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Author Topic: 2 versions of each CD?  (Read 3537 times)

bblackwood

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2005, 08:52:36 am »

andy_simpson wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 15:41

You ME's with integrity and consceince could do the extra version for free to get the concept off the ground.....so the artist has no reason to refuse.....

When in shoot-outs I often cut two versions, a reasonable one and  a loud one (labeled "good" and "loud") so they can hear the difference. They almost always choose the "good" version...
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Brad Blackwood
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Andy Simpson

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2005, 01:29:48 pm »

Brad.-
What I mean is, instead of labeling them 'good' and 'loud' and making a choice between them, why not label them 'album' and 'single' and use both? That way both can be even less compromised between the two poles - and you've done no extra work in fact! Wink

Ronny.-
Correct me if I'm wrong......as the input level (CD) tends towards 0dB (RMS), the useable resolution of the volume control on the (monitor/hifi/PA) amp also tends towards 0.

So, the higher the RMS signal, the lower the useable travel on the volume control. Which means I can't make fine(!?) adjustments.

Consider making the accelerator pedal in a ferrari ON/OFF (nothing/full throttle).
That would be impossible to drive.
Now consider using 15dB of compression (with 15dB of make-up gain). Now that would also be almost impossible to drive smoothley or slowly, and would make it very hard to drive at exactly 60kph or 50 or 45.....either too fast or too slow.

-*-

Which means that for me (the consumer) it's always too loud or too quiet.
Which is bad.

Andy

Smash the single, listen to the album.
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eligit

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2005, 02:40:11 pm »

glad to see others have had this idea..

i agree!  make the single loud and make the album sonically deep.

can you imagine all the hundreds of just great (at least sound quality wise if not musically that great) albums whose mixes sounded incredible only to be crushed unbearably.  i bet there are plenty of too loud mixes being produced now but many awesome sounding ones as well..

sigh....
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dcollins

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2005, 04:03:23 pm »

eligit wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 11:40


can you imagine all the hundreds of just great (at least sound quality wise if not musically that great) albums whose mixes sounded incredible only to be crushed unbearably.



I always love reading the "making of the LP" interview where they wax on about the vintage mikes, instruments, studios, and technics that were used, only to have the end result virtually indistinguishable from something a guy did in his bedroom with a sampler........

DC

bblackwood

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2005, 04:51:40 pm »

andy_simpson wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 12:29

Brad.-
What I mean is, instead of labeling them 'good' and 'loud' and making a choice between them, why not label them 'album' and 'single' and use both? That way both can be even less compromised between the two poles - and you've done no extra work in fact!

Because the one labeled 'good' will sound better on the radio, too...
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Brad Blackwood
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Andy Simpson

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2005, 06:09:29 pm »

Well, for the purposes of the single, it has to grab plugger/industry/playlist attention _before_ it hits the radio/tv.....and I suspect that it matters not what it sounds like once it has been playlisted.
The people who playlist are hoping to hear something that sounds like it already fits on their radio station, so I say smash it good!

Anyway, it's only a matter of time before the radio broadcast compressor/limiters are completely tailored to suit pre-smashed records as a source material - since it is the predominant music played - in which case the less smashed stuff will suffer....and this is inevitable I think.

Check mate?!

Wink

Andy

Smash the single, listen to the album.
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bblackwood

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2005, 08:10:39 pm »

andy_simpson wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 17:09

The people who playlist are hoping to hear something that sounds like it already fits on their radio station, so I say smash it good!

Bad advice, imo and ime, but go for it if you wish...
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Brad Blackwood
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dcollins

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2005, 08:23:00 pm »

andy_simpson wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 15:09


Anyway, it's only a matter of time before the radio broadcast compressor/limiters are completely tailored to suit pre-smashed records as a source material



I think it's not possible, given the technical constraints of radio broadcast.  Satellite, streaming, maybe you have a chance (or you hardly compress at all) but the pre-emphasis and other things used in radio will always cause hyper-limited stuff to fold-up and die...

DC

jackthebear

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2005, 09:45:06 pm »

The whole term "radio ready" is a whole lotta BS!!
It is a marketing buzz expression and total myth.

Tell me how can an ME predict how a station is going to sound given the fact there are differences between AM and FM, between stations and even in different parts of your town on the same station???? You telling me they can tailor the sound to suit?

Compressing a compressed signal produces a multiplicative result,
eg a 5:1 compressed signal going through a 10:1 smashing turns out to be 50:1!!!!

Music made pre-cd days sounds just as loud as the other hypercompressed garbage  out there and in fact better.

Cheers,
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Ronny

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2005, 01:09:39 am »

jackthebear wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 21:45

The whole term "radio ready" is a whole lotta BS!!
It is a marketing buzz expression and total myth.

Tell me how can an ME predict how a station is going to sound given the fact there are differences between AM and FM, between stations and even in different parts of your town on the same station???? You telling me they can tailor the sound to suit?

Compressing a compressed signal produces a multiplicative result,
eg a 5:1 compressed signal going through a 10:1 smashing turns out to be 50:1!!!!

Music made pre-cd days sounds just as loud as the other hypercompressed garbage  out there and in fact better.

Cheers,



This is the summary for Bob Orban and Frank Fotti's "What Happens To My Music On The Radio" article. This is from a draft though written in May 2001, the title may have been changed when the final article was released.

"Summary

Hypercompressed material does not sound louder on the air. It sounds more distorted, making the radio sound broken in the most extreme cases. It sounds small, busy, and flat. It does not feel good to the listener when turned up, so he or she hears it as background music. Hypercompression, when combined with “major-market” levels of broadcast processing, sucks the drama and life from music. In more extreme cases, it sounds overtly distorted and is likely to cause tuneouts by adults, particularly women.

We recommend that record companies service stations with radio mixes. These can have all of the equalization, slow compression, and other effects that producers and mastering engineers use artistically to achieve a desired “sound.” What these radio mixes should not have is fast digital limiting and clipping. Leave the short-term envelopes unsquashed. Let the broadcast processor do its work. The result will be just as loud on-air as hypercompressed material, but will have far more punch, clarity, and life."



Tony, a year before this article was written and noticing that songs were sounding worse on the air, I set up some tests with an old friend of mine, the PD for 6 of the local radio stations in my area. He played various compression setting songs that I provided and a few from the different catalogs at the various genre stations that were in rotation on the playlists. Examples that I provided ranged from heavy compression, lightly compressed and no compression versions of songs, while I recorded them at my studio for A/B playback comparison for a blind panel of listeners and peak and RMS analysis of the before and after broadcast versions. The songs with no compression sounded cleaner and louder than the slightly compressed ones and the heavily compressed ones were terrible sounding in comparison. From my personal tests, I find Fotti and Orban to be spot on with their recommendations.

Now, this was 4 years ago since the article and 5 years since my broadcast tests. Songs are even more compressed these days and have less RMS than the hypercompressed versions that I used in my tests. Bob designed the Opti-mod's and other broadcast gear that is very popular in the broadcast facilities in the US, he knows his gear and he knows how hypercompressed material is effected being broadcasted through the chain. Besides pre-emphasis that DC was talking about used by radio stations, there are other factors involving phase rotators and AGC compressors that can't react efficiently on hypercompressed material.

Check out the article. Brad used to have a copy on his website, not sure if he still does, but if you can't locate one I can forward a copy of the draft to you.
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jackthebear

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2005, 03:56:57 am »

Thanks Ronny,

Send it down!!! Smile

Cheers,
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Tony "Jack the Bear" Mantz
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bblackwood

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2005, 03:57:18 am »

The final version of the Orban/Foti article Ronny referenced has been posted on my site (with permission) and can be read here...
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Brad Blackwood
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Andy Simpson

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2005, 04:42:43 am »

I'd be willing to bet that not one radio industry person complained to the record comany or band that Californication sounded shit on radio......and it didn't suffer (commercially!) one jot from sounding smashed to hell and back (before it hit the radio). BUT IT DOES SUFFER FROM BEING AN UNLISTENABLE ALBUM, EVEN FOR THE FANS.

Anyway, it makes little difference - it ain't gonna get on the radio unless it impressed somebody beforehand, which means it has to compete on the terms of the other commercial single releases. So it (the single) has to be smashed.

It'd be great to issue the smashed version as a promo version and then issue the radio stations with the album version for playlisting.

It's no coincidence that when you work with an amateur band and show them the sounds of heavy buss comp/limit they always say: "that sounds really proffessional".
The playlisters hear it the same way. They are NOT going to shift their volume control 3-10dB for fair loudness comparisons.....it's louder, it sounds 'better'. And anyway, the stereo is on the other side of the office!!!!
AND ** it's the first impressions that count **, so having to turn the volume control (even if it were likely) would have ruined the first impressions already.

My position still holds.
Why fight the small battle for the disposable single?
Radio will never sound good (until it realises that the smash sounds worse than the not-smash).
There is simply no point fighting for _slightly less hot_ records for radio.

Fight the war for the albums that we'll be listening to (or not) in 25 years. Almost everyone can hear the difference when objective listening at equal apparent levels is done.

But loudness is always THE big winner in subjective listening tests, so make one loud and one good.
Make it clear to the artist that it is not about choosing between them.

The clients need it loud. Let them have it REALLY LOUD and let them have an album version too. 2 VERSIONS.
That is the only way to wage this loudness war......

Andy

Smash the single, listen to the album.

"FULL DYNAMIC RANGE, UNCOMPRESSED & UNALTERED VERSION - PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED!"


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stevieeastend

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2005, 05:01:13 am »

Hi  Andi,

1000% agreed!!!

Although I am pretty sure that there can be ONE version, which serves everybody?s needs. There actually IS music out there, which sounds good on (almost) every system, including radio and TV.

So be convinced that this is actually true I think it is the job of the mastering engineer to make the best possible compromise in order to make the record sound good on ALL systems. For that it has to be a compromise, no other way!  And if you make it right, it will make it through all the stages: first impression, A&R, radio, big hifi, club, car, boom box...

It is definetely a much harder job for the mastering engineer than a couple of years ago as there are more variables to take into account. But it is possible. And it is the duty of the mixing and mastering engineer to provide a result the makes everybody listen to the music and nothing else....

cheers
steveeastend

Andy Simpson

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Re: 2 versions of each CD?
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2005, 07:08:25 am »

Steve, we're not talking about it sounding 'good enough' on most systems.
It has to be loud enough to compete with LOUD records AND dynamic enough to sound good.
This can't be. It's a contradiction (a big one).

There is no compromise between loud and good that is useful, let alone best.

Slightly smashed is useless.
It's quieter than the smashed stuff (so it loses there), but still sounds flatter than the dynamic stuff (so it loses again here).
So it pleases nobody.

It's got to be 2 uncompromised versions.

Wink

Andy

Smash the single, listen to the album.
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