Whatup people, there’s this thing that’s been bothering me for a while now. I twittered about it a couple of days ago, but I thought it deserves a mention on here as well.
Over compressing/limiting your songs. What is up with that? Really!
I was listening to this new hiphop album the other day, and there it was.. again. I had to stop listening, because I couldn’t stand it… Everything just sounded like a complete mess, all squashed together, no definition at all, it was even disting in places. I’ve heard it a lot last couple of years, specially in the hiphop genre, and I’m just wondering if cats actually think it sounds good? If you do, please explain to me why, because I certainly don’t get it.
I know it’s all about boosting that volume up and maximizing that loudness, when mixing/mastering these days, but I think it sucks. It leaves almost no room for the individual sounds to breathe, and it makes everything sound bland and boring, makes nothing stand out. If done right by a serious pro you can get away with it, but I still don’t like it, and I still don’t think it sounds as good as it could have. Let me ask you this.. What is wrong with turning up the volume on your stereo/computer/iPod? Do we need it turned up at maximum velocity for us already, sacrificing the music in the process? No we don’t! Seriously… Let the sounds have a little breathing room and turn that volume up yourself if you need to.
As a musician I constantly battle with this issue, say I submit a remix for a competition for instance, I know that if I don’t boost the volume up enough, my song, when played side by side with most other entries, will dip in volume and sound bad, or at least make a bad impression on the listener. And in this instant gratification society we now live in, most people will skip ahead rather then actually turn their volume up, which is bad for me, and bad for music in general.
Say I have a very low bass sound in a beat, it will take up space and make the song louder then it actually sounds, which in return means I can’t boost the volume/loudness up a whole lot without destroying the dynamics of the beat. I personally use the whole spectrum from low to hi, sure I cut-off the frequencies we cant actually hear (unless I’m making a dubstep tune, in which I sometimes use very low freqs, so I have to cut it a bit lower), but I’m pretty sure I more often then not use a bigger frequency spectrum then most, at least on a per instrument basis. I spend a lot of time mixing my songs, to find that balance between all the individual sounds, I don’t always get it right, but I do put in the time to at least try and make it sound good.
On a side-note, I use a lot more channels then you might think and most of the tunes I do are not straight loops, even if it sounds simple it usually isn’t, I just try to make it sound that way.
So in conclusion, if you’re listening to one of my songs (in good quality), turn that volume up! And if you’re a musician, go easy on the compressors/limiters/maximizers… use them, but listen to what you’re doing and how it sounds. Feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong, or if you disagree with me, let me know. This is just my personal opinion, and I am not a trained audio engineer by any means, I’ve just made music for almost 15 years.
And check the pics, maybe you can figure out which one I like and which I don’t.
Keep making that good music folks.. Stay up!