PAM REMASTERD A MP3 FILE

By John Howard

 

 

Decided to remaster a mp3 track by Yumo called ‘Future Nubian Queen.’ I believe the track is also Part 1.  For eduacational purposes and because the track is GREAT!

Future Nubian Queen: A minimal-vocal track of Hip-Hop, Break-Beat, Jazz and funky Down-Tempo’ed flavoring.  This track has all the stylings suited for any lounge and/or hip restaurant environment.  I mean this very much as a compliment.  It’s well mixed with strong kick-drums, snares, playful high-hats, sound effects and vocal tid-bits that keep the track together.  With the introduction of the brass instruments the track becomes even more flavored with elements of smooth jazz.  Well done Yumo.

Here the full track here.

Yumo’s final levels were:

Minimum RMS: -93.61 -93.06 L/R Channels
Maximum RMS: -5.84 -5.92
Average RMS: -17.75 -17.55
Total RMS: -15.69 -15.56

First removed most of the unwanted maximized process that Yumo had applied.  The technique applied is somewhat similar to an upward compression or an expansion method of lifting frequencies.  Which in turn removes some of the process that was applied to Yumo’s maximized the track.
Next, Returned the track to full-peak volume, then reduced track for headroom and the mastering stage.
Once the track’s frequencies are properly re-balanced, (which is another way of saying “equalized”), with a small amount of compression, and then maximized with a maximum attenuation of about -3 dB, the final results were this:

PAM’s final levels were:

Minimum RMS:   -106.17 dB   -104.63 dB
Maximum RMS:   -3.71 dB   -3.79 dB
Average RMS:   -13.97 dB   -13.81 dB
Total RMS:   -11.89 dB   -11.81 dB

Considering the fact that this track, first of all, the wave file was encoded at a bitrate 192Kbps, which means that there was further compression added to the final maximized levels set by Yumo, prior to him creating the Mp3 version of the track.  Based upon this compression, the tracks Presence Frequencies, at about 15K were removed.  Therefore, a chunck of these frequencies have been removed and had to be replace for the overall sound in the remastering process.

During the remastering phase, and after the initial removal of the unwanted maximized process that Yumo had applied. (See above steps).  Upon analysis of the track the following was noted before the remastering process:

FREQUENCY ANALYSIS:

20Hz – 40Hz:   Defecit of approx. 6 dB. of Sub-Bass Levels.
40Hz – 480Hz:   Surplus of approx. 3 dB of Low Mid-Bass.
480Hz – 3000Hz:   Surplus of approx. 1dB of High Mids.
3000Hz – 16K:   Surplus of approx. 3 dB of Highs.
16K – 20k:   Defecit of approx. 4 dB of “Upper Highs.”

The above findings after the analysis, were applied to the track, as these were the changes needed by the track, of its spectrum.  It is important for you to know that, with today’s technological advances in software, plug-ins, etc, that no longer, is it proper, to equalize a track, based upon what you “think” or “feel” the track needs.  It’s all about adding or removing what the track needs.  Again, not what you think the track needs.  With that, my advice to all of you, that really consider yourselves to be mastering engineers, serious audiophiles and the like,  and all others, interested in music, mixing, mastering, etc, is this : learn how to use the tools that will help you divide the spectrum properly, for proper analysis.
Find a good, useful spectrum analyzer.  And then use, a lot of common-sense.

As indicated above, the final “Maximum RMS” levels for the remaster are, what some would consider to be a “Loudness Wars” “Loudness War” disaster!  However, as you will hear below, the differences between Yumo’s version and the remastered version created by PAM, are apparent and the PAM remastered version, in spite of the extremely higher RMS level at -3, the overall sound is dynamic and pleasing to the ears.  That’s PAM’s mission.  To always, guarantee the most dynamic and professionally mastered tracks.  After all, your music deserves to be presented to the world in an enjoyable fashion.  Aren’t you tried of listening to overly processed and fatiguing to your ears music?

Had there been no initial process to Yumo’s original track, (opposed to a MP3), the maximum rms levels would most likely have been in the area of -10, -9, -8 RMS levels.  Perhaps even -6.  Again, when mastered properly with all dynamics in tact, even at a -6, the music is not fatiguing to your ears.

HERE ARE THE BEFORE AND AFTER FILES:

Yumo – Future Nubian Queen (Before)

 

PAM – Remaster – Yumo – Future Nubian Queen (After)

 

The purpose of this PAM Post is to illustrate that even a mildly-processed track can be remastered with successful results.  This post also illustrates that Loudness War or Loudness War levels can also yield Dynaimic result, when mastered properly.

 

 

All The Best To You,

Mr. B

PAM

 

The Question Has Been Posed:

Will LANDR replace mastering engineers?

or

Replace Your Mastering Engineer?

PAM says NO!!!

Especially since, LANDR is a service that allegedly offers “Professional Audio Mastering,” by an alleged robot that is “learning” to master. Truthfully, I would send my tracks to a mastering engineer that already knows how to master, opposed to “learning” how to master.  I would not want to pay any amount,  for a “TRIAL AND ERROR”  mastering job by a robot, that does not  provide for specific changes to be made by me as a client.  Where I can hear all the sonic differences that matter in a before and after mastering session.

As an example: Hey! Mastering Engineer, the track sounds great, except, could you raise the high-end a bit? Sounds a little dull on this end.  

Since, there is no communication between you and this robot, you get what it gives you and that’s that.  Remember, this is not about going backwards.  Loudness War masters are the past.  Move on, and return to the dynamics.

The question I now pose as the AMS of PAM is this:  Why would anybody want to send there music to be mastered by a “Robot”? Especially since they have worked, tirelessly in some cases, on their tracks to get results that sound like this:  Tested

Compared to getting tracks mastered, that sound like this: Dynamically Tested and Mastered.

The robot provided progressively worse tracks each time. Far from dynamic at all!  To sum this up!

Let your ears be your guide.  So much for Professional Audio Mastering.

All The Best,

PAM

John Howard, AMS

A Real-Life Example

ROBOT VERSUS MAN

 

 

By John Howard

On October 16, 2014, or there-about, I added a post to this site about LANDR’s “robotic” mastering engineer.  In short, I made a statment that a “robot” would not necessarily be able to have the same kind of inter-action that a real-live mastering engineer/or whomever did the master of your track.  With that, I gave a make-shift scenario of a “client” that had requested a reduction of the “high-end” of a pretend track that had been mastered.  To make a long story short.  Here is a portion of a e-mail that was sent by Yumo, with respect to his track, mastered by PAM:

“Hi John,…If you could just aggregate the hi’s just a little, and give the mid section just some nice warmth. Other than that – perfect my friend. “

As you can see here in this real-life example, here, is a client that wanted an adjustment to his track mastered by PAM. 

Here, is how PAM responded to Yumo’s request for an adjustment in the upper and middle frequencies in and of his track:

Hi Yumo, ” I have aggregated the high end (as you were very right–the high end was a bit much), and have warmed up the entire mix closer to the previous master I first sent you.”

Again, in this real-life example of a Client’s request for an alteration of some of the frequencies within his track was met by a prompt respone by PAM.  This kind of inter-action simply does not happen with a remote robot.

Sorry LANDR, “Professional Audio Mastering,” is something that should not be said lightly, or coined as some meaningless catch-phrase.  Don’t promote that kind of a service if the end results are far from that which is being produced.

All The Best,

Mr. B, AMS

PAM

The Question Has Been Posed:

Will LANDR replace mastering engineers? 

or

Replace Your Mastering Engineer?

PAM says NO!!!

Especially since, LANDR is a service that allegedly offers “Professional Audio Mastering,” by an alleged robot that is “learning” to master.  Truthfully, I would send my tracks to a mastering engineer that already knows how to master, opposed to “learning” how to master.  I would not want to pay any amount,  for a “TRIAL AND ERROR”  mastering job by a robot, that does not  provide for specific changes to be made by me as a client.  Where I can hear all the sonic differences that matter in a before and after mastering session.

As an example: Hey! Mastering Engineer, the track sounds great, except, could you raise the high-end a bit? Sounds a little dull on this end.

Since, there is no communication between you and this robot, you get what it gives you and that’s that.  Remember, this is not about going backwards.  Loudness War masters are the past.  Move on, and return to the dynamics.

The question I now pose as the AMS of PAM is this:  Why would anybody want to send there music to be mastered by a “Robot”? Especially since they have worked, tirelessly in some cases, on their tracks to get results that sound like this:

When your tracks should and could sound like this:

The robot provided progressively worse tracks each time. Far from dynamic at all!  To sum this up!

Let your ears be your guide.  So much for Professional Audio Mastering.

All The Best,

PAM

John Howard, AMS

Compared to getting tracks mastered, that sound like this:

Why Did I Temporarily Leave WordPress?

Here is why:

On November 20, 2013, PAM was launched on a WordPress blog and originally had no idea that we were being compromised and made to  redirect to some malicious website, in these last few months we were and have actually been hacked.

 

Symptoms of a Hacked WordPress Blog

If your blog has never been hacked before, you may wonder what the consequences are. In the past, hacked blogs have exhibited one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. The blog may be defaced.
  2. The hackers install hidden links on the blog that point to sites they own. Since Google ranks sites according to the number of links pointing to them (among other things), the intention is to make their site appear more important to Google.
  3. The hackers may install some sort of malware that will install on the computers of the blog’s unsuspecting visitors.
  4. As a result of the above things happening, Google may remove the blog from their search engine results. Traffic to the blog will therefore plummet.

Hence, it’s not just a matter of defacement if your site is compromised. There are serious side effects that will cost the blogger considerable effort just to clean up and recover.  On top of lack of visitors due to the redirects.

For More Information On How to prevent some hacks of WordPress

See this very infromative site.

 

Mastering Isn’t For You

John Howard

mastering_image2

Having been mastering music by controlling volume by way of equalization, compression and limiting (in that specific order), for many years, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that making gain decisions about gain levels, dynamic range and frequency response isn’t for you.

Now, before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I began mastering years ago.  It’s been well over 10 years.  Mastering was as they say somewhat of a “dark secret” to me until…until I decided to stop believing everything I read on the subject of mastering and applied more common-sense and basic obvious facts about music, the frequency spectrum, and other simple principles about music and instruments in general.  I never felt that louder was better as an Audio Mastering Specialist.  The “Loudness War” levels, have resulted in many a fan and audiophile alike listening to distorted and overly processed music for over a decade.  Which of course, has in a major way, de-sensitized their hearing ability, so much so, that they believe this overly processed music, actually sounds good.  WRONG!!!

Nevertheless, as much as that is the simple truth, mastering isn’t for you if you are still trying to finalize your own musical or other audio productions because you “think” you “know” what you are doing, instead of actually “knowing” what you are doing.  Anybody can send their track through any maximizing plug-in or application and get the same “Loudness Wars” masters of the past decade or so.

To actually conclude that you “know” what you are doing, does one have to actually go to a school to make such a claim?  Well, if that’s what you believe that it will take for you to make such a claim then of course, go to school.  Will working for a major music studio as an intern allow you to make such a claim?  Perhaps.  None of the above applies to myself, yet I can 100% assert and guarantee that I “know” what I am doing.  It is a great privilege to be able to make such a claim, and to be able to produce the results that back that claim 100%.

Conclusion: If you are in fact, the person that mastered your music, then naturally, you have no one to blame if in fact, your music does not “shine” in a light that says “professionally mastered” through and through. As in sound quality. Nor if you’re not as successful in sales where ever you decided to try to sale your music.  Remember!, if your music does not sound as if it has been professional mastered then of course, your sales will suffer.

Mastering isn’t for you if:

You really don’t “know” what you are doing.  Find someone that does, and make sure that whoever he or she is, really “knows” what they are doing.  Otherwise, leave your masters/music to be somewhat adjusted by an Apple “Sound Check” device, since the Mastering Engineer/or you could not get “it right” the first time around in his or her studio.  Pretty sad when that happens.

And finally, don’t expect a “Big Commercial Sound,” if you didn’t even start with a “Big Commercial Mix.”  Be realistic about your expectations as to a final sound of your masters.

All The Best To You,

John Howard

Audio Mastering Specialist

Professional Audio Mastering

PAM

PAM Responds To Devyn Rose’s Question on Her Mastering

By Audio Mastering Specialist John Howard

In December 2013, just before the HOLIDAYS, Johosat Mr. B, aka John Howard of Professional Audio Mastering, received a notification on the Soundcloud’s account toolbar “Latest Activities” icon that Devyn Rose had apparently viewed the Soundcloud PAM’s page.  Mr. B, decided to listen to Ms. Rose’s holiday track and commented on her track:

PAM Comment Rose

A few days later, after I had listened to Ms. Rose’s track a few more times.  I decided to do a remaster of the already processed track that Ms. Rose offered on her Soundcloud page.  After doing so, I sent Ms. Rose a private link to hear my re mastered version of her mastered track.  Ms. Rose responded and asked for my thoughts on her “master.”

Devyn Thank you

Here are some thoughts on Devyn Rose’s ‘Home For The Holidays’ “Master” :

  • Ms. Rose you basically have a track that has been overly processed.  Sounds like the equalization could have been used more effectively in the upper-midrange area of this track.  Keep in mind that our ears are very sensitive to the upper mid-range area.
  • You also mentioned that you “don’t master,” and of course that should be left to someone that actual does understand all the steps and knows how to apply all the rules of mastering with experience and knowledge. As my fundamental  principle of mastering is , and this is a quote, “either you know how or you believe you know how to master an audio recording for sonic translation.”  Believing that you know how is not gonna achieve the truest professional sound nor results.
  • Plenty of “Mastering Engineers” believe or think they no what they are doing.  However, Ms. Rose the truth is, you have to absolutely “know” what you are doing from start to end, with no guess-work, about what needs to be done and do just that with certainty.  You have to do what the Audio Track or Recording says to do.  To be able to hear and or see what the track is telling you to do takes knowledge, the right tools and common-sense.
  • Equalization is not “Rocket Science” on the flip-side, it’s a skill that can be learned or obtained with using proper tools of the trade to help you find the needed boosts or reductions in frequencies.  There are many sites out there that repeat this kind of information.  You are probably already aware of that.
  • Again, a track that’s overly processed is never gonna sound as good as a track with proper equalization and less heavy “limiting.”  That’s kinda what I heard with your “master.”  Hope this helps you along your way if you decide to take on mastering on a professional level.

Stay tuned and watch for updates and links to more information on the wonderful world of mixing, audio mastering and post-production. 

All the best to you,

AMS John Howard

Professional Audio Mastering Site Launching Special

Professional Audio Mastering Launches Offering Free Track Master

 By Audio Mastering Specialist John Howard

Beginning 11-20-2013, through December 31, 2013, PAM will master one of your songs, without charge, for the first 100 Audiophiles and the like, (that means all of you Producers and Bedroom Producers), seeking finalization/mastering of an audio track.  The only stipulation is that the track must not run longer than 3.5 minutes (three and a half minutes).  To help you make a sound decision, take a listen to some of the tracks mastered by PAM.  If you are a music producer seeking to have your mixes professionally mastered and enhanced with total dynamics intact, your choice to use PAM services will take your music production to the next level.

All the best to you,

Mr. B – Aka John Howard

PROFESSIONAL AUDIO MASTERING – PAM

Audio Mastering Specialist