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?
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?
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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