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Mastering gain structure questions
Old 27th February 2014
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Mastering gain structure questions

hi..

the last weeks i've spent a lot of time reading about mastering cause iam interested to try t odo my own mastering..i have many suitable plugins for mastering,nice converters (mytek),perfect monitors -unity the rocks mkii -and a nice room.so i think that everything is as it should be..
I read lot of topics,got many infos but i have a main -simple question unanswered!
how do i have to manage the levels and gain structure in my mastering chain?
ok,i know that i have to reach about - 0.1 to -0.3 dbfs with various proccessors in my chain(bus comp,soft clipper,limiter) and gain about 2-3 dbs with each of them.i know also that DR must be between 8-14 db( style depended).My basic questions are the following:

-what's the level that a song must has before proccessing?
if it has not the propper level what is it the best to do??lower or rise the volume fader of each track or alter the gain of the waveforms?

-IF i use a compressor-soft clipper-limiter for a gain reduction of 2-3 dbs...what is the right to do after that so that the gain and the perceived volume is higher??increase the output gain of the proccessor the same amount of dbs???something else?

-if i use 3 dyn proccessors in my chain (in the following order:bus comp-soft clipper-limiter) what else do i have to take care-notice??

iam looking forward of your answers!!
Old 27th February 2014
  #2
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
There are no set rules but you may want to have a look into engineering basics before moving into mastering. I see you are asking about operating levels and taking for granted matters that are far from being so.
The three "practises" you mentioned you aware of are more often than not geared towards the opposite direction ....
Old 28th February 2014
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
There are no set rules but you may want to have a look into engineering basics before moving into mastering. I see you are asking about operating levels and taking for granted matters that are far from being so.
The three "practises" you mentioned you aware of are more often than not geared towards the opposite direction ....
which matters do i take for...granted??i just mentioned an example of a mastering chain,just to help me with the questions i have.
so if someone wants to help me ...please just do it
it doesn't mean that i ll use this kind of chain all the time.I first listen and then..act,mix etc.I also know that there are not standard ways to work.Each mastering engineer has its own techniques and tricks...some of them may be basics and standards,some others not.
i don't ask for set rules,just for opinions-techniques to see the way that some of you work !

Forget the third question.i just asked for some tips etc...if someone wants to answer,then ok.iam mostly interested for the others.In the 2nd question i just ask what is the right to do after the gain reduction .Do i have to use the make up knob,use a gain plug in or something else so that the next dyn proccessor in the chain will accept higher levels ??

so...is anybody here who wants to help??
Old 28th February 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Red Mastering's Avatar
I think you should reconsider Riccardo post, and re-read it again,
he answered your question,
you want a shortcut, where there is no mate..
this is long way and you need to be patient and respectful towards older colleagues if you want to learn - as I can see from post above, you are lacking both of it
here is some old thread maybe you should look into,
and I am not trying to be smart a$$, bit of a humor - I'd like to build a house
and great post you should read - https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7550148-post26.html

'be patient my friend and you can master everything' Wu-Tang
and good luck with your venture
Old 28th February 2014
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Mastering View Post
I think you should reconsider Riccardo post, and re-read it again,
he answered your question,
you want a shortcut, where there is no mate..
this is long way and you need to be patient and respectful towards older colleagues if you want to learn - as I can see from post above, you are lacking both of it
here is some old thread maybe you should look into,
and I am not trying to be smart a$$, bit of a humor - I'd like to build a house
and great post you should read - https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7550148-post26.html

'be patient my friend and you can master everything' Wu-Tang
and good luck with your venture
i read carefully whatever you wrote.the fact is that i just asked about specific techniques and some help -opinions about that.You suggested to read engineering basics.Be sure that i spent a lot of time to read articles-watch tutorials, read books etc and many other things to expand my knowledge.i use those proccessors in the mix environment but i know that mastering is something really different.YOU don't know how patient iam and how much time i've spent for this.I still spent daily a lot of time about it.
I didn't find anything regarding the subject i asked.that's why i asked here.Many articles about compression,limiting,other proccessing,mastering chains and mastering basics but..nothing about it.
I thought that it is a forum where people want to share their ideas-opinions-experience.i didn't ask for any shortcut.you could just suggest me some articles to read or ''whatever'' else you think that is needed to understand better instead of feelin someway insulted.I didn't raise your experience by asking something like this.you wrote ''respectful towards older colleagues''.....i really don't want to fight with the impression that some people have about theirselves.i just asked for some help.
i still believe that i can find here people who want to give advises and share their experience without any other thoughts.
Old 28th February 2014
  #6
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stergios View Post

-what's the level that a song must has before proccessing?
if it has not the propper level what is it the best to do??lower or rise the volume fader of each track or alter the gain of the waveforms?
makes no real difference.

Quote:
-IF i use a compressor-soft clipper-limiter for a gain reduction of 2-3 dbs...what is the right to do after that so that the gain and the perceived volume is higher??increase the output gain of the proccessor the same amount of dbs???something else?
achieving loudness is mostly one of the last steps in a chain. Changing the volume in the processors is not necessary for reaching loudness. For example: If the levels a too low for a compressor you can simply lower the threshold....

Quote:
-if i use 3 dyn proccessors in my chain (in the following order:bus comp-soft clipper-limiter) what else do i have to take care-notice??
I do not understand this question...

I think you are trying to think about it much to technical or
in fixed rules.
There are no strict rules regarding what process should reach which gain reduction or strict orders in processing.

So I have to agree; your rules of working are sounding a little bit strange and your questions are not supposed to answer ... Sorry.
Old 28th February 2014
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
makes no real difference.

achieving loudness is mostly one of the last steps in a chain. Changing the volume in the processors is not necessary for reaching loudness. For example: If the levels a too low for a compressor you can simply lower the threshold....

I do not understand this question...

I think you are trying to think about it much to technical or
in fixed rules.
There are no strict rules regarding what process should reach which gain reduction or strict orders in processing.

So I have to agree; your rules of working are sounding a little bit strange and your questions are not supposed to answer ... Sorry.
Thanks for your answer.
maybe i didn't formulate right some questions :(
i know how to use a compressor....i also know how to use threshold..i believe that it is different to lower threshold than alter the output of a previous processor.i don't understand the following:
ok...i know that i have to set up every processor so i reduce the peaks and achieve a better rms level without hitting 0 dbfs and distorting the signal.i know that i need a mix with about -12 to -6 dbfs before starting mastering.what is the right way to increase the perceived volume after each dyn processor?just increase the output gain of this processor?apply a gain plug in after every dyn processor?do something else?my question is mainly ????????? gaining stage-structure..
Old 28th February 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
JP__'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stergios View Post
i believe that it is different to lower threshold than alter the output of a previous processor
you can believe in what ever you want. But don`t wonder when nobody is answering your questions...
levelling is levelling in the digital world.


Quote:
i know that i need a mix with about -12 to -6 dbfs before starting mastering.
this is simply not true. If you use 32Bit files you can even use files with overs. As long as you stay at 32bit and ITB.

Quote:
what is the right way to increase the perceived volume after each dyn processor?
what ever you want; output gain, fader .... it does not matter in modern DAWs

Quote:
gaining stage-structure..
This is mostly from the old analog days or with the first DAWs. Nowadays there is no really need for it. 32 Bit floating point has more headroom as you ever will need.
Old 28th February 2014
  #9
A gain structure article on my website :

Gain Structure
Old 28th February 2014
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
you can believe in what ever you want. But don`t wonder when nobody is answering your questions...
levelling is levelling in the digital world.

i thought that lowering the threshold means...more compression.
what if i want the comp to have a higher input and generally gentle compression???i lower the threshold?it means more compression.

i also thought that gain staging-structure is also important in daws.that's what i understood from the infos i found.
Old 28th February 2014
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
A gain structure article on my website :

Gain Structure

thanks for your answer..i've already read this few weeks ago.
you explain very well about the gain structure generally in the mix-recording environment...what happens when you master??i 'll really appreciate your answer..
Old 28th February 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
JP__'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stergios View Post
i thought that lowering the threshold means...more compression.
what if i want the comp to have a higher input and generally gentle compression???i lower the threshold?it means more compression.
May you dont want to understand me? It seems to me your are here for discussion, not for getting answers. I just wanted to help you to understand that the other guys that posted before were not rude or arrogant...
Good luck furthermore.
Old 28th February 2014
  #13
File volume gets manipulated, this is just a fact, we determine how hard it should hit the analogue chain. One very important reason for 24 bit and above files. Along with the entirety of information in the article you have read.

It is going to vary a little depending on what reference level any given studio chooses to operate at and how different equipment in the signals pathway is required to respond, which is different for varying input / output levels. (on some equipment)

So it is not an easy question to respond to.

If you are working in the box you may have to consider some kind of gain staging if you are using plug ins that emulate the saturation characteristic of analogue equipment relative to voltage. Thus you will need a grip on Vu meter - Vs - digital peak reading dBFS in order to get them to respond as one might imagine.
Old 28th February 2014
  #14
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
If you are working in the box you may have to consider some kind of gain staging if you are using plug ins that emulate the saturation characteristic of analogue equipment relative to voltage.
This is a good point, indeed. But it has not exactly to do with the "gain staging" in the digital world and depends a lot from the internal structure of each plug in (may look in the manual).
Some of them have In/Output-Faders for this purpose or you got extra ones for saturation-level.
Old 1st March 2014
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
May you dont want to understand me? It seems to me your are here for discussion, not for getting answers. I just wanted to help you to understand that the other guys that posted before were not rude or arrogant...
Good luck furthermore.
yes iam here also for discussion.you told me something which sounds strange to my ears.I wrote that i want to use more than 1 dyn processor to achieve the loudness.Many great producers-mastering engineers suggest to achieve the required loudness with more than 1 processor,in many steps in the mastering chain.
You wrote:
''achieving loudness is mostly one of the last steps in a chain. Changing the volume in the processors is not necessary for reaching loudness. For example: If the levels a too low for a compressor you can simply lower the threshold....''

Maybe this is way you want to work,i mean to achieve the loudness in one step ,the last step in the chain.I guess that Everybody has its own mehods.. q)
I understood-from every article i read- that this is the way i want to work:use more than one dyn processors to achieve loudnes.. q)
I didn't understand this: ''For example: If the levels a too low for a compressor you can simply lower the threshold...''
what do you mean??is it the same to lower the threshlod with altering the input or output gain of a plugin??
Old 1st March 2014
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
File volume gets manipulated, this is just a fact, we determine how hard it should hit the analogue chain. One very important reason for 24 bit and above files. Along with the entirety of information in the article you have read.

It is going to vary a little depending on what reference level any given studio chooses to operate at and how different equipment in the signals pathway is required to respond, which is different for varying input / output levels. (on some equipment)

So it is not an easy question to respond to.

If you are working in the box you may have to consider some kind of gain staging if you are using plug ins that emulate the saturation characteristic of analogue equipment relative to voltage. Thus you will need a grip on Vu meter - Vs - digital peak reading dBFS in order to get them to respond as one might imagine.
Iam going to work only in the box.

Does it matters if the signal hit every dyn processor in the mastering chain hard or...not??in the scenario that the signal is very low what is it the best to do??for example if we reduce the peaks 3 dbs with a compressor ,what is the right to do before the signal reaches the next dyn processor(if needed) and finally the limiter?use the make up gain of the compressor?use a gain plugin after the comp??use the input gain knob of the next processor to adjust the signal??
Old 1st March 2014
  #17
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Quote:
what do you mean??is it the same to lower the threshlod with altering the input or output gain of a plugin??
yes, in theory. in praxis it could change from processor to processor as SASMastering has mentioned, mostly when you use analog sims.
Old 5th March 2014
  #18
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Mastering is a mindset. You listen, and you know what to listen for, and you hear in your mind where it could go. You hear options, and they are within a field of acceptable options. You know they are acceptable because you have the room/monitoring and experience to know the arena for the style.


Loudness is about balance.

Frequency balance.
Transient to compression balance.
Limiting.

In that order.



That's all there is to it.
Old 5th March 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Red Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Mastering is a mindset. You listen, and you know what to listen for, and you hear in your mind where it could go. You hear options, and they are within a field of acceptable options. You know they are acceptable because you have the room/monitoring and experience to know the arena for the style.


Loudness is about balance.

Frequency balance.
Transient to compression balance.
Limiting.

In that order.



That's all there is to it.

really well put Brian,
great post,
it should be sticky, I would like to borrow it from you
Old 5th March 2014
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Mastering is a mindset. You listen, and you know what to listen for, and you hear in your mind where it could go. You hear options, and they are within a field of acceptable options. You know they are acceptable because you have the room/monitoring and experience to know the arena for the style.


Loudness is about balance.

Frequency balance.
Transient to compression balance.
Limiting.

In that order.



That's all there is to it.
thanks for your answers..
i always first listen and then...act.
my questions are dealing with the technical part (gain staging ITB ) of the mastering.
Old 6th March 2014
  #21
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John Moran's Avatar
 

if you want to be specific, gain staging can be summed up in three words : reference operating level

however, there's a lot more to mastering than that. appropriate levels are pretty fundamental audio 101.
Old 6th March 2014
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
if you want to be specific, gain staging can be summed up in three words : reference operating level

however, there's a lot more to mastering than that. appropriate levels are pretty fundamental audio 101.


yes,i know that mastering is a lot more than gain staging...
Iam not sure if the gain staging is the same if i work only ITB.I ask for the optimal way to work ITB .
Old 6th March 2014
  #23
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John Moran's Avatar
 

Reference Operating Level is Reference Operating Level whether you are using hardware or software.
Meters do serve a purpose beyond eye candy.
Old 6th March 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
A gain structure article on my website :

Gain Structure
Great article!
Topic:
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