It’s been an odd day. I woke to a feeling of not wanting to get out of bed, which isn’t common for me at all. Likely it stemmed from lack of sleep and a developing issue of an eyelid with irritation. The one thing that brightened my morning was a random tweet by Lisa Loeb. She appreciated my tweet about Ed Cherney passing yesterday (Tuesday). I wrote a tweet to her in appreciation and she responded. That little gesture from her was super sweet.
Mind you, she doesn’t follow me on twitter. It’s highly likely she doesn’t remember me auditioning to play guitar for her on a tour. She also probably doesn’t remember when we bumped into each at NAMM talking to a mutual friend. Either way, she’s a lovely person and it brightened my day.
I felt like a task master getting rolling. Chris Hellstrom and I got our second podcast/broadcast recording in the can today. Compared to the first episode last week, this episode went substantially smoother. I pretty much had the outputs of the audio and video within an hour of finishing the recording. Compared to the 8 hours it took last week. that’s a huge savings in time. Massive creative time cut.
My goal for next weeks episode is to have everything output and ready for releasing within 30 minutes of getting all files. But that might be a little optimistic, as it does take time for Final Cut to export the video. Then for me to upload it to YouTube. And we’re only doing episodes in 1080. Imagine if it were 2k or 4k. It’d probably take a bit longer.
As I was waiting for Final Cut to export the video and Logic to export the audio for the podcast, I worked on yet another lyric video output for the vertical lyric video version for Hero Unexpected.
Once all those outputs were done, I shifted gears back to checking the mix for another single. A song that I co-wrote with Manda Mosher. I made a couple of minor tweaks to my mix and deemed it done. Thanks to some new mixing templates, I was able to output multiple mixes at the same time. Passed it over to mastering and got a master back shortly thereafter.
I sent a copy of the song to Manda and another friend Jesse Stern who played bass on the recording. Both of them enjoyed the mix and the song. I’m looking forward to getting the song into the release schedule for next year. We’ll see when. I’m also looking forward to hearing Manda do an Americana version in her style. I think she’d do a killer rendition of it too.
No, I’m not using something like LANDR for mastering, I think that it’s a joke and I don’t believe in it – and no I wouldn’t recommend using it. But I am working with a mastering setup that can do a fairly quick turnaround with a great sound.
When I look back at the work output for this day, a podcast, a podcast video (both of which are an hour long), a lyric video, and a song single. It feels like a pretty damn productive after a late start for a day where I didn’t want to get out of bed. That seems pretty impressive as I’m looking back on the day. And I’d like to thank Lisa for the kind words and response that helped set the day on a good path.
One thing these days that lots of people have complained about is extremely loud mastering of music and how it tends to kill the song. I’m someone who has heard many a song released where the mastering and/or mix was so brick wall limited that it ends up sounding distorted, lacking dynamics, and it’s disappointing. It destroys the vibe of the recording, all in the name of attempting to stand out above all others when broadcast to the world. The end result of these loud mixes that are overly compressed and limited is one of making the song sound small and shitty. Small and shitty is not necessarily the result any self respecting musician would ever want for their releases. However, many record labels now force this concept of “make it LOUD” to the mixing engineers and the mastering guys.
Once in a while, a mistake can lead to a new discovery about how to approach doing something. Said mistake can end up starting a new way to look at a problem. Such is the case with an approach George Leger III stumbled upon while putting his mastering skills to the test for my song Touch. I have a version of Touch that has been mastered by the great John Rodd. But before I end up releasing the song, I’ll consider going with a second master based on George’s new technique. To put it simply, it’s mind shredding loud mastering, without sounding distorted or compressed.
Watch as I get George to discuss the process of super loud mastering he stumbled upon, to my buddy Jesse Stern, who is also the co-writer on “Till We Meet Again.”
So we can get the low down on all this trickery.
Well really all it is… is this is a 32 bit hard… uh, software mixer right.
But because it’s 32 bit, you can crank the crap out of the levels internally. So I can take this fader and ride it up to say +9. And it won’t clip.
It chops the top off, but it does it in a way that it doesn’t sound dynamically compressed.
Like a soft clipping type thing?
So you can push it up and it sounds loud without sounding [distorted] compressed. Or distorted. Jody was just like: I don’t know what you did man, but the file you gave me, the mastering… It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard and it’s like doesn’t sound bad at all. It sounds great.
Well, yeah. He did a master of Touch.
That he gave back to me and I was like it was just… what did I say? Mind shredding loud?
Yeah. It was super super loud. [it was so loud…] I didn’t even realize I had done this when I did it. Until I went back and looked and I went, oh wait a minute I didn’t go through this whole thing that I thought I was going through.
And I’m looking at the meters of my thing and my meters are still going up and down with all the dynamics. I’m like how the F^#$ is it so God damn loud!
Yeah. And not like: Phhhhfffftttt! Like crushed. Normally you do that and it gets crushed. What I discovered is that you can actually use this internal little mixer to jack the heck out of your levels, but it doesn’t distort.
And it doesn’t sound compressed.
It is really cool. Cause it’s like you can add 6 to 9 db of limiting without it sounding at all like that’s what you did. The nice thing that I like about the master that I did is… The attack of the kick and the snare are still there. Dynamically it’s like BAM BAM it just sounds so good. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, what the hell.
Okay, are we ready?
We’re ready. We’re ready. Anybody ready?
Have thoughts on loud mastering for your music – chime in in the comments below. I’m happy to discuss.