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clipping the mixbus
Old 29th September 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

clipping the mixbus

I've been recording/mixing a long time, but never really learned the technical aspect of it. I'm sure this has been asked an infinity number of times, so thanks for any responses. I'm going to send a mix to a pro masterer for the first time (João Carvalho in Toronto, who did a great repair job on a previously long lost tune). Usually I just blast my mixes with an API 2500 and pro-L on the mixbus, and call it a day.

1) If I have a clean mixbus (no effects on it), does it matter if I clip the mixbus from time to time? It all gets blasted in the master anyway, or I could put a mild comp on it to flatten any peaks, so does it really matter?

2) What level (average?) do I want to send my mix to a masterer at? I notice the average level of the mixbus when i put it through a neutral pro-L is different than the average level showing on the studio one mixbus meter. Why is that?

3) To mix this tune that I'm going to send to the masterer, I plan on blasting it on the mixbus per usual (comp and limiter), mixing it at that loudness level (as loud comparibly as any pro recording .. average of -7 or -9 or whatever), and then taking off the comp and limiter, and hopefully that mix should translate when the pro masterer blasts it?

PLEASE forgive my ignorance, and thank you for any responses.
Old 29th September 2019
  #2
Quote:
To mix this tune that I'm going to send to the masterer, I plan on blasting it on the mixbus per usual (comp and limiter), mixing it at that loudness level (as loud comparibly as any pro recording .. average of -7 or -9 or whatever),
I would not do that. You will leave no room for any kind of mastering processes.
You get your loudness in the mastering stage. Just go for a good sound in the mixing stage and put the Limiter down!!!!
Quote:
What level (average?) do I want to send my mix to a masterer at?
Ask him, we all have our preferences
Old 29th September 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks! Does it matter if I peak on the mixbus, and if I do, can I just flatten them with a mild comp? I'd hate to go through and lessen every little thing that peaks it.

I guess my difficulty is this - a recording might sound very different when it is pushed through compressors and limiters. Everything could be louder or quieter, depending. Panned guitars could overpower the mix, or the snare lost etc.

How am I supposed to know how my mix is going to sound coming out of the mastering house?

... I guess the point of the masterer is to add his/her artistic opinion on top my mix, mastering-wise (while resolve any overpowering/lessing issues with his/her vast mixing/mastering experience), and also balance out the sound in his/her perfect listening environment.

This guy previously made a chewed up blasted molten piece of #@$# tune sound like angels singing praise to the Lord, so I guess I shouldn't worry about it.
Old 29th September 2019
  #4
Quote:
How am I supposed to know how my mix is going to sound coming out of the mastering house?
Mastering is not going to change your sound. Mix it to how you want it to sound and send it out for mastering. do not worry about loudness, just sound quality.

Mastering is all about subtle changes that will not change the sound. If anything drastic needs to be done, then the mix is bad and should be remixed.
Old 29th September 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Agree with Mr. South FL.

Ask the ME what level he prefers the mix(es) at, and DO IT.

Do not clip the MB.

See, what you are thinking is that if YOU get your mix ALAP, then you won't have to worry about the ME getting your mix ALAP. No. Get your mix to sound really good and then ask your ME to deliver something ALAP. Any ME worth their weight will be able to do just that.

Cheers.
Old 30th September 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
Use saturation and parallel compression to achieve loudness in mixing. The better you do that the more fun the ME has because your "potential loudness," will be easier to reach because the saturation and parallel compression will have brought your RMS so high to begin with.

I'm using "PCOMP," aux tracks on my kick, snare, and LV, basically every mix that I do. Its a cool way to sneak some distortion or tape saturation into a vocal too... and your drums.
Old 1st October 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveasdf View Post
Thanks! Does it matter if I peak on the mixbus, and if I do, can I just flatten them with a mild comp?
If you clip the master it gets annoying for the ME I'm pretty sure. Generally speaking it's not always easy or even possible to undo clipping that you cause during mixing. Best practice is to avoid it (unless you really know what you're doing).

So yes, it matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveasdf View Post
I'd hate to go through and lessen every little thing that peaks it.
Alternative 1: 'deal with it' and just do it anyway. This is part of what "mixing" is.

Alternative 2: lower the output channel's fader until it no longer clips (this assumes that the channel fader is before the point of clipping, which is the case in many DAWs... this is also generally not considered to be the best way to go about things).

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveasdf View Post
I guess my difficulty is this - a recording might sound very different when it is pushed through compressors and limiters. Everything could be louder or quieter, depending. Panned guitars could overpower the mix, or the snare lost etc.

How am I supposed to know how my mix is going to sound coming out of the mastering house?
If you're talking about processing on individual channels before the master then see above - if you're talking about processing on the output channel then you're making it harder for the mastering engineer to do their job (that's my impression at least). Some mix engineers put stuff on the master, but it's probably only reasonable if you're already a pretty skilled mix engineer before you try this.

Alternatively, if you have stuff on the master you can print one mix with that all on, and another mix with it all bypassed (but with the output NOT clipping of course). That way the mastering engineer has a mix to reference and a 'clean' one to work on.
Old 3rd October 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveasdf View Post
I

1) If I have a clean mixbus (no effects on it), does it matter if I clip the mixbus from time to time? It all gets blasted in the master anyway
Yes it matters. When you clip something in a digital system, you are essentially destroying all the information about the waveform above "0". That is to say that in digital, the part of a clipped guitar that is above the line sounds exactly like a clipped vocal or a clipped drum. It is a flat line.

Some people think, well, it's "only for an instant" but IMO that is just laziness. Consistent clipping is fatiguing to the ear. Even if the listener does not hear an obvious "zot" as a distinct entity, he comes away with a less favorable view of the mix overall, IMHO.

Quote:
3) To mix this tune that I'm going to send to the masterer, I plan on blasting it on the mixbus per usual (comp and limiter),
I mix into a compressor all the time. But that is for tone and "glue". Personally, I never mix into a limiter. I am quite pleased at what professional mastering engineers do in terms of loudness to my tracks. I think mixing into a limiter would distort my judgement. There is a lot to be said for getting a mix happening without "blasting" it. Then when you add pro mastering, it sounds amazing.

Frankly, I doubt if your mastering engineer looks upon his job as "blasting". There is a lot more to it than that.

Quote:
and then taking off the comp and limiter, and hopefully that mix should translate when the pro masterer blasts it?
Even if you send him your 'settings', there is no guarantee that he will reproduce your exact sound. And if you think about it, why are you sending to him except for the fact that hopefully he can improve upon your mastering attempts? Even when I am self-mastering, I try to act as if I was two different people. I don't mix into a limiter, I keep it well out of clipping. I do the mastering on the exported mix file - in a separate session (not in the mix session) and on a different day.

Don't tie your mastering engineers hands. Leave him some headroom. Be the mixer and focus on mixing - not on loudness.
Old 3rd October 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
decocco's Avatar
 

Don’t clip your DAW mix bus. There really is no reason to do that unless you want intentional harsh distortion.

Last edited by decocco; 3rd October 2019 at 04:34 PM.. Reason: Grammar
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