalizing anything. The word sends shivers down my spine.
Instead the second half of Dans post is where it's at. If you want to achieve "loudness" then focusing on RMS is the way to go.
Aside from slamming into a limiter, good compression on individual tracks and then 2bus will bring up RMS. then the remaining loudness can come from limiting.. The -0.3 comes from the possibility of intersample peaks that can cause distortion depending on the how the digital to analog conversion is done on playback. -0.3 gives a "safety" of sorts.
But if this is even the case here.. I'm not sure.. The problem might be something else all together.
Dans gonna have You hittin the books for sure either way.
Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:33 PM
Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:47 PM
Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:32 AM
I've been avoiding the compressor because I want the maximum dynamic range except for those transients that slam against the wall and, then, some smart handling of those pesky transients.
If you want that then you shouldn't be concerned with "loudness" at all. Very little compression and possibly no limiting at all except for protection on those random peaks. I guess that's the extreme. Lol but your not gonna get loudness from that.
There is no way to get tasteful loudness with out an appropriate amount compression. Limiting in the end should only be shaving off a few dbs. Anything more and your then distorting and destroying dynamics for sure.
I've been "forced" over the years to smash the shit out of stuff and I'm actually kind of sick of it. Smash I mean like -8RMS. As with most of the heavy stuff I do.
Anyhow it's always an evolving process for the mix/mastering guy. Your ears and techniques are always developing.
Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:14 PM
Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:32 PM
Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:46 PM
Compression works differnt than limiting. As you went on in your post you contradicted yourself.
Using a limiter does not work the same as using compression. It's not compression, it's limiting.
Compressing is not limiting and limiting is not compression.
I'm not sure if your trying to convince me or are just figuring this stuff out out loud.
If the latter, I'm very clear on how all this stuff works.
Posted 24 December 2011 - 05:16 PM
Posted 24 December 2011 - 05:29 PM
Posted 25 December 2011 - 01:09 PM
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