GarageBand Mastering Headache

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by rsherid, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. rsherid macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    A while back I asked about mastering. I was directed to Audacity and to uncheck the "Auto Normalize" function. I thought it had worked, but now I feel like I'm back at square one. This song I'm working on (short clip at bottom) is just not loud enough despite my best efforts with Audacity.

    The only thing that's made a difference that I can hear is if I turn up the master volume within GB and export it as such. However, when I do get it loud enough for my tastes, it clips as a result. Could anyone mess with it and tell me how to pump it up? It would be greatly appreciated and let me finish this thing.

    Short clip:
  2. Aniday macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
    The track as a whole is fine volume-wise. However your song needs remixing. Music is overpowering your vocals. Could use some compression, as well.
  3. ImpostorOak macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2009
    Yeah, the synth keyboard is really overpowering. It could stand to be brought down a little, but some EQ could help the vocals stand out more too. As for making a song louder, the amplify tool in Audacity will amplify it without clipping (unless you tell it to allow clipping).
  4. Plumbstone macrumors regular


    Feb 6, 2007
    Even without going back to the mix a good multiband limiter such as waves L3 could give you a quick fix, From a listen a few poi8nts that spring to mind straightaway are firstly your drums, they seem to be flamming alot, do you have some sort of slap delay on them or are they doubled up somewhere? You want your drums to be clean and punchy so would normally use eq and compression and maybe a small reverb on the snare/hats.

    The music is definitely overpowered by the keyboard, turn it down by at least 5dB and roll off everything below 200Hz, try some m ild distortion or tape saturation on it too.

    Finally your vocal is too dull and wet. You need to compress it quite heavily and eq loads of top end into it, less reverb too.

    Mixing is a bit of a black art and does take years to get good, keep pluging away and you'll get there. If youi upload a complete version of your song somewhere you may find a kind soul will master it for you.....:)
  5. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks, all. These are the tips I needed.

    So the problem is the mix, not the volume? Can I use the compressor in Audacity?
  6. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I usually use thus feature, but it won't let me Amplify UNLESS I select "Allow clipping." I'm not sure why.
  7. Aniday macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
    Why don't you use the compressor in Garageband? No point in constantly switching between DAW's.
  8. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    After messing around with all kinds of compressors, I find adjusting iTunes' EQ to 6dB makes it sound somewhat pro next to the rest of my music library. However, this is only when in iTunes. Cog or Quicktime, for example, play it as quietly as before. I can export it as an .MP4 with these new EQ settings, but, again, Cog and Quicktime don't notice the EQ adjustment.
  9. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Here's a new mix with all of the mastering I could manage. A lot of the reverb has been taken out, drums have been fixed, and some levels have been adjusted: Audio_recording 19-02.mp3

    The main electric piano may still sound loud, but it sounds too flimsy/cheap if it's quieter. I'm going to re-cut some of the pitchy vocals, but you get the idea. Any critiques welcome.
  10. Aniday macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
    Yep, music is still too loud. Vocals sound like mumbling along with pitch issues so it's pretty much impossible to hear the lyrics.

    If you have a problem with cheap sounding instruments then use better samples. Garageband has good sounding software interments, experiment more with those.
  11. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Here's the final mix as I see it:

    Things I've changed:
    - Re-recorded the vocals so they're sung and mixed louder
    - Made the drums a single track to get rid of that tape delay effect (which I admit sounded bad)
    - Pumped up the bass because I could barely hear it through my MacBook speakers (I know they're not monitors, but the majority of the listening public doesn't use studio headphones to listen to music :rolleyes:)

    My main concern, again, is the the overall volume. When played in Cog, it sounds fine, but when played on MySpace it sounds quieter. I've turned Audacity's Amplify/Leveler options up as loud as they could go without clipping and used WireTap Studio ( instead of GarageBand's Share option, but it's still bothering me.

    I think I've mixed it to sound as "warm" as possible, but I feel that's lost when you can't hear it as loud as an average studio recording. A lot of this might just be in my head, but I need to know so I can use these set levels (drums, vocals, bass, etc.) for future recordings.
  12. newuser2310 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    way too much bass, it even makes my crappy monitors resonate to ****, which drowns out everything else.
    mix is a bit muddy, almost as if there's too much going on at once.
    ie around 1.07.

    @ 1.57-2.30 it sounds hideous.

    Volume is fine though.
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Your logic is flawed. Yes most people do not have studio monitors. But you can't know what they have so your best option is to get __accurate__ monitors and make it sound good on those.

    In general when ever you think "everyone who does this kind of thing for a living is wrong and my way is better" you will be wrong. OK in a very few cases you will be the inovator but 99.99% of the time you will be wrong. I think your idea about using notebook speakers for monitors falls into the 99.99% category.

    You keep thinking it all about being "loud" no. that is wrong too. It's about being avoidable. If you want loud just go buy a big speaker and a 5,000 watt amp. It will be loud but still you will not be able to hear.

    What you need is for the various parts to be separated so that each can be hear clearly. The best thing would be to read a book on mixing and mastering. I am not the expert but I know enough to know that you really want "clarity" not just "loud"
  14. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I'm not using notebook speakers for monitoring, but merely testing them out along w/ car speakers. Previous to this recording, I couldn't hear my bass at all when I could hear it fine w/ other bands so I came to this thread seeking what to do.

    This is the scenario: When I keep the bass at the proper levels it sounds fine in headphones and also in these mini monitors of mine, but when it's just playing through the MacBook speakers, you hear everything (synth, vocals, drums) BUT the bass. It bothers me because you can hear the bass in a song like "Static on the Wire" (heard here) fine in all three settings: notebook speakers/headphones/and monitors.

    I certainly don't think my way is better. I don't even have a way! I'm quite the amateur, but I am trying to give my songs the best quality working with what I've got.
  15. newuser2310 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    Your other tune on your myspace is a lot better. However your mypace page sounds a bit up its own backside tbh. I would have spent more time learning production techniques rather than writing that rubbish.

    Not having a pop, I just think your tracks need a bit of work with the arrangement, levels and eq before you even consider 'releasing an ep'

  16. rsherid thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Which EQ option do I want: Parametric, Graphic, Visual?

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