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Thread: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

  1. #1
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    Default how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    ??? I cant seem to figure this out. If you know what to do, let me/us know!! I turn up the volume on recordings etc but try to avoid the clipping. my recordings are through Reaper. what gives? I did some quick research and found these links but they were not silver bullets for me or anything:

    http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?p=269864

    http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283&page=2

  2. #2
    JustAskinologist cream123's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    why not just turn everything else down, make it proportional
    Quote Originally Posted by kilphody View Post
    There is no such thing as useless knowledge.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by cream123 View Post
    why not just turn everything else down, make it proportional
    Im thinking cream123 that your right, this has gotta be the real advice; no quick fixes or secret tricks. thanks!

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    Tone Member Vetteboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    There's a few things you can do.

    Check the EQ settings for each instrument, and make sure you've got it optimized. If the guitar is lacking mids, for instance, a lot of times you end up increasing the volume to compensate. This often makes the low frequencies more prevalent, and those will cause clipping a lot sooner. To fix it try cutting the lows (say, 80 Hz and down gets a sharp cut) and bumping the mids a little (700-800 Hz range maybe). By fitting each instrument into its space in the sonic spectrum you often gain 'perceived' loudness from a recording.

    If you really want to get a "loud" - like, commercial loud - recording, it starts on a track-by-track level. Optimizing compressors & limiters on each microphone to minimize transients etc. On the mastering level you get into multi-band compressors and more exotic stuff, which helps to get a tight low-end without washing out the highs or giving the track that "squishy" sound you get when overcompressing something.

    On the stuff I record, things with the most pronounced transients - the kick drum, snare drum, and bass for my stuff - all pass through a limiter/compressor before getting tracked so that they don't peak off the mic inputs. The final mix goes through a mild limiter patch with a slightly scooped EQ applied to give it the 'loudness' effect, and finally through a BBE Sonic Maximizer to open up the sound a little bit more. At that point, depending on how the waveform looks, I'll play with the limiter settings and try and squeeze some more out of it without completely killing the dynamic range.

    There's a lot to it...I've been using the same recording setup for about 10 years now, and the quality of what I'm able to do with it has increased 10-fold. It's a trial and error process with countless hours of burning CD's and listening to them in all kinds of environments. It's also important to make notes any time you change something so that you can either revert back if it sucks or remember it if it's good...there are a couple tracks that I've gotten a killer bass drum sound on, for example, and for the life of me I can't figure out what I did differently for those.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by Vetteboy View Post
    There's a few things you can do.

    Check the EQ settings for each instrument, and make sure you've got it optimized. If the guitar is lacking mids, for instance, a lot of times you end up increasing the volume to compensate. This often makes the low frequencies more prevalent, and those will cause clipping a lot sooner. To fix it try cutting the lows (say, 80 Hz and down gets a sharp cut) and bumping the mids a little (700-800 Hz range maybe). By fitting each instrument into its space in the sonic spectrum you often gain 'perceived' loudness from a recording.

    If you really want to get a "loud" - like, commercial loud - recording, it starts on a track-by-track level. Optimizing compressors & limiters on each microphone to minimize transients etc. On the mastering level you get into multi-band compressors and more exotic stuff, which helps to get a tight low-end without washing out the highs or giving the track that "squishy" sound you get when overcompressing something.

    On the stuff I record, things with the most pronounced transients - the kick drum, snare drum, and bass for my stuff - all pass through a limiter/compressor before getting tracked so that they don't peak off the mic inputs. The final mix goes through a mild limiter patch with a slightly scooped EQ applied to give it the 'loudness' effect, and finally through a BBE Sonic Maximizer to open up the sound a little bit more. At that point, depending on how the waveform looks, I'll play with the limiter settings and try and squeeze some more out of it without completely killing the dynamic range.

    There's a lot to it...I've been using the same recording setup for about 10 years now, and the quality of what I'm able to do with it has increased 10-fold. It's a trial and error process with countless hours of burning CD's and listening to them in all kinds of environments. It's also important to make notes any time you change something so that you can either revert back if it sucks or remember it if it's good...there are a couple tracks that I've gotten a killer bass drum sound on, for example, and for the life of me I can't figure out what I did differently for those.
    Thanks man, I knew it was a science, but I did not know 'how deep the rabbit hole really goes'.

    That is frickin' awesome how you do your recordings; with the compressor and all; what an art form! Im glad to know of the steps I need to take to get stuff louder and mixed better. Im certainly satisfied holding a candle to the masters at this point. But is sure is nice to know about the compressors and EQ settings and such - its pretty complicated stuff and Ill have to read this post a couple more times; its going in my file for reference. I know there is alot written on compressors and EQing. I usually just cop out and take whatever the factory default is which is pretty obvious when anyone listens to my music I think; but now I know how people get recordings to that next level - thanks to this insight here. I did not know how much of a big part it really played.

    Thanks a ton man - I was wondering that for awhile and am glad to have the answer that I was lookin' for! thanks

  6. #6
    TrippyVinylologist
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    The Bible. There really is a ton to know and then there's the time it takes to apply the techniques and hear what is happening.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...tle#ps-sellers

    The fastest way to get good clean mixes imo is to learn subtractive eq. Every instrument has a fundamental and harmonic frequency range and understanding what to cut out of the signal via eq will open up your tracks and make them more punchy as well - that and good use of compression.
    Last edited by innerdreamrecords.co; 01-23-2009 at 08:37 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Member Al.C's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by innerdreamrecords.co View Post
    The Bible. There really is a ton to know and then there's the time it takes to apply the techniques and hear what is happening.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...tle#ps-sellers

    The fastest way to get good clean mixes imo is to learn subtractive eq. Every instrument has a fundamental and harmonic frequency range and understanding what to cut out of the signal via eq will open up your tracks and make them more punchy as well - that and good use of compression.

    Thanks for the reference! I ordered one.
    Al

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    DyzaBoyzologist That90'sGuy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by innerdreamrecords.co View Post
    The Bible. There really is a ton to know and then there's the time it takes to apply the techniques and hear what is happening.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...tle#ps-sellers

    The fastest way to get good clean mixes imo is to learn subtractive eq. Every instrument has a fundamental and harmonic frequency range and understanding what to cut out of the signal via eq will open up your tracks and make them more punchy as well - that and good use of compression.
    I've read that book several times over and while it did have a lot of interesting stuff in it, my mixes didn't improve by leaps and bounds because of it. Bob Katz is a genius and there is a lot to learn, so maybe I just haven't really absorbed a whole lot of it yet.

    Subtractive EQ really is the answer and the fun is getting that balance in there, but it sure as hell is hard. Compression always helps when it comes down to balancing output on a mix, but too much always destroys a mix. It may just be my plugins, but I really do hate using limiting unless I absolutely need to, seems to really mess with the sound.
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  9. #9
    TrippyVinylologist
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by That90'sGuy View Post
    I've read that book several times over and while it did have a lot of interesting stuff in it, my mixes didn't improve by leaps and bounds because of it. Bob Katz is a genius and there is a lot to learn, so maybe I just haven't really absorbed a whole lot of it yet.

    Subtractive EQ really is the answer and the fun is getting that balance in there, but it sure as hell is hard. Compression always helps when it comes down to balancing output on a mix, but too much always destroys a mix. It may just be my plugins, but I really do hate using limiting unless I absolutely need to, seems to really mess with the sound.

    The best way to learn how to mix I think once you have the technical side under control is to take a track like the one your mixing and try and match it. Critical listening is hard because you have to be able to hear what the reference mixer did. There really isn't one way that's right.

  10. #10
    supernosher
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    The secret is mastering with a good limiter, assuming you have a decent mix.

    In REAPER, you can just throw an instance of Voxengo Elephant on the master track after you get your mix sitting pretty. That allows one to hear a substantial increase in volume throughout the entire song.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by supernosher View Post
    The secret is mastering with a good limiter, assuming you have a decent mix.

    In REAPER, you can just throw an instance of Voxengo Elephant on the master track after you get your mix sitting pretty. That allows one to hear a substantial increase in volume throughout the entire song.
    lol I did not know about this till you told me. instant gratification! There are some limiters in Reaper that are in LOSER. my track is super loud now *happy happy joy joy* Ill have to check that book out sometime; thanks!

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    Tone Member Vetteboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Limiting is a very effective tool for increasing the overall volume of a track.

    But - like anything else, use it in moderation. A song isn't supposed to be one volume level the entire way through. Certain things - cymbals, accents, etc - are supposed to be louder. If you squash a track too much using a limiter, you lose that effect and the track becomes a lot less interesting to the listener.

    I think it's best explained here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    way cool dude, I remember reading about Metallica's new CD in Rolling Stone and how there is serious clipping/distortion on a few songs at an annoying-to-the-listener level. I mess with the EQ a little based on tips from some of my other clips. There is a pretty easy to use EQ that Reaper has that allows you to completely eliminate unwanted frequencies that I am starting to use:



    Subtractive EQ, compressor, and similar theories are spot-on!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Also regarding adding distortion and switching amplifier models after recording the guitar signal...I need to use less distortion and keep experimenting


    I hope that soon Line 6 will allow Reaper users to record a guitar signal, and then choose what amp simulation to use on it as a VST effect. that would be pretty sweet! I loaded the Podfarm plugin and I could choose Podfarm as an effect, but the software would not let me use it. so heads up! Here is what I am talking about if this makes any sense:



    basically, if this "podfarm effect" is turned on, you get no sound. I have a feeling POD did this purposely just to stop users like me from using this effect?? doh!!

  15. #15
    TrippyVinylologist
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Check this out for instrument ranges and where you can cut things out.

    http://www.psbspeakers.com/audio-top...ncies-of-Music

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    Junior Member Abyssous's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by supernosher View Post
    The secret is mastering with a good limiter, assuming you have a decent mix.

    In REAPER, you can just throw an instance of Voxengo Elephant on the master track after you get your mix sitting pretty. That allows one to hear a substantial increase in volume throughout the entire song.
    do you use the limiter on several tracks like kick, snare, overheads, bass and others that have extreme low and high freq. or on every track of the record? or do you just limit the song after it is exported to a wma/wave? cause that first option takes a lot of time. (and i'm lazy)

    and where to find these limiting and compression tools in cubase4?

  17. #17
    TrippyVinylologist
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by Abyssous View Post
    do you use the limiter on several tracks like kick, snare, overheads, bass and others that have extreme low and high freq. or on every track of the record? or do you just limit the song after it is exported to a wma/wave? cause that first option takes a lot of time. (and i'm lazy)

    and where to find these limiting and compression tools in cubase4?
    For drums you can set up a compressor on a bus and route all of your drums to that bus, then you can mix that signal in underneath the un-compressed drums to taste. This allows the transients to come through yet still helps tighten the drums up. I run an SSL bus compressor on my master out 1-2 and do limiting after the mix down when I master the final track. No rules here, some like bus compression some don't. The SSL bus compression though has been widely used.

  18. #18
    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Just ask Metallica

















    (somebody had to say it)

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    Tone Member Vetteboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    Just ask Metallica
    No, see, he said without the clipping.

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    Ultimate Tone Member StillLearnin''s Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you get more VOLUME in your recordings without the clipping

    I use something from DSP/FX called Optimizer. It's a mastering plugin that really gets things to jump out. It will bring out elements that are a little covered up in the mix and at the same time limit the output to whatever level you set it to. It's one of the more useful tools in the arsenal of stuff I have. It's sort of like spectral compression that really brings mixes alive.
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