Tag Archives: clipping

Pump Up The Volume

Just finished bringing up the volume of another movie soundtrack song (based on a Broadway show tune) for a dance teacher in Tennessee.

We can raise the volume (without distortion) of any tracks that are playing too quietly compared to commercial releases today. This service is quite different than simply raising the volume in your audio editor of choice, which will invariably cause a harsh kind of distortion called clipping distortion. I’ve actually heard this kind of clipping distortion blasted over competition sound systems. It’s not pretty.

Raising the volume in this manner is most commonly needed for show tunes, movie soundtrack songs, and some older songs. These type of songs actually sound fantastic, because they retain their dynamic range, but in the world of dance competitions, the people responsible for the sound systems expect a certain volume from the CDs they are playing. You can’t rely on them to raise the volume of a soft song because they don’t know if a loud section of music is still to come. (However, if a song is too loud, you can count on them to turn the volume down.)

Bringing a song up to the proper level without distortion is currently being offered for only $19, and if the song is being edited by Squirrel Trench Audio, then this aspect is included in the regular price. What a bargain!

More info about Mastering your Dance Track and Fixing your Music in time for Competitions

Mastering the loudness of your dance competition music

Most of the time, when you are editing modern music for your dance routines, it’s already as loud as it can get. Make your edits, and you are done.

But for some type of music, especially ballads, lyrical songs, movie soundtrack songs, or older Broadway showtunes, soft passages sound too soft when played over dance competition sound systems.

What your music needs in this case is a process known as mastering.

Mastering is a delicate art, and even though the tools for mastering are now within reach of casual music editors, it takes a trained ear to use the tools effectively and deliver a result that sounds natural and smooth. Amateurs often use too much compression and limiting when trying to make music sound louder, but mastering engineers employ other techniques to avoid making the music sound squashed.

I highly recommend that you do not simply turn up the volume in your music editing software. This results in digital clipping distortion – an awful crackly noise, which I have occasionally heard in music played at dance competitions.

If you’ve got your dance routine music ready to go, but find that there are parts of the music that are too soft when played on competition sound systems, I can master the audio for you, to bring it to a place where it sounds great and is at the proper level for competition. And I will be happy to do this for you for only $39. This entire process can be handled online. Email me, and I will set up a private folder for you to upload your competition mix. Then I will master it and send it back to you via the online folder.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not your music needs mastering, send me the file and I will listen to it for you at no obligation whatsoever. If it could benefit from mastering, I will let you know, and if it is already as loud as it can reasonably go, then I will let you know that too.

I do not advocate that your music ever gets pushed to a loud extreme… an ugly process that has developed in the digital age known as the Loudness Wars. However, music designed to be played over dance competition and recital sound systems should be at an adequate level so that the music is not drowned out by the audience, acrobatic landings, nor tap shoes.