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Dynamics...

Discussion in 'Children Of Bodom' started by nefram, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. nefram

    nefram New Metal Member

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    Hi guys,

    Why the hell are all the bodom tracks since Something Wild made that loud so that their dynamic range is screwed up? Well I know I should ask the producer or something but I hope this will bring up some discussion about it and I want to know what do you guys think about it.

    For me there's absolutely no reason to cut dynamics for loudness, come on we've got control over the volume, and it's so annoying when you play bodom next to some normally mastered track, I'm listening quite loud already so its pretty annoying when my speakers are about to blow up the entire family and neighborhood. I also think that well mastered tracks with good dynamics have a better kick in the face.

    I'd love to kick Spinefarm Record's ass for the dynamic cut, but well..
     
  2. predator2353

    predator2353 Member

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    I swear the newer albums are louder than the old ones and if that wasn't enough, my bass speaker fucked up because of that.
     
  3. Hatebræder

    Hatebræder Member

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    ^That's actually what he's saying..
     
  4. nefram

    nefram New Metal Member

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    True, Something Wild was not that bad, but it was getting worse every album and now... the latest album dynamics are horrible, if there are any at all...
     
  5. Hatebræder

    Hatebræder Member

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    hmm.. what do actually mean with dynamics?:p
     
  6. nefram

    nefram New Metal Member

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    the difference between the loudest and quietest sound during non-silent parts obviously:p and also quality loss due to making the track too loud during the mastering. You can hear it that for example drum cymbals are sounding quite flat and not having their deep sound. The track wave looks rectangular and flat when this shit happens.
     
  7. tempestadiossa

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    Hi nefram, and welcome abroad.

    As some of you already know (especially Children_of_COB, with whom I've exchanged a few PMs on the subject), I'm a dynamic range activist and I've been bitching about the dynamic range of COB's records (among others, but this is COB's board so obviously I'd be discussing their albums) for a while.

    As a matter of fact, dynamic compression is approximately the same on all COB album, including Something Wild. You can check Children of Bodom's entry in the dynamic range database for proof, or rip your albums to mp3 format, run them through the TT Dynamic Range Meter and see for yourself. The average dynamic range on all COB albums is around 5db, whereas a good ballpark figure for metal records is around 10db.

    Dynamic range should NOT be confused with overall sound quality and/or instruments' tone. The latter is an artistic choice you may or may not agree with, but it's got nothing to do with sound quality (unless, of course, the record was compressed so much its timber got twisted). Dynamic range is part of what makes a record sound good, and sometimes compression can be an artistic choice as well. What should not be, is artists that sacrifice their records on the altar of the Loudness War, and make them sound flat and loud under the wrong assuption people will like them more that way. This has been proven wrong by research, and there's a link in my signature about it for those who'd like to delve into the matter.



    I'll give a brief explanation of dynamic range and compression here to give you an idea what we're talking about.

    Feel free to skip it if you're not interested.

    Modern albums are recorded, mixed and mastered in the digital domain - i.e. signals are digital from the beginning to the end of the process, until a DAC (Digital-to-Analog converter) chip in our players makes them analog to let us hear them. In the digital domain there is an inherent limit to how loud things can be, and that limit is 0db. Anything louder than 0db is automatically cut in what is called clipping. On top of making you lose actual content, severe amounts of clipping can also result in audible treble distortion (this is not the case with any COB album, though some do have clipping). Now, peaks are supposed to be as close as possible to 0db. CDs do in fact retain their full 16bit resolution only at maximum volume, and lose 1bit of resolution for every 6db lower than the maximum. Hence, recording an album with peaks at -6db means recording an album with an actual resolution of 15bit.

    That being said, dynamic range is the difference in sound pressure between the loudest (0db) and the quieter sound in a record. To make records louder, since you can't go past 0db, your only option is to make quieter sounds as loud as the others, thus compressing dynamic range. This results in a flat, unnatural sound (reality is dynamic) that becomes progressively harder for your brain to decipher, the longer it is exposed to it (human brains expect dynamic stimuli by their own nature, since they exist in a dynamic context; listening to a compressed record is like listening to somebody yelling at you rather than talking in a normal tone, OR READING A TEXT IN CAPS RATHER THAN SCRIPT - try it for a full page).

    There are records that sound good despite compression, as dynamics are just one aspect of sound quality. BUT, all compressed records that sound good would be a lot better with a proper dynamic range.
     
  8. <Arcane>

    <Arcane> Member

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    So what should be the normal db mark for every instrument you record? The time I did backing tracks with complete guitar tracks, I had every track at around - 12db or sth. When I put them together they were automatically louder at around -1db or some parts were clip or only at around -6db (depending on how many instruments are playing at the same time). My main problem is that I don't know how to insert solos. What I mean is, I have a complete song done (drums, bass, keys, rythm guitars) and the song is around -1,2,3 db. Then I record a solo, put it in the song and now I have a 15 sec. bar which goes completely into the clipping range.
    If I record all parts in -15db I have the song at around -6db and the solo at around -3db - what sounds shit. If I'm using a limiter then most parts sounds either too agressiv or too flat. Correct me if I'm wrong but when a solo comes in, all other instruments still have the same volume or are they a bit quieter during the solo?
     
  9. Zman

    Zman O.X.Y.

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    Great post Arcane !
    I'm interested too if you have the answer, tempestadiossa.
     
  10. nefram

    nefram New Metal Member

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    Awesome explanation tempestadiossa :) And yeah by quality loss I meant overcompressed audio, and also effects in dynamics clipping.

    I think other instruments have the same volume, you can hear the solo well because the rhythms are on low frequencies and leads are on high most of time, and I think leads have it's volume slightly swollen too, but that's for tracks with normal dynamics, where rhythms and the rest isn't even close to be clipped.

    Maybe for some solos they're well audible because of panning, what I mean is that (for example) rhythms are put mostly to the left speaker and solo is mostly on the right.
     
  11. tempestadiossa

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    Hi Arcane,

    your question is topical, though it exceedes the boundaries of my competences and skills - I'm just an audiophile, and I've never recorded anything myself. I believe the average db mark for all intruments you record should be similar, so that they're all perceived homogenously by the listener. If you're making your record dynamic, you should then have enough headroom to make the solo a little bit louder to bring it in the foreground and improve clarity.

    What I can do is point you at some articles that might be of help. They were all written by Ian Shepherd, a professional mastering engineer who runs the webiste Productionadvice.co.uk (linked in my signature):

    How do we perceive loudness?
    How loud is too loud?
    How to avoid overcompressing your mix
    Using compression to add punch, warmth and power to your mix

    You'll find more articles by Ian over at Productionadvice.co.uk, and I believe you are also welcome to email him with questions. What is not clear to me as of yet, is whether his advice comes free of charge or for a price (you may want to browse his FAQ or something to find out).

    Thanks :)

    I usually prefer solos to be straight in the middle of the stereo image, where vocals usually are on good records - but that's a matter of personal taste, I guess.
     
  12. <Arcane>

    <Arcane> Member

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    Thx for the answer! Stupid question... What did you mean when you say "If you're making your record dynamic"? I'm definitely read those links you posted!

    ... when I record every instrument with the same volume, I do have the effect that some parts are too loud. I think I'm going to ask Snowy. He should know much more about this stuff...
     
  13. tempestadiossa

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    You're very welcome!

    I meant, if you are intentionally avoiding (over)compression, thus letting your record be dynamic. If your record had, say, 10db of dynamic range, you'd have enough headroom to make your solos louder than average (provided that was your intention in the first place) :)
     
  14. <Arcane>

    <Arcane> Member

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    Ah ok, but that was not what I have intented. I want to have ALL tracks with the same volume. :)
     
  15. snowy

    snowy The Empire Strikes Back

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    Modern music industries. The human ear prefers the loud music to the quiter (even people even pick a louder 128kps version of the same song over a 192kps version because it songs ''bigger'') so you gotta kill the dynamics when you want to survive in the music world or want to impress modern music listeners. I dont get this crying about the dynamic loss, if you can make it sound better, having your ppms at 0,2/ near 0 dbfs all the time without people realising that there is almost zero dynamic you're on the right way (nowadays).

    You know, its all about mastering.
     
  16. snowy

    snowy The Empire Strikes Back

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    I record my tracks with the meters around the -18dbfs mark. Gives you enough headroom for compression and other stuff. Your problem is the audio sum right? Of course adding all those tracks together makes it clip if they're always at -1,2..db. Keep them low (even if you have already edited something there) so that you sum wont clip in the end.
    The thing is: I never had that problem you described :lol: You can work with automations here, making the r.-guitars quieter when the solo comes in, but I would recommend to cut down the volume/db of all tracks, giving the sum more headroom for further editing and mixing, etc.You can make it loud and punchy afterwards. You don't need to have the sum at -1 db, if you're not done with mixing/mastering. Rather avoid clipping than having some loud mix.
     
  17. <Arcane>

    <Arcane> Member

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    Ok, will try it out next time. But I can't believe that I'm the only one with this problem. It's simple logic: the more instruments play at the same time, the louder it will be. Anyways, I will record my next song with -18db, pan the guitars 100% and gut is.
     
  18. snowy

    snowy The Empire Strikes Back

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    Haste Panning Law an?

    Und klar, ist logisch das die immer lauter werden und sich summieren, daher ja die Summe möglcihst klein halten (indem die Signale wie zum Biespiel gitarre nicht bei der spur schon mit -1 db laufen oder so) und dann bei mix/minimastering richtig laut machen.
    Bist natürlich nicht der einzige aber wie es scheint versuchst du deinen Masterfader, bzw. deine Summe und dessen Pegel schon gleich, bzw hochzufahren. Dein Solo ist zu viel Dynmaik für den Kram :p Aber mal im ernst.. vll. ist dein Solo auch generell zu laut? Sonst nochn compressor auf die Summe, aber wie gesagt.. erstmal alles leiser
     
  19. <Arcane>

    <Arcane> Member

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    Ich nehm alles in der gleichen Lautstärke auf. Ausgenommen Bass - den mach ich in der Regel etwas lauter. Wenn ich also alles bei rund - sagen wir mal 6db hab, dann liegt das Stück mit dem Solo bei mind. 2db drüber. Ich will aber das gesamte Lied schon auf höchst möglicher Lautstärke haben aber ohne das es übersteurt bzw. mir zu viel hohe Töne abgeschnitten werden. Und da liegt das Probelm. Hab ich das Stück mit dem Solo an der Obergrenze bei -0.1 db, liegt der Rest noch drunter. Nehm ich das Solo also leiser auf, dann hört man es kaum im Lied. Ich werd einfach mal etwas rumtüfteln bzw. mir mal die einzelnen Spuren von DWEDFN aus guitar hero angucken und gucken wie die das da mixen.
    Was ist panning law?
     
  20. tempestadiossa

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    Hi snowy,

    this is a psycho-acoustic effect that only works when comparing two different versions of the same song, but it is a proven fact that perceived loudness is not a factor when people have to decide what album to buy (they'll go after the album they like the best regardless of loudness; there's a study about this linked in my signature). Besides, it is also a proven fact that listening to loud tracks is fatiguing for the human brain.

    Because it does sound worse :) A lot worse, as a matter of fact. There really is no comparison between dynamic and compressed music, and for me that's true even when I listen to it on my iPhone - let alone on my hi-fi/home theater set up (compressed records give me a headache after three tracks on average). Reality is dynamic, so if you squash dynamics in your record it will sound unnatural and unrealistic, flat, fatiguing at higher volumes and/or over longer listening sessions, and it will have no tonal consistency (i.e. it will not be true to reality, which is the exact opposite of what hi-fi is all about).

    Modern music industry arbitrarily decided that "louder = better", but that was - in fact - an arbitrary and wrong assumption.
     

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