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Kitrinos

Dynamic Range & Compression

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Kitrinos    44

As I didn't really understand what that means, I looked for some info online and I watched this video. I don't know if it's 100% accurate, but it helped me put things into perspective.

 

 

Anyone can tell that most modern releases sound louder than the ones from the nineties. As I usually like listening to albums in one go, I noticed that I OFTEN have a feeling of ear fatigue after listening to a modern album, but LESS OFTEN after listening to an oldschool album. So, I have these two questions:

 

1) Which modern goa trance albums have a good enough dynamic range, in your opinion? Can you give some suggestions?

 

2) To label owners & producers: Don't you believe that sound quality is a very important thing to consider? I believe that one reason many still prefer the oldschool goa is because they can't stand the loudness in a lot of new music. (Right?)

 

After all, good music will still sound good in high volumes, but overcompressed will not. What do you think? Suggestions/opinions?

 

P.S.: To make it clear: I'm not saying that all modern music sounds bad and that all 90s music sounds good, but, on the whole, there is an obvious difference.

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thanosp81    286

Couldn't agree more mate. 

May I give another everyday ordinary life example?

I have an 11 months old daughter so you can understand that I don't have much (any) time to enjoy music on my own, especially loud.

We also don't allow her to watch tv because she goes like  :blink: . So an excellent opportunity for me to have constantly music on the background. Mainly psychill, some oldschool Goa but never ever NeoGoa and the likes.

No matter how much down I turn the volume knob it still sounds "loud". Whereas in oldschool Goa if you turn the volume down you can even go to sleep ^_^

 

It doesn;t matter whether you know about the technicalities or not of the mastering and such, your ears are the best audio expert.

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antic604    497

(...) but never ever NeoGoa and the likes. No matter how much down I turn the volume knob it still sounds "loud". Whereas in oldschool Goa if you turn the volume down you can even go to sleep (...)

 

+1

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thanosp81    286

I actually enjoyed going to sleep listening to Goa.

My favourite comp to go to sleep was Zep Tepi

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recursion loop    446

You are not alone   :)

 

As for recent goa albums, people seem to agree than RA - Earthcall is mastered better than the average. On top of my head I can name JIS - Illusions of Reality, at least I don't remember that mastering was an issue when I was listening to it.

 

But I'd also like to hear more suggestions for modern goa albums not ruined by agressive mastering.

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antic604    497

BTW, I don't think compression alone is the only issue - there's a lot of music which is loud, heavily (compared to the past) compressed yet it sounds fine, because there's balance between frequencies - e.g. latest Psyilocybian, Globular, Skizologic, Hypnocoustics or Ra albums. Compare that against one-dimensional, treble-heavy The Misted Muppet (my go-to example of great music ruined by mastering...) and the difference is dramatic.

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antic604    497

But I'd also like to hear more suggestions for modern goa albums not ruined by agressive mastering.

 

As for Suntrip, Denshi-Danshi, Cosmic Dimension, Nebula Meltdown, Dimension 5's Trans* and Artifact303 all sounded very fine to me.

Neogoa also usually gets it very right (if source material is of adequate quality, because there's only so much that can be done...).

Goa Madness (Ephedra etc.) is balancing on the verge, but still on the safe side.

Global Sect. and Hado Rec. are also delivering very pleasant mixes, same with Cronomi (except for 1st Artha that wa barely comfortable).

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recursion loop    446

BTW, I don't think compression alone is the only issue - there's a lot of music which is loud, heavily (compared to the past) compressed yet it sounds fine, because there's balance between frequencies - e.g. latest Psyilocybian, Globular, Skizologic, Hypnocoustics or Ra albums. Compare that against one-dimensional, treble-heavy The Misted Muppet (my go-to example of great music ruined by mastering...) and the difference is dramatic.

The abuse of upper-midrange (2-5 kHz) emphasis may also cause troubles. Boost in this area may really bring the music up in your face, but it easily becomes extremely tiresome for long listen. It's really easy to overdo it because at first few minutes it seems to bring some magic to the sound. It's like your GF suddenly does  agressive makeup one day and you think "wow she looks sooo very hot this way" but when she starts wearing this 7 days a week you are like "omg, why she always looks like a wh0re"

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thanosp81    286

It's like your GF suddenly does  agressive makeup one day and you think "wow she looks sooo very hot this way" but when she starts wearing this 7 days a week you are like "omg, why she always looks like a wh0re"

I cannot stress it enough but....LOL

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antic604    497

The abuse of upper-midrange (2-5 kHz) emphasis may also cause troubles. Boost in this area may really bring the music up in your face, but it easily becomes extremely tiresome for long listen. It's really easy to overdo it because at first few minutes it seems to bring some magic to the sound. 

 

Indeed. That was IMO the issue with Celestial Intelligence's album or Crossing Mind on Suntrip - they both are very "busy" in mid-range and boosting it kind of overwhelms / overshadows the rest of the mix. This is why if I ever use the EQ while playing music I start with subtracting few db in the middle and typically leave bass / treble flat.

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recursion loop    446

 Celestial Intelligence's album 

I remember i tried to listen to it from youtube and had to stop after two tracks because it was really barely tolerable. Ofc, youtube additionally compresses the source and adds its own artifacts, but if the sourse file sounds good there shouldn't be really drastic issues.

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Kitrinos    44

BTW, I don't think compression alone is the only issue - there's a lot of music which is loud, heavily (compared to the past) compressed yet it sounds fine, because there's balance between frequencies - e.g. latest Globular

 

Thanks for the suggestions. But HEAVILY compressed music doesn't sound fine to me, no matter how good balance there is between frequencies or whatever. I just got tired of having an ear assault when I want to enjoy the music I love.

 

By the way I remember listening to Globular - Magnitudes of Order a few months ago and it was unbearable... In many cases where Colin Bennun has done the mastering, it is too loud IMO. I just bought Mind Rewind 1 & 3, just listened to MR3, it's a bit too loud. One more example, Cronomi releases pre and post 2012...

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antic604    497

By the way I remember listening to Globular - Magnitudes of Order a few months ago and it was unbearable... I don't like it when Colin Bennun does the mastering, it's always too loud IMO. I just bought Mind Rewind 1 & 3, just listened to MR3, too loud. One more example, Cronomi releases pre and post 2012...

 

Interesting. For me personally Colin's mastering works great for dub / down-tempo, but is hit & miss for up-tempo music, e.g. was awesome in Portamento's "The Portal", Nervasystem's "4" and "Brainradio" and OOOD's own albums, but definitely over the edge in Artha's "Influencing Dreams". Probably it just fits MY idea of good mastering, which should be chunky, meaty and fat :)

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Djuna    77

Well I'm glad that more people are talking and thinking about this. If you would point this out years ago you'd be considered a troll or a grinch, just for having different views. :)

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Ormion    415

Interesting. For me personally Colin's mastering works great for dub / down-tempo, but is hit & miss for up-tempo music, e.g. was awesome in Portamento's "The Portal", Nervasystem's "4" and "Brainradio" and OOOD's own albums, but definitely over the edge in Artha's "Influencing Dreams". Probably it just fits MY idea of good mastering, which should be chunky, meaty and fat :)

Colin is great apart from Artha which sound pretty terrible. Maybe it's the mixing instead of the mastering?

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Celaripo    148

gave my opinion before about it

here is the paradox: those who like it say it sounds great at parties - fair enough but then why release the music on cds when people buy cds for home listening? still did not get an answer to this question last time i asked here

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Kitrinos    44

Maybe mixing too sometimes. Maybe everything else is perfect, regarding the mastering, but my main concern here is the loudness. Play MR series along with another old school album (let's say, Xenomorph - Cassandra's Nightmare). Can you hear the difference? Which one do you prefer (Not in terms of musicality ofc)? I prefer Xenomorph.

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recursion loop    446

Colin is great apart from Artha which sound pretty terrible. Maybe it's the mixing instead of the mastering?

Listening to it from YT right now. Indeed, it seems that source material was poorly mixed, there is not much a ME can do in this situation.

 

I've run into this myself when I've sent a wrong file to the ME for one of my EPs, and the final result sounded pretty poor, other tracks mastered by the same guy were ok.

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Kitrinos    44

I'll give another example:

 

Case 1: Listen to Darshan - Awakening and Xenomorph - Cassandra's Nightmare back to back in relatively high volume.

Case 2: The next/another day, listen to MR3, both CDs, back to back (at the same volume with case 1).

How do you feel after these two listening sessions?

 

In case 1, I felt ok/normal.

In case 2 (today), I feel ear fatigue and I have a slight headache, because the music just felt too loud and I got tired. I don't think it's because of the mixing. 

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Richpa    892

I personally prefer (more) mastering with strong exposure of details inbetween the track arrangement over the general loudness and that way of polishing of certain release. But in the end it's not all white and black, a lot depends on artist (first thing is the difference in quality of mixdown, the other thing is the way how artist wants his music to sound in the end, and the last but not the least is the stylistic output). For example at Neogoa, artists who are gravitating more towards the old school type of sound (Veasna, Arronax, Dragon Twins, Negans) sounds more detailed and less loud and overall their sound has more dynamics. There are also examples of artists such as BlackStarrFinale, Lunar Dawn, Lectro Spektral Daze or PsiloCybian who are more sharper and less muddy, so the mastering process is slightly different too and they might seem a bit louder.

 

I'm not some expert when it comes to sound but I guess you guys got some good points about the issue of loud Goa trance records and how it reflects, but let's not forget about the early days of so-called newschool movement where labels such as Ezel-Ebed, Metapsychic or Ultiva had basiclly superloud releases but without any sharpness, and a lot of music after being played on high volume started to cracks and had distortion. Don't get me wrong here, I really love a lot of stuff, but back than I never payed too much attention to the sound, it was the time when any new Goa trance music in all kind of forms and shapes was a gift from God.

 

A lot depends on artists and their capability to make mix and prepare the song for final polishing and sometimes many of us are bashing mastering studios, in some examples without any valid reason. Guys such as M-Run, Colin, Schuldt, Deimos and all other who are in charge of mastering are doing great job, but you can't blame them when we have cases where artist doesn't deliver good enough mix or label prefers certain type of mastering.

 

Generalisation isn't the solution, since there are examples of new Goa trance music that really sounds mesmerizing and has a great balance (on many different labels, by many different artists), the core issue is the communication and the way how artists who aren't that much experienced are willing to learn and input more time into preparing the mixdowns for mastering. We all should talk more openly about this, without being offended by other's opinion or personal taste and be more open towards new ideas and approaches, learn from each other and communicate, that way general picture will improve and become more coherent.

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Kitrinos    44

Thank you for the post Richpa. I agree. For example, from your label, I feel that Veasna & Dragon Twins have a more balanced sound than BSF or LSD. 

 

Generalisation isn't the solution, since there are examples of new Goa trance music that really sounds mesmerizing and has a great balance (on many different labels, by many different artists), 

 

Can you give me some more suggestions? 

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Richpa    892

Nebula Meltdown, Antares, M-Run and New Born might be some examples that I personally dig. Not sure how to explain, but each record had well-balanced sound and recognizable feeling attached to the music.

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Imba    306

I guess it's up to a taste. Personaly i love loud music - but loudness mostly destroys track in Goa trance as we are unable to have such quaility, or we just dont care as it is 'not important' in our style.

 

But to have loud mastering i believe your music must be well produced, mixed, balanced... i mean you can have it loud anyway but it will sound shit.

 

Take example of Nano Records or Bom Shanka music or fuckin Tesseract studios... their artists produce top quaility sound and it's so loud but still very pleasent and clean. It's also as much complex and layered as Goa trance, but in Goa Trance... its different.

 

 

Good or BAD, things changed, 20 years passed and today we have 'different' standards...

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Padmapani    373

here is the paradox: those who like it say it sounds great at parties

 

that depends on the music. with a sparse arrangement (your typical fullon) loud mastering can sound good, but with most goa trance having so much going on it sounds just awful. there just one big mush of sound, you cannot make out single elements and the beat is drowned out by all the layers. i find that it rather sounds good when homelistening with good speakers than in the non-ideal circumstances you have at a party (where loudness and cheapness compromise the quality of the speakers and the location of the event as well as your position on the dancefloor are most likely detrimental factors).

if the sound system isn't really good then even nicely-mixed-and-mastered music like (new) filteria can sound like shit compared to the mediocre fullon that comes on afterwards.

surprisingly much of oldschool goa doesn't have that problem. probably due to different kick/bass and less layers...

 

There are also examples of artists such as BlackStarrFinale, Lunar Dawn, Lectro Spektral Daze or PsiloCybian who are more sharper and less muddy, so the mastering process is slightly different too and they might seem a bit louder.

interesting how you group those. lunar dawn sounds often sounds a bit too loud and crowded, lecro spektral daze even more so (+too much sharpness in my ears), but for blackstarrfinale i find myself turning the volume up :). his music is a little bass heavy but the rest sounds pleasantly soft and has much room to breathe so that i don't find it tiring at all.

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antic604    497

that depends on the music. with a sparse arrangement (your typical fullon) loud mastering can sound good, but with most goa trance having so much going on it sounds just awful. there just one big mush of sound, you cannot make out single elements and the beat is drowned out by all the layers. i find that it rather sounds good when homelistening with good speakers than in the non-ideal circumstances you have at a party (where loudness and cheapness compromise the quality of the speakers and the location of the event as well as your position on the dancefloor are most likely detrimental factors).

if the sound system isn't really good then even nicely-mixed-and-mastered music like (new) filteria can sound like shit compared to the mediocre fullon that comes on afterwards.

surprisingly much of oldschool goa doesn't have that problem. probably due to different kick/bass and less layers...

 

Very spot on! :)

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