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Wave forms / compression

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Wave forms / compression

Postby Rinsler » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:45 am

Hi all

I expect the answer to my question will be "more compression", but I would like to look a bit deeper into it. I do a lot of EDM mashups, where I take an acapella, do a build up using riser samples etc, and then use a drop from a different track.

Every time I do, when I come to master the track, my peaks are all over the place in my build up, then when the drop hits the waveform becomes super level.

I guess I don't know enough about compression, but no matter what I do, how much I ramp it up, I can't get this level wave form.

I use FabFilter's limiter too, which I've read works as both a limiter and compressor, but I fear playing with this too much as I don't want to clip off my higher frequencies.

Can anyone give me any pointers as to how producers achieve this level of compression etc?

Here is my waveform - the two drops I'm talking about should be obvious, with my peaky buildups etc either side of them.

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Re: Wave forms / compression

Postby Dave B » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:44 am

With the greatest of respect, you are looking at this all wrong. Music should not be 'flat', it's the dynamics that make it so good.

What we are seeing on your waveform is that the 'peaks' are how things should look. You are then mixing in a pre-mastered track at a sensible mix level. The reason that it is 'flat' is because it has been very heavily limited - which, these days, is a Bad Thing.

Best advice here is not to bother looking at the waveforms and use your ears to tell you if if sounds any good.
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Re: Wave forms / compression

Postby CS70 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:52 pm

First of all, stop looking at the waveform! :D How it looks matters very little - how it sounds it was counts. If you like the sound and it's comparable to the genre references you like, it's good and leave it alone. There's a tendency to look at things with DAWs, which is very natural but misleading. You're making audio, not photos. :)

That said, if you find it doesn't sound good, the waveform can help give you an idea on why.

What I can see from the pictures is that the low part are compressed from an inch on their life (there's no indication of the scale so I assumed you haven't zoomed out), while the preceding parts are very dynamic, which is good. I guess that's normal for the genre, but then you can check by simply looking at the waveform of a good reference track.. even if mastered, the drop levels are so lower that the limiting will not probably affect them at all.

From your waveform, it also looks you already have very hot levels. with the buildup reaching up to 0dbFs already. That's not a big problem per se as internally the DAW as infinite headroom, but some plugins may expect lower levels (all depends on what you use) to work at their best.

But again, none of this matters if u like the result.
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