WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

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tw1nstates
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WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by tw1nstates » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:50 pm

Hey up,

Just working on some tracks at the moment and decided to get super anal about RMS etc when doing the final mixdowns. Cos, with some tracks to get them as loud as other *good* sounding tracks I am having to compress them more than I should.
It's beena good exercise as it has forced me to think more than I usually would about the mix.

Anyway i was wondering roughly what RMS your unmastered stuff is coming out at, then after mastering.

Couple of points, I make dance music, techno n deep hauz :) So it's gotta have volume, but not be over compressed / distorted. Am going for minilogue / carl craig / basic channel fat n deep style. So anyone going just a db of compression here and there for accoustic stuff isn't too on topic.

Also before anyone goes off on how too much mastering is ruining music etc. i know. Which is why I am focussing on getting the stuff as fat as humanly possible at mixdown before mastering :) hence I am interested to understand roughly what a decent RMS is. . .

And, anyone got any tips of how to get the RMS level up without compression or limiting. . . I am using Voxengo Elephant to check rms levels (in bypass mode).
I have found it useful to go back through and make the kick the primary sound source that I build stuff around, eqing other stuff a db here and a few dbs there and using th filter on URS Channel strip pro on a few other things that have gone through FX and what have you to knock out some low end that was taking up headroom.. . .
I do all this stuff anywyay but i had a couple of tracks that I figured could be a little louded, prdominatly cos the kick and bass were fighting for space. I also often hve a sub, mid and high bass thing going on (the high bass being percussion / fx etc that's sneaking down into the lower registers). ..

Cheers, hopefully this will be of use to others as well . . .


Cheers, hopefully this will be of use to others.
I slipped into a daze, whilst I was there I heard the most startling music, it was at once familiar and alien, reassuring and unsettling.
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SubFunk
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by SubFunk » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:53 pm

Anyway i was wondering roughly what RMS your unmastered stuff is coming out at, then after mastering.
there is not such a thing like a standard, a value around -6db is very common and any mastering engineer will be happy to work with that.
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Angstrom
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Angstrom » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:58 pm

Mine is usually somewhere around -15 because I like more dynamics than is common in 'dance' circles.

Bonehead
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Bonehead » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:08 pm

Dance music CAN be compressed tight. It does not have a super dynamic range. -12dB was common with most commercial rock stuff, now they hit -8db sometimes. 8O I think, anywhere between -12db to -10db should be fine for the final mastered levels. So you can mix at around -16dB I guess. Leave the rest for the mastering engineer.

tw1nstates
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by tw1nstates » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:30 pm

Bonehead, I'm getting around 13/14/15 dbs pre mastering fx so that's encouraging. . .

SubFunk, I think you are talking about peak leve rather than rms?

I guess that the content of the music makes a difference. More stuf in there the lower the RMS levels will be. .


Thanks for the replies so far . . .
I slipped into a daze, whilst I was there I heard the most startling music, it was at once familiar and alien, reassuring and unsettling.
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Tone Deft
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:31 pm

I think you should revisit what RMS means, you're kind of using the term incorrectly.
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Angstrom
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Angstrom » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:37 pm

the Root Mean Squared (average) db values of an entire track will indicate how much dynamic variance there is in that recording. So a track which has it's quietest moment at -6db and it's peak at 0db might have an RMS of -3db. That's pretty squashed.
meanwhile a track that has a quietest moment at -30db and a peak at 0db might have an RMS of -15

of course, I'm oversimplifying and using a nasty peak value, but that's roughly how an RMS value can indicate the dynamic range of your song.
-3db = nearly no dynamics, -15db rms = plenty of dynamics

Tone Deft
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:52 pm

just saying that RMS is a type of measurement and not the measurement itself. by asking about the RMS (value) is like asking about the color blue and not asking about the blue hand.
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mlehmann
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by mlehmann » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:58 pm

I usually mix between -14 and -20. And when I'm mastering, I usually target between -10 to -14, depending on the kind of project. Anything more compressed than -10 will end up sounding shitty anyway because of overcompression. A good free tool is the Dynamic Range meter from Pleasurize Music Foundation: http://www.pleasurizemusic.com/en/download
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SubFunk
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by SubFunk » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:58 pm

tw1nstates wrote:Bonehead, I'm getting around 13/14/15 dbs pre mastering fx so that's encouraging. . .

SubFunk, I think you are talking about peak leve rather than rms?

I guess that the content of the music makes a difference. More stuf in there the lower the RMS levels will be. .


Thanks for the replies so far . . .
oops, yeah peak at max -6db
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SimonPHC
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by SimonPHC » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:00 pm

how do you guys read the RMS value?

Tone Deft
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:02 pm

Angstrom wrote:the Root Mean Squared (average) db values of an entire track will indicate how much dynamic variance there is in that recording. So a track which has it's quietest moment at -6db and it's peak at 0db might have an RMS of -3db. That's pretty squashed.
meanwhile a track that has a quietest moment at -30db and a peak at 0db might have an RMS of -15

of course, I'm oversimplifying and using a nasty peak value, but that's roughly how an RMS value can indicate the dynamic range of your song.
-3db = nearly no dynamics, -15db rms = plenty of dynamics
disagree.

RMS is simply the Root Mean Squared value of a signal. it doesn't imply decibels or any use of the measurement, nor does it imply anything about dynamic range. for a pure sine wave it means about 2/3 the peak value (sqrt(3)/2) IIRC it's morning here. it's a measurement of effective energy of a signal rather than it's pure peak value.
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Tone Deft
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:02 pm

SimonPHC wrote:how do you guys read the RMS value?
they're not reading RMS values, they're assuming Live's metering reads RMS values. I don't know that it does, need to rtfm that one but I doubt the manual has that info.
In my life
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tw1nstates
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by tw1nstates » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:03 pm

Sorry,

I should have said the more stuff in there the higher the further below zero the RMS figure will be.

Tone, am I? How so?

I thought that it was used generally as a way of seeing how subjectively loud a track was after mastering.

These guys were partly where I got that impression from. Check their mastering tutorial. Not gonna turn you into ob Katz over night but I have found it quite useful for getting my head around why some of my tracks sound good when I master them and others havent.

http://www.har-bal.com/index.php?/maste ... torial.php


Cheers. . .

And I am using the RMS value, not as an absolute when mastering but an indicator of where i am trying to get the track to without too much in the way of artifacts. . .
I slipped into a daze, whilst I was there I heard the most startling music, it was at once familiar and alien, reassuring and unsettling.
https://soundcloud.com/fearoftherave

tw1nstates
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Re: WHAT RMS FOR YOUR TRACKS?

Post by tw1nstates » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:04 pm

Tone Deft wrote:
SimonPHC wrote:how do you guys read the RMS value?
they're not reading RMS values, they're assuming Live's metering reads RMS values. I don't know that it does, need to rtfm that one but I doubt the manual has that info.

nah,

I am using Voxengo's Elephant Limiter. It gives you a RMS readout even in bypass mode, which is prety useful and sweet. . .
I slipped into a daze, whilst I was there I heard the most startling music, it was at once familiar and alien, reassuring and unsettling.
https://soundcloud.com/fearoftherave

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