Dynamiskt är kul

Under senaste månaderna har det jobbats med en hel del dataspelsmusik här på Saintpid. Just nu manglar vi igenom 40 spår som ska mixas och mastras för kommande Little Misfortune från Killmonday Games.

En sak som varit gemensamt för alla dataspelsprojekt är att beställarna velat ha det dynamiskt. Det är ju kul eftersom det är så musik gör sig bäst!
Ni kommer få höra mer om Little Misfortune framöver men det får bli när spelet är släppt, så länge får ni njuta av en liten smygtitt på inspelningen av soundtracket till spelet Airport CEO som är skrivet och producerat av Sinephony och mastrat här på Saintpid.

The making of the Airport CEO soundtrack

Why all these bits?

Our clients often ask for ‘high resolution’ files, this can mean both a higher samplerate than 44.1KHz and/or a greater wordlength (bits) than 16. In our experience people are quite confident around samplerates but misconceptions about wordlength/bits seems more common. Even though 24bit (or higher) may be preferable in some situations we still recommend using 16 bits (and a 44.1KHz samplerate) as format for distribution online. We will continue to do that until there’s a new global standard for online distribution, if there ever going to be one. The reason being that when the files leave the mastering house, all control of the material will be gone. Who knows what dodgy dithers and SRC the different distribution services uses, some may be good, others will sound like crap. By delivering the format that most online platforms use and the format that 90% of the consumers will end up with, you (hopefully) avoid unnecessary conversions between both wordlength/bits and samplerates.
Ian Shepherd recently released the video below that easily shows what a lower number of bits actually means, it’s probably not what you expected:

The truth about bit-depth and digital audio resolution

And, if you want to dive deeper into bit depth and digital audio, plow through this video where Monty Montgomery describes the phenomenon of dither, bits and sampling frequency:

D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell (Monty Montgomery @ xiph.org)

2018’s most common mixing issues

Here’s a list of the 3 most common mix mistakes we saw during 2018, and some tips on how to avoid them!

  1. Phase problems. About half the albums we mastered in 2018 had phase issues, sometimes so severe that instruments completely disappeared while listening in mono, and other times the mix sounded completely different in mono due to volume differences… Tip: Occasionally switch between stereo and mono while mixing. Mix in mono for about 30 minutes, mix in stereo for maybe 30 minutes and change again … Always start your mix in mono!
  2. Truncation errors. Truncation distortion will appear when reducing bit depth without the use of dither. For some reason, I have had several projects where individual instruments in mixes have suffered from quantization distortion. Mostly it has been acoustically sampled instruments so it could be a sample player that lacks dither or maybe a popular sample collection that hasn’t been dithered correctly… Tip: Listen carefully to your sampled instruments, especially when they fade out (truncation distortion will be most obvious in the tail). If it sounds weird, try putting a dither plugin last in the chain on the affected channel and see if it sounds better. Airwindows has a free plugin called Ditherbox. https://www.airwindows.com/ditherbox-vst/
  3. Cut off fades. This is not a new phenomena, it’s been on the list for many years. When you render your mix, add about half a second of silence before the music starts and listen properly at the end and add as much time as needed to let all the cymbals and reverbs fade out to silence, add about another second or two just to be sure.

Happy mixing everyone!


Updated prices

We’ve updated our prices to match the actual workload for a project. The difference is that it becomes more expensive mastering single tracks while it becomes cheaper mastering EP’s or albums. If you order 4 tracks or more, it will be cheaper than before, 1 to 3 tracks will be a little more expensive.

Example
1 track of normal length and without any additions now costs 700 sek ex. VAT, previously 600 sek.

4 tracks now cost 1 720 sek, earlier 1 750 sek

10 tracks now cost 3,520 sek, earlier 3,850 sek

Use our price calculator to get an idea of what your project might cost!

https://www.saintpid.se/en/priser/


Thank you 2018!

The past year has been filled with so many fun and interesting assignments it’s hard to pick any favorites. To mention a few, I mastered music for an IKEA advertisement, mastered music and mixed the trailer to the upcoming game Little Misfortune from Killmonday Games and did a numerous bunch of albums and singles. Thanks to all of you who entrusted me with your exciting and challenging assignments and I’ll be seeing you again during 2019!

Little Misfortune Official Trailer
Anna Karenina-Cat Got Your Tongue
The Blue Ruin – Dust To Dust

Sample Peak column added to our ISP limiter test

We added a new column with Sample Peak values to the ISP limiter test. So far it’s only New Fangled Audio’s Elevate that actually contain a value but we’ll slowly start to update old tests and all new additions will have Sample Peak as well as True Peak!

https://www.saintpid.se/isp-true-peak-limiters-test/


EMS vara eller icke vara?

Det är rörigt hos musikverket och det rör till det i en av Sveriges mest framgångsrika kulturinvesteringar. EMS studion har odlat både framgångsrika kompositörer och Sveriges avtryck på den musikaliska världskartan och jag kan inte tänkta mig en värld utan denna fantastiska instutition. Hjälp till att behålla EMS som den stöttepelare för nytänkande musik den är och har varit sedan 1962.

https://www.skrivunder.com/radda_elektronmusikstudion_ems_-_save_ems_stockholm?a=2


Why bother with True Peak limiting?

Saintpid is in full swing after a well-deserved vacation!

Recently I’ve discussed True Peak limiting in some different contexts, with an interested client, a friend and an upset discussion on Facebook with mastering people who defend their right to have +3dBTP peaks on material “because it sounds better “… Well … I’ll let them continue to commit misconduct, just leave me out of it so that I can do my job.
As more and more streaming services shift to measuring with True Peak, it will become obvious why handling ISP is important. Today, for example, if Spotify gets a file at say -10LUFS, limited to 0dBFS (dB Full Scale) but with +2.5dBTP (dB True Peak), they’ll reduce the gain about -3 to -4dB (with the loudness setting set at normal). When Spotify eventually switches to True Peak, the same master suddenly will drop -5 to -6dB, so instead of being as loud (or louder) than the average track, it will be quieter. Guess whos phone will start to ring when artists and record companies realize that this is the case.

Back in the days, you created a master for a final media, it could be cassette, CD or vinyl. After a CD was pressed, the mastering engineers responsibility pretty much ended. That’s no longer the case, nowadays you have to make sure it’s up for all kind of post mastering processing. A good master should hold up for both fixed media such as CD or vinyl, but also distribution over the internet, where the audio will both go through loudness normalization and conversion to a new format as well as traditional broadcast. Your master ain’t sacred no more and staying under the True Peak zero is one of many things required by a good master today. When I choose myself, I deliver my masters with -1dBTP. It happens quite often that my clients want a louder master, then they get more compression as well as a file with -0.3dBTP. No matter what they prefer, they will sound just as loud online but the -1dBTP file may sound a bit better. However, the -0dBFS master with True Peaks at +2dB, no matter if it sounds good or not, will be quieter and you don’t want that, do you?!


Closed for vacation July 7 – August 8th

Hello lovely customers,

Since you’re so kind to trust me with mastering all this music I actually earned enough to take some time off this summer. Saintpid will be closed between the July 7 – August 8th. If you want to book a mastering session in August or later in the fall you can do so by sending me an email at info@saintpid.se or use the contact form here on the site!

See you in August!

, Closed for vacation July 7 – August 8th, Saintpid Mastering

dav


More Spotify and loudness

Have you looked at Spotify’s settings recently? Volume Normalization (Set the same level for all track) has moved from “Advanced Settings” to the first settings page, and you can choose Loud, Normal, or Quiet. With Loud, they restore their previous settings and land at about -11LUFS, with normal -14LUFS and Quiet runs as low as -22LUFS! If you let me decide, put it on quiet and adjust your playback gain with your amplifier to a level you’re comfortable with, this way all music from Metallica to Mozart will work together without any problems with limited peaks or volume.

My colleague Sigurdor Gudmundsson’s have more details in this blog post: http://siggidori.wixsite.com/skonrokk-studios/single-post/2018/06/04/Spotify-is-now-more-dynamic-than-ever