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How to make a song louder in mastering

Here is an excellent video on matching loudness when mastering from UK Mastering Engineer Ian Shepherd. Read the accompanying blogpost here: How to master a song loud – and the price you pay.

I found it really interesting, Ian often approaches things differently than I would, which leads me to new techniques. From this video in particular, I noticed he adds gain at the start of the fx-chain, and I would normally last. I asked him about it on Twitter.

ianshepherd: To avoid any confusion, the “How to make a song loud post” is new – and includes a video…
theaudiogeek: great video. Do you normally keep the limiter threshold at 0?
ianshepherd: Actually it’s usually at -0.3dB, but I sometimes reduce it to -1 if I’m pushing things really hard
ianshepherd: It works both ways – I just prefer to push the level into the multiband – it means I rarely need to tweak the threshold
theaudiogeek: interesting. I usually start at -6 for threshold. I do the loudening very last in the chain, and you use the gain plug first.
ianshepherd: And, reduces level-changes when I bypass. More info: and
ianshepherd: If you exceed -6 dB input with a threshold of -6, is it still clean ? Or does it clip ? Or does it depend on the DAW’s float?
theaudiogeek: here’s my general strategy for using Ozone 4. Lots of different ways to kill dynamics.
ianshepherd: Ah, OK. So setting Ozone’s threshold to -6 dB effectively boosts the gain, so the audible effect will be similar.

We both have our reasons, neither is wrong. I get better at mastering every time I talk to Ian.

If you liked this, you’ll probably get a lot of use from Ian’s eBook “Mastering with Multiband Compression“.

You may also like this episode of The Home Recording Show where we discussed Dynamic Range Day, mastering, etc HRS # 111 with Ian Shepherd and Allen Wagner

One Comment

  1. Dave Z
    Dave Z February 6, 2012

    Thank you for posting this video, it was really interesting to see Ian Shepherd and the processes he takes to mastering. I’m happy to know that Ian chooses to go for a more transparent mastering. In my opinion that is the only way to go. This was highly informative and I look forward to reading more on your site! Thanks!

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