What is wrong with me

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Stingray, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Stingray


    May 12, 2000
    Why is it that i can never produce a recording even close to the volume of a cd (using protools) even though my levels are almost to zero and are about to clip yet i still sound 6 to 10 db lower then a cd
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Do you mean a store-bought CD? Most final cuts are heavily compressed, in preparation for airplay. That's probably what you're hearing. Try feeding your material to a good post production guru, and watch over his shoulder while he does his thing. It can be an enlightening experience. The best producers are the ones who have one foot in each world, so they can imagine what a finalized track will sound like in the mix. That takes a lot of talent and experience. That's why those guys get paid the big bucks. :)
  3. Yep, I'd definitely suggest getting your finished tracks to a mastering engineer to get your recordings up to that volume level if that's what you're after.

    Another option in Pro Tools is to get the Ultramizer plugin and use it on your stereo mix / master fader. It won't sound as good as a mastering engineer, but you should be able to get the overall level boosted pretty much as high as you want it to be via the compression and gain makeup it offers.
  4. Stingray


    May 12, 2000
    where would i buy this plugin
  5. What Nicoli said. Using a limiter on your finished mix is no substitute for getting a mastering engineer to sprinkle his fairy dust on your tunage.

    However, if you absolutely must...
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    It's not the same as a mastering engineer, but I use the "normalize" function in a wav editor or multi-tracker program to get the sound to CD level.
  7. There is a LOT more to it than that. The art of mastering is to get a dynamic sound, yet with a very small difference between loud and soft, decibel-wise. This means compression on every individual track, compression on track groups, and (preferably multi-band) compression on the master track.
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree with you on this. On the other hand some of us don't know mastering engineers or can't afford one. I'm just stating an option, even though it isn't the optimal one.
  9. IMNTLBHO the normalize function is pure Satan-- I don't care which package you use to accomplish it, it messes with your signal. Yes, it will quick-and-dirty your peaks up to 0db VU, but in multiplying the other samples (the ones in between your peaks, which are responsible for your tone) you run the risk of introducing slight distortions due to rounding errors, which will be audible to a small degree at the very least.

    Better to get your signal as hot as you can going in so that you don't need to rely on normalization. Strap a compressor or limiter into your signal chain-- EQ it before or after (your call). Your tone + punchier dynamics.
  10. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    Appropriate Compression on each track.

    Multi-band compression followed by limiter on your 2 bus (master fader)

    check into waves package. (waves.com) they have too many bundles to list. they just released the L3 multiband limiter.
  11. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Geez, even the tiniest bit of processing messes with your signal. Even moving a fader will introduce rounding errors. Not to mention EQ - but we can't live without EQ, right? If you that easily can identify rounding errors in a normalized 24-bit signal, I want your ears. And your monitors. Normalizing is quite simple math compared some other algorithms used in DSP operations, so any rounding errors should be tiny.

    Although any processing that can be avoided should be avoided - i.e. if you're after the purest possible resulting mix - if you find that you really HAVE TO normalize (or whatever), just do it. It's not like the average listener can pick up the distortion coming from it. And home recorders usually have FAR worse problems with their audio than DSP issues! ;)

    BTW, it's dBFS with digital audio.
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i've found that te tc electronics finalizer is the magic wand when it comes to mastering, but it has a steep learning curve
  13. Stumpy6653


    Sep 12, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    I agree. Take your final mix, that is about 10db lower than a commercial track, to a mastering house. They have everything to make your stuff normalized for the industry. After all that is about all that they do in a day.

    WATCH what they do and see if you can recreate it.
  14. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    I would strongly advise against any kind of processing on your final mix. If the track or CD is going to be released for sale to the general public, then you must take it to a Mastering Engineer. First off all they have proper acoustical room and high end speakers with very good converters to reveal all the problems, not to mention the golden ears with years of experience, only then they add the high end gear. Most Pro Mastering facilities use either Sadie or Sonic Solutions systems together with analog gear.

    The reason you can't get decent mix volumes, is first off all you're in completely digital domain, so anything above 0dB will clip, but most importantly the converts on Digi 001 suck and can't be pushed. i added RME ADI-8 to my Digi 001 set up, which improved by 50%, but still not enough for my taste. I should have saved up more fro Lucid converters. RME can't handle the high inputs from my Midas Venice mixer. the only Digital software I know off where you can push things completely for a hot signal is Paris Pro.

  15. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I wouldnt mix to Zero either get your mix to around -7 db or so, and then get it mastered. I use the L2 myself, and it sounds great. But you have to have experience . It will bring out the bass a lot, so when you mix, the bass should be a lot lower then you think it should.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, that helps, but the problem is that your gain increases only to the point that your highest peak reaches 0 dB. By compressing prior to normalizing, the dynamic range is decreased, narrowing the difference in volume between the peaks and lower volume material. Then when you normalize, the material that would otherwise be well below the peaks realizes a bigger gain.