• Soundcloud/Dolby Automated Mastering Feature
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Soundcloud/Dolby Automated Mastering Feature
on: November 16, 2020, 04:24:19
If you have the pro version of Soundcloud you get to master 3 songs a month. If not you pay $5 per song.  I tried it out and it's pretty good. I suspect it does a whole lot better than a lot of human engineers.

Does anyone have any thoughts on automated mastering?
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Re: Soundcloud/Dolby Automated Mastering Feature
Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 12:16:30
Interesting you raised this @CGHound

I've made use of it since moving up to Pro but I'm in two minds about it.

I often write quite dynamic stuff and in that case it can slam your peaks up against OdB or even take it over the line into digital clipping territory.

 :o :o :o

I use Youlean Loudness Meter 2 Pro as a metering solution and it has the ability to drop an audio file onto it and it calculates levels. A very useful extra in the Pro version.  I did a before and after comparison and wasn't too impressed with the result for some of my stuff.

I also found the choices for tweaking tended to make some of my stuff sound a little brittle or toppy. So perhaps 'Horse for Courses' I think.
If you've spent time tweaking EQ to get the sound you want then it might tweak it in a way you don't expect.

If your mix is fairly even volume-wise I think it does a better job. I've used it to take some very low level recordings from the past up to a reasonable listening level but I think I'm going to stick with doing my own 'mastering' for my newer stuff.

I picked up Wavelab Elements on a bit of a deal so I work with that now as a separate process for mixing. It stops you filling with the mix as you are mastering.

It's good Soundcloud are trying to help people but ears will still usually triumph over automation I feel.

It does take you into the field of considering how people consume music nowadays, on rubbish ear-buds, in mono, in a car, using an iPad etc. etc.
Maybe there is no point fretting too much when so much is consumed this way ?  For my part, by getting it the best I can, it makes me happy that a 'proper  listener' might get a bit more out of the experience.  ;D ;D ;D 

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Re: Soundcloud/Dolby Automated Mastering Feature
Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 07:49:17
Interesting you raised this @CGHound

I've made use of it since moving up to Pro but I'm in two minds about it.

I often write quite dynamic stuff and in that case it can slam your peaks up against OdB or even take it over the line into digital clipping territory.

 :o :o :o

I use Youlean Loudness Meter 2 Pro as a metering solution and it has the ability to drop an audio file onto it and it calculates levels. A very useful extra in the Pro version.  I did a before and after comparison and wasn't too impressed with the result for some of my stuff.

I also found the choices for tweaking tended to make some of my stuff sound a little brittle or toppy. So perhaps 'Horse for Courses' I think.
If you've spent time tweaking EQ to get the sound you want then it might tweak it in a way you don't expect.

If your mix is fairly even volume-wise I think it does a better job. I've used it to take some very low level recordings from the past up to a reasonable listening level but I think I'm going to stick with doing my own 'mastering' for my newer stuff.

I picked up Wavelab Elements on a bit of a deal so I work with that now as a separate process for mixing. It stops you filling with the mix as you are mastering.

It's good Soundcloud are trying to help people but ears will still usually triumph over automation I feel.

It does take you into the field of considering how people consume music nowadays, on rubbish ear-buds, in mono, in a car, using an iPad etc. etc.
Maybe there is no point fretting too much when so much is consumed this way ?  For my part, by getting it the best I can, it makes me happy that a 'proper  listener' might get a bit more out of the experience.  ;D ;D ;D

I like what it did with some of my songs and I think that  in a lot of cases the automation could do a better job than mastering engineers . That said, a really good mastering engineer will probably do better. 

The fact is, all platforms compress.  This is a bit off topic but we recently got rid of cable TV and got an antenna and Roku. The uncompressed  over the signal looks a whole lot better and it sounds noticeably better than Cable or Roku streaming.  I found this free service called  Loudness Penalty https://www.loudnesspenalty.com  that analyzes your files and show how they will fair on the streaming services.

When you consider acoustic instruments they had a different dynamic range that the sounds that are used in EDM and electronica.

How music is heard has changed. Most is head on crappy earbuds. Should we mix to earbuds? Should we upload different mixes and mastered tracks for different mediums?   

Compression happens naturally. The sound intensity from a point source of sound will obey the inverse square law if there are no reflections or reverberation. A plot of this intensity drop shows that it drops off rapidly http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Acoustic/invsqs.html When I played in a band or heard band outdoors I always thought the sounded better as a mix than in a room. I grew up listening to music on vinyl on a console stereo and then on more advanced systems with better components. I loved the experience and the music. I have heard digital remastered music and some sounds a lot better than the original analog  mastered tracks. The album Love which is a remix and mastering of Beatles songs allows the listener to hear what it must have sounded like in the studio. Ringo's drums sounded amazing.