Do my SC tracks seem quiet? (What am I doing wrong?)

Every now and then, an SC upload of mine seems to play more quietly than tracks by other people.

For example, my recent Sketch 34 thing seems noticeably quieter, to my ears.

https://soundcloud.com/akasnd/sketch-34-lofi-beats-no1

I’d appreciate it anyone here would pop over to that track, (especially @blakkaz, @iammane and @NickElle) give it a quick listen at its fullest part (~3:30) and let me know if it seemed quiet compared to other people’s SC tracks.

(Don’t feel the need to listen to the whole thing. It’s just to get feedback on volume, not about plays.)

 
The second part of this query would be, if it does sound comparatively quiet, what can I do to ‘correct’ it?

(Afaik, SC doesn’t normalise uploads.
I replaced the file a short while ago. On the previous version, the dB level seemed to be peaking at -1dB [pretty standard, afaik] and played at a reasonable volume when playing the WAV locally. It just sounded quiet/weak on SC. So, I bumped it up to ~+3dB peak in the hope that it would make the SC upload seem less quiet. Not sure if it’s a caching issue, but it doesn’t seem any louder to my ears.)

 
Thanks.

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Would you mind listing your workflow/tools?

On that track, I added the outro sound clip in Audacity* then output from there, but I hadn’t touched the amplification/normalisation until today. (* Could have done it in Auxy, but I was just rapidly auditioning different sound clips and I already had Audacity open, so…)

So, everything apart from that outro sound clip is 100% Auxy.

Even with the dB bump, the transients still seem clear and the wave still has dynamic range, from the look of the waveform in Audacity.

 
As mentioned, the WAV played locally feels comparable (volume-wise) to 3rd-party tracks on SC. It’s just when it goes onto SC that it seems quiet by the same comparison.

Part of the problem is maybe this?

Without really looking at a nice wave form it looks like something is peaking and then it’s throwing off the whole mix. This is where I usually get kind of f’ed up with compression, even after all these years I still don’t fully understand. But, if SC or maybe even Auxy is doing some kind of limiting on the export/upload, and there is something in the track that peaks or continuously peaks it’s crushing the rest of the mix?

I agree this one in particular is quieter, even compared to Nightcrawler. If it’s cool locally then SC must be doing something to it in the upload/conversion process :frowning:

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So, are you saying that it’s the peaks (in this case, the snares) that are too contrasted, and I should reduce the contrast a bit by bringing up the other elements more (to increase overall loudness)?

(SC doesn’t normalise, afaik.)

Maybe it’s time for me to output the stems and try out that pink noise trick.

 
(…or does this mean that my mix is maybe ‘correct’-ish, but it just sounds wrong because of ‘The Loudness War’?)

 
Fwiw…

What’s the pink noise trick? Yeah it definitely could be a problem with some normalization somewhere though. You exported the wave, that sounded good and then you uploaded that to SC? Or uploaded to SC from Auxy directly?

I have no proof there is a difference there but the more variables you can remove from the process would probably help.

Ahhhhh yes, the loudness war :frowning: I’ll be upfront with you - I didn’t even notice this track was quieter until you mentioned it, because I turned up the volume lol, and I’m ok with that. I’ll take something with an overall quiet volume but LOADED with dynamics any day of the week. Nothing makes me sadder than cracking into a track and the wave form looks like this:

image

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Yep.

Yep.

Yep.

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Props to @blakkaz for bringing this to our attention. :+1:

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Thanks, both.

Guess I’ll have a play with this track (and Nightcrawler, apparently) later today, running each through the pink noise technique thang.

:+1:

Damn nice, just watched it that’s a real nice way to speed through your levels. Thanks guys!

After a few more listens I’m pretty sure it’s the snare/limiter issue.

Does this sound like an improvement?

Original

Dodgy Re-Master

Significantly. :+1:

What was the process? Was that the result of using the pink noise technique on the rendered track?
(i.e. ‘dodgy’ because you’d normally do it on the individual stems)

Dodgy because I dropped a 128kbps mp3 onto one of those instant mastering thingies. :grin:

I think if you use the pink noise technique and then drop your WAVs on this: https://www.bandlab.com/mastering

It should stop SC from being so inconsistent.

Excellent stuff. Thanks again. Really appreciated.

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Man, I’m so late. Haha

I agree with @blakkaz and @iammane . :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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This much is clear to me, I suck at mixing.

Tried the pink noise technique, but didn’t end up with the shape of frequency spread as in the video.

I had to ramp up the volume of several instruments in Auxy (out of proportion) just to get them to be audible ‘just above the pink noise’ as suggest in the video.

F****d if I know if it made any difference. Still sounds quiet to me (compared to, say, this Austin Haga track). Feel like I’m going round in circles.

If the only non Auxy thing was that sample, what happens if you strip it out and re-upload even as private? Just out of curiosity

I liked what the BandLab mastering seemed to do, but couldn’t figure out how to simply export that mastered version.

Ended up throwing it through a mastering preset in Ableton and updated it using that, but (I’m so wound up and frustrated by it that) I think I’ve lost my ability to tell if it’s made any difference.

I’ll come at it again tomorrow. Maybe. :wink:

Yeah rest those ears no point banging head against wall

It’s super confusing…
This works for me.

  1. Create a (free) account
  2. Drop WAV and choose preset
  3. Click ‘Start a new Project’ button
  4. (This bit is WTF???) Click on song title
  5. Click ‘Open in Mix Editor’
  6. Click ‘Download’ in top right corner