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Audio Levels Argument

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Ryan Tyssen
Audio Levels Argument
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:45:50 pm

I'm trying to settle an argument and I'm wondering if anyone has any feedback for me.

I've been working on a small promo for a client and I posted it online for them to review. A co-worker told me it was not loud enough.

I mixed the audio in soundtrack pro 3. I got the audio as close to peaking as possible because I always assume that the person watching on the other end has the worst laptop speakers and history and will need help hearing the dialog.

Anyway, I mixed the dialog so that it almost peaked, then mixed in the music track, then I made sure in the master mix that nothing was peaking.

I have a mac pro, a mac book pro and a toshiba laptop all within arms reach right now. I can hear the audio clearly on all three. I know my co-worker uses a mac book pro.

Am I crazy? Is he right? I can't boost the levels anymore without distorting the dialog. I think my co-worker is under the impression the Mac book Pro's have pretty good speakers in them. I know that however good they are, they're still just little laptop speakers and sound may not come through as well as you hope.

Does anyone have any advice for me to help settle this debate?


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Levels Argument
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:23:42 pm

Hello Ryan and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

May I assume that when you refer to peaking, you are referring to peaking at or near 0 dB?

When you mixed the master and nothing was peaking, at what level were the peaks?

Loudness heard on most radio and TV stations is the result of compression and limiting. They can make audio substantially louder without going over 0 dB. Soundtrack pro has many dynamics plugins that do this.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Mark Barroso
Re: Audio Levels Argument
on Dec 10, 2009 at 2:54:16 pm

Ryan:

Why is this an issue if it's only a problem for one person? Perhaps you should check out his computer, and ask other friends to listen.

FCP 6.0.5 /
OS 10.4.11 /
Mac Pro 2x2.66 Ghz Dual Core/ 2G RAM
External: FW800 G-tech 500 HD and G-Tech Quad 750GB
playback deck: Pan dv2500


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JC Boulay
Re: Audio Levels Argument
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:56:15 pm

With all due respect, you're doing it all wrong. Eliminating any headroom at the first step of your mixing is the worst possible thing to do. And after stacking your vox to 0dB, you pile in some other stuff? You should be mixing with a minimum of 10db headroom at all times and keep things under control with compressors and limiters throughout the signal chain. Once you have a final product, you can then master it to the level your delivery medium requires.

I can't say without hearing the result who is right in the argument, but from the description of the mixing workflow, there is probably something wrong with the end product. It might well be usable, but it isn't by the book.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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