More often than not, when someone complains about this, it's because they mix sausages, not waveforms.
1. Don't Pre-Convert
Do not upload an MP3 that you've pre-converted into what you think Soundcloud wants. Their system doesn't magically determine if your file is in a particular format and then leave it alone if it likes what it sees — everything you upload gets converted for consistency regardless, so upload a good quality file (preferably lossless) to ensure that you're not having it convert from lossy to lossy.
2. Turn it Down
If you're uploading sausages, you're going to get distorted ugliness. Period. You may hate dynamic range, your listeners' ears, and/or music itself, but you can't expect Soundcloud to as well — turn your tunes down to a sane level and let the converter have some breathing room. If that means having a SOOPER LOUD CAUSE IT'S COOL BRO "master" version and a quieter "Soundcloud" version of your mix then so be it.
3. Keep Things in Perspective
If you think that the key difference that's going to make someone love or hate your track is the presence of some encoding fuzz on the mix, then your problem extends beyond Soundcloud. 80% of your audience wouldn't perceive the difference between an MP3 and a WAV if it hit them in the face with instructions. It's not because they're stupid, by the way, it's because their ears are not trained to distinguish (or care about) the difference — not only that, but modern music listening habits have trained most peoples' ears to actually consider degraded, compressed, lossy audio as "good" or at the very least "normal". Don't lose sight of that.
Also, keep in mind that SoundCloud is a distribution and engagement platform, not a mastering service. Their job is to help you share and market your music, not make it sound good — that’s your job. Personally, I find SoundCloud to be tremendously helpful in my mastering process because if I post something and it sounds weak on SoundCloud, then I immediately know that my job isn’t done yet.
Composer | Mathazzar Studios
Last edited by Mathazzar; 2013-03-15 at 18:24.
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