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-   -   Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization? (https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/showthread.php?t=56224)

supersweeet 2002-12-20 00:03

Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
This came up in a thread a couple of days ago about how you "hard limited" in SF. Early on in the piece someone suggested that hard limiting is achieved through using the "normalize" function in sound forge. My understanding is that hard limiting is through the dynamics functions. However, for the whole of the thread no one disputed that normalize was the right function. So I'm trying to confirm my sanity. Feel free to correct this.

My understanding is this:
"Normalize" amplifies the whole of the mix so that the loudest peak just hits the level that you're normalising to. Everything is amplified by the same amount (whether its + or -)

Hard Limiting is actually a (an extreme) form of compression. It leaves all signals the same except for those above a specified volume, which it limits (hard limits) at that volume.

So if you've got x db of dynamic range between loudest and softest sounds, you will still have that dynamic range after normalisation (unless you do some sort of extreme normalisation to -144 db or something :).

However, if you hard limit you will have less than x db of dynamic range because the troughs are unchanged but the peaks have been chopped off.

Sweet
supersweet
Sweet Dynamic Range

Dstudnicky 2002-12-20 00:29

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
As far as I know, that's correct. So, when "mastering" your work, normalizing should be the last thing that you do, right?

How I've been experimenting is Compress then normalize. Seems like a moot point though because the project I'm working on won't require it for a while. And even then, I'm not too sure what to listen for when compressing. I did something today that made my file sound like a Daft Punk record (kicks seeming to break through all the other music)...which wasn't really the sound I was going for.

The mastering process just seems like a lot of trial and error. I briefly considered sending my project to a mastering house, but don't want to pay $80 per track or something like that.

idobs2 2002-12-20 03:32

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
You might think your music already has "punch", but mastering helps you get even more. Compression helps make your music louder (normalization can only take you so far).

I got T-Racks (IK Multimedia) about 1/2 a year ago, and I'm thrilled with it. I highly recommend it. T-Racks is a mastering program that you run right before the CD-burn process, and it really adds loudness and warmth to your songs. It has GREAT presets, so even if you don't have time to try different settings, it can at least guide you in the righ direction.

I was a skeptic about mastering until I heard my music before and after the process!

zachwillis 2002-12-20 05:16

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
There is a great website that helps explain the mastering process and what all is involved. The site is run by a mastering engineer named Bob Katz. This guy really knows his stuff. I read these articles several times when I first started mastering. They are a great help. Be sure to check out the articles, "CD Mastering", "Compression", and "Level Practices." They should explain a lot of what you are asking about. Hope this helps.

Zach
Articles about mastering

lexio 2002-12-21 22:46

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
:The mastering process just seems like a lot of trial and error. I briefly considered sending my project to a mastering house, but don't want to pay $80 per track or something like that.

That's pretty cheap! How good are they...do they have website?

Peace,
Lexio

Dstudnicky 2002-12-21 23:15

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
:That's pretty cheap! How good are they...do they have website?
:
:Peace,
:Lexio

Well, here are the websites I found.

http://www.musichouseproductions.com/mastering.htm
http://www.moonlightmastering.com/
http://www.wolfmastering.com/
http://www.zenmastering.com/

I have no idea how good these companies are, but I guess the prices are reasonable.

Dstudnicky 2002-12-21 23:18

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 

:Well, here are the websites I found.
:
:http://www.musichouseproductions.com/mastering.htm
:http://www.moonlightmastering.com/
:http://www.wolfmastering.com/
:http://www.zenmastering.com/
:
:I have no idea how good these companies are, but I guess the prices are reasonable.

Also, if anyone has experience with these places or recommends something else, let us know please. A whole album for $475, is that a good deal?

zachwillis 2002-12-22 12:17

Re: Mastering - hard limiting, compression, normalization?
 
:Also, if anyone has experience with these places or recommends something else, let us know please. A whole album for $475, is that a good deal?

I'm familiar with Wolf Mastering. He's here in Nashville where I am. But, you have to be careful with some mastering houses. Somebody might own a "Finalizer" type piece of gear and consider themselves a mastering engineer. Most of the time, those are the guys who use one preset for the entire album....scary!! If you are serious about having a song or album mastered, I'd be happy to try and work with you. I work at MasterMix studio in Nashville, TN. I've been mastering for about 5 years. I work on different styles that range from rock, electronica, folk, country, & jazz. So, feel free to email me off the list and we'll talk. Our website is under construction. So, check the link below for some pics and brief description.

Zach


MasterMix Studio


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