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Thread: Please Help: What Do I Do Wrong (Photos Inside)?

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    Post Please Help: What Do I Do Wrong (Photos Inside)?

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    Hello. I have been making music (Hip-Hop) since around 2008 for fun, but I have always been irritated at the fact that my "mastered" 0db songs always sound lower than commercial songs you hear on CD's, radio, etc.


    Note: I don't ever have access to the breakdowns of instrumentals to manually adjust each piece. I only have .mp3 fully-made instrumentals.


    My routine is: Open a fresh session. Import the instrumental and set it to around -3.5db, since my vocals are hard limited to -4 in my bus. For whatever reason, though, it always seems like my vocals are still much louder than the instrumental. I can never find a perfect balance. My input db level when I record, I believe, is around a max of -1db? Then limited to a max of -4. My vocals always either sound too high or too low, depending on the song.


    Below are two photos. The first is showing the multi-track view of how all of my songs look when I make them (shows db levels). The second shows my bus settings/effects.
    https://i.imgur.com/RthzO3s.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/zDK8pPU.jpg


    You can also hear the final song below:
    *Warning: very explicit
    You Deserve [Prod. by Danson of Shadowville.com] by BVK (Branden) | Free Listening on SoundCloud


    My process after I combine all the multi-track files together to make the final song file, I usually Normalize it to -0.1db since I figure that ensures nothing hits 0db or above.
    Yes, I still use the extremely old Cool Edit Pro.


    I've tried Audition and some others and I'm just most comfortable with Cool Edit.


    Any help and advice regarding the mixing/mastering is HUGELY appreciated! I would love to know the 'correct' process of it.
    What am I doing wrong?
    Last edited by waterise; 09-19-2017 at 06:17 PM.

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    how to get a louder track

    Nice track enjoyed it! To get louder I would recommend three things. Layering, proper mixing, and limiting. Layering will make the sound's apparent volume louder. If you have a good mix of the track which sounds like you do, you can push the sounds more in the limiting stage. Limiting is similar to normalizing but a bit better in my taste. I would recommend getting a good plugin like ozone, their limiter is excellent.

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    I guess the basic "mistake" here is that you're deliberately mixing your vocals to a full two-track instrumental, instead of just mixing the vocals as part of the multitrack session and treating them like another instrument. This just makes it much harder (although I understand that it feels much simpler). Also if you're recording your vocals so they're constantly hitting -1dBfs, that's way too loud - assuming you're recording at 24bit depth, you can safely have your input levels down to -12 – -18dbdBfs.
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    waterise, although there are a number of reasons why, the main one is the so called signal resolution that is too low (you lose sense of room, presence, size) , by that I do not mean 24bit or 32bit or anything similar, I mean how much clean signal you are able to input into all of your hardware in order to achieve maximum total amount of information from your recorded sound sources. Secondly is how you use that hardware, meaning where do the faders end up when you have balanced the mix. Besides that comes then a set of pro techniques for using that hardware optimally, like for instance how you work with dynamics and how you understand it works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterise View Post
    Hello. I have been making music (Hip-Hop) since around 2008 for fun, but I have always been irritated at the fact that my "mastered" 0db songs always sound lower than commercial songs you hear on CD's, radio, etc.


    Note: I don't ever have access to the breakdowns of instrumentals to manually adjust each piece. I only have .mp3 fully-made instrumentals.


    My routine is: Open a fresh session. Import the instrumental and set it to around -3.5db, since my vocals are hard limited to -4 in my bus. For whatever reason, though, it always seems like my vocals are still much louder than the instrumental. I can never find a perfect balance. My input db level when I record, I believe, is around a max of -1db? Then limited to a max of -4. My vocals always either sound too high or too low, depending on the song.


    Below are two photos. The first is showing the multi-track view of how all of my songs look when I make them (shows db levels). The second shows my bus settings/effects.
    https://i.imgur.com/RthzO3s.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/zDK8pPU.jpg


    You can also hear the final song below:
    *Warning: very explicit
    You Deserve [Prod. by Danson of Shadowville.com] by BVK (Branden) | Free Listening on SoundCloud


    My process after I combine all the multi-track files together to make the final song file, I usually Normalize it to -0.1db since I figure that ensures nothing hits 0db or above.
    Yes, I still use the extremely old Cool Edit Pro.


    I've tried Audition and some others and I'm just most comfortable with Cool Edit.


    Any help and advice regarding the mixing/mastering is HUGELY appreciated! I would love to know the 'correct' process of it.
    What am I doing wrong?
    Hello!!

    Perhaps these thoughts could aid as well:

    1. may I suggest weening off the focus of specific db's in your template and for the track level placements. I promise and mean in all sincerity that each track and collection of tracks per song will have entirely unique collections of frequencies per spectrum and wax/wanes of dynamic movement---because of this the placement of track levels will require unique positions per song as frequency masking will be present via frequencies fighting for audibility, with dynamic fluctuations complicating these battles as perceived volume rises/falls per within and per track. hooty-tootie concepts aside I strongly recommend learning (using your ears alone) the listening qualities of tracks which have been placed in balance (Freq masking at lowest possible state) via fader placement or EQ'ing---also do the inverse, bypass the processed balance or find crappy processed tracks and compare to the clarity of un-obscured musicality. The same can be said/done for dynamic balance, where volume fluctuations are brought to relative center-balance in movement, and the absence of the balance can be clearly tested for perspective's sake.

    2. there is no correct process for bringing a project to a close imo, to me there seems to be thoughtful/informed techniques mixed with a blend of taste and skill derived over time. If I could offer a relative model for developing your own unique mix/master process I would encourage you to first isolate which techniques you are comfortable with at this point and get freakin great at those. then find the next skill(s) you feel capable of utilizing and focus like mad til deliberate technique becomes entwined with aesthetic-preference and or skillful habit as a mixer/master. I would suppose at that point arranging those skills in a order of motion would then simply be relevent to your work habits---what are your efficiency needs, day to day real-life habits like, etc

    3. I would also encourage applying the immediately previous facilitative-development to your choices regarding gear/software, but adding an additional notion to perhaps consider=
    We each have our own unique items to help bring our efforts and projects to where we can take them. we all have precisely what we have at any given moment and there is in fact no promise of long term permanence in this matter..so to this, I say: Rejoice! we have wonderful tools and their utility is meaningful and worthy of value regardless of temporally-specific popularity labels which pale in comparison to the experiences others can yield from our efforts through music !

    4. and hey!, your posted song is kickin. nicely done sir.

    -MadHat

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