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Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night Mastering...
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #31
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering ➡️
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just as an aside: One of these days I'd love to actually see a scientific test on the relationship between radio station / TV channel loudness and listener skipping. I know it's the generally accepted reality, but whether 2 dB louder or quieter on FM radio makes a significant difference in numbers, who knows? Has there ever been actual scientific testing on that? And not from the fifties, but from current FM times?

Really, I would love to do some empiric testing on that. Because I don't believe it's as clear cut as people seem to believe. My wife switches stations / channels if they are too loud. For her, it's not that loud is good, it's "exactly as loud as the previous channel" that's desirable. So it seems to me it's more about a common standard than about actual loudness.

Anyway, back to your post, I never worked in radio but I know someone who worked as technical director of a private station and to me too, it seemed like quality concerns are much less an issue than productivity. It was funny though, the equipment was always absolute top notch, but never used to its capabilities.
One of my engineering friends is the head engineer at a major radio station. I haven't asked him his take on this topic but perhaps I will. I think that sometimes people may go with the clearest sound not necessarily the loudest. I think it is similar to people changing channels during the ultra loud commercials on t.v. Loud doesn't equal best contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe...
Old 24th February 2009 | Show parent
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale ➡️
loudness on radio is for the fringe of their broadcast area.
they do not want to drop anyone listening who is on the edge of their signal!
Well, here in Germany there isn't really anyone on the fringe of broadcast areas, yet still every station tries to be the loudest. Things may be different in the US. You guys actually have considerable area with no FM, even with no AM reception...
Old 24th February 2009 | Show parent
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everglass ➡️
To be upfront, I guess I would like to know if this is a mastering issue, or is this something a mastering engineer has to decide?

A) I make it sound great on CD (and radio is going to suffer)
B) I make it sound great on radio (and CD is going to suffer).
C) (I hope C doesn't exist) - I have to COMPENSATE so that they both work (albeit not at their best)

What do you guys think????
If the CD sounds great and isn't hyper compressed, it will sound good on the radio. So A is always the best option. Music is slammed before the transmitter with multi-band compression + enhancement...if it still has some dynamic range it will generally sound better on the radio, and often (surprise) louder because the compressor is not slamming it too much.

All the radio stations I've done technical consulting for store their audio as full 16bit WAV files. I've never come across a commercial station that stores them as mp3s.
Old 2nd March 2009 | Show parent
  #34
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by senlab_studios ➡️
I just bought this cd yesterday and have to say i am confused.. I expected this cd to really impress me after hearing these comments and reading the soundonsound article about all the gear they had at their disposal and the organic way it was made.

I do love the guys voice, and think its refreshing that the mix isnt crushed to hard and it sounds like real drums without any samples but my girlfriend was actually the first one to point out that it sounds like an mp3. Its got this wash, or cloud over it where nothing seems to really have any definition to my ears. The cymbals are to me the weakest part, and the bass kinda comes in and out. It just to me seems like one of my early ITB mixes that i used to be unhappy with..

I have a decent car stereo, nothing over the top but i couldnt believe what i was hearing. I wanted to like it and expected to like it but wow this was one of the most upsetting sounding albums ive heard in awhile.
I put in down on the upside and neon ballroom in right after to see if something was up but they both sounded much better to me.

The guy has a killer voice though its undeniable but i dont know if i can really listen to the whole album through
i suppose this is a good example of "we all hear things differently."

i think the record sounds really great.

down on the upside and neon ballroom are quite great in my opinion as well.

cheers,

jchristopherhughes
Old 18th March 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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Table Of Tone's Avatar
 
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I think that record sounds pretty good too!
The drummer has used a softer kick drum beater on some of the tracks, which gives the bottom end a mellower delivery but Richard Dodd did a nice and definitely analogue sounding cut.

He probably used that old Studer/Fairchild approach on it.
The snare sounds great on most of the tunes.

I reckon its pretty much perfect volumewise!
A slightly mellower cut than the last album but I also think Ted Jensen did a pretty good cut on that one also.
Old 2nd April 2009 | Show parent
  #36
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixman499 ➡️
the cd sounds amazing.

really.

jacquire did a great job....big rock tones..tons of space...just great.

i do not listen to radio...but did hear it once over a retail store speaker...and it was obviously a bad mp3 or worse version.

too bad...one of the best sounding rock records in a long time in my opinion.

best,

jchristopherhughes

Jacquire is probably my favorite mixer for anything even slightly indie rock. Really killer sound and with great attitude. Richard is a great mastering engineer too!

There's a lot of radio mixes going on these days because of how a mix call fall apart once put through the radio station limiters. KOL doesn't sound like the kind of band that would do a radio remix. Maybe this explains it. OR maybe they did a poor radio mix. If Jacquire did it I'm not sure it'd be bad.
Old 3rd April 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering ➡️
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just as an aside: One of these days I'd love to actually see a scientific test on the relationship between radio station / TV channel loudness and listener skipping. I know it's the generally accepted reality, but whether 2 dB louder or quieter on FM radio makes a significant difference in numbers, who knows? Has there ever been actual scientific testing on that? And not from the fifties, but from current FM times?

Really, I would love to do some empiric testing on that. Because I don't believe it's as clear cut as people seem to believe. My wife switches stations / channels if they are too loud. For her, it's not that loud is good, it's "exactly as loud as the previous channel" that's desirable. So it seems to me it's more about a common standard than about actual loudness.

Anyway, back to your post, I never worked in radio but I know someone who worked as technical director of a private station and to me too, it seemed like quality concerns are much less an issue than productivity. It was funny though, the equipment was always absolute top notch, but never used to its capabilities.
I'm most probably going to write my diploma thesis (Musikhochschule Köln) on the topic of the Loudness War in the next months.
it will have to include empirical research/tests on pretty much the subject you mentioned (broadcasting etc.) as well as others and ideas/concepts for the future.

I will dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to research as good as possible.
so if you have ideas or points that you consider important on this topic or may be interested in the results please let me know as this would be much appreciated from my side!
the same request to anybody else on here of course as there's so much valuable input on this part of the forum!
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #38
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah as far as I know, and I am only learning too - is that there are several things that affect this problem appart from those mentioned about mp2 conversion. The mastering dude will try to master to highest volumes possible by keeping the audio loss to a minimum ie a trade off. The radio station then gets this CD (and appart from converting it to mp2) then compresses -usually with a levelling amplifier, to hell, also many radio stations have limiters after this comp/lev.amp for what little peaks there are left, the compressor for FM is usually set with fast attack and slow release, this means it sounds less punchy, for rock you need punch or it starts sounding 'middle of the road' or 'easy listening', and is glued down for a long time, unable to breathe. The cheaper stations have the release times faster so you hear it pumping like mad (a very annoying sound). So imagine if the guy after mastering did all that and put that on a CD - Then you would hear what you are hearing on the FM station. The higher in volume the final master is the more compressed it goes out on air too. Maybe some 'masterers master a single different for album than for single, who knows?
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #39
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lettenmusic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't know if this has been linked here before, or how many of you have read it already, but since it has to do with Jacquire King and Kings Of Leon I will post away:

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Jacquire King
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Something that really sucks is that it is not uncommon for label or indy promotion people to e-mail stations a 44.1 MP3 that they'll then convert to a 48k. MP2 and put on the air.

After all, it's digital, perfect sound forever...
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #41
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🎧 10 years
Reading this reminded me of this 'killer' winamp plugin.

You can destroy your favorite music for yourself at home with this wonderful tool and this one even has FM stereo encoding.

Stereo Tool 4.22 - free Winamp plugin

To me it sounds wrong that you would make masters that are specially tailored for mp2. Then again radio stations are all about quantity.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #42
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Silvertone's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
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There is NO WAY that mastering can cover every playback medium... especially once the music is converted to MP3 or worse yet MP2... then "all bets are off" and the mastering aspect has been severely compromised... so you can't really blame the mastering engineer, mixing engineer or recording engineer at that point... only that particular radio station.

Yeah, in this day and age when we should have the "best of" we all have to settle for mediocrity! Ironic isn't it!
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuse ➡️
... Then again radio stations are all about quantity.
Today's radio stations are all about being understaffed and not paying any engineers. There are services that provide high quality 320k x 48kHz. MP2s to broadcasters but I've heard of many cases where a 128k MP3. was converted and put on the air.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciaccona ➡️
I'm most probably going to write my diploma thesis (Musikhochschule Köln) on the topic of the Loudness War in the next months.
it will have to include empirical research/tests on pretty much the subject you mentioned (broadcasting etc.) as well as others and ideas/concepts for the future.

I will dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to research as good as possible.
so if you have ideas or points that you consider important on this topic or may be interested in the results please let me know as this would be much appreciated from my side!
the same request to anybody else on here of course as there's so much valuable input on this part of the forum!
You need to include Robert Orban and Frank Foti's letter about hypercompression, a term that I coined back in the 90s. The paper is called "What Happens To My Recording When It's Played On The Radio."

Brad Blackwood wisely posted a copy of it on his site:

Euphonic Masters presents Frank Foti & Robert Orban
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston ➡️
You need to include Robert Orban and Frank Foti's letter about hypercompression, a term that I coined back in the 90s. The paper is called "What Happens To My Recording When It's Played On The Radio."

Brad Blackwood wisely posted a copy of it on his site:

Euphonic Masters presents Frank Foti & Robert Orban
It would have been better to call it "hyperlimiting" as that is actually the problem with transmission, not compression.

I don't think it's lossy encoding on the KOL that people are hearing. Good record, though.



DC
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #46
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
The problem with lossy coding is that the audio becomes very fragile when additional signal processing is applied. There's actually a great form of copy protection one can do. Convert a CD to 96k Mp3 and then burn a red book CD from it. The result of making MP3s from that second CD is astoundingly bad.

I ought to put the Orban/Foti article on MY web site since I'm the one who got them to write it in the first place!

Now I just need to build my site...
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
I ought to put the Orban/Foti article on MY web site since I'm the one who got them to write it in the first place!

Now I just need to build my site...
Yea, Bob.

The first time I ever read it was at Glenn Meadows' Mastering Forum. Was that its first publication? I remember talking about it with you and Frank Foti at the meeting at WPLN years ago.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #48
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
It was first published on the Orban and Omnia web sites. Then Bob Katz put it in his book.

I'd cornered Orban at an NAB convention and a friend of mine, one who orders a LOT of broadcast processors as a consultant and cares deeply about audio quality, asked Frank Foti to join Bob Orban.

Then I stepped out of the way.
Old 22nd December 2009 | Show parent
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
This record does sound amazing and goes to show the power of the humble 57 on vox.

I heard one of my new records played on one of the BBC digital stations last week and all i could hear was the timestretching down of a pioneer cdj raping the rhodes via an mp3 :(
Old 25th December 2009 | Show parent
  #50
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Radio stations should play FLAC not mp3's or mp2's.
Old 25th December 2009 | Show parent
  #51
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Tubefreak's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Like the CD as well. There was a very nice article on mixing the album in a Sound on Sound last year.

BUT... mastering to me is not just sound, it's also the pace of the songs. And I must say the pauses between the tracks are too shirt imo. I'm still tasting the last song when the next begins. To me the album would have been better with more space.

Kind regards,
Maarten
Old 27th December 2009 | Show parent
  #52
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That KOL record is not the loudest (or brightest) record on the planet but let's face it, it's loud enough!
I don't have a problem with the mastering
It sounds pretty warm and natural and the drums are still punchy.

No one really needs to be making a record louder than that!
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #53
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleatoric ➡️
Radio stations should play FLAC not mp3's or mp2's.
There is no real reason for them to cart to their systems and play anything short of full res wavs. And to ensure their Optimod processor is at least set to 24/44.1k I/O, 24 bit software dsp (can be as low as 14 bit) and no unnecessary SRC.
But commercial radio stations exist primarily to play commercials, not music. Off topic...
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #54
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
There's ONE reason they do what they do. They all invested in playing music off drives in the '90s and aren't about to replace those systems or re-encode everything to higher quality. If they were starting from scratch, sure, but they have owned their current rock solid automation systems for a couple decades.
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #55
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WAVERUNNER's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I recorded a radio signal once. I have never realized a radio signal is so compressed. It was perfectly flat.
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 10 years
If it falls apart on the radio more than other songs then it is a mix issue...especially if it is phase related...I applaud when people mix it like they want and stand by it...but if it seems light weight compared to other songs, it's failed as a radio mix...and after the year or two KOL just had you better believe there will be at least ten more songs of theirs being played on the radio...you can't hide behind art on this one...sounds like it isn;t cutting it on the radio....I usually love blaming the mastering guy, however this one falls squarely on the mixing guy....but we still don;t know what the band insisted on.. do we? I've worked with plenty of artists who laugh at me when I mention potential phase issues and insist that I pan it out anyway.

PS Old classics hold their own next to current music, so the excuse that radio crushes a good mix doesn't fly.
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WAVERUNNER ➡️
I recorded a radio signal once. I have never realized a radio signal is so compressed. It was perfectly flat.
I've had a couple on the radio ....at first I thought I was listening to a different mix...however, it should still hang in there.
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #58
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by glissando ➡️
PS Old classics hold their own next to current music, so the excuse that radio crushes a good mix doesn't fly.
What if those classics became classics because they sounded good on the radio?

ps. this album is also available on vinyl, as there are many others
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #59
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuse ➡️
What if those classics became classics because they sounded good on the radio?
I'd say that that's confusing cause and effect for the most part. An argument to illustrate this is the fact that every radio station sounds different; a mix that holds up well on one may 'fall apart' on another. Also, every station's radio processor is tuned to perform well with a broad variety of existing recordings; radio engineers are the ones trying to work to meet the standard the recording industry puts out. Chasing the shortcomings that result from their failure to do so seems counter productive.

I'm sure there's a bit of feedback in this dynamic, but not so much to even get close to reversing cause and effect. I think this notion keeps circulating because everyone likes the idea of finding a way they can 'beat the system'. But beyond the basic target media considerations, it's neither really possible nor advisable to try to create a heavily compromised master to compensate for one specific set of shortcomings. The same argument applies to special treatment for boom boxes and mp3 players.
Old 28th December 2009 | Show parent
  #60
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F ➡️
All the radio stations I've done technical consulting for store their audio as full 16bit WAV files. I've never come across a commercial station that stores them as mp3s.
AFN (American Forces Network) transmit their program here in Germany using the most horrible codec you could imagine. I assume it's the streaming of content, not storage of files, but the result sounds like ultra low bps adaptive codec. Completely unlistenable, space monkey galore.
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