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Subject:need help with final mix....
Posted by: djaltitude
Date:10/14/2002 11:59:46 AM

Guy's... I have Acid 4.0, Sound Forge. Win 2000, and a SoundBlaster Audigy Plat. EX

The problem... Everything I mix or record... wither its from the turntables, cds, mp3's, waves... etc.. When I have the final mix from Acid 4.0 and I burn it to cd... my new CD never has a great sound. The levels always seem low. When I play a typical cd in my car, I usually crank the volume to 24... When I put in my mix cd, I have to crank the volume to 30. And the radio volume only goes to 32.....
I have tried Sound forge and various plug ins, different settings within Acid but I still can not get that real cd quality sound that I want.
Is it from the SoundBlaster's 16-bit that I am working with ?
I also have a Triton and other midi gear that I have programmed with songs. When I pull these songs into Acid... I loose the quality.
What should I do ???

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: slcrz
Date:10/14/2002 1:10:04 PM

Mastering is the key word....

Use sound forge to optimise ure mix.

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: TeeCee
Date:10/14/2002 1:30:32 PM

Well, the Sound Blaster isn't exactly a Pro class card. Many of them actually sample at 48kHz even if you want to record at 44.1kHz. They either on board or in the driver, re-sample. Terrible thing to do unecessarily to your audio.

Now, you are talking volume and quality. You can easily get the volume, but don't expect to pick up any quality just by increasing the volume. As was mentioned, Mastering is what is done to published music at the last stage by people that get paid well to master tracks, for a reason. It isn't exactly reasonable to think that your sound quality will be as good as a typical CD.


Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: djaltitude
Date:10/14/2002 2:27:03 PM

Ok... on those marks. If I scrape the SB... what should I replace it with ? I don't want to spend a fortune.

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: TeeCee
Date:10/14/2002 3:55:38 PM

Well, let's make sure your whole quality issue is the SB before you scrap it. Like I said, you aren't going to have pro quality results with anything until you've been doing this for a while and have learned what to listen for and how to correct for what's missing. Even with experience, there's no guarantee that you (or anyone) will ever be a master class mixing or mastering Engineer.

What sample rate and bit depth have you been recording at? How do your songs sound in your home studio? What are you monitoring on? Are you recording through a mixer?

mp3's are a compromised format. The compression is lossy meaning there is data given up to shrink the file size.

With all that said, the re-sampling of the Audigy is flat out unacceptable to me. I use M-Audo products. They do not have on-board synths, but the Audiophile which can be had for between $150 and $180 has stereo analog I/O, stereo S/PDIF I/O, and a MIDI in and out port. It's a true 24/96 with all types of PC drivers. M-Audio responded specifically to an issue they had with Acid. It was their driver's issue.

If you want to test the sonic capabilities of your set up, get a good record, record it directly as loud as you can without clipping, declick it if you have to, selectively (only where you need to) so as not to kill the high-end, normalize it, and burn it to a CD. That should sound great or as good as the vinyl. If it doesn't, then we work on your recording chain. If it does, then you work on your techniques.

Good luck,

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: nlamartina
Date:10/14/2002 4:07:44 PM


Read this article for a how-to on mastering for beginners. An easy read, but well worth your time. It'll help a lot.

- Nick

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: spesimen
Date:10/14/2002 5:52:04 PM

another quick and easy way to check the volume is to use your favorite wave editor to do a statistical analysis on the file. the key figure you're looking for is "Average RMS" which is a measurement of the apparent loudness of the file, not it's peak. (the peak level doesn't really correspond to the loudness due to the way our ears process audio.. i think most of the major wav editors do RMS analysis these days but i'm not sure.)

once you see that you can use a limiter plugin to increase the overall loudness of the file.

commercial cd's will have an average RMS of anmywhere from -20 to -15 for folk and classical, and up to -6db for some heavier rock and techno stuff. it's a tradeoff between volume and dynamic range. depending on the discs you're comparing to you should probably try and get in the neighborhood of what those are using. just a warning that too loud and not enough dynamic range will not sound good - people can always turn up the volume. in your case i think you just want to make sure they don't have to turn up to volume as much :)

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: thisdeejay
Date:10/14/2002 8:38:17 PM

When you guy's mix a few loops, horns, sounds.. etc.. and have a final mix. Do you render the mix to a wave... then burn it to cd ?

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: astral_supreme
Date:10/15/2002 2:50:28 AM

I render mine to a .wav or mp3 and then burn to cd in adaptec easy cd creator. I have never used acids cd burner.

My two cents on the mastering....when recording your instrument into your sound card the input level will depend on your instruments output level. Instrument output levels are sometimes low even when turned up all the way wich can cause minor distortion.

I recommend getting a nice amp and running your sound source into the amp...leave the volume of your instrument (sound source) at just above the half way mark...Then run the amp into the sound card and adjust the volume of the amp until the input level of your software's recorder is peaking good. For what you are doing this should get better recording results.

However after you have the final mix....mastering is a science that should be left up to the engineers who specialize in such matters.

Anyway hope this helps...This is one of many methods I had to perform with the soundblaster 5.1 live platinum to get barely ok sound....Thank god my waveterminal 192m is in the mail and will be here tommorow!!!

Subject:stop the train.....
Reply by: Jacose
Date:10/15/2002 10:42:31 AM


mastering, really applies to when you have an entire album, then you MASTER all the tracks, so that they are at the same volume, and have a somewhat similar sound to them, even if its just a little, to make the album cohesive.

BUT who wants to just wait for theyre whole album?

Using soundic foundry's wave hammer has seemed harsh to me, but if you have sound forge, you already have it, so that's great, try it...

work with different compression settings,

but remember, although a heavily compressed mix might sound powerful at fisrt, you are losing what someone else mentioned as "dynamic range" --- basically if you picture your song as a set of rolling hills and mountains in a picturesque scene, what compression does is chop off the tops of those mountains, and bring the bases of the mountains UP....after a while, with enough compression, your nice picturesque scene is quite ugly, like a big brick sitting on top of land. (although I have seen this effect used, and its not always bad... on one of Janet Jacksons albums from the late 90's its done wuite nicely, without being ugly.)

Its Dynamics that give music its emotive highs and lows, as well as other effects...

so use compression with care...

also, normalization is good as is not compression, rather, raising the volume of an entire peice until it reaches a certain db.

Although I dont like soundblasters, (they seem quite shady) I dont believe your soundcard is the issue here AT ALL!!!!

to see just what some good compression/limiting could do, perhaps download T-RACKS24 from ik multimedia, and check out the will be surprised./

also, there is a download of a DX plugin mastering... OZONE by Izotope,

I believe the other is

Subject:RE: need help with final mix....
Reply by: TeeCee
Date:10/15/2002 12:21:13 PM

I render to wave and burn a CD. I would never render to mp3 and then burn to CD. I actually render to wave and throw it in Sound Forge to look at the levels and dither the audio file to 16 bits. Then I burn it to CD.


Subject:you guy's have been great but...
Reply by: thisdeejay
Date:10/15/2002 7:01:58 PM

How do you do all of this with all of the files " tracks "..... I have a continuas finished mix, saved to 36 tracks. How do I implamint all of this to each track ? Do I make it one solid track... master it... then seperate it into tracks ?

Subject:RE: you guy's have been great but...
Reply by: Jacose
Date:10/15/2002 8:46:00 PM

Do I make it one solid track... master it... then seperate it into tracks ?


Subject:RE: you guy's have been great but...
Reply by: TeeCee
Date:10/16/2002 12:42:40 AM

If you make it one solid track, you can throw it into the new CD Architect beta, apply all the tools you want as plug-ins, add track markers and burn it. All withing CD Architect.


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