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Sound f/x Mastering Help Needed

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Cue3, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Cue3

    Cue3 CB Data Analyst Premium Member

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    I have a small home studio setup and I seem to be running into the same problem with every song I record. No matter what I do, I can never get the level of the vocal tracks to be high enough. I have tried compressors and re-recording the tracks with a higher input volume, but I always get distortion before I get the volume I need. So here's the questions...do I just need to lower the volume of my other tracks? Am I totally using the compressor wrong? Are there other mastering techniques I should use?

    Any help would be appreciated...
     
  2. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Without knowing anything about your setup or gain structure or the levels you're getting or much of anything, it is a little difficult to say what might be wrong or what you might try. It is also not clear if by getting the vocal tracks high enough you mean that the actual level for that source and channel are low or that the level of the vocals relative to everything else is lower than you would like.

    If "high enough" would seem to be relative to everything else then I think you answered your own question, you either raise the vocals or turn down everything else. If everything is setup and operating properly and you can't do the former, then try the latter.
     
  3. gpforet

    gpforet Active Member

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    If you like, you can email me your track (or a section of it), and I can tell you what I hear. Terms like "high enough" really don't describe to me what's going on with your recording. Sometimes it's not level which makes a vocal rise over the top of instrumentation but often equalization and time-based manipulation such as pre-delay and early reflection setting in your reverb chain.

    Sometimes, overcompressing vocals (while not sqaushing the instrumentation) makes the vocal less pronounced. Compression is a tool which while fairly easy to learn in principle, requires finesse to use without it's negative attributes (and there are many) over riding the benefits of compression.

    Perhaps you can describe how you're using compression but it would be easier to listen.

    Again, if you want me to listen to a portion of your track just send me a minute or two snippet.




     
  4. gpforet

    gpforet Active Member

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    Another note:

    What you are really describing is the mixing process, not mastering. Mastering will NEVER fix something wrong in a mix. If it doesn't sound good before mastering, it will be impossible to master it well, and you'll just end up with mastered crap.

    Also, mastering is not about volume optimization. If you have some time, search and read up on "loudness wars" and you see what I mean. The art and craft of recording is not something learned in a week or two with some software and condenser mic and interface.

    There's a great online resource for home studio enthusiasts called Studio Central. I been using that site for two years and am still finding stuff I didn't know or stuff I was doing wrong. The result is that my recordings are getting better and better. Not because of the gear and software, but because of spending hours listening, experimenting, and learning how to use to the tools.

    Take a listen to something like the Beatles Srgt Peppers. Listen very closely, and then consider that it was done with 4-track recorders, a noise floor of 60dba, and frequency response of 60hz to 16k.

     
  5. coldfire

    coldfire Member

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    I agree... its kinda hard to get to a definite conclusion with the information you have given here. What I would need to know is if you are using a recording software or not. A preamp, or not. Condensers, or not. A mixer, or not.

    There are plenty of fantastic resources out there, as suggested in the previous post. I would suggest further online resources for such inquiries: homerecording.com and gearslutz.com (sounds kinda odd... but its a great site as a recording forum). I hope your recording endeavors take you somewhere!

    CF
     
  6. Stookeybrd

    Stookeybrd Active Member

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    Again this is simply a guess because I have no way of knowing what your set up is, but if you do not record your vocals individually or isolated from the instruments you could have bleeding. This would cause the instrumets and vocals always be together no matter how loud you crank the vocal tracks.(which would also raise the instruments)

    A suggestion -not knowing if you already do this or not- would be to

    A) record the vocals individually

    B) make sure that the rejection pattern of the mic is optimally used to cancel out the instruments.
     

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