Hot and Loud Mastering

red_leaves.jpgHere’s a good link to examples of so called loud mastering and what happens when such mastering is done. This was written by Chris Johnson at Airwindows, a mastering engineer.

Whether we want or not, this is what we have to live by today, the loudness levels have to be extreme, to the point where dynamics are squashed out.

It takes a while to learn the art of pushing up the dynamics and control it with tools such as various limiters and special compressors. Even if some might disagree, I do think a good starting point is using PSP VintageWarmer to get half-way there, the reason is that this plugin colorizes, but in a nice way, the tube-like saturation, so the effect is not so massive from a digital point of view.

Just now I’m mostly using Izotope’s Ozone for the final mastering to get to similar levels, with PSP VintageWarmer kicked in from time to time in case the middle-range is weak, as this is where I think VintageWarmer is also very good. A lot of my original track material is already heavily compressed based on the original source (drums and so on), the actual sub-tracks are loud by themselves.

DJs do have tools to push up levels, and I wish in future we lived in a world where the final output had more dynamics, and the end users could control the final loudness. However, just now we all have to play the game of sounding equally loud, otherwise any tracks pop up as weak in a set, and that’s not fun.

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