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Mastering Headroom Question
Old 15th December 2013
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AudioRadar's Avatar

Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
To be clear, avoid mastering engineers who ask you for headroom in "files": They have clearly no idea what they're doing. Look for someone else.
This just plain wrong. Most hobby producers/mixers don't know what the f*** they are doing and will present clipped or/and squashed mixdowns to the mastering service. ("I leave my kick at 0dbbecause it is the loudest element "). To avoid lenghty discussions with every other client about what nonclipping/nonlimited mixdown means they will just say "leave between -3db on the masterbus"

Originally Posted by the unik View Post
I'm doing Mastering for many different styles of music, including Electronic music, wich requires to be loud, as to be competitive, well thats usually what the client ask. But if you want to obtain the best "loudness" possible, without squashing the tune like hell at the end of the Mastering process, you need to work with files that have "real" headroom.
What I mean by "real" is that, you shouldn't at any time lower the Master fader so as to have "headroom" at the output. Because you're actually only downsizing the overall bit scale digitally speaking.
To have "real" headroom, you would need to have a signal under the clipping point without lowering the Master fader.
Depends on the DAW. In Reaper this is the case afaik, Cubase too. Does not apply to Logic because it has the masterfader before the masterbus so to speak.
Old 15th December 2013
Originally Posted by AudioRadar View Post
To avoid lenghty discussions with every other client about what nonclipping/nonlimited mixdown means they will just say "leave between -3db on the masterbus"
For the very same reasons one could also ask them to deliver a floating point file: Problem solved, forever. No need for discussion.
Old 15th December 2013
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

Verified Member
I alway ask people to leave headroom and I always leave headroom on my own mixes.

The reason for this is that the analog stage of many common D to A converters sounds very weak in the top of their range. Trying to fix a monitoring problem in a mix is never a good idea. When i first discovered this, I played with checking against different D to A converters much like we switch between monitor speakers but soon learned this was too unpredictable as many converters mask problems that could be heard and fixed with better or even just different monitoring converters.

Headroom is needed to solve an analog monitoring problem, not a digital problem.
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