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how do you get your songs to have more volume?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Bjazzman, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    do you cut them up before running them through a mastering program or something? It seems like i tried this but its still a bit quieter than the radio. What tips do you have without having to get it professionally mastered to increase the overall volume of all the songs?
  2. Abington


    Dec 25, 2007

    Give that a read and I'm not sure you will want it to be as loud as the radio.
    Apparently this trend of increasing volume in recording is robbing music of it's dynamics.
  3. Yapser


    Aug 14, 2007

    Everything you hear on the radio is ruined by extreme compressing/limiting. The same stuff happens to CD's nowadays. They could have sounded -so- much better with the dynamics still intact. The volume button on your stereo/portable player is there for a reason..

    Don't ruin your music by maximizing the volume, instead maximize the quality.
  4. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Agreed. Over-compression of music is NOT a good thing (see Metallica's new album!). Especially don't compare your recordings to the radio; in order to increase reception distance, radio music is basically stripped entirely of its dynamics, regardless of the source.
  5. Generally the poor way to do it is to slam your song through a brick wall limiter. Compress the heck out of it.

    But if you want people to respect your music, and not just hear another load of trashy radio noise, you should take your music to a professional mastering engineer.
  6. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    red book standards?
    or is that just track times etc?
  7. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Much of this is in the gear... when you hear records, they are commonly processed through hundreds of thousands of bucks of stuff x a passes.
  8. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
    the first time i heard the new metallica stuff on the radio i almost spewed into my mouth. it sounded like they played it through a stereo, put a pillow in front of the speaker, and then made the final recording with another microphone in front of the pillow. what a mastering atrosity (spelling)?):bag:
  9. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    A little compression can help, but go too far, and it just squashes everything. I added a tiny bit of compression to a track that had bass that was too much for my PC speakers, and a tiny bit of compression tightened the whole thing up and allowed for more volume without flubbing on the bass end.
  10. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Mine goes to eleven.
  11. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    The mastering is an art that is best to leave to a professional.
    It is not only about the perceived volume, but also about freq. balance, transients preservation, feeling of space, depth, etc.

    That said, if you need to increase the perceived volume in a pinch, without getting lot of artifacts, one of the best freeware brickwall maximizers/limiters is TLS Maximizer.

    The best mastering processor that currently exists IMO is Flux Alchemist. It also costs about 800 EUR..

    If you want to get more elaborate, lot of info is here and here
  12. dmilt23451


    Sep 5, 2007
    Dallas TX
  13. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    You can preserve some of the dynamics and still get closer to the volume on the radio. I've done my own "psuedo-mastering" for promo materials before. It's unrealistic to suggest that the OP not compress at all - you don't want to kill everything with over-compression, but you do need your basic level into the ball park of commercial releases.

    Acknowledging all of the caveats above, the key is multiple passes at compressing.

    Don't use presets. Use different brands of compressors if possible. One pass might be a limiting pass to handle a particular spike, then on the next pass you might raise the level (since the spike is under control) and do more general purpose compression. Use each compression pass with a particular goal in mind and be somewhat gentle with it.

    In the end, I was using 64 bit (floating point) software with 64 bit plug-ins, so I had the compressors in series and did the final rendering once. It turned out passable for the desired target.

  14. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Please understand that LOUDNESS is not VOLUME. Volume is turning up the output knob. Loudness is the ratio of peak level to average level. Good quality dynamic audio may have a peak to average ratio of 20-30 dB. Compression and peak limiting can reduce this to 6-10 dB. THIS is what we perceive as loudness. Sure it is louder, but it takes away the "life" from the audio and in extreme cases sucks out all the highs.

    Loudness processing can be good for voice communications (all phones are highly compressed) but it ruins music.

    The loudness wars started back in the days of AM radio where loudness= RF power and meant your signal went further. Then this mentality continued during the early rock days when the radio station managers believed that people would stop on your station if it was louder. Very sophisticated multi-band compressors and limiters with 7-10 bands were developed to totally squash the sound.

    For some reason, even now that we are in the age of digital sound, radio stations still believe that crap - that louder is better and continue to batter us with highly compressed audio that sounds terrible. WHY? Because they are all afraid to be the first one to change! What a bunch of weenies!

    I cannot stand to listen to any FM radio - it sound terrible. Even the the "HD FM" - they send the same over-compressed junk to the digital channels! Thank heaven for satellite radio.

    Pardon my rant.
  15. Yapser


    Aug 14, 2007

    Anyway, older and newer songs sound equally loud on the radio now. The fun thing is older songs actually might sound better.
  16. joeyjazz


    Feb 6, 2009
    1. Get it done right by someone who knows what they're doing.

    2. Get it ruined by someone who doesn't.

    3. Learn to do it yourself: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audio-Second-art-science/dp/0240808371 (this author is also an active member in mastering section of the gs forum), but keep in mind that it isn't cheap to do it well (both room treatment and the proper tools) and it'll take a lot of time and practice.
  17. Mix it loud too. If you want a loud final product, think "loud" when you're mixing your instruments. Not that I'm necessarily suggesting this is a good thing for your music. And also keep in mind that music on the radio is being compressed yet again by the broadcaster. You don't need to do it yourself. Better to match your levels to those on professionally produced CDs in your genre.
  18. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest to the OP not to compress. Compression is ESSENTIAL to modern recording. You just don't want to go overboard! Compression actually sounds real good on bass in recordings (my producer pretty much set my bass to "stun" with his distressor, and it came out ok!), but compression on vocals, guitar, cymbals, and in mastering should be done with a much lighter touch!
  19. There are many factors to consider when mastering, one is loudness, of course. But the integrity of the sound should always go first. For me; the optimal master is loud enough without sacrifying too much dynamics(and fills out EQ-holes).
    One program that has helped me alot, is T-Racks 3, which is a standalone mastering suite(altough it is also capable of working as a VST), it is superb for mastering at home, when you don't have a ton of expensive analog outboard-gear, and need to get your tune mastered.


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