radio ready

how to

I understand that radio compresses the heck out of the tracks that play on the air. How much does this affect the sound? When they say: "be sure your track is “radio ready”, what does this mean? I would imagine it should be as clean and hiss free as possible. How is this achieved?

Radio stations use things like the Orban Optimod to sound lourder and more exciting than their competitors. Read what Orban has to say here:

There are some examples of processed music on their website somewhere. I think it affects the sound a lot - I was listening to Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” on the radio the other day, and the thing was so compressed that the quiet parts were just this gigantic hiss and then Seger’s voice and then hiss - back and forth…no dynamics at all.

“radio ready” - I wonder what that means…folks complain a lot that these days it means over compressing at the mastering stage. :)

In terms of level, compression, EQ… if your mix sounds about as good and has the same “loudness” as a commercial track in the same genre, then it’s OK. As a check, you can take a finished track, and compress the h3ll out of it with a VST multiband comp to get an idea of what a radio station compressor might do to it.

Beyond this, when they say “radio ready” they probably mean that the total length is appropriate, that it’s trimmed so there’s no dead space at the beginning and end of the track, and that it’s in a properly burned CD with no errors, properly labelled with artist, composer, publisher.

“Night Moves” was done back when things were done on tape (with tape hiss), and actual dynamics were still acceptable. These concepts are apparently now passe :( , so Night Moves is probably not a good example to make judgements from.

honestly. my old band had songs played on the radio that I made prior to knowing much of anything and they were just as loud as the other songs since they compress everything anyway. if your song sounds good, it’ll sound good on the radio. no mastering needed.

Hey Archimedes! I was just thinking of it as an example of how things like the optimod can change the sound. there is still a noise floor in digital recordings, so perhaps the proper conclusion is that now radio ready means that one avoids 70s style mixes. :)

Thanks for the feedback. I have alot of original music posted on Broadjam that was all done with Ntrack. When I get reviewed, I get great ratings on the vocals and good ratings on the song, but I get clobbered on “the recording” or “production”. I’ve had one song make the Top 10 regional list. I am basically a singer/songwriter. I’m not an engineer or a producer, although I’m wearing those hats out of necessity. I’m self taught and I am sure I could benefit from some type of formal training. On my stereo, or my computer at work, or in the car the sound is pretty good, but…

Thanks again for the feedback. Maybe I’ll take the plunge and give radio a shot. I’ll let you know what happens.