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controlling peaks Saturation Plugins
Old 7th September 2011
  #1
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studiomood's Avatar
 

controlling peaks

Hey all,

I have a question, so I'm working on a new track, which I'm uploading a snippet of to give you an idea, and I want to address I problem I face, and dont quite understand.

So basically I can manage to keep everything under -3dB on the master buss. In this example I've loaded up of a track I'm working on, everything stays under -3dB... HOWEVER, occasionally, like lets say every 40 seconds or so, I will peak to -2dB or -1.5dB

I've bussed everything down, I have a crazy buss routine now. And this compresses that and that compresses this and then a put those together and compress them, all subtly of course. There is nothing on the master buss, and it rarely goes over... But STILL, occasionally I get these little peaks.. and it just ****s me, because I'm working so hard, and I don't want to turn things down to keep the mix strong and translatable.

So what are your different methods of controlling peaks?

Old 7th September 2011
  #2
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oh haha I just realised all my UAD plugs were disabled... haha oh well, I guess it doesn't matter as long as you get the style of music I produce!
Old 7th September 2011
  #3
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How about a limiter on the master just to catch any clipping?
Old 7th September 2011
  #4
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Sounds really good..I'd raise the volume of that little vocoder (or whatever) synth you have buried in the background...or make it stick out a bit more
Old 7th September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau_mckee View Post
How about a limiter on the master just to catch any clipping?
Isnt this like a no no for mastering engineers...? I dunno.. I'd love a seasoned pro to answer this question.. not saying your not! But I just get the impression over the stuff I've read over the years, its a no no.
Old 7th September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekohler View Post
Sounds really good..I'd raise the volume of that little vocoder (or whatever) synth you have buried in the background...or make it stick out a bit more
Thanks man, it's a very rough draft, and a snippet of the song just to get the idea, I'll get back to it and PM you the final if your interested
Old 7th September 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Isnt this like a no no for mastering engineers...? I dunno.. I'd love a seasoned pro to answer this question.. not saying your not! But I just get the impression over the stuff I've read over the years, its a no no.
It's standard to work with a limiter on the master.

When you are ready to send for mastering, you simply disable the limiter & bounce that version.

An occasional short spike is nothing to worry about at all... totally normal. Limiters will catch these.
Old 7th September 2011
  #8
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... Furthermore... I'd go as far as to say you should have a limiter on your master at all times.

This way, if you make some routing error & create a feedback loop, or one of your plug-ins decides to glitch out, you don't destroy your speakers.
Old 7th September 2011
  #9
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No need to be shy about processing your master bus.

Sure, generally, the less processing you have there the better... but you just need to make a judgement if that processing is worthwhile.


The only 'rule' that mastering engineers will say about your premaster is 'don't send a track that's already had peak limiting'.

Many people (myself included) will leave colouration plugs & even a compressor engaged on the final premaster 2bus.
... If you've done your mix into a compressor, then leave that on... your ME will never find that same balance again.


Also, it sounds like you are still mixing too hot. You should normally have at least 6dBfs headroom CLEAR (above the LOUDEST peak) on your premaster.... but more is better. Try to aim for -10dBfs.
Old 7th September 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
No need to be shy about processing your master bus.

Sure, generally, the less processing you have there the better... but you just need to make a judgement if that processing is worthwhile.


The only 'rule' that mastering engineers will say about your premaster is 'don't send a track that's already had peak limiting'.

Many people (myself included) will leave colouration plugs & even a compressor engaged on the final premaster 2bus.
... If you've done your mix into a compressor, then leave that on... your ME will never find that same balance again.


Also, it sounds like you are still mixing too hot. You should normally have at least 6dBfs headroom CLEAR (above the LOUDEST peak) on your premaster.... but more is better. Try to aim for -10dBfs.
Hi Simon,

Thats quite a lot of headroom.... let me ask though, do you mean -10db's without the limiter...? sorry for my noobness.
Old 7th September 2011
  #11
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Simon I live in London tooo...

please have a jam session with me one day and teach me the ways of the jedi
Old 7th September 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Hi Simon,

Thats quite a lot of headroom.... let me ask though, do you mean -10db's without the limiter...? sorry for my noobness.
Yes... -10dBfs without the limiter.

... BUT you don't even notice this; it's totally arbitrary... because...

You start your new project, first plug you open is the limiter. You set the threshold to -10dBfs, and the output to -0.5dBfs.

Now, although your mix is peaking at -10dBfs, the output is still at full level. You make the track, get everything tickety-boo, then, when finished, switch off the limiter, and voila- a premaster at -10dBfs.
Old 7th September 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Simon I live in London tooo...

please have a jam session with me one day and teach me the ways of the jedi
Ha ha.. I wish I had the spare time!!

As it stands, I've not managed to steal a second to work on my own music for over two weeks now!!


Which neighborhood are you in btw?
Old 7th September 2011
  #14
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Yo Simon I'm in Tower Bridge. You know. The Ghetto.

Dude there's always time for jammin. I know your busy as but you should just stop being busy and start jammin with me. I'll shout you a beer.

DO IT
Old 7th September 2011
  #15
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My bad sorry I just realized you want it mastered elsewhere.
Old 7th September 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau_mckee View Post
My bad sorry I just realized you want it mastered elsewhere.
? I think your advice was spot on.
Old 7th September 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Yes... -10dBfs without the limiter.

... BUT you don't even notice this; it's totally arbitrary... because...

You start your new project, first plug you open is the limiter. You set the threshold to -10dBfs, and the output to -0.5dBfs.

Now, although your mix is peaking at -10dBfs, the output is still at full level. You make the track, get everything tickety-boo, then, when finished, switch off the limiter, and voila- a premaster at -10dBfs.
Dude you just said tickety boo.

Just letting you know.
Old 7th September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Yo Simon I'm in Tower Bridge. You know. The Ghetto.
Ha ha... zone 1, spitting distance from the square mile. Yeah... the ghetto!


Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Dude there's always time for jammin. I know your busy as but you should just stop being busy and start jammin with me. I'll shout you a beer.

DO IT
Will do ;-)
Old 7th September 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomood View Post
Dude you just said tickety boo.

Just letting you know.
Ha ha!
Old 6th October 2011
  #20
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Sorry, I'm being stupid, I really don't understand your limiter set-up. A threshold of -10 squashes the hell out of my mix & by output at -0.5 do you mean the out ceiling? Say I'm using an L2 on the master, run through it again would you please? Thanks.
Old 6th October 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleyhanoman View Post
Sorry, I'm being stupid, I really don't understand your limiter set-up. A threshold of -10 squashes the hell out of my mix
If your mix is normally near 0.0dBfs, and you set the limiter threshold to -10, then yes- it will squash the hell out of it.
The point of the exercise is... you then make your mix so it's peaking at -10dBfs (even WITHOUT the limiter switched on). We are not doing much limiting here at all... just kissing the mix & catching the peaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleyhanoman View Post
by output at -0.5 do you mean the out ceiling?
Then, whatever it's called on your specific limiter, make sure that the final signal exiting your DAW (ie- the peak level reading on the master fader's monitor- when the fader is set at 0.0......... or, when you make a final bounce) is peaking at -0.5dBfs
Old 6th October 2011
  #22
id never put anything on the master bus...why do you mix so hot in the first place?

you should mix to around -14db peaking at -6db say....give yourself plenty of headroom then bring the tracks loudness up in a separate project
Old 7th October 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
id never put anything on the master bus...why do you mix so hot in the first place?

you should mix to around -14db peaking at -6db say....give yourself plenty of headroom then bring the tracks loudness up in a separate project
Srsly?

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Old 7th October 2011
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
Srsly?

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yeah "srsly" heh


ask any engineer worth his salt and he'll tell you the most they'll put on a master bus is some light compression and thats arguable, if you are having to catch peaks at -1.5db you are mixing too hot period...you should be peaking around -6db...

it'll make it easier to master the final track with more headroom
Old 7th October 2011
  #25
For edm just put your kick at -10 or -12db and everything should be ok.




.
Old 7th October 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
yeah "srsly" heh


ask any engineer worth his salt and he'll tell you the most they'll put on a master bus is some light compression and thats arguable, if you are having to catch peaks at -1.5db you are mixing too hot period...you should be peaking around -6db...

it'll make it easier to master the final track with more headroom
Do you think the engineers featured in the Q/A series here on GS are "worth their salt"?

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Old 7th October 2011
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
Do you think the engineers featured in the Q/A series here on GS are "worth their salt"?

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yes im sure they are, I havent read them all....are we having an argument?


why would you need to put a limiter on the master track? wouldnt it be limited again during the mastering process? so effectively you are limiting it twice

better to just pull your faders down a little or approach the actual track thats causing the peaks rather than just slapping one across the whole mix


or dont, its a personal preference, if it sounds good it generally is...I havent spoke to an engineer who would use a limiter, ive spoken to a few that use mild compression for glue or to catch the odd peak, but not a limiter..

Ive also spoken to a few mastering engineers who would prefer more headroom rather than less


but again its personal preference, good practice would suggest that lowering the fader is a better solution than adding another level of limiting and/or compression surely

again all in my humble opinion



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Old 7th October 2011
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by msl View Post
For edm just put your kick at -10 or -12db and everything should be ok.




.
That is exactly what I do.


Set the kick n snare near -10 and by time all other elements come together - or -5 is where i find my master.

lately i aim for -3 on the master before it was -6.
Old 7th October 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
yes im sure they are, I havent read them all....are we having an argument?


why would you need to put a limiter on the master track? wouldnt it be limited again during the mastering process? so effectively you are limiting it twice

better to just pull your faders down a little or approach the actual track thats causing the peaks rather than just slapping one across the whole mix


or dont, its a personal preference, if it sounds good it generally is...I havent spoke to an engineer who would use a limiter, ive spoken to a few that use mild compression for glue or to catch the odd peak, but not a limiter..

Ive also spoken to a few mastering engineers who would prefer more headroom rather than less


but again its personal preference, good practice would suggest that lowering the fader is a better solution than adding another level of limiting and/or compression surely

again all in my humble opinion



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By no means arguing, just asking questions!

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Old 7th October 2011
  #30
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@kcearl

Do you think using multiple limiters is a rare occurance?

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