#1
Hey all-
Im in a band with a couple of friends and we dont have a ton of money as a group to go to a studio, so we just do our best to record at home. We arent expecting massive high quality expert recordings; but we are shooting for decent quality and good perceived volume versus commercial mixes.

I went to a barber shop and was chatting with the barber (who his brother has a more professional band) and we were comparing recordings (via bluetooth to a small ihome type speaker). My mixes sounded really quiet compared to what he showed me. But when I go on youtube and pull up commercial songs to reference, my mixes seem pretty close in relative perceived volume (to the point where I am satisfied). Maybe it was a bluetooth error or something, idk.

I am not asking for you guys to listen thoroughly to my songs and make a lot of suggestions, as I know you guys are busy and amateur songs like these are a dime a dozen. I would basically just appreciate it if you listened to these first draft mixes/masters that we did and tell me if they are way too quiet vs a commercial mix. Even if you just listen for 5 seconds each. This isnt advertisement for our band either. We are just starting out, and this is mostly for our own enjoyment. You can trash us if need be. I think the second one of the three is a little too quiet and im planning on updating the mix/master for all of them anyways. I appreciate any help!

Afterall - Adderall: http://youtu.be/P-1VqIcmdws
Afterall - I Promise: http://youtu.be/uvZAHENa5ic
Afterall - Solitaire (acoustic): http://youtu.be/JIEjiRyIhR4
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Last edited by Watterboy at Dec 18, 2014,
#2
Sounds mixed very well already. If you wanna get some more volume out of it without breaking the way it's mixed, the drums and guitar could be slightly compressed with a quick attack and slow release and boosted a few decibels. But you gotta be careful with it cause it can really break a mix after being rendered. What it sounds like in the DAW might get rendered differently because of the compression.

Either that or apply a Master limiter to the master mix and boost it to where it doesn't go over -6 decibels. The thing you don't want to loose is the high end snap, where most commercial tracks will loose that to make up in volume through heavy compression.
#3
Youtube will apply some amount of compression that probably makes them sound the same volume as other stuff. I don't think they're too quiet, but I also don't think it would be bad for them to be louder.

What was your mastering process?

This sounds really good for being done at home, keep up the good work!
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#4
Quote by Sid McCall
Youtube will apply some amount of compression that probably makes them sound the same volume as other stuff. I don't think they're too quiet, but I also don't think it would be bad for them to be louder.

What was your mastering process?

This sounds really good for being done at home, keep up the good work!


I appreciate the compliments- I am a little self-conscious about my mixes and usually only share with friends. But the volume thing has been really irking me lately, since it is a subjective thing and there is really no standard.

As far as mastering goes, I usually keep it pretty simple (and I dont bounce my mix track out of reaper first; I master right on the master track, even though this may be bad practice). But typically, I throw an extra high pass on at 41hz (I high pass individual tracks too though). I apply some compression for about 2-3db reduction using a low ratio to glue everything, then some multiband compression with similar reduction, then a limiter with about 2db of limiting. I think thats all. But I also listen to my tracks like hundreds of times in different scenes over the course of weeks and tweak them as I go.
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Last edited by Watterboy at Dec 18, 2014,
#5
Don't sound much less compressed than the songs of the same genre you hear nowadays.

Mind, more than 9 out of 10 tracks of the same genre you hear nowadays are way too compressed to sound anymore than decent if ya ask me.

It seems to me anyway that you're compressing everything the wrong way - guitars sound pretty loud, drums get a bit lost in the mix in comparison, and when the guitar leaves room to the voice in the second track the voice doesn't take much of that empty space, frequency wise (understandable) and volume wise (I'd do something about this one).

Also your vocals are pretty dry, depending on the effect you're going for you may wanna edit them a bit more.
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#6
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Don't sound much less compressed than the songs of the same genre you hear nowadays.

Mind, more than 9 out of 10 tracks of the same genre you hear nowadays are way too compressed to sound anymore than decent if ya ask me.

It seems to me anyway that you're compressing everything the wrong way - guitars sound pretty loud, drums get a bit lost in the mix in comparison, and when the guitar leaves room to the voice in the second track the voice doesn't take much of that empty space, frequency wise (understandable) and volume wise (I'd do something about this one).

Also your vocals are pretty dry, depending on the effect you're going for you may wanna edit them a bit more.


So, in terms of overall perceived volume of the recordings, you think they are about on? It seems like most of your points were specific per instrument, but not overall (granted, everything adds up in the end). I didnt really compress the guitars because they are pretty distorted. The drums have about 3-4 db of compression on snare, kick, and toms individually (plus parallel compression). And the vocals are fairly strongly compressed for eveness
Im surprised they sound dry to you; they have a good amount of reverb and in some cases delay too. I usually leave screams drier though, since i prefer a more in your face scream than a background scream
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#7
I'll give you most inexpensive way to boast overall volume without changing the overall tone. Just download a copy of Audacity (it's free) and bring your songs into it (drop and drag). Now go to the "Effect" tab on the top menu. The first VST is "Amplify". The top box is for how much you want to raise the whole song file. Start with 1 in the top box then click OK. The overall tarck volume will be raised. If that wasn't enough or too much go "Edit" tab and undo. Play with it till you get what you want. Be aware that you have to watch the wave form display to make sure that you aren't clipping on the top or bottom of the display. You'll get a visual feel for what is too much or not enough. Take tracks you have from other commercail sources and A/B them. You see and hear a volume difference. Without getting really technical this is a pretty convienient and inexpensive solution.

I know many people will tell you Audacity sucks and that you should buy (fill in the blanK) but I understand that you are looking for a cost effective solution and free is always cost effective. Sony thought enough of Audacity to buy it outright and incorporate some it's features into their Sony Sound Forge program (which I use a lot for editing). Sony was nice enough to still leave Audacity as a free shareware for everyone and there are YouTube videos that show you how to use it.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 19, 2014,
#8
Quote by Rickholly74
I'll give you most inexpensive way to boast overall volume with changing the overall tone. Just download a copy of Audacity (it's free) and bring your songs into it (drop and drag). Now go to the "Effect" tab on the top menu. The first VST is "Amplify". The top box is for how much you want to raise the whole song file. Start with 1 in the top box then click OK. The overall tarck volume will be raised. If that wasn't enough or too much go "Edit" tab and undo. Play with it till you get what you want. Be aware that you have to watch the wave form display to make sure that you aren't clipping on the top or bottom of the display. You'll get a visual feel for what is too much or not enough. Take tracks you have from other commercail sources and A/B them. You see and hear a volume difference. Without getting really technical this is a pretty convienient and inexpensive solution.

I know many people will tell you Audacity sucks and that you should buy (fill in the blanK) but I understand that you are looking for a cost effective solution and free is always cost effective. Sony thought enough of Audacity to buy it outright and incorporate some it's features into their Sony Sound Forge program (which I use a lot for editing). Sony was nice enough to still leave Audacity as a free shareware for everyone.

I mean.....no. If OP is already mastering with real mastering plug-ins in a real DAW, he should just boost volume in that with compressor makeup gain, not some sketchy audacity effect. Just sayin'...
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#9
Since I didn't see him mention what it was recorded on I thought it might be useful. If you don't have anything else and you can't afford a high end mastering program right now, why not use it. Years ago I was using it quite a bit when it first was offered and I was still using my Roland VS 880 (remember SCSI ports and Jazz drives?). I don't miss them anymore than Ampex 10 1/2 inch reels of 456. Sorry off track here. Seemed like a good idea.
#10
Sounds probably like you might need commercial mastering so they can squeeze a few more db of loudness and adds some fairy dust, maybe that's why the other guy's mixes were louder.

If you provide direct link to a snippet we can download I might be able to tell you better.
Last edited by diabolical at Dec 19, 2014,
#11
I can put the downloads up in a little bit.

I have another problem though. With the third track (solitaire - acoustic) there is this high pitched ringing sound you can hear all throughout the song on the rhythm guitars. I think its i higher frequency node of the root, but i went sweeping all over through the frequencies with a tight Q and high boost and i just simply couldnt find it and dial it out. It seems like its not just one frequency. Its really agitating to my ears.

And fyi- ive been using Reaper
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#12
Here are the tracks:
Adderall
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jt20bgfxrcma1sh/Adderall.mp3?dl=0
I Promise
https://www.dropbox.com/s/twsvdyv6sc48tw1/I%20Promise.mp3?dl=0
Solitaire
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dtdd8b5yeu0pza0/Solitaire%20%28Acoustic%29.mp3?dl=0

I also remastered Adderall, but I think I made it worse (in terms of volume). Clarity seems a lot better though. Low end is kind of weak: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zkl9hlpkss0z928/Adderall%20%28Remastered%29.mp3?dl=0

I dont really know what Im doing
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#13
i listened to a few seconds of each. definitely not too loud man I think the volume is fine!
#14
Try putting the acoustic through an amp Sim, try few different ones, hopefully it might lower the negative impact that you mention.
There are specialist plugins that can filter that, Adobe Audition has some that I. Know of, if you want to provide just the acoustic tracks I can see if I can clean up.
#15
Quote by diabolical
Try putting the acoustic through an amp Sim, try few different ones, hopefully it might lower the negative impact that you mention.
There are specialist plugins that can filter that, Adobe Audition has some that I. Know of, if you want to provide just the acoustic tracks I can see if I can clean up.


I mic'd up my acoustic guitar tracks. I didnt record them direct. Why would i want to put them through an amp sim? Ill pull my acoustic tracks out and put them up. Hopefully that adobe audition plugin will do the trick.
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