Mastering and Dynamics
I'm gonna go back to this track, the remix that we had and show you, um, a little bit about the compression that was asked about. So compression, I guess. First, like what compression is might be, you know, a good place to start. So you're taking I'm actually gonna build a drum bus here to just put my drums in. So I created an audio bus here, Bus A and everything. That's a drum I'm gonna put on two bus A. So all my drums and percussion are in bus A, and I mute that bus that mutes all the drugs. Now, let's look at putting an effect on that. That's gonna be compression that will compress all the drums together and actually kind of act like glue in the same way that this tape simulator does. I'll turn the tape simulator off so that you don't hear any of that. Actually, I'm gonna go with a different compressor. Um, I think this Where is it? This guy is pretty effective for, like, seeing what we're talking about. So basically what compression is is your turning down the loud parts and turni...
ng up the quiet parts to get everything at Amore uniform Fall Hume, which has the effect of sounding like it, tricks the human ear into thinking it's louder than it is, right? Um, so it also kind of smush is all that stuff together. Onda, like the commenter in the chat room, says it glues everything together. And so people really talk about glue a lot. Is this concept in compression that you're using it to glue all your parts together? The downside to compression is that if you over compress, it sounds like really bad. And also you get rid, you know, when all the when everything's at a more uniform volume, you get rid of some of that poof of this was really quiet and then got really loud. All of a sudden, you know, some of some of that drama and an impact could be eaten away by over compressing something. So I like to be pretty gentle with it. I think that basically what you're doing here, let's let's take a look at this compressor. So you have your threshold, which again, anything. This is the line where the compression happens. You're setting a volume where you want to say anything over this volume is going to get smushed down, and then you have your ratio, which says how much anything over that volume is going to get smushed down. So when people talk about, ah, hard limiter, they're talking about this where, Let's say my ratio, my threshold is 14.5 decibels, and anything that's louder than that is going to get cut to minus 14.5, no matter what, and then a softer limiter or compressor would be well, we'll cut it gradually will cut it by a 2 to 1 ratio. So if it's 18 decibels will cut it down to 16 decibels, and that's a little more natural sounding. And then attack and release are the exact same concepts is on a synth. It's or on a noise gate. It's how fast we come in and how fast we go out of that squashing of the sound. And I like to be pretty gentle with compression on my drum bus. Um, I don't think usually it takes that much for these kind of recordings, and I tend to go mawr with, um compression on the overall track. So if we look at this again, this is assuming that you've gotten to the point where everything you know, you're happy with your mix down. You're happy with the way the song sounds. And then I think before you even go toe into compression, play it next to something else, play it next to a song you really like, um, and say, like here, for instance, all load, that brighter day record, since that's nice and handy and will make the A bus instead of just being drums. Well, put every thing on our A bus and then all insert another bus. That will just be a brighter day. Owen, solo those lips. So So you can basically A and B these records back and forth using these two buses the listener one listen to the other and see how how the thing you made compares to professional records that you respect by artists you like. And maybe the base will be way too quiet. Maybe the trouble will be made way too high. Maybe the trouble will sound low, and it will give the whole thing a dull kind of sound. Um, I would suggest listeningto all of it in mono, making sure there isn't some sort of phasing issue, making sure it sounds good in mono and then listening to it in stereo and making sure it sounds good in stereo and that there is sufficient stereo depth, that you've panned things left and right, and that it has that that space in the stereo field but then still sounds good doesn't sound totally flat or out of phase or weird in mono. Um, you get all of that toe where you like it, and then I would apply compression on the final thing. Um, there's for kind of quick mastering of your remix or your re edit toe. Be able to play out in the club or put up on your soundcloud or whatever. I really like waves. L three multi maximize er and this is, ah, compressor that it's basically a, uh, compressor and maximize er so it wants toe. It'll squash that those sounds down and then boost the volume up to get the thing is as loud as it could be to kind of match the volumes of things that you hear on the radio, Um, because people like, If something sounds louder, people will think it sounds better. And there have been studies done where you have two different songs and you play one a little bit louder and everyone's like, Oh, yeah, that one sounds hotter and it's not it's just louder. So you want to give this, um, you want to do everything you can to make your records sound as loud and as hot as possible without over compressing it or squashing it. So you want to walk that line? So basically the way this works is, first you amuse your tracks, and then you've got this compressor here and you can find out. You can find out what the RMS value of your track is, which is Thea. I mean RMS sounds for stands for root, mean square value and that basically is a nerdy algebraic formula for figuring out how loud the average sound of a song is. So you know, you could poured out your bounce out your whole track and looking a sound editor and see well, my root mean square value is minus 15. Stuff on the radio is usually about minus 10 to minus 12 so I want to boost this whole track by an average of three decibels, or you can just kind of look that where it is here and say, Well, my threshold, it looks to me like I've got to get down five decibels before I'm even doing anything because nothing's going over this minus five threshold, right? You're And then I can add a few decibels on top of that to get it compressed. You know, maybe three decibels of compression or something. I think if you go more than five or six db, you're gonna have something that sounds real, real bad. Um, and and by five or six TB, I mean five or six db of compression past the kind of threshold that you found where your peak volume is. So we'll take this down too minus eight. And see what that sounds like. The reason I'm pulling this middle fader Instead of pulling the threshold fader, this middle pulls down the threshold and the out at the same time. So it if you reduce your threshold, you're adding compression and you're gradually gonna make track louder because you're adding compression and compensating the volume. You pull down both of them at once and you're pulling down your volume to match so that everything stays at the same volume, and you can actually listen for the difference in compression as opposed to just hearing the difference in volume. So pull this down to eight, and you can see that this is split up into five different bands here. Just your real big low, your mid low where the kick is, and then your mid and your high, and you're really, really high waken. See that almost everything that's being compressed. This line here shows what it's subtracted from your sound, and we can see that all of it is coming out of the base pretty much so. Let's say we want it to compress in a clever way where it doesn't take much under the base, we can set the priority for the base and give it a higher priority. And so then the channels with a higher priority will get less compressed than the channels with a lower priority number. So it'll automatically shift over and take a little mawr out of travel and stuff, and you can see it pumping a little more out of these higher ends to preserve the base a little bit. So basically, you fiddle around with these settings, you can see. It also has a gain here. So you can, after the compression, say, I still want to bump up the kick by one decibel. And I know that the kick lives in that mid between 60 you know, And, you know, just north of 60. So everything from 60 to this looks like about 3 20 I'm gonna bump up 100 or one decibel. You know, you can do something like that, or I really wanna hit this high end and have it be really loud. I'm gonna bump that up, and once you get a sound, you're comfortable west. Then again, you can click here a B that with the UN compressed version. And I think the thing that's really good to listen for, um, to make sure you didn't squash it too much is to listen to the kick and the snare. And are they really punchy? Does the kick and the snare have the same room that it had in the original before I compressed it? So let's listen back and forth between those first, first to the UN compressed and then to the one that we applied the compression Teoh just really listening to kick and snare. Now, that snare sounds great to me. It sounds justice, punchy. The kick drum sounds a little less punchy and a little mawr muddy. So I'm gonna turn down the priority on the very low base and turn the priority on that mid up and then also move that mid channel a little toe where it really zones in on the kick to try and let the kit come through un compressed and take the rest of that base and tamp down on that So hopefully we get a punch here, sound out of that will switch to the original. Yeah, I'm satisfied with that. So what I would do is I put this like, minus two for my out ceiling and then render the track that way and you've got, like, a good, quick and ready compressed version that's you ready to play in the club? Put on your soundcloud put on, you know, whatever. Obviously, it's not the same as having a professional mastering guy do it on a professional mastering guy is gonna be a lot better than anything you or I are going to do to our tracks. So make sure that you also save a version without this compression so that you know, when you sign the record or when you go to release it and you send it to mastering they they're gonna want an UN compressed version with no with a lot of head room, you can have a little bit of contra precious, like on your drum tracks to glue things together. But nothing that is like, let's get this really loud so it can compete with radio tracks. Um, but yeah. So I guess that's my kind of final step for remix that I'm doing or re edit that I'm doing at home. It's just to get it brought up to Volume Onda. Uh, yeah. Then you're good to go play it out, send it to your friends, shopping around the labels. Phenomenal. Thanks so much. There's not a problem. Any final thoughts, I think, actually, yeah, a final thought. Um, this stuff about compression when you're sending demos toe labels, send them this version that you compressed by yourself. Don't send them the pre Master, um that the master and guy would want, even though it might have a little better fidelity, it might have a little better, um, punch to it. Sending the self mastered version that's compressed a It's gonna sound louder, and it's they're more likely for it to catch their ear. And b they can't send it to their mastering guy. So that keeps them from just like putting out your record behind your back. You know, which is the thing people have like it has happened. It's It's getting rare now that there's the Internet, but yeah, yeah.