How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

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How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by ulrichburke »

Dear Anyone.

Self-taught disabled mixer here - OK, read c**p!! - and I mention the disability because I have to use a notation program/MIDI for everything, can't physically play anything.

When I load a ref. MP3 into Audacity, the waveform's usually like a blue brick. I mean it's so solid you can't see the wiggles unless you zoom waay in. But it's not sounding any louder than mine, which in comparison (wish I could upload screenshots!) looks like wiggles in a shoelace.

So I thought 'Ah, mysterious mastering....' but it doesn't SOUND any louder than mine. It's just massively FATTER. Anyway. Downloaded the stems for a remix contest and THEY'RE all massively fatter than my waveforms. Looked things up, read you're supposed to put a limiter on the out buss to get more volume, did so, was a BIT louder - had to do it 4 times because of clipping - but wasn't THAT noticeably fatter. (OK, a bit, nothing to write home about.)

How the heck are they getting waveforms that massive without being so mega-loud they're clipping like a hairdresser on speed? Does it matter that mine aren't that massive, considering they're objectively as loud? (Or seem to be!) And why do they go for getting them that massive, considering they don't seem to be any louder? What's all the brick-like massiveness achieving?

Sorry for 3 questions, just am not getting it.

Yours puzzledly

Chris.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by The Elf »

Compression, a good spread of frequencies in the mix, clippers and limiters.

But now go and read about 'the loudness wars' and why trying to achieve that 'solid brick' waveform is not a good idea any more (or really why it never was)...
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by RichardT »

If the waveforms look like solid blocks it’s likely that compression and / or limiting have been applied to the music.

I wouldn’t worry about what other people are doing! The best thing while you’re developing your music to do is apply compression only to the extent that suits it. That will depend very much on the style you are writing in. Some people mix with compression on the whole mix, some don’t. I prefer not to, and I put compression on individual mix elements instead, but there are an endless variety of ways of working here. Do what sounds best to you, and cross check the results with other music you like.

If you’re going to release your music, you do need to think about its loudness, though, as that’s an important consideration for streaming services. I do that as the final step of the production process after I’m happy with the mix. This is where limiting comes into play. If you need more information about loudness and limiting, let us know. Depending on the level of limiting that gets applied, the waveform will end up looking more block-like! But if they really look like solid blocks there’s a good chance that excessive amounts of processing have been applied, and that’s a bad thing.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Drongoloid »

I don't know much about Audacity but in Reaper (and most other DAWS I guess) you can make the waveforms bigger (or smaller) irrespective of the sound level in the clip. It's just an aesthetic manipulation of the clip - it doesn't affect the level. Maybe you can do this in Audacity.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Albatross »

Image
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by RichardT »

Albatross wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:58 pmImage

Yes, that’s why Californication sounds so horrible!
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Sam Spoons »

Brilliant song though :bouncy:
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Dave Rowles »

RichardT wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:07 pm
Albatross wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:58 pmImage

Yes, that’s why Californication sounds so horrible!

I remember buying and listening to that album on CD when it first came out. It was the first time I heard digital clipping as my CD player couldn't cope with the high levels. It wasn't pleasant at all.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Luke W »

RichardT wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:07 pm
Albatross wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:58 pmImage

Yes, that’s why Californication sounds so horrible!

Painful listening. A real shame.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Drew Stephenson »

A friend of mine played it once, took it back and then hunted out the Japanese pressing which was apparently slightly better.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Give it another few years, but there'll be numerous AI plugins for rebuilding dynamic range into legacy digital recordings soon... mark my words! :lol:
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by The Elf »

A friend once played me one of these hyper-compressed recordings through the (very!) costly expander he had had built by a hi-fi enthusiast, which (he was assured) was magically able to re-establish all of the original dynamics of the recording. I tried to be polite... :headbang:
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I vaguely remember a DBX system that installed an expander into the replay chain from a vinyl record player, and used specially DBX-encoded (compressed) vinyl discs.

When set up correctly it definitely enhanced the dynamic range and reduced surface noise considerably... but it was prone to terrible mistracking and loud clicks became REALLY LOUD! :lol:
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by James Perrett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:48 am Give it another few years, but there'll be numerous AI plugins for rebuilding dynamic range into legacy digital recordings soon... mark my words! :lol:

Ray Dolby invented a very effective gadget for doing this back in the 1960's ;)

And I also have dBX 117 continuously variable expander/compressor here which could serve a similar purpose though I haven't actually switched it on for many years.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The trouble is that the analogue inventions of Dobley and XBD requires the source material to have at least some dynamic variation which can be increased. CDs of the last 20 years have no dynamic range at all... hence the need for some form of AI that can work out what the original source instruments should have sounded like! :D
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by FrankF »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:32 pm The trouble is that the analogue inventions of Dobley and XBD...


This Dobley chap, was he a vicar by any chance?
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by James Perrett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:32 pm The trouble is that the analogue inventions of Dobley and XBD requires the source material to have at least some dynamic variation which can be increased. CDs of the last 20 years have no dynamic range at all... hence the need for some form of AI that can work out what the original source instruments should have sounded like! :D

It is amazing how well it can work on some material though. I was inspired to try it after listening to some old undecoded mixes and thinking they sounded similar to modern highly compressed mixes. If it makes old mixes sound new, I wondered what happens to a new mix when decoded? It certainly seems to give a compressed mix a bit more breathing space.
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:thumbup::D
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by Yearofthegoat »

The past few CDs I've bought have been original 'un-re-mastered' ones (via Discogs, due to usually good info about the CD versions), deliberately to get the proper dynamic range.

Problem is, the discs are older and eventually there won't be any playable ones left.

Maybe there's a market for a de-re-masterer/decompressor?!
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Re: How do they get their waveforms so BEEG!?!

Post by RichardT »

I wonder if the big record companies archive their pre-masters? That would be a great thing!
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