Question about Tascam 2488 Portastudio Multitrack Recorder System

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Overall volume when burned to disc is too low

I have the stereo mix up to 127 on my 2488 digital portastudio, but the overall volume when burned to cd is still too low. I have to turn it up all the way on the car stereo to hear it-what am I doing wrong? I turned the stereo master all the way up during mastering -ugh

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  • sound4mind Nov 13, 2008

    thanks bd. I tried compression on the overall mix with the onboard effects which helped the mix but then made the overall volume once again lower when burned to cd -someone please help there must be some stereo overall main I am not seeing? I don't know

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This is a pretty common complaint and not unique to the 2488. The basic idea is that commercial CDs get their superior volume levels through the use of lots of compression which occurs throughout the mixing and mastering process. There are lots of schools of thought on how and when to apply compression during the production of recordings and the only real way to learn is to read up on compression and then to experiment.

Having said that, volume can also be increased by normalizing but many people don't consider that to be a completely legitimate way to increase dynamics and it does require working with wav files on a PC as opposed to the 2488.

I use a combination of external compressors, software applications, and the 2488 onboard compression effects when mixing/mastering (but mostly ouboard compressors). I usually don't burn CDs from the 2488 and choose to instead tweak the final mixes from the 2488 on my PC using various programs which gives me better control over various parameters (such as applying normalization to all tracks at once).

So the short answer is that there a lots of different ways to get there but basically when the dynamic range or your recorded material is large, the main volume of a track is going to sound lower because the parts with the highest levels (peaks) are going to need to fit in the -0 db area in order not to clip. When compression is applied the dynamic range is squashed down so that the peaks are brought more in line with the audio level which makes up the main portion of the track (in the middle of the dynamic range). This then allows the overall levels to be brought up higher without the peaks clipping. This is called downward compression.

Compressors can also be used to bring up the levels of low volume sounds without affecting the middle and higher level audio. This is called upward compression and also compresses the dynamic range in order to raise the volume of lower levels audio. This is called upward compression.

So when compressing and then boosting the main levels, the noise floor can come up with it. That is why gating is also commonly used along with compression and most outboard compressors are gates as well.

Hope this helps.

bd.

Posted on Nov 12, 2008

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