What is "Squelch"

I have completed my mix and issued a demo CD to friends for review to see how it sounds on their systems.
One of them has suggested I “use squelch to make each song sound uniform”.
He doesn’t know what it is but it’s probably something his producers have used on his own CDs.
I have encountered squelch on a CB radio and with my wellies in deep mud but not in music production.
I have followed David Franz’s book etc but have not met a technique called squelch.
I have used compression/limiter etc.
Could anyone please advise what this might be. Is it a new thing or is it just another name/slang for something I already have in Cubase. Thank you.

(PS there are some MP3 preview clips at fiefarts.co.uk/domhwelus - warning - may be loud and contain disagreeable language and disagreeable content!!)

I think he means “compression” but is using the word “squelch.” Carrier Squelch has to do with limiting the power of a broadcasting station, so I think he’s saying “more compression.”

When I was young it used to be a device in radios which acted like a noise gate. Unfortunately that’s probably not what you are looking for. Funny how language evolves. Even R&B doesn’t mean the same thing these days as in my youth. :unamused:

Maybe you should ask your friend what he means.

I would, bluntly speaking, ignore that suggestion, and read up on audio mastering. A portion of that art involves “normalizing” volume of each track on a CD or set of audio files.

Thank you all for your feedback.
I have read up a on audio mastering and played around with different settings and techniques. The distribution of the prototype CDs is part of my “proof-reading” process. I have not adhered to one particular formula for all songs because part of the process was to see which songs worked best for people in terms of playback on their various devices (rather than actual genre/content). My friend is a musician and does not do the production himself. When quizzed since my OP, he didn’t know if squelch was the right word :unamused:. I did wonder if at first he meant (mastering) compression but I felt that I had maybe pushed that one too far on some tracks already such that I was losing the snare under the onslaught of bass and switched guitar during the more thrashy bits. Indeed, it is the more spacey dub versions in the “bonus discontent” that behave best where there are fewer layers competing for the headroom. I think he is referring to uniformity across the CD as Steve suggests although I had got the volumes pretty normalised. I don’t want to make the production style uniform at this stage as I hadn’t yet decided which mixer settings worked best in terms of multi-device playback. The exercise was to find the best song settings. Maybe I am requesting feedback that’s too technical or maybe I’m just being too self-critical. Some people have told me to just go for it and press the “GO” button regardless as the CD works for them. If all the songs work then I don’t really mind the CD sounding a bit like a compilation album.

Yes, in the two way radio world, this would be a gate to isolate noise and threshold set to allow strong signals in only.

its that nasty feedback sound from walkietalkies/CB etc…

Good luck with the project; it sounds like you’re working to make things sound good. Here are some standard terms that are most often used to describe some of what you’re talking about.

Translation: How a mix sounds on different playback systems. Use Studio Monitors, ear buds, consumer computer speakers, car sound system. Does the mix “translate” well? You’re working on that and it’s a critical test of any mix, so sayeth the greats.

Peer Review/Client Review: Having others listen to the material and give opinions. Have other engineers listen and ask non-engineers to listen. Try to avoid the trap of “louder sounds better” which I think is one of the trickier parts of audio.
The Loudness Wars continue apace. Things have improved, but it’s still a factor and engineers are often required to bring tracks up to a “competitive” level whether they like it or not. The client demands it.

Mastering – includes both finishing individual tracks and assembling tracks into albums.

Take care, keep track’in.

Rather, it’s the function that mutes that noise.

we always called the sound the squelch…

but good to know… thx=)

p.s. i will continue calling the sound the squelch… sounds better:P

"In telecommunications, squelch is a circuit function that acts to suppress the audio (or video) output of a receiver in the absence of a sufficiently strong desired input signal. Squelch is widely used in two-way radios and radio scanners to suppress the sound of channel noise when the radio is not receiving a transmission. Squelch can be ‘opened’, which allows all signals entering the receiver’s discriminator tap to be heard. This can be useful when trying to hear distant, or otherwise weak signals (also known as DXing).

A carrier squelch or noise squelch is the most simple variant of all. …"

Yes. That’s the proper term. Thank you for expanding my English vocabulary.

Seems we have a lot of radio guys here… I am not surprised really, I’ve had all sorts of walkie talkies, CB radios, etc… Actually a good vocal fx too… if the genre calls for that sort of thing :laughing:

Yep, another here… studied for amateur radio licence when i was a kid, but CB radio was legalised here in the UK in 1981 which was far more fun for a kid of that age… wish i’d continued with the ham studies though.

Hi, thanks for the encouragement and feedback.
[I’ve not used a CB radio in years but I vaguely remember that in my youth (UK) the squelch on the CB radio was adjustable. One turned the squelch knob to adjust the permitted input level like a gate threshold. If you were trying to listen to someone with a poor transmitter, behind the hill, far away or whatever then you’d have to put up with background noise or you’d miss them.]