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Author Topic: Terry, your stance on the state of:  (Read 2511 times)

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Terry, your stance on the state of:
« on: February 18, 2005, 02:15:16 am »

Terry, I have great respect for your talent over the many decades of capturing the art and presenting the product in a way that is pleasing to all, yourself, the artist, the purchasers and lovers.

This said, to the point:

Loudness wars.

As a mastering engineer, I run most of my mastering of very upbeat tracks at no more than a minus 16rms average, and sometimes around minus 18dB (fs) The hardest core of content has never needed more output than a -13.5 and even then, in my old days of digital, I considered -17 my Zero VU as far as averages.

I know you master as well.

I am not having issues with MY clients but I just received some new things by Madonna and we are talking, squashed down...litterally.

1. How do you approach this issue?

2. Do you work within "sanity limits"

3. If an artist wanted you to turn some stellar mixing into total feces, would you comply?

4. How often to you have to educate your clients in this....and how often do you do things you are against, to please them for their own satisfaction?

5. Lastly, do you find yourself putting your foot down and saying, this volume level is BS and we should not go there..and standing on it? Really putting up a fuss to keep your part of the art from turning into trashy sound?

Ok...I will rest here.

I have made my stance very public..but I want to see how it has affected you and how you deal with it all. Certainly, if it (work) is passed off to another mastering engineer, you should have some form of input.

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compasspnt

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Re: Terry, your stance on the state of:
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2005, 01:00:25 pm »

Hi Bill,

Testing, 1-2-3....are we on here?  ......  OK, looks like we're all back....



You have touched upon another of my "pet peeves" in the current music industry.  I absolutely HATE the loudness-squashing war which is going on.

For many years I, as I'm sure almost everyone did as well, would work very hard to get the loudest possible final product, within reasonable guidelines of dynamic range and sonic quality.  It only made sense that one's album should be of a reasonable loudness, in order to not sound immediately "less than" a competitor's when listened to by programming directors, etc.

HOWEVER, it has gotten completely out of hand.  In order to  squeeze every last inch of possible loudness on CD, the massive compression and over-equalisation, followed by brickwall limiting, has reduced the available dynamic range to the point of ridiculousness.

Dynamics are one of the key ingredients of the emotion of music.  For an analogy, what if a drummer played tom rolls all throughout every track on an album?  What if the lead guitarist soloed across the entire song, rather than in a designated place?  Nothing would ever appear to be powerful and dynamic, because there would be no reference point to compare to.  Neither of these examples allows for any variation, for any quiet spots to be punctuated by louder ones.  To me, it is the same thing with the constant mashing of all sound into one big, overloud mess.

When I master, I like to reach a reasonably good level for the loudest peaks, but I NEVER overcompress.  When Ted Jensen and I were mastering the Lenny Kravitz "5" album at Sterling, (and I  know that Sterling has somewhat of a LOUDNESS reputation; hopefully this will refute that somewhat), we were doing the normal things to most tracks.  But on one particular song, Ted first tried a couple of different approaches, but then turned to me and said, "This song needs absolutely nothing done to it; it cannot be improved in mastering."  So he unplugged everything in the analogue chain, and ran directly out of the 1/2" tube Ampex reproducer into the converter; no EQ, no compression, no nothing.  This to me showed a couple of important points.  Firstly, don't DO ANYTHING that isn't necessary, and secondly, it is the mark of a true professional when they can tell you that they aren't able to add anything.  Of course, in effect, Ted DID add to the sound by refraining from impeding it; the average engineer might have done something, anything, to "prove his worth."

As far as "educating" clients, or "putting my foot down," it usually doesn't come to any of that.  I will work in a professional and empathetic manner with the artist and the music, and earn their respect.  At that point, there is little need for lectures or petulance.

I know I haven't really said anything technical here, and that is by design.  I really only wanted to make my beliefs known, and to BEG the industry to STOP THE LOUDNESS, for the good of the MUSIC!

Terry
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Lee Flier

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Re: Terry, your stance on the state of:
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2005, 07:51:08 pm »

Kinda cracks me up that people go to the trouble to record at 24 bits and have a dynamic range of >120dB and then only use the top 6. Very Happy

compasspnt

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Re: Terry, your stance on the state of:
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2005, 07:20:26 pm »

Lee Flier wrote on Fri, 18 February 2005 19:51

Kinda cracks me up that people go to the trouble to record at 24 bits and have a dynamic range of >120dB and then only use the top 6.


Actually, I am impressed that they use a full 6 dB.  I didn't think it was that much!
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Lee Flier

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Re: Terry, your stance on the state of:
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2005, 08:15:38 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Sun, 20 February 2005 19:20


Actually, I am impressed that they use a full 6 dB.  I didn't think it was that much!


Well, some songs have fadeouts.  Laughing
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