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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.