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Why most commercial masters clip.. Mas­ter­ing Plugins
Old 29th December 2016
  #31
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
Clipping the A/D is so much 2015... ;-)
+1
Old 30th December 2016
  #32
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Wow, not in any of the music I hear or work with.

I would much rather accept a negligible amount of distortion in the final output, than the sound of all these horrible ISP limiters. I have not heard a so called "true peak" limiter that sounded anywhere close to as good as just clipping my AD or my preferred digital limiter. Any limiting will either be dynamic control or clipping/distortion. I prefer the latter in almost every instance I have come across - and the more volume demanding clients I have want it loud, but not heavily limited.
Old 31st December 2016
  #33
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Opposite here, never preferred the sound of a clipped converter to a decent limiter. Swings & Roundabouts.
Old 31st December 2016
  #34
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And a limiter is a variable that can be changed. Clipping distortion is forever.
Old 31st December 2016
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
Clipping the A/D is so much 2015... ;-)
Doh, I'm always late to the party!

Generally avoided but not ruled out here. There were a handful of mixes last year where clipping the AD was the most musical solution. But I don't see any reason why it can't be followed with a limiter and an appropriate ceiling to avoid further clipping in the reconstructed audio.
Old 1st January 2017
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Doh, I'm always late to the party!

Generally avoided but not ruled out here. There were a handful of mixes last year where clipping the AD was the most musical solution. But I don't see any reason why it can't be followed with a limiter and an appropriate ceiling to avoid further clipping in the reconstructed audio.
clipping just not usable for vinyl and is problematic with mp3/aac, so i think you should always print additional without clipping.
if you really prefer the clipping over one of the new limiters for the loud masters, you should keep the unclipped version, also for the archive (who knows what future brings? i have often bands, who ask me some months later for vinyl versions or for tv shows ASO)
Old 1st January 2017
  #37
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I have never had a problem with clipping and vinyl - and i have done lots keep you low end in phase/mono and avoid excessive high end transients/sibilants, that is the only thing I keep in mind, the pressing plant will take care of the rest. I think what you are describing is more of an emotional problem than a technical one.
Old 1st January 2017
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vilddyr View Post
I have never had a problem with clipping and vinyl - and i have done lots keep you low end in phase/mono and avoid excessive high end transients/sibilants, that is the only thing I keep in mind, the pressing plant will take care of the rest. I think what you are describing is more of an emotional problem than a technical one.
there was a time when i was cutting...
Old 1st January 2017
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vilddyr View Post
Wow, not in any of the music I hear or work with.

I would much rather accept a negligible amount of distortion in the final output, than the sound of all these horrible ISP limiters. I have not heard a so called "true peak" limiter that sounded anywhere close to as good as just clipping my AD or my preferred digital limiter.
I'm with you about most Limiter when you use ISP On - a bit more Headroom help and a ISP sometimes is not a big thing - we have to find the least worst case
Old 1st January 2017
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vilddyr View Post
I have never had a problem with clipping and vinyl - and i have done lots keep you low end in phase/mono and avoid excessive high end transients/sibilants, that is the only thing I keep in mind, the pressing plant will take care of the rest. I think what you are describing is more of an emotional problem than a technical one.
Anyone who cuts knows that clipping vinyl master files is a terrible idea. Clipping just gives more distortion. There is no up side.
Old 1st January 2017
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
There were a handful of mixes last year where clipping the AD was the most musical solution.
... monitored through your DAC maybe, but what about through mine? I'll bet most MEs' high end conversion handles overs much more gracefully than what almost 100% of their audience is using. And thats just lossless ...
Old 1st January 2017
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
Anyone who cuts knows that clipping vinyl master files is a terrible idea. Clipping just gives more distortion. There is no up side.
So you are saying that vinyl as a media has a problem with distortion? Doesn't seem right. We are talking a couple of clipped samples, and after conversion from a quality DA at the cutting plant, that will look nothing different from what a digital limiter would have done.

How did anyone even manage to get anything out on vinyl, when people used to crunch their analog signals, first to a 2" tape, then mix it hot on the desk, and smash the 1/4" before sending it off to mastering? The slight clipping of an A/D is nothing compared to what has been done for decades. So please stop stating your own preferences as facts.

Last edited by Vilddyr; 1st January 2017 at 11:28 PM..
Old 1st January 2017
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh View Post
... monitored through your DAC maybe, but what about through mine? I'll bet most MEs' high end conversion handles overs much more gracefully than what almost 100% of their audience is using. And thats just lossless ...
All masters, including those few clipped at the AD, leave here with enough headroom for 128kbps streaming or any other relevant end-user playback scenario.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vilddyr View Post
So you are saying that vinyl as a media has a problem with distortion? Doesn't seem right.
Vinyl is an exaggerator. Anything on the master is magnified. Tone, depth, sibilance, distortion. Yes, vinyl has more distortion than the digital source it was cut from. Some of that distortion is aesthetically pleasing. Some is not. (We're having this discussion here: Vinyl sounds good, but do we have to listen to it?

Quote:
We are talking a couple of clipped samples, and after conversion from a quality DA at the cutting plant, that will look nothing different from what a digital limiter would have done.
A couple clipped samples I can deal with but that's not what usually happens. Clipping changes the waveform from something smooth to something jagged and sounds harsh when played back on vinyl because the jagged waveform is hard for a playback stylus to track. An unclipped waveform is smooth and much easier to track so there will be no added distortion due to mistracking.

Clipping buys you nothing on vinyl. It certainly does not buy you more level. Often the opposite since it may need to be cut quieter to minimize distortion.

Quote:
How did anyone even manage to get anything out on vinyl, when people used to crunch their analog signals, first to a 2" tape, then mix it hot on the desk, and smash the 1/4" before sending it off to mastering? The slight clipping of an A/D is nothing compared to what has been done for decades. So please stop stating your own preferences as facts.
Compare a hot tape to digital clipping on a oscilloscope. Very different animals. On vinyl, the shape of the waveform IS the sound of the record. Or more precisely, the shape traced by the playback stylus, and that shape is completely dependent on whether it can stay in contact with the groove. The more jagged the groove, the less likely it will trace without distortion.

I sometimes have to ask for unclipped sources for cutting. 95% of those artists / engineers / producers are happy to send a master that will give a better result and in the end everyone is happy. The other 5% of the time the engineer's ego seems more important than the sound of the record...

Don't want to take my word for it?

The Secret Society of Lathe Trolls • View topic - Clipped waves and distortion.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #45
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Sorry, but even quite heavily clipped material, does NOT come out as a square wav when played back through any reasonable D/A. Not on an oscilloscope either. It will present it self as limited yes, but it will be a perfectly usable and smooth waveform - even for vinyl. The whole basis for this problem is a misconception of how a digitally clipped signal would behave when played back. The scenarios you are describing are signals so heavily clipped, that they would suffer from audible distortion and be unpleasant to listen to.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #46
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The big mastering engineers are too busy making masters that hit #1 to care about the math. Get your head out of the numbers and you'll start making better sounding masters.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
All masters, including those few clipped at the AD, leave here with enough headroom for 128kbps streaming or any other relevant end-user playback scenario.
ok so you clip the AD then attenuate by whatever dB for release. Thats using the converter as an effect which everyone will be able to hear. Its rather different from releasing a clipped file which is at the mercy of whatever DAC the consumer has.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #48
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Originally Posted by gearsluz View Post
The big mastering engineers are too busy making masters that hit #1 to care about the math. Get your head out of the numbers and you'll start making better sounding masters.
You should read this article. It will help expand your limited horizon.

Daft Punk's Random Access Memories - Why does it sound so good ? - Production Advice
Old 2nd January 2017
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh View Post
ok so you clip the AD then attenuate by whatever dB for release. Thats using the converter as an effect which everyone will be able to hear. Its rather different from releasing a clipped file which is at the mercy of whatever DAC the consumer has.
Exactly. And the point of my initial post was that for the handful (read 3 or 4) of mixes I clipped the AD on last year, this effect was complimentary or less compromising to the song and there's no reason that files clipped for loudness shouldn't be protected from clipping at playback. As I said, I generally don't do this, but I'm willing to break the "rules" if it gets more musical results. Even if it gets the GS clipping police on my back...
Old 2nd January 2017
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
You should read this article. It will help expand your limited horizon.

Daft Punk's Random Access Memories - Why does it sound so good ? - Production Advice
Send it to Sterling Sound or Chris Athens. I imagine they're going to ignore you and keep mastering the heavy hitters and going over 0 despite what the article says.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #51
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I only clip my AD accidently while I didnt care about my metering... I assume this is how this technique comes up.

I think this thread just confuses quite different topics which have no real life relationship... More a nitpicking nerd topic than really related to good sound.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
I only clip my AD accidently while I didnt care about my metering... I assume this is how this technique comes up.

I think this thread just confuses quite different topics which have no real life relationship... More a nitpicking nerd topic than really related to good sound.
Any legitimate mastering engineer understands that over limiting results in degraded audio quality. I get it, most people don't get it and think that somehow the loudness war is a pissing contest that they must win. In reality having the loudest master results in degraded audio quality and excessive distortion which ironically tends to cause fatigue in the listener and loss of interest merely minutes sometimes seconds after the song has started to switch to something else.

At the very least provide a master that doesn't clip.

I feel like that should be the bare minimum and its scary to me that even that small request is met with such fierce opposition by some..
Old 2nd January 2017
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
You should read this article. It will help expand your limited horizon.

Daft Punk's Random Access Memories - Why does it sound so good ? - Production Advice
Well, that would assume that Random Access Memories is universally considered as sounding "good". Then we are into a completely different territory. Personally I find that record to be the absolute end of what made Daft Punk cooler than the rest. Was it a brave move towards more dynamic and softer sounding music into the Mainstream? Sure. But it was a disappointing genre exercise and musically boring move to the ears of a lifetime fan. Whatever elements they tried to blend from the "Daft Punk sound", never fell into place on that record. It was fragmented and unengaging - a shame as the Tron soundtrack was one of the best albums they have ever done. The succes of that album was on the behalf of Pharrell Williams and nostalgia. A shame if you ask me.

I know why some people consider it a great sounding record, but to me it is nothing but a statement not a reference.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Any legitimate mastering engineer understands that over limiting results in degraded audio quality. I get it, most people don't get it and think that somehow the loudness war is a pissing contest that they must win. In reality having the loudest master results in degraded audio quality and excessive distortion which ironically tends to cause fatigue in the listener and loss of interest merely minutes sometimes seconds after the song has started to switch to something else.

At the very least provide a master that doesn't clip.

I feel like that should be the bare minimum and its scary to me that even that small request is met with such fierce opposition by some..
clipping an AD and providing a clipped Master is not the same thing.

People here are totally neglecting the fact that different genres have different demands, and different clients want different things. No one should work on basis of what someone else on GS says, is the right way to do things. I have sent plenty of masters for vinyl pressing, and a bunch of times I have clipped the AD somewhat to get the level or sound I was after, without using a limiter, as I basically hate the sound of all of them, with occasional exceptions. I have never had any problems with the pressing or sound of what came back - even some projects that where very squashed for artistic purposes, had no problem "translating" to vinyl. But I like distortion. Some of my main tools are tapemachine, Chandler Mini Mixer, Michelangelo and Black Box HG-2. Subtle moves, but distortion adds to the sound and vibe, limiting takes from it.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Exactly. And the point of my initial post was that for the handful (read 3 or 4) of mixes I clipped the AD on last year, this effect was complimentary or less compromising to the song and there's no reason that files clipped for loudness shouldn't be protected from clipping at playback. As I said, I generally don't do this, but I'm willing to break the "rules" if it gets more musical results. Even if it gets the GS clipping police on my back...
Hehe I have no problem if clipping (or anything else for that matter) is used creatively and we all get to hear the results. Sorry if I pushed you on this but I think its worth clarifying the difference between using it as an a effect and unthinkingly releasing a clipped master which is the OP's beef, and mine (you clearly know the difference )
Old 2nd January 2017
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh View Post
Sorry if I pushed you on this but I think its worth clarifying the difference between using it as an a effect and unthinkingly releasing a clipped masterch is the OP's beef, and mine (you clearly know the difference )
No worries. It's probably also worth noting that files clipped at the AD (or digitally) are often more prone to ISPs and lossy encoder overs.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #57
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The guys you are adressing here, receive mixes which already suffer from these issues, there are no pro engineers who "ruin" perfect dynamic mixes.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Any legitimate mastering engineer understands that over limiting results in degraded audio quality. I get it, most people don't get it and think that somehow the loudness war is a pissing contest that they must win. In reality having the loudest master results in degraded audio quality and excessive distortion which ironically tends to cause fatigue in the listener and loss of interest merely minutes sometimes seconds after the song has started to switch to something else.

At the very least provide a master that doesn't clip.

I feel like that should be the bare minimum and its scary to me that even that small request is met with such fierce opposition by some..
You simply seem to be quite confused by the topic and you are also taking assumations that are at least cheaky...
For the record my masters go normally out with a headroom at about -1dBtp (even smashed EDM/Pop ****), but I never use TP limiters for this (as this mostly sounds...) and never clip my ADC and never use any other clipping option... All in all this loudness **** is the last and less time consuming topic for me in daily work. But I simply can accept when other MEs have other ways to work. In the end we have to just please our clients, which sometimes leads to crudes methods when trying to achieve comparable results. Yes, simple comparrison with similar music is the way to judge our work for a lot of clients. If they compare my work with the one from XY thats hitting the red and therefore sounds that 1dB louder what to tell the client here...? They do not care about technically correct they care about a comparable sound very often (just depends on your client base of course). I expect this a much more common topic for the typical hit mastering facility than for the small mastering house that deals with more indy clientele.
Happy?

But if you would have some deeper experience in this business you would be easily aware that things simply differ from some naive perception in real life. And your constant posting regarding this topic and your constant tries to prove good sound with measurements simply shows that your are posting from a consumer perspective only. Instead of wasting your time with assumptions based on reads in the www you better should listen to the experienced guys here and try to learn that the world isnt just black and white and that we are constantly fighting many wars to please our clients. Not only the loudness one out of pure self-confindence...
Its not about the black art of mastering or being the master of the universe, in the end we are just service providers who try to please our clients. If you really want to change something, found a major record label and set up your guidelines for the delivered masters and finally rescue the world from crappy sounding ****...
Til then I take this topic for what it is; a bubble...

Last edited by JP__; 3rd January 2017 at 09:59 AM..
Old 3rd January 2017
  #59
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I'm not confused at all JP. I don't think my posts could be any clearer. If you're confused by them or coming to wrong conclusions that is your own baggage. Your argument boils down to "everybody is doing it." Honestly if your masters aren't clipping then I don't understand why you are trying to argue with me or making assumptions about me.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #60
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As most others here (whos master arent also clipping) Im only about to try helping you to understand the complexity about decision within the mastering context.
May you dont want to name yourself confused, maybe naive is the better word then...?
As a consumer to you really hear any issues with the clipped music you have bought? Or is it a topic that only becomes aware due to the possibilty of some random measurement tools?
Do you really understand what those meters are showing? If you hear any negative effects how you can be sure its from the clipped masters?
If you really have problems listening to those music then better write a complaint letter to those labels, maybe they change their mind then...?
But posting in a forum saying " you finally know why so much masters are clipping" and therefore calling a lot of MEs dumb or at least uneducated as they seem to not use this ultrasmart solution to prevent clipping you have named here, is quite a bit arrogant and pretentious sounding for me.
It seems a continous topic for you and from an argumentative point we are hunting our own tail here again and again and again...
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