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Radio Ready Masters – Make the Most of Your Radio Play (Part 2)

In the first part of our writing, we discussed what happens with our song when it plays on the radio. Professional Music Mastering for broadcasting industries plays a vital role to create our song radio ready. However, the quality of the output device is also responsible for how good your audio sounds on a device like a home speaker, car speaker, boom box or headphones. In the below segment, a brief discussion will take place about the 7 components of a radio broadcasting processor that plays the main role to create your song ready to play for the radio broadcasting.

What Actually Happens on a Radio Broadcast – The Typical Chain Process?

The below elements are the components of a chain process. The following section has designed in the order they appear.

  1. Phase Rotator: This is a chain of all pass filters. There are many waveforms in general and male voice in particular typically exhibit up to 6dB asymmetry. However, the phase rotator has the ability to reduce the waveform of a voice even up to 3 to 4 dB. Well, on the other hand, phase rotator affects the music quality when it plays on a boom box, car radio, home radio, and Walkman.

But with the invention of CD, the scenario got changed as a phrase rotator changed the input waveform completely without harming the balance of frequency. There was a myth that any sound modifies at the broadcast industry is less clean and clearer than modification made for the Compact disc. But thanks to phase rotator, because of this element the myth never crossed the line of reality.

  1. AGC: In the next step it comes to the average responding of AGC. According to the standard studio recording guideline, AGC is used for operating over a high dynamic range of 25dB. AGC has the ability to exclude all the long-term dynamics from your recording. It is easy to understand that all the radio show director and producer wants to play their show loud, but it may often cause, their listener are not meeting the satisfactory level. In the radio industry, we call it “dropping off the dial.”

AGCs can work on both multiband and single-band. While working on two different band channels AGC works slowly. But intermodulation of spectral gain is not a big problem because in the later stages compression works really quick.

  1. Stereo Enhancement: Not all the audio processor has the ability to enhance the stereo of an audio. This is why stereo enhancement takes place after the AGC in this chain. The main function of Stereo Enhancement is to make the audio signal more dramatic. In simple word, stereo enhancement is the process of applying more L-R energy into the center channel of an audio clip.

However, the excessive stereo enhancement gains the multipath distortion. But, the excessive enhancement reduces transmission power and loudness. At this point, I need to mention one more thing that the mono channel audio stereo enhancement is not only loudest but also cleanest.

  1. Equalization: This is a tricky part of an audio channel processing. So time to time it can be as easy as fixing bass boost frequency or sometimes it can be hard like fixing parametric multistage equalizer. Based on an EQ’s working principle it has two different parts. The first one is establishing the signature for a targeted radio station and the second part is limiting high frequency and dynamic processing of subsequent multiband.
  2. Multiband Compression and Limiting: Based on the manufacturer multiband compression and limiting can appear in two stages. While running and multiband comparison on four to six bands the limiter or compressor decrease the dynamic range. Every controller of this component has their own effect on an audio clip. In the radio broadcasting room, there’s no audio mastering engineer available who can optimize the technique of processing every new song they received. But in the case of mastering an audio file in a studio; the sound engineer is available there to optimize the process.
  3. Pre-Emphasis and HF Limiting: FM radio, in general, gets pre-emphasized at 0.00005 seconds to 0.000075 seconds. This time period depends on the law of the country where the broadcasting is taking place. It depends on the manufacturer of the processor where they want to put the compressor or limiter of the multiband. It can either or after. Limiting high frequency can make the sound quality of an audio file distorted, dull or even both.
  4. Clipping: The last and final process of this chain is clipping. In almost 80% of the processor, clipping is done to limit the peak. Clipping is an important part of radio broadcasting because in radio transmission a simple clipping does not work. In the late ’70s, a skilled audio engineer discovered the process of cancelling distortion from audio clips. This process refers to manipulation that takes place on the distorted spectrum band. This whole part is done by the clipper.

Quick Tips:

  1. Concentrate more on your song mixing than mastering. Even a good mixing song with poor mastering sound well. But it does not work the other way round.
  2. To create an ultra-loud mastering keep that in mind that the song must be kept in 2 dB to 4 dB, that also has high RMS for loudness. But do not measure the loudness of a song by its average RMS but dynamic range.
  3. If a master has poor dynamic range then do not try reducing the amplitude of the music for making it radio-ready to master. Try remastering the song again.

Creating a better dynamic range for your song does not mean it will only improve the quality of the broadcasting. The quality of your recording will be enhanced.

Radio Ready Master FAQ:

  • Does radio-ready master really exist?

Whenever a new song released, the producer of the song sends a file to the targeted radio station. First of all, the concerned person at the radio station reviews the song and after that, they come to conclude a decision. After the process, your song can be either selected or rejected. So if your song can be rejected so there’s must a standard that must match the radio mastering quality. So the answer to your question is yes.

  • Why does a Radio Station refuse to play a song?

Some songs are just not ready to play on the radio. As a result, the management team of the radio broadcasting station takes the decision of rejecting the song. In simple words, if a song is not ready for radio master will not be played on the radio.

  • What will you do if your song gets rejected?

If your song gets rejected then it is time for you to understand the fact that your song is terrible. In that case, you might consider a re-master. But what I like to suggest you considering a re-mixing will be more effective for you.

  • Does a radio station have their own compression?

Of course yes. Every small and big radio broadcasting channels have their own compression and they typically apply it to the songs they will broadcast.

Conclusion:

Radio broadcasting is a sophisticated and complex job. One needs several years of practice to do this correctly. So I would like to suggest my readers who are running a radio broadcasting channel to take the helping hand and recommendation of Online Audio Mastering Service provider’s. It will help them with slow compression and equalization. And of course, they can apply other effects that a typical audio mastering engineer uses in the studio. As a result, radio broadcasting channels will achieve the ability to play the sound which will meet the desired level of their audience. Overall I can say that following this guide will help you broadcast a song with more punch, loud, life, and clarity.

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