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How come i got higher db bet less volume ?
Old 21st September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
How come i got higher db bet less volume ?

Hi there.
Among many things, i am a dubstep producer.
For now I master my tracks by myself.
The loudness war is very popular at this genre and i'm trying to stand at the genre's standards.

The thing is that even though i get higher RMS than some other tracks, they still sound louder.
For example, this is my latest track :



Cubase's audio statics states the the average db for this track is -6.66 (hail Satan).
BUT, when i compare its volume to a reference track from the genre which as for cubase his average volume is -7.29 db, the reference track still sound much louder.

Why is that ?
Old 21st September 2012
  #2
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huejahfink's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
Usually it's frequency balance, but also dynamic perception.

Something that is more focused more to where the ear is more sensitive (upper mid range / tops) tends to sound louder for the same RMS levels.
Also a track where the transients have more perceived punch (this isn't necessarily bigger peaks) will also make a track seem louder than one with less punch.

(ps I didn't actually listen to the track...)
Old 21st September 2012
  #3
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stinkyfingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
+1 your frequency spectrum needs to be "balanced" better.
seems to be a lack of low-mids and too much highs.
work on the EQ in the mix a little more and that will help your loudness...
Old 21st September 2012
  #4
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
A higher RMS doesn't mean its going to be louder necessary. if your mastering an entire cd, your ears are the best tools for you to determine the volume of each song. But you also need to keep in mind the RMS also. But don't rely on the RMS alone.

CJ
Old 21st September 2012
  #5
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkinson ➑️
The thing is that even though i get higher RMS than some other tracks, they still sound louder.

Why is that ?
Because RMS is not a measure of loudness. Listening to it is a measure of loudness.


DC
Old 21st September 2012
  #7
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Ben F's Avatar
 
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I'd this the third thread now with exactly the same question? It's dB. And get. And but.
Old 21st September 2012
  #8
Deleted 04d60e1
Guest
High RMS readings can be from the low end as well. Too much low end or a specific resonance can really eat up your head room and make your rms meters read few values higher than what track probably sounds like.

From listening to your track, im at home right now so just on my tiny speaker setup, I can feel my sub rumbling the whole time, when in more commercial stuff of this style, my little sub hardly does anything. Id check what is going on around 80-90hz, that usually it what makes my cheap sub go 'ummmmmmm'. Could be a bit lower.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F ➑️
I'd this the third thread now with exactly the same question? It's dB. And get. And but.
Hmm. Well, if the question is why RMS has become popular, I have no idea.

If you want to know the definition of RMS, it's the total energy of the signal.

The actual "heating" energy, like how bright a light bulb would be if you fed your mix into in.

All frequencies are treated equally In RMS. However, your ear does not treat all frequencies equally. Not even close.

An example I have used before is this:

Get your fancy RMS-reading meter out and buss an oscillator to it and your monitors (the ones you hear, not the TV one).

Play a 400Hz tone at a comfortable volume. Look at the fancy RMS-reading meter and note its reading. Now switch the oscillator to 40 Hz. Note the change in sound and the non-change in the fancy RMS-reading meter.

Now switch the oscillator to 4,000 Hz. One will change and the other wont.

Then next time (possibly today) you see a new thread entitled "How I get mY RMS to be big like the the Masters?" you will understand the utter futility of using it as a measurement tool for the apparent level of music.


DC
Old 22nd September 2012
  #10
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...Well, if the question is why RMS has become popular, I have no idea....

It's all Dolby's fault. They picked RMS average (A-weighted of course) as the basis of their Dialnorm measurement. You know the old saying that if you throw enough "shaving cream" against the wall, some of it's bound to stick. Well, everyone kept repeating the Dialnorm mantra over-and-over again to the extent that it became the new reality (i.e. it stuck). I don't ever recall anyone questioning or challenging the efficacy of the RMS measurement technique.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #11
Deleted 6ccb844
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkinson ➑️
Hi there.
Among many things, i am a dubstep producer.
For now I master my tracks by myself.
The loudness war is very popular at this genre and i'm trying to stand at the genre's standards.

The thing is that even though i get higher RMS than some other tracks, they still sound louder.
For example, this is my latest track :



Cubase's audio statics states the the average db for this track is -6.66 (hail Satan).
BUT, when i compare its volume to a reference track from the genre which as for cubase his average volume is -7.29 db, the reference track still sound much louder.

Why is that ?
Did you erm, HPF it correctly?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Just a few random opinions and thoughts....it is a very good idea to be aware of the math and science behind decibels, sound pressure levels and sound intensity. Being that they exist on a logarithmic scale has a huge effect on loudness/frequency balance. As mentioned very correctly 40hz, 400hz and 4k can all produce the same RMS but will all definitely produce different percieved volumes. As well you might do well to ignore genre specifically and consider the content YOU are after. If you really like that much sub bass, go for it. It has worked wonders for Reggae artists for years. As well, don't let mono club systems dictate your creativity. It might work for you to retain originality and individuality by using unique solutions; perform with your own speakers/PA. Learn a bit about acoustics and make certain you have the various wattages/speaker set ups you'll need for different venues. One stereo 4x12 can blast most performance venues, and prevent muddiness whilst still producing monumental amounts of sub resonance.

Of course, if you prefer production to performance, you will have to let other peoples hardware dictate your frequency content. I say all this not just to be a know it all, but because I did listen to your track, and I believe you have something worth working on, something you should strive to share. All of this, is just my opinion however...
Old 22nd September 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
First of all, thank you all for replying !
I had the feeling the answer is in the freq balance but i wanted to make sure.

Are there favorable freq's that mastering engineers tend to focus to make a track louder ?

About the sub amount : i'm actually working at home, i don't have any good reference for the sub freqs in my M-AUDIO BX5a monitors so its hard to know where im standing there.
Is there any good spectrum analyzer you can recommend so i can compare my tracks to others in this area of freqs ? Wave's PAZ doesn't do a good job in my opinion.

By the way, the reason i'm trying to get my tracks louder is because i'm about to start dj-ing in the next few months and i would like to put some of i'm tracks in the set but i cant allow them to be noticeably quieter.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6ccb844 ➑️
Did you erm, HPF it correctly?
Sorry, but I didn't understand your question...
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Deleted 6ccb844
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkinson ➑️
Sorry, but I didn't understand your question...
Look at a frequency spectrum meter, if you have lot's of energy going on in the Lows like 40HZ and less you need to make sure you heavily crack down on it. Let's say with a slope of 18 - 24db on a HPF.

The mix also needs correct filtering all the way through, know the ranges of your instruments and remove any frequencies that are not needed.

HPF's / LPF's are real basic and you need to make sure you use them correctly. I do metal so LPF's on guitars are quite common place..
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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Riccardo's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➑️
Look at a frequency spectrum meter, if you have lot's of energy going on in the Lows like 40HZ and less you need to make sure you heavily crack down on it. Let's say with a slope of 18 - 24db on a HPF.

The mix also needs correct filtering all the way through, know the ranges of your instruments and remove any frequencies that are not needed.

HPF's / LPF's are real basic and you need to make sure you use them correctly. I do metal so LPF's on guitars are quite common place..
Careful with that Axe Eugene!
Not directed at you of course

Just a quick note as we do see an increase of indiscriminate use of HPF resulting in very thin sounding mixes...
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➑️
Look at a frequency spectrum meter, if you have lot's of energy going on in the Lows like 40HZ and less you need to make sure you heavily crack down on it. Let's say with a slope of 18 - 24db on a HPF.

The mix also needs correct filtering all the way through, know the ranges of your instruments and remove any frequencies that are not needed.

HPF's / LPF's are real basic and you need to make sure you use them correctly. I do metal so LPF's on guitars are quite common place..
I never did HPF'ed a master track but i will try it.
I aslo do a lot of metal and rock productions and 'im very familiar with HPFs and LPFs.

Any suggestions about which freq area i should emphasize in my mixes so i can make them more balanced an potentially louder ?

thanks in advance.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpad ➑️
It's all Dolby's fault. They picked RMS average (A-weighted of course) as the basis of their Dialnorm measurement
Dialnorm only cares about the level of the dialog - which correlates to RMS values much better than broadband music does. It has no place in music production.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo ➑️
Just a quick note as we do see an increase of indiscriminate use of HPF resulting in very thin sounding mixes...
Or mixes that are +6dB below 50Hz. It's hard to get the extremes in balance when tracking and mixing on small speakers.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpad ➑️
...Well, if the question is why RMS has become popular, I have no idea....

It's all Dolby's fault. They picked RMS average (A-weighted of course) as the basis of their Dialnorm measurement. You know the old saying that if you throw enough "shaving cream" against the wall, some of it's bound to stick. Well, everyone kept repeating the Dialnorm mantra over-and-over again to the extent that it became the new reality (i.e. it stuck). I don't ever recall anyone questioning or challenging the efficacy of the RMS measurement technique.
And Bob Katz uses RMS exclusively in deciding which of his "K-System" scales a piece of music is. Not saying it's right or wrong, just that a lot of people have adapted/used this for referencing, so it's another reason why RMS figures have become more important.

I agree with Dave though, they shouldn't be, and his line, "RMS is not a measure of loudness", is truly sig worthy! More and more of my clients (mainly electronic music) are coming to me with specific RMS goals in mind, and I am getting tired of explaining why RMS is not a measure of loudness. How does this kind of misinformation spread so virulently?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #21
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkinson ➑️
Why is that ?
Many years of experience.

JT
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaluma ➑️
And Bob Katz uses RMS exclusively in deciding which of his "K-System" scales a piece of music is. Not saying it's right or wrong, just that a lot of people have adapted/used this for referencing, so it's another reason why RMS figures have become more important.
And it's the textbook in Audio Mastering Classes. So maybe that's the reason.

Quote:
I agree with Dave though, they shouldn't be, and his line, "RMS is not a measure of loudness", is truly sig worthy!
Be my guest!

Quote:
How does this kind of misinformation spread so virulently?
I think because people want a simple numerical answer. It's still wrong, but simple................


DC
Old 23rd September 2012
  #23
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🎧 10 years
...Dialnorm only cares about the level of the dialog - which correlates to RMS values much better than broadband music does. It has no place in music production....

DC was pondering why RMS has become popular and that is why. Actually, Dave Blackmer of DBX noise reduction fame was the one who originally promoted the idea of our hearing as being RMS (back in the 70's), which is of course nonsense.

As to Dialnorm only "caring" about the level of dialog, that is false. Dialnorm is a PROCESS for establishing metadata gain normalizing values in Dolby Digital, which typically does use dialog as the focus of measurement. If you are AC3 encoding music only material, there is obviously no dialog to measure and the music program material becomes the focus or anchor element for the Dialnorm measurement. If you listen to transitions between music and dialog program sements normalized via Dialnorm, it can sometimes be pretty obvious how poorly they subjectively match in apparent level, due to the failing of the broadband RMS measurement technique.

Bob Orban has a whitepaper on his website that corresponds with his FREE CBS-LKFS loudness meter, that goes into some detail on the failings of broadband RMS measurement.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #24
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 
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Loving the thumbs up/down ratings function in the vain hope of helping a real-world RMS for such threads (without filtering). Is that compression..?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo
Just a quick note as we do see an increase of indiscriminate use of HPF resulting in very thin sounding mixes...
True – particularly on lead vocals from teachings ignorantly claiming that there's nothing useful there below 200Hz.

If really in doubt, nothing beats at least hearing your mix in a trustworthy, full-range environment first. Regardless of the meter numbers, if one thing sounds louder than another, all else being equal, it's actually because it is louder. Try reducing it to match yours and ask yourself which sounds better?
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpad ➑️
As to Dialnorm only "caring" about the level of dialog, that is false.
What does Dialnorm stand for?
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
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Ben F's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins ➑️
Hmm. Well, if the question is why RMS has become popular, I have no idea.

If you want to know the definition of RMS, it's the total energy of the signal.

The actual "heating" energy, like how bright a light bulb would be if you fed your mix into in.

All frequencies are treated equally In RMS. However, your ear does not treat all frequencies equally. Not even close.

An example I have used before is this:

Get your fancy RMS-reading meter out and buss an oscillator to it and your monitors (the ones you hear, not the TV one).

Play a 400Hz tone at a comfortable volume. Look at the fancy RMS-reading meter and note its reading. Now switch the oscillator to 40 Hz. Note the change in sound and the non-change in the fancy RMS-reading meter.

Now switch the oscillator to 4,000 Hz. One will change and the other wont.

Then next time (possibly today) you see a new thread entitled "How I get mY RMS to be big like the the Masters?" you will understand the utter futility of using it as a measurement tool for the apparent level of music.


DC
the BS.1770-2 algorithm is not generally suitable to estimate the subjective loudness of pure tones. It's not calibrated this way in a broadcast environment where loudness is precisely controlled. I've attached a screen shot of the Tektronix display. Obviously overkill for music, but interesting, as it's quite sophisticated.
Attached Thumbnails
How come i got higher db bet less volume ?-tektronix-wfm8300.jpg  
Old 23rd September 2012
  #27
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🎧 10 years
What does Dialnorm stand for?

You're trying to argue semantics instead of reality.

The word Dialnorm is a contraction of the two words, Dialog and Normalization, since when Dolby originally envisioned the system, the intent of Dialnorm was indeed to adjust dialog levels. An unfortunate choice of terminology, since Dolby Digital (AC3) is a universal encoding platform for all types of audio program material, not just dialog.

What Dialnorm REALLY is, as I stated above, is a PROCESS of normalizing gain through the Dolby Digital codec, IRRELEVANT OF THE PROGRAM CONTENT. It's not just measuring dialog levels as you and many others in the industry incorrectly deduce.

ALL AC3 encoded material, whether it be speech, music, noise, sound effects, tones, has an associated Dialnorm metadata value that is supposed to be accurately determined and entered at encoding time, to properly set replay levels at decode. They do have a switch on the LM100 that allows you engage a speech detection algorithm when you want to measure just dialog level. If you had bothered to read any of Dolby's related documentation, you'll see instructions on what to do with non-dialog material when measuring levels for the Dialnorm entry.
Old 24th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Deleted 6ccb844
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo ➑️
Careful with that Axe Eugene!
Not directed at you of course

Just a quick note as we do see an increase of indiscriminate use of HPF resulting in very thin sounding mixes...
It seems to be the case in any type of mixing / mastering, it either makes it or breaks it. Doing metal I have learnt to try and be as conservative as possible, there is so much going on it's just a recipe for disaster half the time.
Old 24th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
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minister's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➑️
What does Dialnorm stand for?
Greg, I think you are thinking of Dialogue Intelligence which is in the LM100 and a few other places. It was indeed intended to measure just the dialogue. But you are right that Dial Norm was the number of where the Dialogue was regardless of the program. We've moved away from Dialogue Intelligence and Dial Norm in broadcast.

Dial Norm was developed because most of the complaints were about Dialogue levels in statistics that networks and others were gathering. It was supposed to be a setting of where the average levels of the dialogue was sitting.

tpad likes to rant. I have yet to see him state anything with any technical accuracy when it comes to these matters. But to say that Dolby is to blame rampant RMS in music Mastering made me actually laugh out loud.
Old 24th September 2012
  #30
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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Thanks Tom. I was questioning whether tpad knew
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