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sending a mix to masters......levels changes, etc Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 30th December 2010
  #1
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Mr. Light's Avatar
sending a mix to masters......levels changes, etc

How do I mix a song to be mastered elsewhere? I ask the question because I can get a mix to sound great (to my ears) with nothing on the 2bus. As soon as I put a mastering compressor on the final mix, my levels go to hell. Obviously guitars get louder and drums get lost, I end up having to do a bit of mixing with the limiter on the final to get it to sound right (and it ALWAYS sounds better with that mastering limiter).

I have the luxury of re-leveling when it's me that is doing the "mastering". How do I approach the levels when I'm going to send something elsewhere to be mastered? I've heard people say that you send it to the ME sounding as good as you can get it........but what are they going to do with it if I send it to them already squashed to balls? Do I mix with a limiter on the final and then pull it off before sending it off?
Old 30th December 2010
  #2
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johnlink's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Light View Post
Do I mix with a limiter on the final and then pull it off before sending it off?
No. Mix without the limiter. Let the mastering engineer do his job.

John Link
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
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Red Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
send both versions, with limiter and without it;
in that way you let ME to choose tools proper for a task
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
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studioland's Avatar
 

"Sound as good as you can" doesn't mean as loud as you can

If you have great mixes without anything on the 2 buss then why do you want to add something ?

Peaks at -3db and -20db or less rms is a good starting point and can help you get coherent mixes
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
Quote:
........but what are they going to do with it if I send it to them already squashed to balls?
We shake our heads and then call you up on the phone and say send us a new mix with no processing on the master bus (mix bus).

If your unsure, then do not put any kind of compressors and limiters on the master bus. Get your mix so it peaks between -10dB to -3dB Peak
Cj
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post

If your unsure, then do not put any kind of compressors and limiters on the master bus. Get your mix so it peaks between -10dB to -3dB Peak
Cj
I agree that if you're unsure you should leave off the additional processing (thats true of any process, not just mix buss compression), but if you can mix through a compressor to your satisfaction, you'll find that the mastering process will have less of an effect on your mix's balance.
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
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dcollins's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
I agree that if you're unsure you should leave off the additional processing (thats true of any process, not just mix buss compression), but if you can mix through a compressor to your satisfaction, you'll find that the mastering process will have less of an effect on your mix's balance.
Absolutely. The recommendation about leaving the limiter off has merit, but if you like compression leave it on.


DC
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Light View Post
How do I mix a song to be mastered elsewhere? I ask the question because I can get a mix to sound great (to my ears) with nothing on the 2bus. As soon as I put a mastering compressor on the final mix, my levels go to hell. Obviously guitars get louder and drums get lost, I end up having to do a bit of mixing with the limiter on the final to get it to sound right (and it ALWAYS sounds better with that mastering limiter).

I have the luxury of re-leveling when it's me that is doing the "mastering". How do I approach the levels when I'm going to send something elsewhere to be mastered? I've heard people say that you send it to the ME sounding as good as you can get it........but what are they going to do with it if I send it to them already squashed to balls? Do I mix with a limiter on the final and then pull it off before sending it off?
You used the words "mastering compressor" and I think that is confusing things. If I'm reading this right, I'm pretty sure you meant to say "limiter", which is a different thing altogether.

A compressor on the 2-buss - if not overused - can be OK before mastering, but you might be better off leaving it to the ME.

A mastering limiter on the 2-buss prior to mastering is a no no.

But mixing into a mastering limiter in order to approximate what mastering might do to your dynamics and then disabling the limiter before printing the final mix can indeed be very helpful.

Of course you will have to double-check your peak levels after disabling the limiter.

As a way to test this for yourself, you might try printing a song mixed with no limiter at all, then print another version mixed into a limiter but disable the limiter before printing, then have both versions mastered so you can choose, or let the ME choose which one will work best.

.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
Quote:
I agree that if you're unsure you should leave off the additional processing (thats true of any process, not just mix buss compression), but if you can mix through a compressor to your satisfaction, you'll find that the mastering process will have less of an effect on your mix's balance.
I agree, but my answer was for the original poster. After reading his post, I would not want him adding anything on the master bus, if he was my client
Cj
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
I agree, but my answer was for the original poster. After reading his post, I would not want him adding anything on the master bus, if he was my client
Cj
Well, to be fair, from the sound of it he wouldn't want you adding anything on the master bus either. At least, not anything that would affect his balance as dramatically as a compressor.

The idea, then, is to arm him with the knowledge that he can "lock in" (so to speak) his mix balances by mixing through a compressor - not adding one after the fact - so that when he ships it off to the magical mastering lab in the sky, he's not surprised by a sudden change in mix balances.

Assuming he'll do some irreparable damage by making use of a mix buss compressor does him a disservice, IMO, and it also does you a disservice by disarming a potential client from a means for the two of you to combine your skills to make the best possible-sounding finished music.

Not to mention, at what point do you draw the line? Do you disallow him from using an EQ because he may overwork the bass? Do you forbid him the use of reverb because you don't want too wet a mix? Obviously, this brings the discussion a bit off-topic, but I think there's a lot of validity and far more usefulness for everyone in assuming the OP knows how to work a compressor (be it on the mix buss or wherever), and that he/she can make appropriate judgements accordingly. After all, it's his mix. Let him realize his vision, dial it in, and in this case LOCK it in using some compression, and let the ME just master the damn thing without damaging it!!

(to be clear, I write this all for the sake of good-natured argument; I hope I don't appear to be coming down too hard on you specifically)
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
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actually it's very simple IMO.
Don't use anything on the 2bus that's there just to make things louder.

Everything else is part of the mixing process, IMO. Be it compression, eqing, whatever. Even limiting, if it's part of the sound the mixer/producer goes after. But for that, better be a really good/experienced mixer.
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