Here’s a snippet you probably haven’t heard. I tried to introduce more dynamics, having these strings swell in and out to mimic a real orchestra.
I picked up a few new tricks recently, such as using pink noise to balance the mix (google it) and doing better gainstaging in Reaper, meaning the meters aren’t flashing red anymore at all. I now mix closer to -18dB than 0dB. This gives one additional headroom, which makes things a lot more relaxed. I also started to use mid/side processing on the mix bus (this allows me to control the middle and sides of the stereo spectrum separately).
On top of that, I’m trying to measure loudness with a LUFS meter on the master bus. If you’ve never heard of LUFS, I can’t blame you, it’s something used in broadcasting to determine average loudness. Youtube and other streaming services actually limit the LUFS your video can have. Now, if I could just find out what their actual numbers are. They seem to change these limits unpredictably. If you’re too loud, your video gets limited (try right clicking on a youtube video and click “stats for nerds” if you’re interested).
Furthermore, I’m using some new plugins. I might as well mention what they are:
- Sonic Anomaly “Unlimited”. This is a loudness maximizer / peak limiter.
- Credland Audio “Pink“. Pink noise generator.
- Youlean Loudness Meter. LUFS meter.
- Variety of Sound “Slick HDR“. HDR rendering done to sound.
- VoS “Rescue” and “Baxter“. Mid/side processing units.
- Everything by Smacklabs. So good it should be illegal.
I also now use a dedicated mix bus in Reaper, so I can have the Master set at 0 db and measure the loudness there more precisely. All the effects have moved to the mix bus, except the loudness maximizer, LUFS meter and Pink. This became necessary because you can’t have post-fader plugins on the Master in Reaper. Loudness needs to be measured after the last fader, though.
So, a whole bunch of esoteric music stuff is being done right now. Other things as well. I’ll continue to post updates.
… And, of course, there is an easier way to do the swelling strings effect. Buried in the depths of Reaper, there is a plugin that allows to simply do it with bezier curves, aka envelopes. It’s called ReaControlMIDI and I don’t know why they don’t make that the default on new MIDI tracks. Reaper is awesome, but a lot of its functionality is hidden in obscure plugins or menus.
Of course, I only find this plugin months later, while watching random youtube videos. *sigh* Feels almost like Linux! Home sweet home!