Old 04-07-2021, 11:23 AM   #41
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The volume war stuff...

Yeah, there are all these shit devices out there that have such limited dynamic range that were literally designed around volume war program.
Everyone of them has more than 24 dB of DR/Crest Factor I'm sure which is all you need to cover most of the pop music in history. Even a cassette can handle 60 dB. When CDs came out and everyone was fawning over 90+ dB of dynamic range, hardly no one other than a classical piece with a live cannon in the composition actually needed it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:41 AM   #42
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The Bose earbuds and Beats headphones are probably more the weak point than the devices themselves.

This is the golden age of audio now to me though.

If you shop just a little bit carefully (BOSE - Better Off with Something Else) and buy/collect for the most uncorrupted fidelity version of a release, everything is beyond awesome now. Not so many years ago, some releases just came out really stepped on after the mastering considerations for difficult analog formats. Well, right, we still have compromised copies of some albums in the form of the volume war release. The people with shitbars will be happy but expect returns if you only release volume war. It's all in your hands what you choose to release now.

Telling people what to do doesn't work so well...
But if you shop carefully and learn how to use this thing called a 'volume control', you can have this experience too.
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:12 PM   #43
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So the people that won't buy a better device to listen to music on ......

..... are going to spend money to buy your Song ?
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:23 PM   #44
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So the people that won't buy a better device to listen to music on ......

..... are going to spend money to buy your Song ?
I wouldn't think so. But they might catch a copy of the loud mp3 and play it for one of their friends that actually buys music. I mean, if they like the music.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:33 AM   #45
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The Bose earbuds and Beats headphones are probably more the weak point than the devices themselves.

This is the golden age of audio now to me though.

If you shop just a little bit carefully (BOSE - Better Off with Something Else)
My favorite Bose slogan was "Got no highs? Got not lows? Must be Bose!"
But I have to say their small club PAs show some evidence of fidelity...
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:45 AM   #46
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My favorite Bose slogan was "Got no highs? Got not lows? Must be Bose!"
But I have to say their small club PAs show some evidence of fidelity...
Back in the 90s, I used to be one of the few who were authorized to re-cone 901s, what a PIA!
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:05 AM   #47
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My favorite Bose slogan was "Got no highs? Got not lows? Must be Bose!"
But I have to say their small club PAs show some evidence of fidelity...
I like that one too. They're not just the worst though! They're crude. Their speaker design concept is to use the cheapest shit components they can find and then brute force eq everything. And they discovered that people were so bad at setting up their stuff and dialing it in that this delivered results. If you want to try just a little bit though, you'll always be better off with something else for much more bang for the buck. I think the 'better off with something else' one just fits so perfectly.


There's a new generation crop of cheapness device headphones out there now though that are real down and dirty grifter fare. Any of you around here would simply return them as an obvious DOA malfunction. Nope. They're serious. Bluetooth connecting, so right off the bat there's this weird full mutilation of the audio that sounds like low bit rate mp3 on steroids. Then that is fully distorted. The kind of blown out distortion that you might hear with impedance mismatch and then trying to force the signal through by distorting it to the moon and back. They sell these things in Wallmart and Worst Purchase. Always some new generic product name you've never seen before and will never see again 6 months later.

There are audio luddites out there that truly don't really listen to music. They just like crude noise blasted at them and some words to talk along with. This probably sounds hyperbolic but there's really this crude underground out there. I think some people just don;t have hearing. Imagine going to an art museum without glasses if you need them to see anything beyond a blur. You'd probably only be interested in the most crude piece with simple bright shapes or something. This is their target audience.

Anyway, there's no way to master for this audience to get something across to them as originally intended. But some of them seem to like the blisteringly loud and treble-y volume war master aesthetic, so alright then.
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:11 AM   #48
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There are audio luddites out there that truly don't really listen to music. They just like crude noise blasted at them and some words to talk along with.
[...]
Anyway, there's no way to master for this audience to get something across to them as originally intended. But some of them seem to like the blisteringly loud and treble-y volume war master aesthetic, so alright then.
I had a schoolmate who (per his own words) could not perceive bass as anything than difference in loudness. As far as I know, he ended up liking music for its lyrical content.

It would make sense for someone like that to be OK with treble-y "loudness war" masters, as that would usually end up emphasizing lyrics.

That's part of what I mean by neurological differences. That fellow had no choice in what kind of "audio processing neural network" his brain got in the genetic lottery, any more than any of us. If listening to supercompressed stuff on low-fidelity devices suits his needs, I cannot judge it one way or another - at least, as long as I'm not forced to listen to it...
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:01 PM   #49
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-16 LUFS
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:40 PM   #50
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Default AI Mastering - Help with True Peak measurements

Hi everyone! First time posting here Apologies if this is a long post. Also, I apologize for any typo, English is my second language... Anyway.

I just finished mixing my band's first song, and we plan to release it to all major streaming platforms via Amuse Pro. I got a pretty good deal with CloudBounce (AI mastering service) and I really like it, it has some nice tonal and stereo width options, an intensity dial for the overall effect and a "Loudness" dial in LUFS (integrated).

Following several threads (this one included) I kept seeing -14 LUFS as the "magical number" for streaming services -again, we have no plans to release our music in any physical format yet- but after some experimentation I've settled for -12 to -10 LUFS for this project (pop/rock). The problem with CloudBounce mastering is that its True Peak (dBFS) hits anywhere from -0.6 to -0.2, regardless of where the Loudness dial is set to.

Reading this post I've seen that some of you are very experienced and knowledgeable on the subject, so *I humbly ask for your guidance*

My mix peaks at -6.0 dBFS during its loudest section and has a considerable dynamic range (around 15.5 LU according to the SWS Loudness Analyzer) so I think Headroom is not an issue. I've been meaning to try this: Master with CloudBounce at a relative high loudness (-10 ish) and then use the cleanest gain trim plugin I've found (PurestGain by Airwindows) to bring the True Peak level to the "required" level for streaming services, all in order to avoid any intersampling distortions and artifacts I've read of during transcoding.

Is this a good idea? Or am I missing something important? How much does the True Peak value truly affects my song during the transcoding process?

I will admit to my ignorance in this subject and many terms I've used here I really don't understand. I would like to find a way of keep using CloudBounce mainly due to budget restrains -though I believe AI mastering is (or will be) a legit alternative to master my music, but that's a topic for another thread

Thank you all in advance!! I'm looking forward to learning from you.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:46 PM   #51
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I put a limiter at -0.2dB on the master and push the mix up until it hits the limiter. I set my lufs at -12 and then put all the songs in a music player, jump around and see which are too loud and which too quiet and adjust their lufs to get them all sounding like an album.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:50 PM   #52
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I put a limiter at -0.2dB on the master and push the mix up until it hits the limiter. I set my lufs at -12 and then put all the songs in a music player, jump around and see which are too loud and which too quiet and adjust their lufs to get them all sounding like an album.
Thanks for the response! Have you found any clipping/distortion artifacts when playing back on Spotify/YouTube/etc?
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:00 AM   #53
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Thanks for the response! Have you found any clipping/distortion artifacts when playing back on Spotify/YouTube/etc?
Nope,you can hear for yourself at the link in my sig. All done in Reaper
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:53 AM   #54
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Have you found any clipping/distortion artifacts when playing back on Spotify/YouTube/etc?
The popular streaming services use file/data compression but NO dynamic compression.

From what I've read most streaming services adjust to -14dB LUFS so if you upload a -12dB file they'll simply turn it down.

If you upload a file quieter than their standard they'll boost it ONLY to the extent they can boost it without clipping.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:14 AM   #55
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If you upload a file quieter than their standard they'll boost it ONLY to the extent they can boost it without clipping.
That article is from 2019 so might be that the info is outdated meanwhile but there it says:
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In particular, some sites (including YouTube and TIDAL) don’t turn quieter songs up.
https://www.meterplugs.com/blog/2019...o-14-lufs.html
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:57 AM   #56
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The popular streaming services use file/data compression but NO dynamic compression.

From what I've read most streaming services adjust to -14dB LUFS so if you upload a -12dB file they'll simply turn it down.

If you upload a file quieter than their standard they'll boost it ONLY to the extent they can boost it without clipping.
Thanks for the reply! If I understand correctly, it is during the file compression process that intersampling distortion may occur if the TP is high enough... From what I've read anyways. Spotify recommends a TP of -1 to -2 dBFS if the master is louder than their -14 LUFS standard, but if they just turn down the music, does it mean the transcoding and data compression happen after the master is turned down, therefore bringing the TP down as well?
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:04 AM   #57
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If I understand correctly, it is during the file compression process that intersampling distortion may occur if the TP is high enough...
It occurs on-the-fly during playback so inter-sample peaks don't actually exist in the file itself - aka it's an artifact of rebuilding the analog waveform. Data compressing the file may make that more likely though?

Also, people don't tend to fall out of their chairs hearing ISPs, most won't even know if a few are there. Furthermore, if they don't have the volume on the digital player at max, the ISPs aren't going to occur anyway IIRC.

Honestly, unless the amount of compression/limiting/DR you want your music to have, vastly disagrees with the LUFs targets most services use, I'd just shoot for that target and call it a day - we often way overthink this portion of mastering - OK... to tbh, we tend to way overthink all aspects of mastering.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:23 AM   #58
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It occurs on-the-fly during playback when converting from digital to analog so inter-sample peaks don't actually exist in the file itself - aka it's an artifact of rebuilding the analog waveform. Data compressing the file may make that more likely though.

Also, people don't tend to fall out of their chairs hearing ISPs, most won't even know if a few are there. Furthermore, if they don't have the volume on the digital player at max, the ISPs aren't going to occur anyway because it's during D/A conversion when they occur.

Honestly, unless the amount of compression/limiting/DR you want your music to have, vastly disagrees with the LUFs targets most services use, I'd just shoot for that target and call it a day - we often way overthink this portion of mastering - OK... to tbh, we tend to way overthink all aspects of mastering.
This is very informative, I had no idea of where the possible artifacts manifested, thank you! I was so worried about the song being destroyed in the process but I guess it was just the result of misunderstanding/not getting enough information... I think I'll just release it then

I can only imagine all the steps you follow when mastering, much respect to you and fellow mastering engineers!
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:34 PM   #59
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Cover Me Up by chance? My band covers that one, I just checked and it's -17, it seems like part of that is just to make room for one vocal peak during the 2nd half of each chorus, but just a guess.

It sounds great but IMHO, it wouldn't hold up well in environments with a higher noise floor in contrast to other genres (playlist). Not dissing it, great song, great production but it goes to show we must include the target audience into the equation.
Cover Me Up and Elephant are fantastic songs no matter how they're mastered. I have nothing else to add to the discussion except to remind you all that Southeastern might be the finest album of any genera cut in the last couple of decades.

If you disagree, you are wrong.

Carry on.
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:48 PM   #60
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I could use a little edumacation.

Are the outside meters on the master track in reaper LUFS? or average?

when mastering I have the waves L3-LL limiter just touching the peaks shaving off 1 or 2 DB, maybe 3 with hard rock.

I suppose I'm aiming for CD, but it often winds up on youtube.

This one comes out -9.9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEJV0oIcJfU
That reasonable? If streaming services etc. turn it up or down to their average anyway... is this lufs business sorta moot?

Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 05-09-2021, 01:51 PM   #61
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I'm not convinced that "true peaks" are EVER a problem. Regular integer files are hard-limited to 0dB but there is no inter-sample data.

DACs are also hard-limited to 0dB on the digital-side but there's no reason reconstructed analog signal can't go over 0dB. Maybe some DACs are hard-limited on the analog side, I don't know, but they don't have to be.

You can also potentially get clipping with re-sampling.

But, I've never heard of a blind listening test demonstrating that inter-sample overs/clipping is audible. "Audiophiles" make all kinds of claims but I don't know if this has been scientifically (blind) tested.

The "regular" streaming services use lossy compression so that's probably the bigger concern. But lossy compression can be very good and "everybody" listens to it, so that's not a real big deal either.

BTW - If you make an MP3 from a 0dB normalized WAV the MP3 will often peak above 0dB. It's an artifact of the lossy compression which changes the wave shape and makes some peaks higher and some lower. The MP3 isn't clipped but it will clip your DAC if you play it a "full digital volume" I don't know if the other lossy formats do the same thing. Again, I've never heard of a case where this slight-clipping is audible. If you hear a compression artifact it's probably not the clipping. (These are short-term peaks so they don't change sound of the dynamics.)

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If streaming services etc. turn it up or down to their average anyway... is this lufs business sorta moot?
Yes, "sort-of"... It makes the loudness war mostly-moot. If you make a super-compressed super-loud mix they'll just turn it down. You can no longer win the loudness war...

But if you make a highly-dynamic quiet-sounding song they might not be able to turn it up (without clipping) so it won't be as loud as everything else.

Basically, it means you shouldn't sacrifice dynamics JUST to make it louder.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:08 PM   #62
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Everyone of them has more than 24 dB of DR/Crest Factor I'm sure which is all you need to cover most of the pop music in history. Even a cassette can handle 60 dB. When CDs came out and everyone was fawning over 90+ dB of dynamic range, hardly no one other than a classical piece with a live cannon in the composition actually needed it.
You can hear (annoying) hiss on a cassette and "snap", "crackle" and "pop" on vinyl records. CDs where a HUGE improvement! You can hear quantization noise with an 8-bit WAV file (somewhere around -48dB but I don't remember exactly).

I grew-up with vinyl and when CDs came out I expected bands to take advantage of the expanded dynamic range. Instead we (eventually) got the loudness wars and boring constant-volume music.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:08 PM   #63
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Yes, "sort-of"... It makes the loudness war mostly-moot. If you make a super-compressed super-loud mix they'll just turn it down. You can no longer win the loudness war...

But if you make a highly-dynamic quiet-sounding song they might not be able to turn it up (without clipping) so it won't be as loud as everything else.

Basically, it means you shouldn't sacrifice dynamics JUST to make it louder.
Awesome thanks. Loud as possible without whacking off too many peaks has always been my goal. I often do the last bit of mixing with the mastering limiter on to make sure the kick or snare transients don't get out of control. I just try to recreate the audience experience and emulate natural ear compression whether it's quiet jazz or hard rock.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:43 PM   #64
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You can hear (annoying) hiss on a cassette and "snap", "crackle" and "pop" on vinyl records. CDs where a HUGE improvement! You can hear quantization noise with an 8-bit WAV file (somewhere around -48dB but I don't remember exactly).
I agree, I grew up pre-digital but to be clear for others, ^that's from a noise perspective, which is absolutely true but... the actual DR of the music itself, usually doesn't need all that room.
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Old 05-09-2021, 07:12 PM   #65
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This one comes out -9.9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEJV0oIcJfU
That reasonable? If streaming services etc. turn it up or down to their average anyway... is this lufs business sorta moot?
You can check for yourself on YouTube rightclicking a video > Stats for nerds > Volume/Normalized.
In case of the linked video it says content loudness 3.7 dB, means it 3.7 dB above YT's norm so it's turned down by 3.7 dB.
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:41 PM   #66
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You can check for yourself on YouTube rightclicking a video > Stats for nerds > Volume/Normalized.
In case of the linked video it says content loudness 3.7 dB, means it 3.7 dB above YT's norm so it's turned down by 3.7 dB.
Is this what you're talking about nofish? It appears this dropped 0.3db. Thank you nofish, I had no idea and you are always a wealth of information.

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Old 05-13-2021, 03:20 AM   #67
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I've been meaning to try this: Master with CloudBounce at a relative high loudness (-10 ish) and then use the cleanest gain trim plugin I've found (PurestGain by Airwindows) to bring the True Peak level to the "required" level for streaming services, all in order to avoid any intersampling distortions and artifacts I've read of during transcoding.

Is this a good idea? Or am I missing something important? How much does the True Peak value truly affects my song during the transcoding process?
As your question remained unaddressed, I'll chime in.

First of all, aiming for recommended levels of ISP is a good thing, at least for digital distribution†. The positives (less possible distortion after transcoding) simply outweigh the minuscule decrease in loudest peaks.

Second, the mastering is the preparation of the media for consumption, which implies the resulting files are immutable. In practice it means most of the time you are receiving the files with decreased headroom (16 or 24 bits per sample) with the corresponding dithering applied. Editing these files further means another round of conversion to 32/64bFP and back. No one will die, but it's improper.

Also, in all honesty we probably shouldn't be helpful, considering you admit using the tool which aims to leave everyone here jobless. Really, it's not that much cheaper and you tweak it yourself, meaning no additional pair of ears for your music and no input on quality of your mixes, which is one of the main advantages of a separate mastering stage.

---
†. For CD distribution there's a potential to achieve greater loudness and aggressiveness by intentionally overloading the listening hardware by ISPs, but the results are not uniform and completely unpredictable. Also, most of the time there's just no budget to maintain additional master versions (especially for the dying media).
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:05 AM   #68
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Second, the mastering is the preparation of the media for consumption, which implies the resulting files are immutable. In practice it means most of the time you are receiving the files with decreased headroom (16 or 24 bits per sample) with the corresponding dithering applied. Editing these files further means another round of conversion to 32/64bFP and back. No one will die, but it's improper.
Thanks for the detailed response! I had no idea about this additional conversion... Better to leave it as is, then

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Also, in all honesty we probably shouldn't be helpful, considering you admit using the tool which aims to leave everyone here jobless. Really, it's not that much cheaper and you tweak it yourself, meaning no additional pair of ears for your music and no input on quality of your mixes, which is one of the main advantages of a separate mastering stage.
I've never had the chance to work with a real mastering engineer, but one of the advantages I've found of using CB (though it should be true for any AI service) is the ability to print several versions of the same song and compare them instantly on different devices. This way I've learned a lot about which aspects of the mix come forward with mastering (and which aspects fade into the background) on different playback systems so I can adjust accordingly... I don't know if a real engineer would want to invest their time in 8+ versions of the same mix -each with rather minuscule changes :P (I'm still learning a lot as a mixing engineer, so I hope this experience helps me to get it right sooner the next time).

I have also been incredibly lucky to send the mixes/masters to my teachers at college, who have worked with some incredible artists. I'll admit that the first revisions were tough to accept, but once pride got out of the way I was able to work on the details and in the end we were all pretty happy with the results Still, I would really like to work with a real mastering engineer in the near future, I'm sure your approach and insight is priceless for us starting producers and engineers... Thanks again for all your info and help!
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:28 AM   #69
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the tool which aims to leave everyone here jobless ...
I don't know if this was one of the ones mentioned. Someone around here did kind of a sting on the online "mastering" services a while ago. They all weren't just poor. They were bad to the point you questioned if it wasn't a troll of some kind. If you think shrill volume war "mastered" CDs sound good, well there you go! (Some people around here apparently do and there were even posts taking it seriously and trying to review the results.) I don't think this is going to be taking anyone's job anytime soon.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:29 AM   #70
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I don't know if this was one of the ones mentioned. Someone around here did kind of a sting on the online "mastering" services a while ago. They all weren't just poor. They were bad to the point you questioned if it wasn't a troll of some kind. If you think shrill volume war "mastered" CDs sound good, well there you go! (Some people around here apparently do and there were even posts taking it seriously and trying to review the results.) I don't think this is going to be taking anyone's job anytime soon.
Really? Maybe I haven't had enough experience/ear training to distinguish a "good" master from a "bad" one... In my experience, what you put in is what comes out of it, and the cool thing is you can always tweak it if you didn't like it
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