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Dynamics in Mastering

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Dynamics in Mastering
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    Dynamics in Mastering Preserving the dynamics in electronic dance music during the mastering process, while satisfying the modern production needs for loudness.Student name: Angelos LiarosEMMA pathway: Sound & Music technologySupervisor: Eelco GrimmYear: 2010-11  Table of contents 1.0 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 2.0 The art of mastering ...........................................................................................2.1 What is mastering?............................................................................................... 3.0 Dynamics .............................................................................................................3.1 What is dynamic range?....................................................................................... 3.2 Microdynamics & Macrodynamics........................................................................3.3 Dynamics in the history of music..........................................................................3.4 Dynamics in the modern digital age..................................................................... 4.0 Loudness war ..................................................................................................... 4.1 History...................................................................................................................4.2 Loudness & Media................................................................................................ 5.0 The impact of dynamics & mastering dynamically .........................................5.1 What is impact?.................................................................................................... 5.2 Targeting mastering engineers.............................................................................5.3 Why compressed?................................................................................................ 5.4 The Fletcher-Munson curves................................................................................ 5.5 Increasing the impact of dynamics.......................................................................5.6 How about normalization?.................................................................................... 6.0 The methods of mastering dynamically ...........................................................6.1 Intro......................................................................................................................6.2 Mastering preparation...........................................................................................6.3 Metering tools.......................................................................................................6.4 Macrodynamic manipulation.................................................................................6.5 Microdynamic manipulation..................................................................................6.6 Stem mastering.................................................................................................... 7.0 Mastering comparison .......................................................................................7.1 A/B comparison on a track by ! Port-Royal ...........................................................7.2 Loudness measurement.......................................................................................7.3 Comparing the srcinal mastered tracks...............................................................7.4 Comparing on a standardized volume..................................................................7.5 Converting to mp3................................................................................................ 8.0 Conclusion ..........................................................................................................8.1 Balancing between dynamics & loudness............................................................8.2 Dynamics & electronic music................................................................................ 9.0 Citations & References ......................................................................................9.1 Books....................................................................................................................9.2 Journal articles.....................................................................................................9.3 Internet................................................................................................................. 10.0 Appendix ..........................................................................................................10.1 Appendix 1; Reference CD.................................................................................  Dynamics In Mastering. © 2011 Angelos Liaros 2 344555677789991010111213131314151617181819202323252525262626272828  1.0 Introduction The art of mastering is a delicate procedure based on the philosophy and skills of a mastering engineer. Nowadays, most modern mastering productions are noticed to lack of dynamics. This dynamic range reduction, is usually applied during mastering, in order to achieve maximum loudness on a record.This supportive narrative is exploring alternative and conventional mastering techniques, in order to preserve a wide dynamic range on a track during mastering process, while also aiming to satisfy the modern production needs for loudness. The paper focuses in electronic (dance) music sound, connecting the research with my personal work and career pursuit in producing and engineering music that falls within this particular genre. That does not lead to the conclusion, that the techniques described here, are not suitable for another kind of music styles.This supportive narrative is a research and outcome of the author s need to expertise in dynamic mastering processes & techniques, as well as a useful tool for other starters or professional mastering engineers or artists, who are interested in dynamics and mastering. This paper does not only describe tips and tricks about mastering, but also takes a glimpse into a philosophical, acoustical, aesthetical and commercial point of view, considering how dynamics can affect a record.It is important to clarify and avoid possible further conflicts, that the paper is not trying to  judge how records should be produced and whether a dynamic mastered version is “better” or “worse” than a hyper-compressed one. The subject here is specified on how to increase the dynamic range during the mastering process, balancing between loudness and dynamics. In other words, how to make a record more dynamic, while retaining loudness.This piece of writing is meant for (semi-)professionals in audio technology and audio production. A certain level of knowledge of audio technology is necessary when reading this supportive narrative, readers without any knowledge about the topic will have some difficulties comprehending this text.A data reference CD is included with sound samples of the techniques applied, as well as acoustic comparisons on different mastering styles. Dynamics In Mastering. © 2011 Angelos Liaros 3  2.0 The art of mastering 2.1 What is mastering? Mastering is a form of audio post-production, both the last stage of production and the first stage of manufacturing.   It is a final opportunity to alter the sonic presentation and is where the various parts of an album are brought together into a cohesive whole. In order to make a deterministic process, mastering requires critical listening; therefore, it cannot be achieved without the presence of a mastering engineer. Finalization techniques are often used to boost and improve the clarity and quality of the sound.Music mastering engineers need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to improve upon sound translation on all playback systems.That is the most important aspect of the mastering process and has always been. A record that sounds “smooth”, cohesive and as similar as it gets to all playback systems. From the speakers of a car or a laptop, to the speakers of a home listening hi-fi, to a powerful PA system on a club and so on.No further knowledge or information is going to be further juxtaposed upon the art of mastering. The intention of this sub-chapter, is to remind us why mastering firstly appeared and what was the purpose of mastering a record.Is loudness maximization the primary objective of mastering audio or cohesiveness to all playback systems? Nowadays, it seems that loudness maximization has the most important role in a mastering session, which consequently affects the dynamics of a song/ track. But first, let us explore dynamics a bit.  Dynamics In Mastering. © 2011 Angelos Liaros 4
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