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amateur recording engineer

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Bob, don't worry about it, I've never been able to get my masters as loud as commercial recordings without turning them into a square wave, either. All those commercial recordings would sound better if they weren't so loud. The volume knob on a stereo is an attenuator, it's clamping down on the signal from your amplifier. Amplifier designs typically run best closer to wide open. If the recording is so loud that you have to turn your volume knob all the way down, your listening system is likely performing at it's absolute worst spec. If the level wasn't so jacked up by being tracked and mixed too hot, then slammed with a brickwall limiter in mastering, you could turn the volume knob up more and let your system breathe.

A lot of CD's are mastered so loud they're unlistenable to me. A record I loved as a kid is "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads." I was excited when they released it on CD, but when I got my copy, I was horrified by how loud it's mastered. Maybe I can find a Hi Res copy on HD Tracks or somewhere that's not ruined, or just buy the vinyl. I've been looking at this killer m2tech Joplin Mk III A/D converter. It has a built-in phono preamp with adjustable impedance, and digital EQ options with RIAA phono curves. It's the most high end vinyl-ripping converter I've even seen.

Another thing they do to get things louder in mastering is to purposely clip the A/D converter. Some of the higher end mastering converters like Prism Dream AD-2 can be clipped without totally ruining the sound. This is sometimes considered preferable to brickwall limiting. Most A/D converters just hard clip at -0dBfs and you immediately get crackling distortion.

So my first tip would be to record at conservative levels so your mix can breathe, and don't master too hot. If it looks like a square wave, it probably sounds like one too. Here's a good article.

Hey Jason, Here's a recent attempt of mine. Let me know what you think.



--- Quote from: BobM on September 21, 2020, 07:36:28 PM ---Hey Jason, Here's a recent attempt of mine. Let me know what you think.


--- End quote ---
Hey Bob. I love this track!!! At first I was thinking UK, but it reminds me more of mid-70's Genesis, after Peter Gabriel left. I'm impressed.

Your keyboard chops are definitely better than mine. I had two years of classical training when I was a kid. I still have most of the books I studied. I've been planning to start at the very beginning and work my way up again. I can play guitar better than keyboards now, but my guitar chops aren't what they used to be, either.


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