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Limiter while mixing ?

Lightly, just in case...

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Posted (edited)

Aside from Voxengo SPAN for some metering (usually setup for m/s - I love the fact I can see both the frequency responses from both the M and S overlayed on each other) I have nothing.

 

But I have the feeling this means I'm doing way more in the actual mastering stage than is maybe normal.  I reckon if I sent my stuff off for mastering it wouldn't come back to my liking.... well maybe not providing I gave good reference tracks.

Edited by b born droid

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Posted (edited)

re: Limiters : Ok. That's something I avoid, but I'm quite rigorous when it comes to gain staging so I barely ever peak higher than ~ -8dB FS on the master buss no matter what I do. Regarding loudness, I have plenty without limiting, most of my mixes now have 10 to 12dB crest factor so that's enough really.

Now, if I really need to kill a few peaks I'll go for TDR Limiter 6 GE.

 

@b born droid: I for one just try to make the mix sound as good as it would be after being mastered. Not talking about loudness here but about spectral and dynamic balance, overall sense of depth and space etc... Not saying that my mixes sound like records, but that's what I aim for. It helps !

Edited by Nil

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I am happier making things loud in audacity

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vanilla ableton compressor or glue -> cakewalk ca-2a as a limiter -> ableton limiter for final peaks

 

i try to avoid eq on master as ideally i should be dealing with the freqs on each individual track. if a song is finished and i'm getting it ready for a release then i'll use EQ, but not when mixing.

 

i'm also starting to use tape sims on the master as i think it applies a subtle treatment that breaks up the digital cleanliness just enough. when i A/B it should be barely noticeable, it's more the effect it has on long term listening that is important. so i listen to A and B for at least 10 seconds when i compare. i bought waves kramer master tape for this if anyone's curious.

 

tascam 414 :-)

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I reckon if I sent my stuff off for mastering it wouldn't come back to my liking.... well maybe not providing I gave good reference tracks.

Problem is that you don't have a professionally treated room. A mix that sounds good in your room might not be translatable to other sound systems and rooms as good as you imagine. Even if you try to listen through different speakers, different headphones, in the car and at a friend's place, and always compare your mix to other music that has the tonal balance you are aiming for, you can never be quite certain if the sound is really where you want it to be. Mastering studios just have a much better sound system and room treatment than most private people have, Also when you hand your music over to a mastering engineer you are paying for a second pair of ears that have years of experience finding the right tonal balance. So if you really want to commercialize your music you should have it mastered professionally. At least that's what I imagine, have no experience with that at all

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If you are going to get it mastered, really try to find someone good. There are so many people who just slap some waves/uad shit on and level it to 0db.

 

Mastering really isn’t as much about the facilities or equipment as it is the skill of the person. Of course, it’s nice to have your stuff run through a Manley, but most of the engineers I respect stress how they try to be very minimal.

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forget about everything before the master unless signals are getting processed....i usually just look at how much over 0 the master is and then place a gain plug on the master and reduce it by that amount...then push it little by little into some bus comp as per taste...probably terrible science

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Just in case, the simple tip which has improved my mixes tenfold : https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/463010-reason-most-itb-mixes-don-t-sound-good-analog-mixes-restored.html

Then using processing on the mixbus becomes a creative / esthetic choice, not a necessity to tame too hot levels and prevent clipping.

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lol, 262 page thread. Do you have a 3 point summary Nil?

 

I have bookmarked it tho

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Posted (edited)

lol, 262 page thread. Do you have a 3 point summary Nil?

 

I have bookmarked it tho

1. Record in 24 or 32 bit

2. Be aware of your gain staging; while recording and mixing your peaks should be under -12 or even under -18 dBFS. Later you can bring the master level up

3. Love your country

Edited by xox

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Posted (edited)

well, i would say pretty much ignore the information about volts and decibels, just establish whatever peak dB convention you want to use. i only say this because most of us will never understand the engineering aspect of an SSL, since we are poor and live as outcasts.

 

the important part is using a trim plugin at the beginning of the chain of each track. the way most people work:

 

raw track audio -> compressors/eq/fx (in whatever order, there are merits to many arrangements) -> oh no, this is too loud, let me turn fader down -> master bus

 

 what this does is, if you were to graph the volume at each stage of the signal flow, it would look like an erratic, jagged line.

 

what you want to do is make that graph look more like a smooth curve up toward -12 db. do more boosting/meshing at the master bus. then, your track will be pretty much ready for mastering. i.e., slamming with a limiter until you are getting 10 db of gain reduction lol

 

basically, be really intentional about level changes through your dsp chain, and use the faders to mix after the levels are where you want pre fader, because dropping the fader as a solution to redlining audio is just artificially reducing redlining audio, even though it will eliminate digital clipping. then if you want it to be loud, do that on the master bus.

 

that's what i do anyways.

Edited by sheathe

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4. Get a VU meter like the inexpensive Klanghelm VUMT and slap it on every individual track, right at the beginning of the chain.

5. Set it so that 0VU = -18 or -20

6. Set the output of your synths, samplers, recordings etc... so that the VU needle dances around 0 for sustained sounds (kicks, basses, most instruments, anything with a healthy dose of low frequencies), and pay attention to peak values for transient-heavy sources (snares, hi-hats, anything with tons of treble and relatively light on LFs)

7. Enjoy tons of headroom while mixing and processing

8. Love your country (I guess).

 

Can seem a bit tedious but once you're used to it, it'll take seconds to gain-stage as you do sound-design / record / mix.

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forget about everything before the master unless signals are getting processed....i usually just look at how much over 0 the master is and then place a gain plug on the master and reduce it by that amount...then push it little by little into some bus comp as per taste...probably terrible science

The final level shouldn't be at 0db, it should always be below 0db. For high quality files -0,3db are a good choice. If you upload it to soundcloud or other streaming platforms it should be around -0,7db to prevent unpredictable volume peaks that can occur through file compression exceeding 0db.

 

Also if you change the gain so that your track is at 0db peak and you then push it into a say 4:1 ratio compressor by 4 db it still exceeds 0db by 1db. Pushing your 0db master through a compressor is pushing above 0db and into nasty digital distortion. So you should definitely put a limiter behind your compressor

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forget about everything before the master unless signals are getting processed....i usually just look at how much over 0 the master is and then place a gain plug on the master and reduce it by that amount...then push it little by little into some bus comp as per taste...probably terrible science

The final level shouldn't be at 0db, it should always be below 0db. For high quality files -0,3db are a good choice. If you upload it to soundcloud or other streaming platforms it should be around -0,7db to prevent unpredictable volume peaks that can occur through file compression exceeding 0db.

 

Also if you change the gain so that your track is at 0db peak and you then push it into a say 4:1 ratio compressor by 4 db it still exceeds 0db by 1db. Pushing your 0db master through a compressor is pushing above 0db and into nasty digital distortion. So you should definitely put a limiter behind your compressor

 

Yep always a limiter last but 

 

I always give loads of room...so any bus comp is barely being touched and the limiter is only just in case

 

Good advice with the upload business

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I reckon if I sent my stuff off for mastering it wouldn't come back to my liking.... well maybe not providing I gave good reference tracks.

Problem is that you don't have a professionally treated room. A mix that sounds good in your room might not be translatable to other sound systems and rooms as good as you imagine. Even if you try to listen through different speakers, different headphones, in the car and at a friend's place, and always compare your mix to other music that has the tonal balance you are aiming for, you can never be quite certain if the sound is really where you want it to be. Mastering studios just have a much better sound system and room treatment than most private people have, Also when you hand your music over to a mastering engineer you are paying for a second pair of ears that have years of experience finding the right tonal balance. So if you really want to commercialize your music you should have it mastered professionally. At least that's what I imagine, have no experience with that at all
I meant more that I think when I master I do some processing that technically probably should be on the mix master bus. I mix in the studio at my work so I can usually guarantee that it sounds good (well to me lol), but I think because I master it myself I still use the mastering phase to do a little bit of mixing which is totally wrong. Which is also why I think if I got anyone to master it externally it wouldn't end up sounding like I want it. But alternatively sometimes when I've tried to address it in the mix phase with the master bus, I've applied mastering stuff in the final mix which is also wrong. It's a tough balance so this is a good thread to read to be honest.

 

Gesendet von meinem SM-A320FL mit Tapatalk

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On the computer: Compressor -> Noise -> EQ -> Limiter

 

99% of the time the Noise is on thru-mode, but if I want my song to sound a bit more crunchy I have a multi-band noise effect that I sometimes use. It sounds ridiculous, but it has saved some poorly-mixed tracks from making a one-way trip to the recycle folder. The EQ is to trim a tiny bit of the lower end bass off that might have been resonated during the mix and to keep the peaks in check that the noise may have created. Like I'd never do more than a 3db cut. Usually its 1db or so. Limiter at the end for obvious reasons.

 

In Pd and Max sometimes I'll have an oversampling module at the beginning if there are a lot of artifacts or aliasing clicks. Due to heavy CPU usage, though, this isn't always possible.

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A noise gate ? I love them everywhere in the mix but never have tried on the masterbus.

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Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this thread. I appreciate it.

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Fantastic topic. Learning a lot here. . . .

Ok, it seems like it's pretty standard to use a compressor on the master bus to help "glue" everything together. Can one of the smart folks here give some thoughts on whether or not it makes sense to compress individual tracks in addition to the master? TIA!

 

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I woulds say yes - Even just gentle compression to tame some wild peaks on individual tracks can help when they're then all finally routed to the master bus. It definitely also helps with sculpting the general sound of each instrument too, check the huge changes you can have just running a mic recording of a drum kit though a [admittedly more than just a] compressor:

 

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^ cheers, TY! Video helps a lot (+ love that little squiggle bass line at the ^o^).  

 

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On 5/17/2019 at 4:34 PM, T3551ER said:

^ cheers, TY! Video helps a lot (+ love that little squiggle bass line at the ^o^).  

 

Like mcbpete said, compressors can really help you shape your sound. You should try adding a compressor to a snare and slowly dial in the different knobs to see what they do. Turn down the attack and threshold down until it completely squeezes your sound and then slowly turn up the attack. When the snare starts to pop you should try messing around with release. Tiny, tiny movements on these knobs will help you shape your sound.

I had a lot of trouble understanding this to begin with and simply didn't bother compressing anything. Now I compress everything to death.

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1 hour ago, Squee said:

Like mcbpete said, compressors can really help you shape your sound. You should try adding a compressor to a snare and slowly dial in the different knobs to see what they do. Turn down the attack and threshold down until it completely squeezes your sound and then slowly turn up the attack. When the snare starts to pop you should try messing around with release. Tiny, tiny movements on these knobs will help you shape your sound.

I had a lot of trouble understanding this to begin with and simply didn't bother compressing anything. Now I compress everything to death.

Thnx Squee! This is great advice. I've messed around w/ compression on overall drum loops, but never on individual sounds (think this will help make it make more sense). Xie Xie!

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