I’m going to be looking at a lot of progress bars today – I’m rendering XD Masters (Expanded Dynamics) files for the songs that to be the radio singles for Francesca’s amazing Christmas album. Yes, I’ve mentioned the amazing Christmas album once or twice. It’s good. You’ll know when she’s blowing up the charts this fall.
For the last couple years, I’ve been doing this thing, as I’m sure other mastering dudes have, of sending specially treated versions of mastering for radio play. I call them XD Masters, and they’re cool.
We know that “radio” does stuff to the music we send out. They’ve got a tough spot. Radio audio guys have a particular challenge when it comes to dynamic processing for FM broadcast. They have to try to get songs from 1984 where there was no loudness war, no monster digital limiting, no actual concern for how loud a song was recorded to sound as good as they did then while being parked next to some seriously loudly mixed/mastered current day tunes. We can save the debate on how loud is too loud. That’s client to client – although I don’t crust (whoops. awesome typo. thanks Reid.) the life out of stuff, FYI. ANYwho. The only people who really have a say in that are the people making the music and paying me for quality louderization. (New word. All mine.)
So I’m sending out versions of the songs for radio intent with the louderizering backed off. It sounds better on the radio because their compressors aren’t re-compressing down to broadcast-happy level – essentially undoing what was done in mastering. Radio gets more dynamic, not so hot mixes, their broadcast compression doesn’t have to work so hard, thus, it sounds better.
That’s fun, right?