[LAU] Subject: Albums under a label recorded and/or mixed with Linux

fons at kokkinizita.net fons at kokkinizita.net
Sun Sep 26 00:22:21 UTC 2010

On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 03:44:33PM -0700, Patrick Shirkey wrote:

> Hence jamin is already designed to minimise the negative effects on the
> signal flow that are caused by the toolchain.

To some extent, yes. But it's a kludge, and a solution to a
problem that shouldn't exist in the first place.
> > The proper way to implement a filter of this type (with a FR
> > defined at all multiples of Fsamp / 1024) would be by using
> > linear convolution rather than cyclic. But as said, this is
> > not the right kind of filter anyway.
> So what you are saying is that the whole design is sub optimal? Can you
> clarify this in terms of every genre of professionally oriented music or
> is it more of an audiophile type of concern? Like preferring Bugatti to
> Toyota?

As said, there are two issues with the EQ. The first is that the 
implementation is subobtimal and introduces artefacts that have
to be (and are to some extent) hidden by changes added after the
initial release. The second is that this type of filtering allows
and invites to do things that do indeed 'destroy' the sound from
a purist POV, while adding nothing useful from any other POV.

How much this matter depends on what other cruelties the signal
has been subjected to before :-)

> Jamin was defined from the start as one way of handling the mastering
> process. Not necessarily the best or suited to every type of recording. It
> integrates the tools for that method into a single interface.
> Gold/Platinum radio friendly rock/metal albums have been produced using
> that method by the main "professional" contributors.

It's interesting to review the whole issue of mastering. Why does it
exist at all ? There is a mix of reasons for this.

1. To take technical limits of the distribution format into account.
2. To compete in the global 'loudness wars'. 
3. To give the suits the last word.
4. To assemble a set of recorings into a coherent whole.

(1) was certainly an issue in the analog days. Today this matters
only for broadcasting, but radio stations are taking care of this
anyway - at least those that are constrained by commercial factors
to be 'louder than the competion'.

(2) still exists, but it if matters you can have better results
by taking care of this while mixing. Or just turning up the volume
while listening.

(3) still exists, but given that production and mixing techniques
have become much more sophisticated, the possibilities for changing
things in any major ways afterwards have in practice decreased.

(4) still valid.

Given all this, one can start thinking of what would be required from
a mastering application.

* Equalisation. Certainly. One advantage of having a separate mastering
step is that it provides a second set of speakers, a second set of ears,
and a second 'informed opinion'. But whatever is done in the way of EQ
will have to be gentle and require rather smooth frequency response curves.
It's a matter of adding a bit of 'clarity' or 'body', or 'punch'. None
of this is done by agressive EQ. It's a few dB on rather broad frequency

* Multi-band compression. Maybe. But if that improves the result, it's
much easier to apply compression while mixing, on selected tracks. The
'multi-band' thing is there only to try and separate things again, and
usually it fails. IMHO dynamics are part of the mixing step, no excuses.

* Peak limiting to allow higher average level. No discussion here. Any
signal, even purist classical recordings, can benefit from this without
being degraded in any significant way -- if done correctly. But you can't
do this using a general-purpose compression plugin. This really requires
ad-hoc algorithms to do it well.



There are three of them, and Alleline.

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