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Mastering RMS - To crush or not to crush, that is the question

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by BlackMagik, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. BlackMagik

    BlackMagik Member

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    I've been mastering projects to peak at -7db RMS lately, but I know that a ton engineers think this is way too loud. I can get about -4db or -5db of RMS range in the song, with -11db or -12db being present at the quietest parts and -7db being present at the loudest. Most of my songs are averaging -8.5db. I recall Bob Katz saying -10db was acceptable, but not much more. Of course, Metallica's Death Magnetic was peaking at something like -3db with an average of about -5db. Anyway, I would welcome the community's thoughts on peak RMS levels and average RMS levels for a mastered recording.
     
  2. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    "the lower, the better" is maybe a little extreme as well ... but in the end, that´s ultimately the best sounding option. I´d still do a bit of master limiting, so there´s not just one single peak at 0dBFS. An RMS of -13dB average sounds good enough.

    Of course, roaring metal guitars with constant doublekick and lots of long sustained vocal notes gives higher RMS than jazz and funk.

    Also keep in mind that the modern ultra-bright and earsplittingly-loud treble / high-mids makes records sound like ass, causes headache and reduces awareness / concentration levels. The brain basically "needs to figure out what it´s listening to" because of distortion and compression
     
    #2 MrBongo, Feb 20, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  3. schwinginbatman

    schwinginbatman It's shittay!

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    In heavy metal, I think hanging out in -11 to -8 is fine enough, it's loud enough to compete commercially but isn't ridiculously over-the-top.
     
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  4. Korwent

    Korwent Member

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    I stop when I start hearing the compression, which is at -8dB maximum usually, but I don't set a hard rule and just see where it gets me, if the figures seems to indicate I crushed it too much or have A LOT of dynamics I might have a little break and get back to it with fresh ears to refine my judgement, but that's about it
     
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  5. BlackMagik

    BlackMagik Member

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    Very good points \m/
     
  6. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    totally depends on the style of music, make sure it sounds good still and you'll be fine. number's don't really mean much without context (and frequency/musical content can all contribute to things sounding louder than what they may "read")
     
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  7. BlackMagik

    BlackMagik Member

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    Something inside me keeps saying crank it up more, but the range you listed is probably best. Not too low to the point you're reaching for the volume knob immediately and not too much treble/distortion because it was pushed too far. \m/
     
  8. BlackMagik

    BlackMagik Member

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    Fresh ears works wonders usually. Agreed. \m/
     
  9. BlackMagik

    BlackMagik Member

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    Very good points as well. \m/
     
  10. Phil_ocean

    Phil_ocean Member

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    When you have the time check out this awesome Mastering Podcast... This specific episode is about Loudness and there is also one about limiting. There is practical advice and explanations which will help you understand the concept better :)
     

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