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Tech Tip Of The Day: Level Matching

Is there a proper technique for comparing levels when preparing an album?

Provided by Sweetwater.


Q: I’ve been an intern at Big Name Studio for a while now, and I get to use the room to mix late at night, which has been really great for me.

I’ve got a bunch of tracks together I’m really proud of and I’m trying to put them together in an album but it’s really difficult.

Every time I get the levels of the tracks all lined up, then or two of them start to sound bad, then I have to go and remix the tracks, and the process starts all over again.

I understand this is all one big process, but can you explain why?

A: I certainly understand your frustration!

As you’ve found, in order to accurately and effectively compare two audio signals, the volume levels of those two signals must be matched as closely as possible to start with.

If one of the two signals being compared is even slightly louder, our ears will tend to perceive it as sounding better.

In your case, it’s likely that once the levels are where you want them, you’re EQ’ing and compressing against the new levels and fighting a loosing battle.

In the future, you may find that mixing to a set level to start with will save you bit of level jockeying when it comes time to put your album together.

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