Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

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Samaritan Sound
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by Samaritan Sound » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:35 pm

This thread is a good example of why we adjust these things with our ears. Too easy to overthink it, and get unpredictable/undesirable results. Interesting observations and discussion, but ultimately - just use your ears.

Forge.
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by Forge. » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:24 pm

Samaritan Sound wrote:This thread is a good example of why we adjust these things with our ears. Too easy to overthink it, and get unpredictable/undesirable results. Interesting observations and discussion, but ultimately - just use your ears.
good point. Although you can do a better job of that when you understand exactly what is going on.

Actually Sunray's point about changing the waveform shape is a good way of understanding it - if you think of a sine wave, then squash the peaks so it looks more square, then try a square wave in operator you will see a bunch of harmonics

one thing to take into account though is that the harmonics in this example are still pretty low in level. So yeah, it makes more sense to use your ears to see what difference it really makes in the scheme of things.

sunray
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by sunray » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:51 pm

Samaritan Sound wrote:This thread is a good example of why we adjust these things with our ears. Too easy to overthink it, and get unpredictable/undesirable results. Interesting observations and discussion, but ultimately - just use your ears.
qft =)
Don't worry to much about the harmonic disortion you see on the spectrum - get some good monitors and listed to it, if you can't hear it, or it sounds good, just keep it. I'm producting a lot psy trance for example and I use saw wavs as bass waveform because i actually want these harmonics in, they bring this kind of "flys arround" affect on bass if you don't filter it out to early. If you don't want to have it in, easist trick is to just add a LP filter that cuts right after note-frequency - but this isn't always the type of sound you want to hear, especially when working with saw or rectange waves - you usually use a saw because you want that big spectrum ;)
So to make it short, if you are not about to master you sound, usually your ears are > the spectrum meter ;) Let the spectrum beeing a problem of you mastering engineer, he might need to get rid of clicks, noise, clipping ect. but not to filter our any harmonics on your sound =)

Forge.
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by Forge. » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:15 pm

sunray wrote: So to make it short, if you are not about to master you sound, usually your ears are > the spectrum meter ;) Let the spectrum beeing a problem of you mastering engineer, he might need to get rid of clicks, noise, clipping ect. but not to filter our any harmonics on your sound =)
+110000

absolutely - this is another thing I want to stress to people these days....

the internet makes it so easy to find information and learn to do everything yourself

but NOTHING can substitute for years of experience and practice.

A mastering engineer is not that much different to any other musician - he has put enough hours in to learn to do it really well

the thing beginners are best at at the start is ideas, excitement and enthusiasm - and that should totally be devoted to production and composition

mastering and even mixing is something that will get better with a lot of practice - or someone else's experienced ears

It concerns me slightly to see so many posts on mastering, because I think it is a bit of a fools errand for beginners

crumhorn
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by crumhorn » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:39 pm

To be fair, the post title does say "For Audio Geeks!"
"The banjo is the perfect instrument for the antisocial."

(Allow me to plug my guitar scale visualiser thingy - www.fretlearner.com)

crumhorn
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by crumhorn » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:50 pm

Forge. wrote: It concerns me slightly to see so many posts on mastering, because I think it is a bit of a fools errand for beginners

I know this is conventional wisdom, and I'm going against the flow here, but I've never understood this sentiment.

You could remove the word "mastering" and replace it with "Music Theory" or "Arranging" or "Microphone Technique" or any other aspect of music making - it all takes time to master,

Sure if you are a professional musician making music for the mass market or money is no object then hire in the best help you can get with all aspects of the process.

But if you are doing everything else yourself then I don't see what's so special about mastering compared to composition, performance, arrangement and mixing.
"The banjo is the perfect instrument for the antisocial."

(Allow me to plug my guitar scale visualiser thingy - www.fretlearner.com)

Forge.
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by Forge. » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:56 pm

oh no I was more meaning that the emphasis is better spent on composition/production

it's much easier to pay someone to master for you than produce etc....

I guess the point is more about the level of priority when you are going from a to b to c

you're right, I forgot about the "audio geek" bit...

sunray
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Re: Compressor Mystery for Audio geeks!

Post by sunray » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:33 pm

crumhorn wrote:
Forge. wrote: But if you are doing everything else yourself then I don't see what's so special about mastering compared to composition, performance, arrangement and mixing.
It's special in regards to the requirements. Ofc it doesn't matter if you f*ck up the mix or arrangement, the track will be crap, doesn't need have a bad mastering to be crap *g*
The special thing on mastering is that you can't really learn it form a book. On composition it's pretty easy, follow the musical scales and and your notes sound harmonic. On the arrengement, follow the pattern, the type of music you want to produce, usually has.. ect.
On mastering it's about to a) make your track sound good on any sound system and b) make your track sound like other well known tracks of the genre. This means, for a) you need proper hardware (expensive). How do you want to know how your track sound like on 50kW line-array if you only have your tiny iPod headhpone avaiable to listen to it? And for b) you mainly need experience. You need to know how tracks of other artists sound like on your systems and you need to know what's to do, to make your track sound same.

Not saying that mastering is something way to difficult for a "n00b producer" - if your mix is good, mastering can also be "i listend to the track, no clicks, no clipping, fat bass, crystal clear leads, pumped up the volume, the rest is fine already".
What I'm saying is that mastering is something you can easily do wrong, without even noticing it. If you play a wrong note you hear it immediatly, if you play a synth at the wrong time, you also hear it immdetialy. If you push the bass frequencies to much, because your monitors are not that good on low frequencies, the track might sound great for you at home, but on the system on the party at weekend it overdrives the sub amplifiert and the bass sounds crap ;)
Know what I mean?
If you do something wrong on composition, performance, arrangement .. you can hear it pretty easily. If you do something wrong on mastering, you don't necessarily hear it.
That's why so many ppl keep telling that mastering isn't something you should do at home. It's not because it is that complicated to configure a compressor or EQ, but because mastering at home usually means mastering on room that most likely munches some frequency bands and has echos/reflections (unless you have home-studio ;) ), mastering on monitors that most likely don't have a "perfect" flat frequence response (unless you spend a big bunch oh moneh), mastering on one system only ....

This no advertising for mastering services in general.. :P would love to master my tracks by myself and I also think can get all the theory knowlege behind pretty easily, but I won't do it because I would need to do it on my living room, with no insulation, a lot of coners, a fleecy sofa that most likle "eats" some frequencys, a glass table that most likly refects some. My KRK are 1m infornt of me, with an angle of > 120° and can't really move it = also pretty suboptimal .... ect.
==> I don't do the mastering there because I simply cannot say afterwards if I did a good job, or not.

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