So, you know how my Pro Tools mixes were kind of weak sounding?

Discussion in 'In the Studio' started by Prages, Sep 29, 2011.

    Sep 29, 2011
  1. Prages User Error

    I struggled with my first few Pro Tools sessions because while I was mixing and mastering, things sounded good to me, but then when I'd post them here, I'd get lots of comments about how it was lacking low end and sounded kind of weak compared to my older recordings.

    Well, I think I've finally figured out why that is.

    I finished recording and mixing/mastering my recordingfest entry this morning. I bounced the mix/master down to a wave file and also as an mp3. Then I burned both to a CD to listen to on the way to work.

    The mp3 is much quieter and lacks a lot of punch that is present in the wave file.

    So, I think my problem all along has been my mp3 encoder. I used Musicmatch Jukebox on my old computer, but I've been using either Windows Media Player or encoding direct to mp3 from Pro Tools on the new system. Even at 192kbps sample rate, the mp3 sounds like crap compared to the wave file, and on the old system, I could barely hear a difference between mp3 and wave, even when I encoded the mp3 at 128 kbps.

    So, I think I'm going to try to get Musicmatch on my new machine and see if that solves my problems. :weebz:

    Just thought I'd share.
  2. Sep 29, 2011
  3. Mark Wein :mad:

    Why not spend the $20 for the mp3 encoder for ProTools? Then you can export straight out of it at whatever quality you need.
  4. Sep 29, 2011
  5. Kerouac weird musical dildo

    Avid CHARGES you for a fucking mp3 encoder? :facepalm:
  6. Sep 29, 2011
  7. Prages User Error

    The mp3 encoder is standard on Pro-Tools 9, and that's what I used this morning, yet the mp3 still sounds like crap compared to the wave file. I made no adjustments at all. Bounced to wave, then when that was done, bounced to mp3 at 192 kbps. Maybe there are some advanced settings I can fiddle with or something. :idk:
  8. Sep 29, 2011
  9. Mark Wein :mad:

    Well, it isn't going to sound as good as the wav no matter what you do due to the file compression but I'd set the rate to something much higher.
  10. Sep 29, 2011
  11. Kerouac weird musical dildo

    I always bounce mp3s at 320 and uncheck the box to filter below 10hz. Out of curiosity, are you recording at 24/48? It might be a dither issue.
  12. Sep 29, 2011
  13. Prages User Error

    I'll have to play around with the settings. I didn't even look at what they were other than the bit rate.

    FWIW, I've always done mp3s at 192 in the past and they've come out sounding pretty damned good. 320 kbps would result in a pretty large file (12mb+) wouldn't it?
  14. Sep 29, 2011
  15. Prages User Error

    I've been reading the manual. :weebz:

    It's given me a few ideas of what I might need to do to get my final mix sounding the way I want it to. I'll give them a shot the next time I'm messing with it.
  16. Sep 29, 2011
  17. Kerouac weird musical dildo

    Most usually are in the 6-12 range, depending on length. I did a backing track for a student yesterday and bounced at 320 and it came out to 5.7. :idk:
  18. Sep 29, 2011
  19. Prages User Error

    After reading the manual, I'm thinking some of my problem is that I'm not using a dithering plugin on the master fader. I never did with Cubase, but it may have automatically dithered. I thought Pro Tools did as well since you can select the bit rate on mix down, but according to the manual you are still supposed to use a dithering plugin when mixing from 24 bit to 16.

    So, tonight I'm planning on playing round with it. I've got the thing sounding great when I'm monitoring it in Pro Tools, so I think it's probably just a matter of me not doing something right with dithering/encoding.
  20. Sep 29, 2011
  21. Kerouac weird musical dildo

    That's kinda weird. You insert it as a plug on the master output? I've never seen a dither control outside of of the Export screen. I guess I need to start learning more about PT. :weebz:
  22. Sep 29, 2011
  23. Prages User Error

    From the manual:

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  24. Oct 6, 2011
  25. See if Audiograbber is still available on the net.

    It is awesome. You can just drag the wav file into the window and let it go.
  26. Oct 6, 2011
  27. Punchy Cthulhu apologist

    Audiograbber is still available. . . 1.83 I think is the final version. Don't recall if it'll do 24-bit though. . .

    Although Audiograbber uses external mp3 encoders anyway. . .
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  28. Oct 7, 2011
  29. Format factory

    Or...

    I just used to use my iTunes software to convert with my old covers before I actually paid for a program.
  30. Jan 16, 2012
  31. ken n00b

    Pro Tools 9 and beyond has a free MP3 encoder. iTunes' MP3 encoder is good. I've never had a problem converting WAV files to MP3 with either, nor have I noticed a marked decrease in volume. And this is without any fiddling under the hood. I don't know what the problem might be, but at 192kbps or above, it sounds fine. I don't know what would account for the decrease in volume or marked difference in sound. I've been doing it the same way since Pro Tools 5.1 and with iTunes (that'd be about ten years now) and never noticed a difference, so I'm curious about what's going on with the OP.

    I don't always use a dithering plugin on the master buss in Pro Tools. A/B 'em and see whether it makes a difference or not. Personally, I don't think it's always necessary, but then again, I make the math easy by recording at 44.1kHz. Unless you are recording for film or for some other compelling reason, if you are intend your music to go to CD or MP3, I wouldn't bother with 48kHz recording. And if you are going to use higher sampling frequencies, I'd do 88.2kHz so it's halved to 44.1kHz just to make sure there's no funny math computations. Bear in mind that I don't have a firm basis for this, and don't want to perpetuate internet rumors, but it's still not a bad idea to make certain.

    -Ken
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    my photography site - kenleephotography.com
    my recording studio - blueberrybuddha.com
    NEW! my new music project - cdbaby.com/cd/mercuryseven/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  32. Jan 16, 2012
  33. Kerouac weird musical dildo

    Holy crap, I seem to remember you from another forum! You're at HC and over at Tweakheadz, right? Welcome. :)
  34. Jan 16, 2012
  35. paulskirocks Blue Zone Compliant

  36. Jan 16, 2012
  37. ken n00b

    :wave:
  38. Jan 17, 2012
  39. ken n00b

    Yes, I'm on Craig and Phil's forum over on HC, but not Tweakheadz. I remember you mostly from Phil's forum! Good to "see" you!!!! :wave:

    Ken
    www.blueberrybuddha.com - studio
    www.kenleephotography.com - photography

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