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How to lower the total Mix DB output
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
How to lower the total Mix DB output

Good day guys

Really need your help

So,as far as i have read the output of a mix need to be at -7 DB,correct?

I really like my mixes but i always end up close to clipping(-1,-2 db)

If i try lower the fadersand achieve -7db output export i have the feeling that my mixes looses its power & stop being interesting; while on the other hand if i use a console style plugin in the master fader and lower the output of the whole mix via the Plugin output fader knob (in my case i use the neve console BX Console) my mixes sound better


what do u suggest,am id oing something wrong???

do i have to do any specific thing or i can use whatever helps me the most

thanks
nick
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

A trick i use is to set the Kick to -12dB and then never touch that fader again. The Kick will then be the anchor for your whole mix. If you stick with it while mixing your overall mix levels should average roughly close to -6dB.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for your reply dear

Really clever trick , i am always fascinated by the sweet spot & maybe forget to stay faith at a "correct" set kick
But your tricks is really nice

As far as the toal output am i correct??? As far as i know my total mix output should be aroun -7db so i will have headroom for mastering,correct?

thanks
nick
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

No, you don't have to do that. Just don't clip.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
mattias thanks for your feedback

but what do i loose if i do that (lower the output knob of the Neve console emulation inserted in the Master Fader of the Cubase,as low as i get -7 db total output DB)????

this is what i am trying to find dear
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

There's no point in you doing it. A mastering engineer can pull down a fader just as easily as you can. There's zero difference.

As for whether or not you lose something, I'd say "not really". But I see no technical reason why you'd gain anything by doing it.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

when you turn down all the faders... its entirely possible that any bus processing needs re adjusted.

For example say all your drums go to a single drum bus and you have a compressor on that bus.

Pretend you set it up with some gentle compression with a modest attack and release with about 3 db of gain reduction. Just enough to glue things together and pull out a little oomph.

Anyhow... when you drag down all the faders you will see that you are NOT hitting the compressor in the drum bus as hard.

It might simply be a matter of re-tweaking bus processing to get the energy back at the lower level.

then mastering will hype it the rest of the way.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Gear Addict
 

DAW meters usually read Peak transients which are pretty useless for judging the actual music levels. You can run them right up to 0db and not do any harm.
What you're really concerned with is the RMS or average levels in relation to peak.

Mix the file down to a stereo wave file, stick in in an editor program and measure the RMS or average level. If the editor reads RMS your target mix down level is between -16~-17dB. If the program reads Average the target is -11~-12dB total. These are the targets most mastering engineers want the mixes at before they apply they're mastering EQ, Comps and Limiters.

Yes they can bring levels down, but they cant remove the loudness maximizers, limiters, and comps you used to get it louder in the first place. Of course you can do whatever you want for your own listening, but you really want to hold off using brick wall limiters and such if possible. As part of that mastering they will EQ the stereo recording. There's a big increase in noise levels applying EQ after a limiter has been applied compared to doing it before. There are many other things like having the proper stereo balance, width that should be done before limiting too.

In my setup I use two different jobs for the two different tasks. One computer is strictly for tracking and mixing. The other is mastering. they aren't even in the same room and when I mix I mix, when I master I master. I wear a different hat for the two jobs and you learn to focus on mastering as a completely separate job with different goals. Trying to do everything is a single step by sticking mastering tools in the mains buss has a much lower success rate because you're working with peak levels instead of actual RMS vs peak. With a large wave view of the fil with calibrated grid lines you can tell precisely how much peak material you're trimming and do the least amount of damage while maintaining dynamic content. In all, Mixing is more like being a butcher chopping things up in separate parts and making many tracks sound appealing. Mastering is more like surgery where the work is more precise, and you're narrowed down to making only two tracks sound they're best.
Old 3 days ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
There's no point in you doing it. A mastering engineer can pull down a fader just as easily as you can. There's zero difference.

As for whether or not you lose something, I'd say "not really". But I see no technical reason why you'd gain anything by doing it.
Thats not entirely always the case. And what im about to say has so little of an effect on the audio quality that I want to make a point to say that im not trying to prove you wrong. Rather, that in some circumstances, just pulling down a fader peaking at -0.1db for mastering wont always have the desired effect.

Im not saying this will apply to every DAW, every song, or every mix, but when you move a fader more than -8.5db, there is in fact sample degrading which can effect its dynamic range and quality. When you do this on a single track, it is happening prior to your signal chain which means your plugins can still manipulate and color the signal to maintain some of its original sound. However, if you bus all the tacks together (similar to handing your mix off as a single track to a mastering engineer), when he/she lowers the volume to -8db peak, -16rms, they are now crushing some of the sample quality. This would be so minimal that it wouldnt even matter in most instances, but if the mastering engineer hits it with enough compression, limiting, or especially exciting, then these sample problems may begin to become more in your face, not to mention the fact that, as mentioned, some of the dynamic range is now gone. If you lower the volume of each individual track then between your plugin chains and the over lap, you dont really lose anything.

Again, we are talking a difference so minuscule that I think it would be impossible to notice under most circumstances except maybe classical/folk music which tends to have a very clean elegant, dynamic sound, or EDM where a lot of masters are crushed beyond belief and bad sampling would really stand out. All in all, this is definitely more of a pet peave/courtesy issue than it is a technical issue, so long as there is no internal clipping.

I want to point out, this was how I understood what a mentor of mine taught me. Perhaps I am foggy in my understanding in some areas, but it is my belief that I have a good understanding of it. If nothing else, it is just good practice to put out a mix at -6 to -8db (peak, not RMS), brought to level on your tracks and buses, not your master.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I think you're wrong about that. Your "single track" is part of "your signal chain", it doesn't exist "prior to" it.

Whomever was your mentor explained what's going on poorly it seems.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
PVJesper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThorntonStrolia View Post
Thats not entirely always the case. And what im about to say has so little of an effect on the audio quality that I want to make a point to say that im not trying to prove you wrong. Rather, that in some circumstances, just pulling down a fader peaking at -0.1db for mastering wont always have the desired effect.

Im not saying this will apply to every DAW, every song, or every mix, but when you move a fader more than -8.5db, there is in fact sample degrading which can effect its dynamic range and quality. When you do this on a single track, it is happening prior to your signal chain which means your plugins can still manipulate and color the signal to maintain some of its original sound. However, if you bus all the tacks together (similar to handing your mix off as a single track to a mastering engineer), when he/she lowers the volume to -8db peak, -16rms, they are now crushing some of the sample quality. This would be so minimal that it wouldnt even matter in most instances, but if the mastering engineer hits it with enough compression, limiting, or especially exciting, then these sample problems may begin to become more in your face, not to mention the fact that, as mentioned, some of the dynamic range is now gone. If you lower the volume of each individual track then between your plugin chains and the over lap, you dont really lose anything.

Again, we are talking a difference so minuscule that I think it would be impossible to notice under most circumstances except maybe classical/folk music which tends to have a very clean elegant, dynamic sound, or EDM where a lot of masters are crushed beyond belief and bad sampling would really stand out. All in all, this is definitely more of a pet peave/courtesy issue than it is a technical issue, so long as there is no internal clipping.

I want to point out, this was how I understood what a mentor of mine taught me. Perhaps I am foggy in my understanding in some areas, but it is my belief that I have a good understanding of it. If nothing else, it is just good practice to put out a mix at -6 to -8db (peak, not RMS), brought to level on your tracks and buses, not your master.
That's not the case. Internally, modern DAW's operate with 64bit floating point. What this means in practice, is that you can pull faders up and down however you want, and it won't make a difference (as you start to add processing, sending different levels into them will make a difference, but that has to to with the processing, and not that you are somehow reducing dynamic range). The difference that can occur is when the audio is written to fixed point audio, which happens when you export a wav file or send it out through an analog output (if you mix with analog gear for example). But that has implications that is the opposite than what you are suggesting. In 24bit the noise floor is so far down that it will not matter where the master bus is peaking (as long as you don't let it sit at -60dBFS or similar), but it is never worse to export higher, and let them lower it afterwards. A caveat is intersample peaks (the peak of the waveform might not be visible, since daws measure sample values, and the actual peak of the wave could be slightly higher), which is why you should probably leave a dB or two as a margin at least, if you do not need the volume.

To summarize:
If we can exclude the effects from processing (i.e. we change the volume as the very last thing in the chain), as long as you are not clipping, feel free to have the volume sensibly high.
Old 2 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

32bit float, not 64bit float, generally speaking.
Old 2 days ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
PVJesper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
32bit float, not 64bit float, generally speaking.
Well, it seems so, at least partly.

To be honest, I am using reaper (which claims it runs 64bit internally) and just assumed they all did it similarly. But i checked a few now, and both logic pro and pro tools seems to have a summing/mixer (they use different terminology, but it should refer to the same thing) bit depth of 64 bit, which is mostly the relevant part for this volume discussion. But they do use processing at 32-bit depth though.
Old 2 days ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVJesper View Post
That's not the case. Internally, modern DAW's operate with 64bit floating point. What this means in practice, is that you can pull faders up and down however you want, and it won't make a difference (as you start to add processing, sending different levels into them will make a difference, but that has to to with the processing, and not that you are somehow reducing dynamic range). The difference that can occur is when the audio is written to fixed point audio, which happens when you export a wav file or send it out through an analog output (if you mix with analog gear for example). But that has implications that is the opposite than what you are suggesting. In 24bit the noise floor is so far down that it will not matter where the master bus is peaking (as long as you don't let it sit at -60dBFS or similar), but it is never worse to export higher, and let them lower it afterwards. A caveat is intersample peaks (the peak of the waveform might not be visible, since daws measure sample values, and the actual peak of the wave could be slightly higher), which is why you should probably leave a dB or two as a margin at least, if you do not need the volume.

To summarize:
If we can exclude the effects from processing (i.e. we change the volume as the very last thing in the chain), as long as you are not clipping, feel free to have the volume sensibly high.
Thanks for the info! He teaches me a very hybrid setup. We print a lot so that is probably why it is so important we don't touch the faders too much and try to keep the levels right to begin with.

I personally am still just under the impression that it's just good practice, and courteous, to have the levels -8/-6 and -18/-16. That just me personally.

I appreciate to elaborating on this for me. Considering the work flow we use, I think it clears up why it's more important for him and me, than perhaps a lot of people working only in box.
Old 2 days ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I think you're wrong about that. Your "single track" is part of "your signal chain", it doesn't exist "prior to" it.

Whomever was your mentor explained what's going on poorly it seems.
What I mean is, I always gainstage before all plugins so if there were any problems that crushed the dynamics I can make the necesary adjustment in my plugin chain. If you fix the dynamics of a master track you might touch things you dont mean to that dont need to be touched.

I dont think its as much that he explaind it badly. I think its more that I explained it badly. Haha.
Old 2 days ago
  #16
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I still don't agree though.
Old 2 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I still don't agree though.
Different techniques for different people. Mixing and mastering is definitely not one size fits all. One of the people mentoring me is a grammy winning engineer of more than 25 years and all of them make a point that manipulating your master fader, or more than 8.5db in either direction on any final bounce is just a big nono for quality reasons. All of them also mix hybrid, tho, and I could see how that might be an important element in their reasoning.

Personally, Im going to stick to their logic. I a sure they have good reasoning for it, even if its just an issue of good practice.
Old 2 days ago
  #18
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I just get the feeling that either you didn't understand what they said, or you're not explaining it very well, or they didn't know what they were talking about (which is possible). Because what you wrote in the other post doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive propositions. So the 'point' doesn't really make sense.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I just get the feeling that either you didn't understand what they said, or you're not explaining it very well, or they didn't know what they were talking about (which is possible). Because what you wrote in the other post doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive propositions. So the 'point' doesn't really make sense.
I'm probably just not explaining it well. I'm dyslexic so writing isn't really my strong suit. One of them outright showed me so I know it's not BS. I'm admittedly much better at communicating in person.
Old 2 days ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Re 'avoid manipulating your master fader... Quick question. Wouldn't that imply that all [the other] fader moves we made would also be degrading' the quality?
Old 2 days ago
  #21
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Moving faders inside a sequencer, and as well moving the master fader, does nothing to the audio quality. It does not degrade the audio quality, it does not improve the audio quality - it does not affect the audio quality in any way shape or form - the only thing that is affected is level. Unlike a LFAC.

The caveat is, if you are using a plug that is dependent on input level - depending where in the signal path the plug(s) are inserted, you might affect the quality of a track, tracks, or an entire mix to some small degree. Otherwise, moving your MF is the same exact thing as grouping and moving your ch faders is the same exact thing as sending your chs to a group pre-MF and moving that group ch fader.

So go ahead and move your faders as need be, and do not worry about degrading audio quality, losing power, and having your mix become less interesting.

Cheers.
Old 2 days ago
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
PVJesper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThorntonStrolia View Post
Different techniques for different people. Mixing and mastering is definitely not one size fits all. One of the people mentoring me is a grammy winning engineer of more than 25 years and all of them make a point that manipulating your master fader, or more than 8.5db in either direction on any final bounce is just a big nono for quality reasons. All of them also mix hybrid, tho, and I could see how that might be an important element in their reasoning.

Personally, Im going to stick to their logic. I a sure they have good reasoning for it, even if its just an issue of good practice.
However you are mixing, itb or hybrid, what can matter is what level the audio is. What can not matter is what position the fader is. That is an important distinction.

As in this case, you know what level you want the audio to have (even though the reason for that may be subject to doubt) so just make it happen. Move the fader.
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