“Connection Down” is a song I recorded and mixed with Ardour.
For this post, I wanted to focus on a strategy for setting volume.
I’ve been learning how to record, mix and master for the last 2 years. It took me about a year before I could produce a recording suitable for radio play. Setting the overall volume of a recording is key to making a “suitable” recording.
I use Ardour’s “export to audio files” function to set overall volume for an audio file. After working on many projects, I noticed some mixes worked well with Ardour’s export function. The exported audio file sounds exactly like the mix. Other mixes required lots of adjustments, the exported audio file did not sound like the mix.
The mix for this song “Connection Down” worked the best. So what did I do differently? I changed how I set volume. I changed my workflow.
I stopped using the “normalize” function (on entire tracks) during mixing. Instead, I inspected a track, decided what regions need volume adjustments. Finally, apply either “Boost Gain” to raise a region’s volume. Or, “Cur Gain” to lower a region’s gain. I used Ardour “Loudness Analysis…” function to both, determine volume adjustments and to verify volume adjustments.
By workflow, I mean when and how do I start dealing with overall volume.
For this project, I started by recording: a simple drum pattern and a guitar. I made some adjustments to each track and then tested that both tracks could be heard distinctly. I then ran the Ardour export function to produce an audio file. I tested the audio file for sound quality and overall volume.
I repeated the above workflow each time I added a new musical part (EG. bass, vocals).
The above strategy is “a strategy” that worked for me. I am not suggesting this is the “only” strategy to use. If you found this post useful, please let me know.
I detail all software used (including plugins) for each recording, on my website. For “Connection Down”, visit https://punch-up.art/connection-down.html