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controlling peaks Saturation Plugins
Old 7th October 2011
  #31
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I like, 24bit, lots of headroom, nothing on the master bus that will affect my ability to mix. If something peaks in a spot, just do some automation, turn it down, pan it, whatever.
Old 7th October 2011
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
By no means arguing, just asking questions!

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yeah my tone was a little argumentative...worth his salt was a bit strong..apologies

Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
@kcearl

Do you think using multiple limiters is a rare occurance?

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no I dont...but i think whacking one across an entire mix from the beginning is unnecessary..personally I wouldnt even use a compressor, id rather tackle the individual tracks..and slapping one on after youve mixed is tantamount to completely changing the mix

I think anything universally squashing dynamics at the tracking or mixing stages isnt good practice, I think you are already entering the mastering stages...what we get now is home producers that make no definition between the three stages and are actually attempting everything at once..just turn the faders down

Im by no means an expert, Im pretty new to all of this, but i do try to define each stage and the processes within that stage..I can only think it'll serve better later on

though saying that Im sure that 99% of the pop tracks on the radio have limiting and/or compression on their master buses during the mixing stage...and thats a good reason not to do it heh
Old 7th October 2011
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessem View Post
I like, 24bit, lots of headroom, nothing on the master bus that will affect my ability to mix. If something peaks in a spot, just do some automation, turn it down, pan it, whatever.
thats it in a nutshell
Old 7th October 2011
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
why would you need to put a limiter on the master track?
As I said at the start of the thread, I'd recommend never working without a limiter- if you get some glitch in your software, or accidentally create a feedback loop, you can easily output way beyond 0dB, and potentially rip your monitors/headphones/ears a new a-hole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
wouldnt it be limited again during the mastering process?
If you are sending for external mastering, just switch the limiter off before the final bounce.

Personally, I no longer outsource my mastering- preferring to keep control of that myself... but even if I was to send away, I think it can be useful to do the mix into a limiter- to get the mix so it's going to be balanced after it has been limited by your ME.
If I was to send out for mastering, I'd also leave in place my compressor, plus a bunch of EQs & some other bits.
Old 7th October 2011
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
I think anything universally squashing dynamics at the tracking or mixing stages isnt good practice
I also do this... as far as I can get away with it without causing harm.

Personally, I think that getting elements loud on their own tracks makes it easier to have a more dynamic mix overall.
Old 7th October 2011
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
As I said at the start of the thread, I'd recommend never working without a limiter- if you get some glitch in your software, or accidentally create a feedback loop, you can easily output way beyond 0dB, and potentially rip your monitors/headphones/ears a new a-hole.
Ive never had that happen in the three years of doing this, but its the best reason Ive heard for using a limiter on the master....but Id make sure my mixes and plenty of headroom so that was all it was doing



Quote:
If you are sending for external mastering, just switch the limiter off before the final bounce.

Personally, I no longer outsource my mastering- preferring to keep control of that myself... but even if I was to send away, I think it can be useful to do the mix into a limiter- to get the mix so it's going to be balanced after it has been limited by your ME.
If I was to send out for mastering, I'd also leave in place my compressor, plus a bunch of EQs & some other bits.
Ive no idea of your skills but I'd hazard a guess that most mastering done by home recorders is pseudo mastering, and is for little more than bringing the volume up..

Mastering houses have equipment, experience, and skills quite a bit beyond the average punter in here...and theyd prefer to be the ones dealing with the dynamics of the final mix, and with plenty of headroom..or so the ones Ive spoke to before say

How you decide to send them your music is up to you, and how you decide to "master" it is up to you...as Ive said I have no idea of anyones skills set in here..

the old saying if it sounds good then it probably is, I guess Im still talking about best practice
Old 7th October 2011
  #37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
I also do this... as far as I can get away with it without causing harm.

Personally, I think that getting elements loud on their own tracks makes it easier to have a more dynamic mix overall.

This may work for but goes against what Ive read or heard...again I have no idea of your skills set and if it works for you then thats great

I cant see in a digital age why mixing quietly seems wrong, turn up your monitors....again its easier to master a track that has more headroom than less...and Im hearing this from mastering engineers
Old 7th October 2011
  #38
also how can loud equal more dynamic? does your volume button make your mix sound more dynamic?
Old 7th October 2011
  #39
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Hi, no time to check all the previous posts.

nice stuff but it has absolutely no dynamics. probably due to all that bus compressing you mentioned.

what i'm about to describe is the key for punchy edm.

Let's say you have all you're audio elements raw without any processing.

YOU HAVE TO MIX IN FREEDOM!!! forget about the clipping.

on you're master channel the peaks never have to go over -3db as a gener rule.

so the audio sources cannot be at -3Db, lower all the volumes!!

compress and eq certain sounds if necessary, do group (not buss) compressing if necessary.

once that you mixed in freedom and the mix is balanced you can do 3 things.

1) export mixdown as it is

2)Create busses and route the group tracks into different busses, assign them to the audiocard different outpouts. so the sum is made by the audiocard (hopefully good one) and then record in your daw. I know how to do it on a RME.
(like this already the sum of the sounds will give you less peaks)

3) Get an anaolg summing box send the outputs of your audiocard to it and record back in the DAW. That will give you up to -3db of headroom compared to digital mixdown, and of course you get analog mixing, that means that continuos waves will be blended and not numbers being mashed up together. expensive solution though

done this find someone with some analog gear that can make you a mastering (if the mix has a lot of peaks analog behaves better than digital) or make a digital mastering.

don't complicate your life with bus compressng etc it's simply not the way it's done. and very time wasting

cheers
Old 7th October 2011
  #40
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Forgetting about mixing n mastering advice that I'll leave to you guys, ive had a few plugins cause really loud peaks over the years, so I too always have a limiter on the master channel just to catch any nasty glitches.
Old 7th October 2011
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
Ive never had that happen in the three years of doing this
Three whole years? Wowzer.




Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
also how can loud equal more dynamic?
If you get each element as loud as you can (without causing it damage... so some elements I wont touch AT ALL) on its own channel, you can then mix them relatively quieter in the mixdown (while still having them as audible)- giving the track more room to breathe.

You then need to use less compression/limiting in order to get the desired loudness, since it's already loud... thus, you have a more dynamic mix.

I've discussed this at much greater length here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...ic-bounce.html
Old 7th October 2011
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
Mastering houses have equipment, experience, and skills
I used to send out for mastering... but I now prefer to DIY- I was always frustrated with the results of external mastering... I'm a bit of a control freak.


If I could afford £100 per track to go to the top dogs, then maybe I'd then reconsider this situation... but you need to be moving f***loads of units to make that economically viable, and I'm not quite there yet.


Here are some examples of tracks I've self-mastered:





Old 7th October 2011
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Three whole years? Wowzer.

yup...pretty much full time, I stopped working to learn it...so maybe its 21 dog years




Quote:
If you get each element as loud as you can (without causing it damage... so some elements I wont touch AT ALL) on its own channel, you can then mix them relatively quieter in the mixdown (while still having them as audible)- giving the track more breathe.

You then need to use less compression/limiting in order to get the desired loudness, since it's already loud... thus, you have a more dynamic mix.

I've discussed this at much greater length here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...ic-bounce.html
dude you sum it up in your first post

"... No doubt people would disagree with me about some of that... but all this works for me."

the volume of individual tracks has no bearing on your mixes overall dynamics in the digital realm unless its to combat the noise floor imho


thats what Ive learned in three years heh
Old 7th October 2011
  #44
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Entrainer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
then, when finished, switch off the limiter, and voila- a premaster at -10dBfs.
I would add the caveat that this method should REQUIRE
a 24-bit session.

If you are working in a 16-bit session, you'll want to leave
the limiter on, set half a dB down. Adjust the threshold
so no reduction is taking place for a premaster.

Personally, I'm a fan of headroom. Gain staging DOES
play a role even if you are 100% ITB.

-12dB to -18dB is typically 0dB on a console or VU meter.
So considering the tendency to push those in the red a bit,
any recent comp/eq/console emulation will start to add distortion...
Which you may not want. You have to listen and be aware.

I haven't personally found digital distortion emulations to
be particularly pleasing. I leave that stuff DISENGAGED if possible
(UAD Fatso for instance). This, however, is a personal preference,
a thing of taste.

Managing headroom, listening, and being aware aren't in the realm of taste...
they're in the realm of best practices.
Old 7th October 2011
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
dude you sum it up in your first post

"... No doubt people would disagree with me about some of that... but all this works for me."
Well, you can take horses to water........................



The detail was really in a later post-
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6124944-post8.html



Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
thats what Ive learned in three years heh
Lulz.
Old 7th October 2011
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
I used to send out for mastering... but I now prefer to DIY- I was always frustrated with the results of external mastering... I'm a bit of a control freak.


If I could afford £100 per track to go to the top dogs, then maybe I'd then reconsider this situation... but you need to be moving f***loads of units to make that economically viable, and I'm not quite there yet.


Here are some examples of tracks I've self-mastered:
oh dear..they sound like theyve just been put through a preset in Ozone...

















only joking heh Im on cans but it sound like youre doing a great job, as I said Im unaware of your skills set but what you are doing is working for you

Ill stick to what Ive learned as thats what works for the majority..but more power to you...you get a good end product
Old 7th October 2011
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
only joking heh Im on cans but it sound like youre doing a great job, as I said Im unaware of your skills set but what you are doing is working for you

Ill stick to what Ive learned as thats what works for the majority..but more power to you...you get a good end product
Thanks.


If you A/B them against other releases, you should find they are relatively loud... yet if you pay close attention to the bass end, it still punches & bounces with a nice spring to it (less obvious in the middle track above- which is just a big dirty f***-off 808 kick!).

Pure loudness is not my ultimate objective- I want my stuff to be as loud as possible without sacrificing the amount of bounce in the ounce.
IMO, this is the best way to do that.
Old 7th October 2011
  #48
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I should also add some stuff relating to peaks.
First, the best option is to render the premaster
and let a reputable mastering engineer take care
of any peaks. Check around, there are deals to
be had...

I can personally recommend Magic Garden/Brian Lucey.
Take your best work/song without any bus compression,
limiting, EQ and send it his way. The cost of one track
is totally worth it for the learning experience alone.

Hardware offers many ways to deal with peaks that
software just hasn't caught up with yet, IMHO.

If this is just not an option, render your premaster and
look at the waveform in an editor. Find the one or two
points where the peaks are the highest.
(from -3dB to -1.5dB in the OP's case)

From the point it crosses -3dB to reaches -3dB again,
those two times, how long is the peak? If we are talking
a couple samples, I'd clip it at a threshold of -3dB to
catch those couple of samples.

Then I'd place any buss compression or limiting AFTER
the initial clipping stated above. Otherwise those anomalies
will trigger the limiter differently and f the groove up.

It's a good idea to become aware of the exact length
and threshold by looking at a track in an editor, at least
until you develop an ear. A lot of people set limiters
with way to long a release.
Old 7th October 2011
  #49
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Want peak control?
#1 ASDR
or
#2 Waveshapping
or
#3 'overdrive'
or all of the above.

Oh yea and picking great sounds that work well together tonally, musically, and sonically before you even set forth an EQ or compressor on that stuff (unless its for musical effect).

Ohmicide is a GREAT digital tool for this kind of work too even without the distortion algorithm.

Last release I had out last year sounded 'okay' kind of peaky individual tracks/masterbus not bad but not 'thick' like what I was taught by some hitters in the industry, 'okay' sound selection, drums, etc. The music and arrangement really was the strong point (always was for me) but I had the same problem the OP had. My average RMS was -18 for a dance track pre mastering.

Thats 'quiet' and not the kind of 'quiet' you can fix in mastering.

As Simon pointed out, its the individual tracks that combine as a whole that have a much bigger impact than specifically slapping a limiter on the master bus for loudness. You will never get real loudness, the rock and roll kind from a brickwall limiter.

Now these days with out using a single digital limiter, pre-masters for my new dance stuff the are -10 RMS. It sounds thick, dynamic, controlled, and looks like the waveforms where compressed or limited when in fact they where not.

I use compression (hardware or Nebula) for the tone and sort of analog mojo type of shapping, not for controlling dynamics or peaks.
For synth based music, its lazy, and NOT the way to go.

Terry Manning once told me in a post similar to something like this years ago compressing synthesizers for dynamic control like a typical acoustical instrument is not a good move sonically, and for the song itself. Layering, programing, overdrive/distortion (not fuzzed out fx kind of distortion), and envelop control are all you need for a synth. He knows a few things about making records.

At the time I thought he was totally wrong until literally a few months ago working with a very good producers saw the exact same type of methods in use, and the track he was working on sounded HUGE. Didn't even use a compressor for his side chain capabilities, only volume envelopes.

He told me the same thing as Terry Manning.


Again its sound design, proper envelope usaged (both synths and drums) before you even put a comp on the stuff.

A/B your processing choices and make sure your peak match every single time, it has to sound 'better' or you go back to the drawing board.

BTW Simon good idea of using a limiter on the MB for strange overs and raising output to full scale without having the material 'touch' the limiter. Cool, will try that from now on cuz sometimes you never know you can get some weird funky stuff happen that can blow up some cans or speakers, or worse your ears.

edit - one more thing, comps and limiters ARE good, but people use them in the most f*cked up non-musical ways that totally escapes me. Listening to modern music, and most dance stuff in a club HERTZ.

That old stuff you might hear on youtube or whatever that might not sound impressive (but still good) on your earbuds, studio monitors, etc, would totally destroy a club sonically compared to the stuff these days. Take that to note too.They had a 90s early 2000s dance throwback monthly in Austin texas for a couple of years not too long ago. That stuff still sounded amazing, then the after hours guy came on, played on this new trance/house stuff that was still fairly good music, but had ZERO life to it compared to that old stuff on wax.

Last edited by peter_martin; 7th October 2011 at 07:21 PM.. Reason: ranting here.
Old 7th October 2011
  #50
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Good points from Peter.


Just to add though... With the OP specifically talking about spikes in the summed mix... this is caused when peaks & troughs in the amplitude of multiple waves happen to occur at the same time, and therefore stack on top of each other... and even though you've done everything you can on the individual tracks, you'll still get a spike.
... The track might be nicely controlled for 98% of the time... but every now & again, the peak positive (or negative) amplitude of the bass, conga & vocal might all align in perfect syzygy, thus creating a random spike... this sounds like what the OP was experiencing.

This is when your master compressor comes into play... and like Entrainer points out (nice tip!), it makes sense to have a comp set up just to catch these few wild ones... with a threshold so high, it's not even triggering at all for 98% of the time.
Old 7th October 2011
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_martin View Post
Now these days with out using a single digital limiter, pre-masters for my new dance stuff the are -10 RMS. It sounds thick, dynamic, controlled, and looks like the waveforms where compressed or limited when in fact they where not.


Same as... I have no idea what the RMS level is... but I only use an incredible low ratio, light compressor on my 2buss, followed by a kiss from the limiter.
Old 7th October 2011
  #52
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yup...if you have to add a whole bunch a junk on the master fader, you MAY be doing something wrong.
Once upon a time, music had a thing called "Dynamics"

Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
Srsly?

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Old 7th October 2011
  #53
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thats kinda ruff. how about this...i've been doing this for 3 PLUS 24 years and never had sh*t on th master unless a client asked for it. and even then i fought it. and i never had a prob with clipping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Three whole years? Wowzer.






If you get each element as loud as you can (without causing it damage... so some elements I wont touch AT ALL) on its own channel, you can then mix them relatively quieter in the mixdown (while still having them as audible)- giving the track more room to breathe.

You then need to use less compression/limiting in order to get the desired loudness, since it's already loud... thus, you have a more dynamic mix.

I've discussed this at much greater length here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...ic-bounce.html
Old 8th October 2011
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolo View Post
thats kinda ruff.
Keep your shirt on- I was only joshing around... and he took it in good spirit!


Quote:
Originally Posted by rolo View Post
and i never had a prob with clipping.
... In terms of what I'm talking about, clipping would be GOOD... or at least preferable (to having your monitors shredded).

Imagine this hypothetical scenario- you intend to route bus 2 into bus 3... but accidentally slip up with the mouse... routing it into bus 1 (which is currently going into bus 2... and being fed by your drum mix)... NGYAAAAARRRYAAAAHHHYYEEEEEEEE- feedback cycle.

Sure, you can be really careful & just hope you never make a mistake... but personally, I'd rather have a limiter there for safety.
Old 8th October 2011
  #55
yeah my point was more about sticking stuff on the master buss to effect the mix...not really what your saying


but im still deeply offended
Old 8th October 2011
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
but im still deeply offended
Ha ha.

Whilst you may think you are offended, if you were as wise and nolligible as me, you would recognise that what you are experiencing is just nOObie rash... you'll grow out of it eventually.
Old 8th October 2011
  #57
lol @ nolligible


dude its been many years since i was a n00b at anything, Im only in here because Im banned from the other sites
Old 8th October 2011
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
lol @ nolligible
What?
Old 8th October 2011
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
What?

Old 8th October 2011
  #60
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sftd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Imagine this hypothetical scenario- you intend to route bus 2 into bus 3... but accidentally slip up with the mouse...
Sorry my little pre-made loop magix music maker, this wouldn't happen to me because there are no mice allowed in MY studio.

If you were a phan of real muzik you wouldn't have a problem like this .

maybe is first time you see real terms ?

if you have excuse me I have go find my leather pants/jacket and turn on the 303. Oh btw that's a REAL instrument something you magix music maker mouse using kids not know of LOL

shiiiii...
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