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Author Topic: Mastering 3 Sets By The On The Same Night By Same Band - Separately or Together?  (Read 1116 times)

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Offline rockphantom

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I taped the stellar Las Vegas classic rock cover band, Phoenix, on two different nights last month.
December 24th & 29th.

http://phoenixclassicrockband.com/

Each night they performed three unique sets. I did make adjustments to the recording levels between sets.
Should I master each set independently or should I treat each evening's performance as one long recording?
I'm on the fence.

Feedback would be appreciated!
Thank you!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 07:16:58 PM by rockphantom »
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Offline ScoobieKW

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Unless instrumentation is totally different (acoustic vs electric) mix as one.
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Offline perks

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Unless instrumentation is totally different (acoustic vs electric) mix as one.

I'm always looking to learn something about the transfer/mastering process so I'm very curious about this.

I'm regularly see jazz shows when there are 2 different sets (early and late) on the same night for different audiences. So I always treat each like its own individual show and completely work on them independently. Starting from scratch on each set. My feeling is that there is a reasonable possibility that things changed between sets - the musicians communicated to the guy running sound that they disliked something or sometimes I see a vocalist swapping out a mic between sets or the piano gets a tuned up. So even though my gear stayed at the same settings I cant guarantee that the sound person is keeping everything on their end equal.
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Offline morst

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For me, the mix might be different, but I would probably master them together.
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Offline ScoobieKW

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When I think mastering, I think of the process of taking different tracks and making them a cohesive whole, whole compensating for room sound which will usually be the same the whole night. Adjustments to the mix during the night can be corrected if needed, but in my head I think of that as an edit phase I'm changing the recording from what was heard and captured in a more active way.

With acoustic vs electric I master separately mostly due to levels and dynamic range differences.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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For me, the mix might be different, but I would probably master them together.
This would be my approach with this set of givens. Since you adjusted the levels between sets, what I would do is establish a baseline level set for all three sets in each night. Then adjust each set "to the other" level wise if you know what I mean. Basically, within each of the three sets, make your level adjustments for the program THEN set your max gain to -.1 or -.2 dB or whatever you usually do (I don't normalize, don't like the squashed dynamics, but realize many here prefer that). Then if you apply Equalization, I'd apply it similarly to each night's three sets.
Each night obviously has to have different level/EQ but my preference in these situations is to treat them as I mention above.
have fun!  :coolguy:
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Offline morst

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(I don't normalize, don't like the squashed dynamics, but realize many here prefer that).

It's my impression that normalization is just arithmetic gain, nothing non-linear.  How does that squash dynamics if used properly?

I gain my sets up to the max (Audacity channel gain) and hand edit peaks to get more than I could otherwise, BEFORE using any plugins. I am working on a detailed description of my method, maybe I'll tune that up and post it shortly, now that you mention it!?  :bigsmile:
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Offline rocksuitcase

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(I don't normalize, don't like the squashed dynamics, but realize many here prefer that).

It's my impression that normalization is just arithmetic gain, nothing non-linear.  How does that squash dynamics if used properly?

I gain my sets up to the max (Audacity channel gain) and hand edit peaks to get more than I could otherwise, BEFORE using any plugins. I am working on a detailed description of my method, maybe I'll tune that up and post it shortly, now that you mention it!?  :bigsmile:
This has always been my ear's take on the difference between normalizing (peak normalization) and individual gain. That said, technically, your simplified statement is correct, however, there are more 'holistic' considerations. I found this link which I think goes toward saying you are correct about arithmetic gain while also offering some well thought through conceptions of normalizing.
http://www.hometracked.com/2008/04/20/10-myths-about-normalization/
Quote
Myth #4: Normalizing increases (or decreases) the dynamic range
A normalized track can sound as though it has more punch. However, this is an illusion dependent on our tendency to mistake “louder” for “better.”


By definition, the dynamic range of a recording is the difference between the loudest and softest parts. Peak normalization affects these equally, and as such leaves the difference between them unchanged. You can affect a recording’s dynamics with fader moves & volume automation, or with processors like compressors and limiters. But a simple volume change that moves everything up or down in level by the same amount doesn’t alter the dynamic range.
snip......
Myth #6: Normalizing can’t hurt the audio, so why not just do it?
Best mixing practices dictate that you never apply processing “just because.” But even setting that aside, there are at least 3 reasons NOT to normalize:

    Normalizing raises the signal level, but also raises the noise level. Louder tracks inevitably mean louder noise. You can turn the level of a normalized track down to lower the noise, of course, but then why normalize in the first place?
    Louder tracks leave less headroom before clipping occurs. Tracks that peak near 0dBfs are more likely to clip when processed with EQ and effects.
    Normalizing to near 0dbfs can introduce inter sample peaks. http://www.hometracked.com/2007/11/08/prevent-intersample-peaks/

Myth #7: One should always normalize
As mixing and recording engineers, “always” and “never” are the closest we have to dirty words. Every mixing decision depends on the mix itself, and since every mix is different, no single technique will be correct 100% of the time.

And so it goes with normalization. Normalizing has valid applications, but you should decide on a track-by-track basis whether or not the process is required.

Myth #8: Normalizing is a complete waste of time.
There are at least 2 instances when your DAW’s ‘normalize’ feature is a great tool:

    When a track’s level is so low that you can’t use gain and volume faders to make the track loud enough for your mix. This points to an issue with the recording, and ideally you’d re-record the track at a more appropriate level. But at times when that’s not possible, normalizing can salvage an otherwise unusable take.
    When you explicitly need to set a track’s peak level without regard to its perceived loudness. For example, when working with test tones, white noise, and other non-musical content. You can set the peak level manually – play through the track once, note the peak, and raise the track’s level accordingly – but the normalize feature does the work for you.
I will admit to last using normalization in Wavelab 6 or on my MAC which I stopped DAW work on in 2006. So I haven't ever used the normalization in Audacity which is my current editor.
Finally to admit, I love this site, I dig the users and recordists whom always seem to find new things, ideas, or old ones to discuss and define.
Just doing this quick, 30 minutes search, read, and reply has taught me things.      :headphones: :cheers:
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 02:56:06 PM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline morst

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I do the same function, I just don't call it normalization because I don't use a plug-in for it.  If I didn't raise levels before limiting, I'd have to apply more gain with the limiter, which raises the noise floor anyhow. Mastering limiters LIMIT your dynamic range, you don't have to use them, but if you want the music to work in a shuffle play where you don't have to  jack up the volume knob, sometimes, processing is helpful.  :hmmm:

Here is a thread about it:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=5432.0

that thread links to this FAQ:
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/AudioFAQ/pro-audio-faq/
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 10:52:34 PM by morst »
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Offline rockphantom

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Thank you for the feedback, everyone!
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Offline F.O.Bean

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I would master each of the 3 sets on their OWN, and release it as 3 different sets, by the same band. Which it was ;)

I would release it as ONE show, but they played 3 different sets, so those should be mastered separately IMO, and then released as ONE show, which it was ;)
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