There are a few basic techniques that a beginning engineer can use to increase the perceived loudness of audio during mastering:
1. Compression: Compression is a technique used to reduce the dynamic range of audio, which is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of the audio. By reducing the dynamic range, the audio will sound more consistent and louder overall.
2. Limiting: Limiting is similar to compression, but it’s a more aggressive technique. It’s used to prevent audio from exceeding a certain level, which is called the threshold. This helps to prevent clipping and distortion while also making the audio sound louder.
3. Equalization (EQ): EQ is used to adjust the balance of different frequencies in the audio. By boosting certain frequencies and cutting others, you can make the audio sound louder and more balanced overall.
4. Normalization: This a process that adjusts the audio level to a certain standard level, usually 0 dBFS (Decibel Full Scale).
Please keep in mind that mastering is an advanced task and requires a good set of ears, skills, and experience. It’s not recommended to push any audio to its limits, and you should always listen to your audio on different playback devices to have a better understanding of how it would sound in different environments.
When using equalization (EQ) to make the audio sound louder, there are a few specific frequency ranges that you can boost or cut to achieve that effect.
1. The low-end frequencies (around 60-250 Hz) can be boosted to add more “weight” or “thump” to the audio, making it sound louder and more powerful.
2. The mid-range frequencies (around 500-2000 Hz) can be boosted to add more clarity and “presence” to the audio, making it sound louder and more detailed.
3. The high-end frequencies (around 10-20 kHz) can be boosted to add more “sparkle” and “air” to the audio, making it sound louder and more spacious.
It’s important to remember that boosting frequencies too much can cause distortion, so it’s better to boost them in small amounts and listen to the audio carefully to check if it sounds pleasant and not harsh.
On the other hand, cutting some frequencies can also help to make the audio sound louder. Cutting frequencies that are not needed or are masking other important frequencies will help to make the audio sound clearer and more defined, which in turn will make it sound louder.
For example, cutting the low-mid frequencies (around 250-500 Hz) can help to reduce muddiness and make the vocals sound clearer and more defined.
It’s important to use EQ with care and be mindful of the audio you’re working on, as well as the specific genre and its characteristics. Every audio is different and requires a different approach.