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Re: Powered Subs...on to mastering

> Simple solution: get a decent car stereo (although my car's Mark Levinson
> Amps w/ Infinity speakers and Lexicon processing do some tricky things as
> well - that is, the Lexicon processing does it).

It is a decent stereo....not stock, at least.  It has four infinity 
speakers...the problem is that it has no sub. However, I don't want to get 
into the practice of mastering my music relative to hi fi equip 
standards...otherwise, 95% of my friends who don't own that quality of 
stereos will suffer.

> The usual approach (as I understand it) is not necessarily simpler but 
> more
> effective in the long run:
> * get a set of speakers which are good (the typical candidates for active
> monitor speakers (e.g. Genelec, Dynaudio) will most probably work).

Yup. I am investing in some studio monitors. Probably the Event ALP5 or 
Mackie HR625 MKII. I need to stop mastering with my headphones, which 
even studio headphones, but consumer.

> One important thing (although not that relevant for your application, 
> when using microphones, especially omnis) is to include a highpass filter
> *per channel* that cuts everything out which doesn't belong into the 
> music.
> If you record a soprano singer, there's no need to record down to 50 (or
> even 100) Hz. This can even increase the dynamic bandwidth of your system
> (best do it before the converters), as low frequencies contain a lot of
> energy.

Yes...consistent with Per's comments. Do the fixing with the source, not 
final mix. I'm doing that now.

> For me, there's a simple rule which will you give better results
> immediately: use a compressor/limiter not to increase loudness, but to 
> make
> it sound better.

Well, that is entirely unhelpful, Rainer! :)  Which of one million 
subjective definitions of better shall I use?  What is better to me, may 
sound horendous to others. My main goal is to master such that it sounds 
close to the orignal recorded material as possible, with as little 
coloration and reduction of dynamic range as possible, yet also maintain a 
level that will be competetive with other recordings out there (jazz, 
classical, etc).  After that, listeners can use their own EQ settings to 
change to their taste, but I would prefer to master "flat" as best as 
possible. So, I guess my desires boil down to two thing:  1) Flat 
equalization (meaning that I would to preserve as much of the original 
frequency range and dynamics as possible, and 2) moderate perceived 
(without completely damaging natural dynamic range).

> Now, this may be a problem if you're targeting a market where maximum
> loudness is a must - are you targeting that?

Oh no. I would prefer that mixes of my own music be on the level of, let's 
say, a professional jazz CD...but not, let's say, the track slammin', 
compressed to insanity mix of someone like Britnay Spears.

> Didn't find that very article, but two others instead:
> 3.pdf

>> I suppose if I wanted to be a purist, I
>> would only ensure my overall level is at or close to 0db, and
>> not apply any compression whatsoever...because once you do
>> that, you are already altering the original dynamic range of
>> the piece.
> Define "original dynamic range".

>From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range
"the ratio of the loudest possible undistorted sound to the quietest or to 
the noise level". So, if the most quet part of my of my song is -20db, and 
the loudest part is -.5db, then my dynamic range is 19.5db.  However, 
I compress and re-ajust my top level to -0.5db, I ma end up with a dynamic 
range of 10db, depending on how high I increase the "floor" of my range. 
question I have, is what is an acceptable or average acceptable reduction 
dynamic range to most jazz musician sound engineer ears?  20% 30%  What I 
want is a situation where the sound of me barely plucking my guitar string 
is not the same level of me striking all 6 strings as hard as I can. That 
would be a serious track slammin' compression. Yet, I also want to put my 
in a player and not have to turn up the volume radically to sound as loud 
other professioanl jazz recordings. I want some consistency with other 
productions in a similar genre. See the situation now?

>> Any thoughts or best practices would be appreciated here on
>> how to be both a sound source preservationist, yet a playback
>> friendly sound engineer at the same time.
> Ok, here's another thought: take a recording you like. Rip the CD (or 
> the MP3) and load it into your audio processing tool. Look at the 
> frequency
> curves and at the RMS level. Make your mixes and masters to be similar.

Ah, that is interesting. I will do that today!

> Personally, I found that everything that is louder than 'round -12dB RMS
> becomes unacceptable for me (at least for the stuff I do, referring to
> beat-based passages).
> A trick I like, btw, is (as you referred to the Waves stuff) what they
> describe as "midrange compression" on their C1 manual. One album where I
> found this approach to be used is "Unspeakable" by Bill Frisell.

I tried that on a song, if I follow you correcly. I tried to flatten out 
frequency range so that it wasn't bulging in the mid range area...then I 
applied L2 to get it up to level. It sounded very consistent and a good 
volume, but flat as a pancake. It was just an experiment to test the 
features of my system.