badd10de.dev

Audio Production


Linux setup

Currently I’m using PulseAudio on Linux for most of my tasks, but for audio production I use Jack. Unfortunatelly this is not straightforward. To ease the pain a bit I’m using Cadence or qjackctl to start jack and patch input/outputs. To be able to pipe audio to alsa (and for the output to appear in Jack’s patchbay graph) we find first our sound card with cat /proc/asound/cards and then alsa_out -d hw:0,0, where hw:0,0 is the card ID. This requires all audio devices to be stopped, so you may need to kill pulseaudio before that (pulseaudio -k). Alternatively, install pulseaudio-module-jack to make a pulseaudio sink and source channels, though you want to send the output of jack into the source instead of the sink.

Mixing/Mastering

Loudness

Nowadays, music is most likely going to be consumed from streaming and digital platforms. These services have started to normalize the percieved loudness so that no longer music that sounds louder appears as sounding “better”. This means we no longer have to suffer from the Loudness War and we have some more headroom in dynamic range when mixing and mastering a song.

The loudness is typically measured in LUFS/LKFS (Loudness, K-weighted, relative to full scale). Different streaming services will reduce the volume of the music until is in their selected ranges. For example, at the time of writing, the following list show an example of the target LUFS in each platform:

To measure LUFS in a Digital Audio Workstation software (DAW), there are fantastic free plugins available, such as Youlean Loudness Meter.

Some people recommend mixing with a target of -23 LUFS with 6dB of headroom and then mastering for the target platform. Of course, we can always mix a bit louder (-12 to -10 LUFS depending on how much compression we are OK with) than we need to target all platforms. Beware of not overdoing it, otherwise we risk losing dynamic range.

How to create a reverse reverb effect on a hit

From Mr. Bill’s video on Ableton Reverse effects (Source)

  1. Isolate and bounce the audio track we want to apply the effect. Short hits work better.
  2. Reverse the bounced audio track.
  3. Apply a reverb and/or delay to the rev. bounced track.
  4. Freeze, flatten and consolidate the audio track with the effect.
  5. Reverse the track back.
  6. Put it back in time with the original hit.

Note that if the track was not reversed prior to consolidation, we obtain a fade-in effect instead when reversing the processed track.

How to set the gain of your microphone

Try to set the gain so that the average audio peaks at around -12dB to have plenty of headroom to play with.

Noise gate

On OBS, set the close threshold and open threshold 5 apart (Open should be smaller), e.g. ct 55, ot 50.

Compression

The effect of compression can still be heard even at lower volumes. The attack of a compressor can help us control the transients. Longer attacks left the transient through, and the faster the attack will shorten the transient. Long attacks and high compression can make for punchier attacks and faster attacks can smooth out harshness. Playing with the release can be used to play with the swing/groove. For example blending overcompressed drums with a slow release will highlight the higher frequencies. Playing around with the release can help shape high-hats. Additionally, the release can be used to create texture. Slower releases will reduce some “growl” smoothing the sound and faster releases can make the transients more obvious.

Resources

Software

SunVox

SunVox is an amazing cross platform modular synth and tracker. Works on Windows, macOS and Linux.

ORCA

ORCA is platform designed for livecoding music and experimentation.