#1
I got a Tascam portastudio, and the demo song that comes on it is perfect volume. Problem is when i record, the volume is much lower. It seems like my amp is on pretty loud, so would it be the mic? I notice a lot of recordings on peoples profiles also have this problems. Can someone offer some tips on how to get it to record louder?
Quote by freddaahh
I just head-desked so hard I went through the floor and came out in Mongolia.
#6
Post?Organic has it. When a final mix is sent from the studio, it is no louder than what you currently have now, and are asking about.

The secret final step is that mix is sent to a mastering engineer. Back in the old days, this meant just a bit of EQ to tweak it, and adding enough compression so that the sudden peaks in volume (transients) wouldn't jump the needle right out of the groove when people played the record. (or worse, jostle the cutter when the master disc was being made!)

This was perfectly acceptable. A lot of high end audio snobs will still pull a piece of vinyl from the '70's off their shelf to show people just how brilliant analog recordings can sound. I mean, *nobody* ever complained about recordings not being loud enough. They just had this extraordinary dynamic range that they enjoyed because the quiet parts were really quiet, and then *BAM!* the loud parts got really loud in comparison. This is why we want our home theatres to have good dynamic range handling ability, because movies rely on this dynamic range for effect. If people wanted their album louder, they discovered that there was an easy solution.... turn it up!

Then, starting around the late '80's, something peculiar happened....

People noticed that the louder the track, the more it stood out and caught people's attention on the radio. (even back in the '70's, commercials were made to sound louder than the rest of the TV programs for the same reason)

The race was on.

They call this 'the loudness wars.' Ever since, people have been trying to get their track louder than the next guy's, so theirs will be the one to stand out on the radio. And now, so that their whole CD won't be so much quieter than the next person's.

If you have a CD from an album recorded in the '70's, put it on, and then take a CD recorded in the 2000's.... the newer one will shred your speakers in comparison. It will appear to be twice as loud.

So, the role of the mastering engineer is now to get the tracks sounding louder - not necessarily better. Watch the meters on your audio gear. A track from the seventies has the meters bouncing up and down in time with the music. A track from the 2000's has the top light on the meters just flickering on and off, and that's about it.

To achieve this, the mastering engineer uses two main tools - compression and limiting. Like any tool, you have to learn how to use it to best effect. Basically (and to totally oversimplify), they compress the living hell out of the final mix, and then slam it even further with the limiter.

We have come to slam our recordings so mercilessly that there is not really anywhere further to go in the loudness war.

I'm not sure what the next step will be, but usually, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It's funny that we want hi-def TV, Blue Ray DVD, plasma displays, and high -end audio for our home theatres, yet we're happy with mp3 format music that is compressed to hell and back. We have the technology with DVD to play music back at 96khz and 24 bits, giving us more frequency response and dynamic range than we have *ever* had at any point in history, and yet we only demand that quality for our movies. There is a power resurgence of people buying vinyl for it's audiophile qualities - those same qualities we can get from DVD. We'll see.

One more thing... there has always been a maximum volume for a recording. The recordings aren't *actually* any louder. They are *perceived* to be louder. Your ear listens to audio material and decides how loud it is based on the average volume. By compressing and limiting a track, you raise the average volume so that the 'medium' volume parts are almost as loud as the theoretical maximum that your 'loud' parts are. This is where the less dynamic range comes in. By having a greater average volume, with the loudest parts still where they were before (because if they were louder, they would clip!), the track appears louder.

When you normalize something, that doesn't change the average volume. It adjusts the volume of the whole track upwards until the highest peak hits 0db without clipping.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
^ Great post, Axe.

I was just wondering, is it really possible to make a needle jump out of a groove because of a sound peak? Sounds incredible.

Anyway, I found a thread on another forum that discusses mixing. It's on the Reaper site, but most of the info is applicable to any decent recording software. Mixing Question
#8
Thx! And, the answer is 'yes' if something hasn't been mastered properly.

The poster in that thread, piplelineaudio, is one of the original high promoters of Reaper. I remember him from another forum where he was beta-testing it.

His name is Ed, and he has worked with Megadeth, Sheryl Crow, Gin Blossoms and others. He is hugely knowledgeable. You should listen to some of his mixes. Wow!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.