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Adjusting the mix(master) for SoundCloud
Old 8th September 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Adjusting the mix(master) for SoundCloud

Hi guys,
I hope this is the right place to ask this:

What steps could I make to minimize distortions on SoundCloud?

I dont know which codec they use but all uploaded files are transcoded to 128kbps mp3... I thought that it be better to bounce to 16bit uncompressed aif/wav and dither so that I have control over that .. at least.
The problem is following:

I uploaded a track and I noticed that hi hats are harsher, thinner but more pronounced in relative volume comparing to original...

I tried to leave 3dBs of headroom but it didnt give me much better results.
Then I decided to allow peaks hitting -0.5dB but also applied 24dB/oct lo cut at 15kHz in hope that it will remove some transcoding artifacts since 128kbps wont play much content in that area anyway.

I normally use both lo cut and hi cut on master buss.. somewhere near the top of the chain but this time I added another one right before the limiter.. so, before the last one... It kinda helped but not really to my total satisfaction.

Is this something I should get used to or you guys have a solution?

I get that I have to loose something when going 128kbps mp3... but this is not so minor thing because it looks like it changed the relative level of hi hats in the mix... is that maybe because of some boost right below the cuttof of whatever filter transcode is applying?

Converting to 128kbps mp3 removes hi frequencies but my hi hats seem louder and thinner, bit harsher... thats why I thought that filter design in that transcode process is boosting something right below the cuttof point....
Old 9th September 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 
monsieur x's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Uhm, you shouldn't have to do any funny business.

SoundCloud, whatever they're using, actually sounds quite good, and their player is great! (Obviously I prefer my PCM audio, but SoundCloud is a great solution for when web play is required.)

Anyway, if you want, PM me a link to it. Sounds like you're doing something wrong, or imagining things.

Cheers,
Old 9th September 2012
  #3
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sorry. Soundcloud streams suck. End of story.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
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monsieur x's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Oh, could you suggest a better comparable in purpose streaming service?

Surely, of course you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
Sorry. Soundcloud streams suck. End of story.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 9th September 2012
  #5
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Let's see:

Box, dropbox, pure volume, band camp, tunecore...

Shall I continue?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
Sorry. Soundcloud streams suck. End of story.
No-one has yet provided audio files that demonstrate any sonic disadvantage at Soundcloud compared to similar services...so I guess it's a matter of opinion and free choice. I hear lot's of good quality music on SC given that it's streaming.
Old 9th September 2012
  #7
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monsieur x's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
Let's see:

Box, dropbox, pure volume, band camp, tunecore...

Shall I continue?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Uhm, all of the services you listed except maybe Bandcamp and Purevolume don't provide the same service at all.

I see Bandcamp the same as Soundcloud, infact maybe even worse, for streaming. . . And Purevolume hasn't been relevant in maybe 10 years. . .

Don't trash Soundcloud. They do an excellent web-player for music, and not only that, they push a community aspect which is excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
No-one has yet provided audio files that demonstrate any sonic disadvantage at Soundcloud compared to similar services...so I guess it's a matter of opinion and free choice. I hear lot's of good quality music on SC given that it's streaming.
Thanks Arthur, totally agree with you.
Old 9th September 2012
  #8
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mikeg09's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I know exactly what the op is referring to. There is in fact some kind of distortion going on in soundcloud but I would have to agree that it is still pretty good compared to others.

I really don’t have an answer man other than mix it the BEST way you can and get it sounding AMAZING so when it goes to soundcloud it will at least sound pretty good. lol
Old 9th September 2012
  #9
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You can stream from both box, and dropbox... I do it all the damn time...
Oh, also...

www.lightningmp3.com

You're welcome.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 9th September 2012
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Nealatosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Why upload an mp3 to soundcloud when they support better formats such as WAV and FLAC?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealatosis ➡️
Why upload an mp3 to soundcloud when they support better formats such as WAV and FLAC?
Yeah - not much point in spending £££'s getting the signal path right and then compromising it at the final stage.
Old 9th September 2012
  #12
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's because it's free.

... also, it automatically transcodes lossless formats to 128 mp3 files for streaming, and it's not pretty...

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Nealatosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
It's because it's free.

... also, it automatically transcodes lossless formats to 128 mp3 files for streaming, and it's not pretty...

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
So you're saying that no matter what form I upload my file as it will be a 128 mp3 in the soundcloud player?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
It's because it's free.

... also, it automatically transcodes lossless formats to 128 mp3 files for streaming, and it's not pretty...
The challenge is to provide audio files which demonstrate this...this is Gearslutz after all.

dhollmusic had a go here: soundcloud non-free = rip-off?

...but the files didn't show that Soundcloud was any better or worse than any other service...also the loading was twice as fast.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealatosis ➡️
So you're saying that no matter what form I upload my file as it will be a 128 mp3 in the soundcloud player?
Yes, but if you upload mp3 it's transcoded twice (first in DAW, secondly at SC). To release higher quality enable WAV download.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealatosis ➡️
So you're saying that no matter what form I upload my file as it will be a 128 mp3 in the soundcloud player?
No. I'm saying they'll *stream* @ 128kbps. You can download them at original format.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
The challenge is to provide audio files which demonstrate this...this is Gearslutz after all.

dhollmusic had a go here: soundcloud non-free = rip-off?

...but the files didn't show that Soundcloud was any better or worse than any other service...also the loading was twice as fast.
'Sometimes our transcoding system can create audio artifacts, as we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback. Uploading a lossless or high-quality lossy file will usually reduce these to a minimum, but unfortunately there's not much we can do for the handful of individual tracks that are still affected.

If you choose to make your track downloadable though, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.'

Taken directly from Soundcloud's FAQ Section HERE

Happy?
Old 9th September 2012
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Nealatosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm happy with this
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
'Sometimes our transcoding system can create audio artifacts, as we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback. Uploading a lossless or high-quality lossy file will usually reduce these to a minimum, but unfortunately there's not much we can do for the handful of individual tracks that are still affected.

If you choose to make your track downloadable though, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.'

Taken directly from Soundcloud's FAQ Section HERE

Happy?
Well I haven't heard any audio files that demonstrate SC is any better or worse than any other service; so you've not convinced me otherwise.

This is from Bandcamp:
Quote:
"I hear a warbling sound, or maybe it's more of a low rumble, when I play my tracks back on Bandcamp. Do you hear it too?
Let's talk about streaming. We use MP3-128 for the streaming format, and for quiet passages there can be a noticeable warbly sound (other synonyms: muddiness, low fluttering wavy stuff, distortion in the bottom end, compression artifacts). This is a fact of life with MP3 at low bit rates. Using a compression filter on your source audio will also exaggerate the MP3-128 funkiness in not a good way. Aside from actually encoding into the various formats, we don't do anything to your upload: no EQ, boosting or multi-band companding, and definitely no two-pole Butterworth band-pass/band-reject filtering (so tempting).

We chose MP3-128 for streaming as a compromise. It allows your tracks to stream quickly from even the putziest of networks, yet is significantly higher quality than that-other-place-that-used-to-host-your-music. Agreed that streaming can be a mere shadow of the goodness of your music that's available for download, which you can be sure sounds as great as possible (the lossless formats are exactly as you uploaded them). "
Frequently Asked Questions | Bandcamp

I'll bet if I look at other streaming sites they will all have similar disclaimers.

So how does the link to Soundcloud demonstrate that the audio quality is better or worse than any other service? Only audio files could do that.
Old 9th September 2012
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Nealatosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Going back to the original post, I do find that sometimes my high freq come across a little harsh on Soundcloud. I think that it has more to do with being a mp3 which by the posts on this thread looks to be a common thing across different websites.

Going back to the mix I usually do a couple subtractive eq notches, usually with my hi-hats and snares, just listen to the parts that have the most hiss and bring them down a bit. Then I upload as a WAV 24/96 to soundcloud.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieur x ➡️
Oh, could you suggest a better comparable in purpose streaming service?

Surely, of course you can.
Bandcamp has always sounded better than Soundcloud to me, and I was surprised to learn that apparently it streams at the same bit rate. Not all encoders are equal!

(as an aside: with MP3 distribution being, what, 13 years old now(?), on a fundamental level I find it appalling that artists should need to "get used to" it at all – even more so given 64-128kbps radio streaming radio services drastically compounding the issue).
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
Well I haven't heard any audio files that demonstrate SC is any better or worse than any other service; so you've not convinced me otherwise.

This is from Bandcamp: Frequently Asked Questions | Bandcamp

I'll bet if I look at other streaming sites they will all have similar disclaimers.

So how does the link to Soundcloud demonstrate that the audio quality is better or worse than any other service? Only audio files could do that.
The only evidence I offer you is the info from the source, and my anecdotal evidence. You're missing one vital part in the argument here:

I don't *care* what you use. I really don't. Use Soundcloud. Use Lightningmp3. Knock yourself out! I couldn't care to waste my time holding your hand and *proving* irrefutably what player is better. It's not my problem to solve.

A question was asked, and answers were given. Do your *own* research...

Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➡️
The only evidence I offer you is the info from the source, and my anecdotal evidence. You're missing one vital part in the argument here:

I don't *care* what you use. I really don't. Use Soundcloud. Use Lightningmp3. Knock yourself out! I couldn't care to waste my time holding your hand and *proving* irrefutably what player is better. It's not my problem to solve.

A question was asked, and answers were given. Do your *own* research...

I've already done my own research which is why I feel confident in challenging your claim.

Usually when somebody makes a strong statement (about audio matters) it's cool to ask for audio files to demonstrate.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Boreal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
I've already done my own research which is why I feel confident in challenging your claim.

Usually when somebody makes a strong statement (about audio matters) it's cool to ask for audio files to demonstrate.
Arthur, why do you think a 128 kbit mp3 sounds good?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreal ➡️
Arthur, why do you think a 128 kbit mp3 sounds good?
You're mistaken; I've never suggested that an "128 kbit mp3 sounds good." Why do you ask?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Boreal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
You're mistaken; I've never suggested that an "128 kbit mp3 sounds good." Why do you ask?
Soundcloud encodes and streams at that rate... The OP is trying to improve the quality of his songs streaming on Soundcloud
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
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sat159p1's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
No-one has yet provided audio files that demonstrate any sonic disadvantage at Soundcloud compared to similar services...so I guess it's a matter of opinion and free choice. I hear lot's of good quality music on SC given that it's streaming.
Do a test yourself. Soundcloud not only streams you 128k mp3 but also changes the sound (I hear it something like exciter+compressor, especially noticeable on everything after 5k), REALLY annoying. BandCamp streams at 128k too, but their player doesn;t change the sound like Soundcloud, the quality of codec is way better too.If you want to have HQ stream and you are buliding your website and can instert a code, here you go:

<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
src="http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf" quality="best" flashvars="audioUrl=the_link_to_mp3_file.mp3" width="500" height="27"></embed>


I stream 320k MP3's with no problem. I believe you can stream WAVs too, but haven't checked it yet. This is a google flash-based free player. Enjoy.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreal ➡️
Soundcloud encodes and streams at that rate... The OP is trying to improve the quality of his songs streaming on Soundcloud
If you had read the thread you would realise that I already knew that.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
No-one has yet provided audio files that demonstrate any sonic disadvantage at Soundcloud compared to similar services...so I guess it's a matter of opinion and free choice. I hear lot's of good quality music on SC given that it's streaming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sat159p1 ➡️
Do a test yourself....
I already have and I considered that Soundcloud was best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sat159p1 ➡️
Soundcloud not only streams you 128k mp3 but also changes the sound (I hear it something like exciter+compressor, especially noticeable on everything after 5k), REALLY annoying. BandCamp streams at 128k too, but their player doesn;t change the sound like Soundcloud, the quality of codec is way better too.
Why not post audio files to prove it?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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sat159p1's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone ➡️
Why not post audio files to prove it?
Post audio files for what? Man, take a wave file, upload it on SC, the BC and listen and compare to the original. Maybe you like SC more because of that "extras" they're "adding". The topic was discusses here on GS many times, search.
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