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.
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:
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:
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,