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Perceived Loudness

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15thDimension
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Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 04:38 PM Reply

So something I've noticed recently is that a lot of commercial-level music has a noticeably higher overall volume level, something that I seem to not be able to achieve without screwing up the way the original mix was.

Obviously everything still fits under 0db, but it seems like in general that commercial-level has a louder perceived volume level. My question is: does anyone know how a louder, more full-sounding mix is achieved, or whether it's even worth the effort / potential reduction in quality?

Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated.

Buoy
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 04:48 PM Reply

dynamic range compression. look it up, people probably have doctorates in it

15thDimension
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 07:06 PM Reply

So basically what I've gathered is that it involved a lot of gain/limiting/compression curves?

Xyresic
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 08:13 PM Reply

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_wa r

Seems todays music has no place for quietness.


bork bork bork

DJPlus
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 11:43 PM Reply

This all goes back to the loudness war. in my opinion you shouldn't even want to go for that sound. in most commercial music now-a-days, its about about how far they can push there $20,000 limiters to achieve the "best sound". what there really doing is compressing the track so much that everything in the track is at the same level.

If you want your track to sound "louder" without creating a ton of chaos, add a limiter to your loud synths and bass. especially the bass (because the lower frequencies tend to fluctuate in Db range). Then add a limiter/compressor to your master. Make sure you dont over compress though!

josielemmings
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 11:46 PM Reply

Commercial music is caked with gain and compression. I've tried it both ways, and I prefer sacrificing compression for higher quality. Commercial music is produced by professionals, so they can compress all they want without losing quality. Most people don't have the money for the software they use, or the experience to do it as well. iZotope's Ozone is decent mastering software though.

trabajaba7
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 12:12 AM Reply

What the big producers do who make really loud songs, do not lose quality believe you me. Those guys are geniuses (provided most the musicians they work on are not) but they can make a fart recorded on a cell phone from 2002 sound like a symphonic masterpiece. They wouldn't sacrifice quality for something as petty as volume, they found ways (ways beyond an amateurs reach) to keep quality and volume.
By the by if you want to hear AMAZING production quality, the Foo Fighters new album is an audio engineering MASTERPIECE!


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if you are lucky his friends will send for all the king's horses and all the kings men

Acid-Paradox
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 12:47 AM Reply

(Insert Soundgoodizer joke HERE)


Fuck labels , you don't need them.

HyperTrough
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 10:39 AM Reply

To get your tracks up to "that" level of loudness you're going to have to send your track off for mastering.


lol fuk u

xKore
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 12:25 PM Reply

Dynamic range, no frequency masking, natural frequency balance, stereo balance. whole host of things really. Most of it is at the mixing stage.

InvisibleObserver
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 01:08 PM Reply

At 1/11/12 12:25 PM, xKore wrote: Dynamic range, no frequency masking, natural frequency balance, stereo balance. whole host of things really. Most of it is at the mixing stage.

^^^

Taking into account the amount of space you have to work with, and being able to balance/work within it will get a full 'professional' sound. Not some tool that's adding 20DB of gain. The typical amateur mistake is to think 'more more more' is the way to go, when usually its precision that merits the cleanest/fullest results.

If you think of your song as a sound space you have an X and Y axis. X is stereo (center/left/right/stereo), and Y is frequency (high is up, low is down). As long as instruments aren't on either the same X or Y coordinate, you probably won't have muffle/mix issues. The more you fill it out with issues, the louder the over all perceived sound will be.

Then you get things like side chaining and EQ'ing to help reduce the time and space instruments fill up on the X/Y.


BBS Signature
Chris-V2
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Response to Perceived Loudness Jan. 11th, 2012 @ 03:19 PM Reply

Getting a sound LOUD is easy. Loud and good is another thing. First of all we find that low end soaks up most of the power/headroom of any system, so hi passing should always be employed to where it doesn't undermine the quality of the work. This, if nothing else, will remove DC components and unwanted rumble.

Next of all compression and limiting. It's far better to use multiple limiters doing slight reduction (1-3db) than one doing alot, even in software. If you want 9 db of clean Gain Reduction, considering using 3 limiter plugins doing 3db a peice.