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Hi Voxengo, I'm very much enjoying my Elephant, thankyou!

However I am slightly dissapointed that I don't seem to be able to maximise the volume of tracks so that they are as loud as on commercial recordings that I've heard.

Is this because I am not using the Elephant optimally, or do I perhaps need some other kind of plug-in as well (perhaps a mastering compressor?) to push up the volume of my tracks a bit more?

Kindest regards,

James


You do have to perform compression and equalization before doing loudness maximization to get loud mixes.  You have to sacrifice something and gain something other.  It's an art.  And you should not forget about equal loudness countours that tell which frequencies are heard by human ear as "loud".  Loudness maximizer can't do it all automatically, because every track is usually unique in its dynamics and harmonic content.

Thankyou!

Hmmm, Do you have a specific EQ that you would recommend for mastering (perhaps the curve EQ?).....similarly is there a plug in that would give me information on equal loudness countours, and if so, how would I make use of this information in tweaking my mixes?


Well, you just have to understand these contours http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour and adjust your EQ correspondingly (this contour tells that 700 and 3500 Hz areas are always perceived as louder than others even if you have a flat spectrum).  I would recommend CurveEQ, GlissEQ and HarmoniEQ - whatever works best for you.

Aside from eq and limiting, or even compression, perceived loudness also has a lot to do with a subtle amount of harmonic saturation - subtle, because our ears are very sensitive to distortion, even more than 'level'.  A little too much and music is harsh and fatiguing.  Also, things like temporal harmonic relationships, signal to noise ratio, stereo imaging, ambience and other nuances can influence one's perception of 'loud'.

So much depends on the source material - how (and how well) the tracks are recorded.  One suggestion I can offer is to either record everything as clean as possible and carefully add saturation in the mixing or mastering (using a 'maximizer' plugin or process), or record each track with a controlled amount of saturation to begin with (trickier, but probably more effective if done right).

If some tracks are saturated and others are clean, the maximizer tools will often create undesirable side effects before you get the mix to sound like commercial mixes.

The beauty of Elephant is its abilty to limit with minimal artifacts (including saturation); this requires the addition of some other saturation process, but at least you aren't stuck with a single limiter - maximier, which can be a problem for already saturated mixes.

(I avoided mentioning other products on purpose).

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