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What is Loudness?

Lesson 12 from: Mixing Electronic Music In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

12. What is Loudness?

Lesson Info

What is Loudness?

So let's just quickly talk about what loudness is. This is a This is going to be funny. Definition loudness is the characteristic of a sound that is primarily a psychological correlation of physical strength. Amplitude more firmly, it is defined as the attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sound could be ordered on a scale extending from quiet allowed. Now that was an incredibly technical definition, And how did they end it? A scale from quiet toe loud? What does that even mean? That is what loudness is. It is completely subjective. What I think is loud is completely different from anyone else in the world considers loud. That's why you might be somewhere. It's some partying like I wish they turn it down right. They want to turn it up. It's a subjective thing. That is why it is better to look at this as perceived loudness. How are people perceiving it? A great example of that is dynamic range. Let's say you have a sound that the the guitar, for instance, is peaking at one, ...

but no peeking at like zero db. But the distance between it is much farther right, whereas if you have the same sound where it's peaking at zero. But the distance in the guitar from the different notes is way closer. It's the same technical volume rate, but I perceive it as way louder. And that's gonna be the next thing we move into is how do we perceive loudness? How do we understand the range between those parts? And right now we've got a baseline in terms of volume, right? We know our volumes air good, but how can we now make it perceived louder? How could make that kick Seymour forefront, but not technically louder? Does that make sense? That's the funny thing about audio. If you can get your head around that, then you're it's gonna make a lot more sense. And that's when we're going to move into the next section. Um, after this, which is talking about dynamic range, which moves into the compressor, which is the thing that controls our dynamic range, James said. Can you pause for just a moment since my head just exploded? So and, uh, okay, well, it's stop your explosions. Infinite sign way. Everybody said that was gold. So I really like if you just take that pink noise thing and try it out. Your old mixes, You're gonna find yourself pretty happy. Um and that's just the first step, guys. That's the first thing we actually did. Now, we're just gonna move on from here, So I'm so we do have some questions that are coming in right now. Um, the volume adjustments you're making are to the group level. What about volume problems at the individual track level? Great. Great question. Especially with drums, Right? I just did that real quick, cause I I could spend half our debt, you know, really tweaking every little part and getting it just right. But I don't want to bore you all because it's like, you know, we all know what it's like here, that kick, tweak it here. That but, yes, I would generally get the whole drum. So let's just show example if I play this pink noise. Oops. Ah, lovely sound. Get my drum at a decent volume. But then I noticed that that snare is hitting right. It's definitely a little loud as part of that drum, so I track it, track it down. Oh, among button. Okay. So that that I could play? Yes. So by adjusting the claps and this kick rack, which were probably the same frequency, they were hitting louder. So I turned down my overall drum volume. But now, like this, like this question is asking, if I come in and turn down some of those problem frequencies and turn up, then I get more volume out of my drums. You know, before it peaks, didn't white the pink noise then then before. And I've noticed that when I do that like going and check all these volumes that you actually will use a lot less cube use a lot less compression because you already have a baseline of a good mix. But that's the problem. If you if you think like the way of affecting good volume is by instantly putting a compressor on that that is not compressors are perceived loudness. Compressors are dynamics. They are not how the parts interact to start. Right now we move. This is a foundation. Now we move from from that point I saw in Theo Oh, I was just admitting that I'm guilty of this. Yeah, and we'll look at that. There's some compressors. I think compressor stuff is one of the biggest thing that I can help you on this mix because you're you're frequencies air, great. Your vault, your your e queuing and your levels have been fantastic. But then your compression and dynamic range is something that can use a little. We'll touch sweets. Um, so we have a bunch. More questions are just coming in. How accurate is the clipping in a Bolton? Lots of times I get clipping enable Tim plug ins, but no audible distortion. Yes, that's Ah, I feel like I should have, like, big glasses, like little technically thinking that's do did your bit rate. So we're working on a 32 bit system within life. Well, because you're working in 32. The headroom between where the clipping is and when you actually perceive clipping is whiter, just like we were showing the DB Visual Full scale right is much louder in digital than analog. Well, your actual part where you experienced digital distortion is higher, the higher your bit rate. So if it was at 16 if you bounce that track that's getting any clipping to 16 bit, you're gonna hear all that clipping now where if it's 32 bit basically that's saying, like, let's say you have a sine wave and you have way Mawr chops of each one of it, going up and down. But if you chopped that in half because you've moved to 16 it cuts off the top of that sine wave now because it can't fully go all the way up. And then you hear it. So it's just best to not even do that granted, within the program, if you're moving from like, let's say you have a V S t that's creating something that's very hot, that shows it's peaking. But then you move into an audio effect that lowers the volume you technically won't even hear that clipping ever. Right? So that's what this person might be perceiving is not actually hearing clipping. But, um, it matters as soon as you change the bit rate. Awesome. Um, so Jose wants to know. Do you put the pink noise at decibels in your monitors and then start mixing was at 83 when you have the That was not I was at the K 14 came, So it was, uh Well, actually, it would be at 83. Um, they're correct there. Okay. But generally, I I'll show you that real quick because I did kind of skipped that step. Because what we're testing because, I mean, you could get pink noise anywhere, so you don't have to actually use my pink billings. It exists. Um, but what you want to just do is make sure you are, uh what am I looking at? Plug ins? Yes. I'm going to meters. I assure you that came eater. You just want to make sure that your average of your pink noise, which you can see I was I was a little quiet. I was quite quiet. Um, again, I'm not a perfect listening environment tweaking everything, but that's what you should do. Just turn on the meter, get it to around that area, and then you're gonna have a good baseline. Granted. Like I said, since I adjusted all the volumes, I've just turned this up by what a TV or something. Because all it's a ratio, right? Like all the sounds are at the right volume. So if I turn up my pink noise, I could just grab all those noises and turn it up right? The louder it is the better you perceive it. But, you know, we're getting a baseline here, so that probably helped to the light. Turning up those few TV cool. What are your tips when trying to get drum racked program is together. Do you still bounce everything out and then organize them by percussion kick, etcetera? Or how do you do this? So they're saying if it's in a drum rack? Yeah. Do I keep it as one bounce drum record? I separate it. Yep. We were actually talking about this during the break that I separate it. Okay, but I don't know. I don't know if you have ah, rack in here most this. Oh, here's Iraq, Granny. Don't have a lot here, But let's say I wrote a whole section in my drum loops. I would generally at least separate my kick. I generally separate kick, snare, other like, high hats. I just call him High because I use a lot of collection noises and stuff. So those are all around the same frequency. I would treat them similar, but if I wrote it all in one drum rack, it's very hard. I mean, yes, I can come into my kick I can add compression to that kick and so on. I just like using the volume feeders personally. But there's this quick trick which we were talking about, which is, if you have a full drum rack and you want to separate just one cell. If you open up this your change, you can right click and extract chains. Ban it, throws it out to its own track, and I can put that in the group. Yeah, yeah, that's like one of those moments where you can show someone else it able to end in there like Low are somebody who's doing music for 20 years. They're like, Wow, I didn't know that existed because some random guy on YouTube told me or something. Um, granted, it's probably in the manual. You should read the manual. That's good. Might wanna have a moment of silence just in case anyone's I had just no head explosions or please explode, but come back together. Um, so we have a question. Many people say it's better to mix it low volumes to avoid getting fooled by gain. What about that? Like bringing So we are. I mean, technically, I don't know if you consider it slow bowling. We are lower in the sense of we have more headroom. Yeah, um, if you're trying to mix towards the zero point, then yeah, that's a problem. Uh, now we have standardized our volume to the case system, so we've made a much easier to understand and translate volume level, so it should take away a lot of those problems. That being said, I do sometimes during my mix bring down my volume immensely to kind of hear what it's like. The last few things I hear like, Oh, if I haven't really low, let's turn off. We don't need that lovely pink noise. Well, I don't know. You hear anything I say? Oh, it's cause I'm at the beginning. So sometimes all turn this down and I'll hear my snare Still, which is a pretty common thing. And that tells me Oh, my snare was too hot. Um, which in this case, it seems pretty fine, but do to that, uh, let me get it real quick. Due to that, I'm hearing curve that we looked at earlier. You don't want to mix. You don't want to use that as if you're under a good calibration of your speaker. Look at that. You will naturally have way too much bass. It's just the way you here. There's no way around that. So bring down the volume, check it a little bit. Be like Oh, okay. My kick is the only thing I can hear. Obviously, that's way hotter than my lead. So turn it down and bring it back. So it's good to switch it up. Um, that whole idea of getting over yourself, your ego is it's gonna constantly get in your way. So you need to experiment, change things up and see what that Oh, here's what it's like quiet someone.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Drum Placement
Frequency Worksheet
Read Me - Mixing with Ableton Live
Sharing Tracks
Ableton Live Pack

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Ratings and Reviews

Jose Gerardo Rendon Santana

Excellent Course, Isaac Cotec is a great instructor and a great producer. The course is very well organized explaining each important step of the mix. as well as great tips and techniques. He also includes a great deal of support material with the course including an Ableton Live Pack with tons of great presets and tools to put to practice the knowledge acquired in the course.

a Creativelive Student

Isaac covers an amazing amount of material in a clear and concise way. Great intro to mixing with Ableton or review for the intermediate user who wants to solidify their best practices, DAW knowledge as well as gain some production tips.

Ian turner

this is the best thing money can buy in my life. Isaac makes it look easy and the way he teaches makes you understand everything and makes it easy for you as well. its exactly what i wanted to learn in each video! i cant even sleep because another video loads and im like "ohhhh i need it" lol. i thank god for this class being affordable and the real deal.

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