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Thread final levels of a recording

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1 final levels of a recording
i have winamp on my computer, and while playing songs through it, ive noticed that on a good professional recording, each freq. level is almost at redline. while in my recordings they are all kinda low. even with all the levels low on my recordings, they are as loud as i can get them without hitting 0db. idk, any input here would be nice. its just something i noticed about pro recordings, and im really curious about it. thanks
2
I varies a bit depending onthe genre of music, but most pro recordings of popular music have a far bit of compression added, either during tracking or mixdown, or both. That's how they get the levels up.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
3
Do you use a computer at all for your mixes or direct recording? There are quite a few choices in software and plug-ins that can help you achieve maximum volume levels without distortion. Real close to professional levels if not the same on certain recordings. Adobe Audition is a good place to start. Awesome program with a lot of features to get your sound the way you want it. Tons of effects built right in. I use it and I love it. I have an analog setup also which has a sound (and requires a ton of outboard gear) all it's own. Hope this helps.
4
yeah, that compression thing does make sense. so if i am mixing guitar bass and drums. would i record so that each instument is just about to clip, or have each instrument at like -3 or -4db? because i noticed that like every pro recording clips. shouldnt this be a bad thing?
btw, i record to a fostex digital 8track, and then usb to the computer, because i blew my sound card, and it leaves out alot of computer noise that way.
5
A small clip or two along the way won't hurt- not that I ever noticed, anyway. Lot's of them will sound crappy, though.

The cool thing about compression is that is narrows the differenc between the softest and loudest parts of the signal. This allows you to get a hotter average signal going. The bad thing about compression is that, if you use too much of it, it'll suck the life outta your tracks...... and it's a FINE line between the good and the bad sometimes!! (man, there oughta be a blues tune in there somewhere.....)

Anyway, I generally try to get my tracks going has hot as possible without clipping, then add a little compression after the fact as a plug in.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
6
Ill compress any instruments that need compressing from the box (e.g. bass and bass drums) and then ill whack a compressor onto the output channell to be mixed. That makes it louder and nice.
7
I will usually compress individual tracks a bit before I even get to the master. The reason why I do this is that I can then eq each track after compression to bring back some of the sparkle - assuming that the amount of compression used damaged the upper freqs. This works well because you leverage the fact that compression is cumulative and hence one does not need to compress the crap out of the stereo mix ( massive compression can destroy the overall sound ). But you get the sum of the individual track compression and the stereo mix compression.

Summary:
Compress individual tracks a teeny-weenie bit.
EQ sparkle back into each track - if necessary.
When mastering add a little compression to the stereo mix.

Although this is not a general recipe, it does work in some situations.
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