The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why does my mix lose punch when THIS happens... DAW Software
Old 12th March 2014
  #31
Ya dude, you're just into the sound of clipped transients. But that's what most contemporary, mastered music sounds like.
Old 12th March 2014
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Great thread
Old 12th March 2014
  #33
Lives for gear
 
2toxic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Doing this on a complicated mix could involved literally hundreds of small adjustments. Why not just turn down the master fader, then adjust any threshold-based processing on that master fader? That's two steps versus hundreds. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Sometimes it seems like people around here confuse doing the most complicated thing possible with good engineering.
You are absolutely right.

Headroom & Master Fader

I had always thought meter levels on the Master track in Protools was pre-(master)fader.

For what its worth linking and dropping gives me more FADER (not level) headroom on the highest fader in the mixer ... just helps me visualize the mix/balance better.

Anyway, touche Bgrotto.
Old 13th March 2014
  #34
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
Ya dude, you're just into the sound of clipped transients. But that's what most contemporary, mastered music sounds like.

As I mentioned earlier, none of my channels nor plugins are clipping. I make sure of that by inserting metering plugins after and before each plug in on channels that may run a little hot such as snares, kicks, bass and vocals.

The issue isn't the channels themselves more so that it is the build up of layers and mults and sub bussing groups that I use.

The end result is that I resort to having to turn down the master fader (there is NO PROCESSING on the master fader).

I'm not advocating to say that this is the "greatest way" to work, but it seems to work for the way that I like to hear my mixes. I believe the only other solution to this (besides turning down the master fader), is to set my track levels lower and simply turn up the monitor volume control.

I'll have to get used to working that way though. Maybe I'll try it on the next album.
Old 13th March 2014
  #35
Lives for gear
 

i'm still in awe this thread has happened.

To add some input, your engineer is 100% correct. you don't need to fire him, he should fire you! lol
Old 13th March 2014
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
i'm still in awe this thread has happened.

To add some input, your engineer is 100% correct. you don't need to fire him, he should fire you! lol
Old 13th March 2014
  #37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlacck View Post
As I mentioned earlier, none of my channels nor plugins are clipping. I make sure of that by inserting metering plugins after and before each plug in on channels that may run a little hot such as snares, kicks, bass and vocals.

The issue isn't the channels themselves more so that it is the build up of layers and mults and sub bussing groups that I use.

The end result is that I resort to having to turn down the master fader (there is NO PROCESSING on the master fader).

I'm not advocating to say that this is the "greatest way" to work, but it seems to work for the way that I like to hear my mixes. I believe the only other solution to this (besides turning down the master fader), is to set my track levels lower and simply turn up the monitor volume control.

I'll have to get used to working that way though. Maybe I'll try it on the next album.
The clipping is still happening, just at a different stage. The sum of your channels is causing your master to clip, then you pull your master fader down to "gain" headroom, but the clipping is done.

Try taking every channel you have going to the master buss and making a sub-mix. Basically lay your mix out as it is across 4 or 5 buss channels, then turn those down. All vocals to a buss, drum and bass to a buss, efx to a buss, pads and fill instruments to a buss. Something like that.
Old 13th March 2014
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
The clipping is still happening, just at a different stage. The sum of your channels is causing your master to clip, then you pull your master fader down to "gain" headroom, but the clipping is done.
No.

No, no, no.

A million times: no.



That's not how the mix buss on any modern DAW works. It is impossible to clip the master fader. Hell, it's impossible to internally clip ANY part of the DAW mixer. It can't be done.

Turning down the master fader will absolutely gain you headroom.
Old 13th March 2014
  #39
Lives for gear
 
stinkyfingers's Avatar
 

you can clip the master fader in ableton. only one i found that does. i can't test them all though.
Old 13th March 2014
  #40
If you lower the master fader, does the clipping go away?
You're probably just clipping your interface and not the internal master bus in Ableton.
Old 14th March 2014
  #41
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
The clipping is still happening, just at a different stage. The sum of your channels is causing your master to clip, then you pull your master fader down to "gain" headroom, but the clipping is done.
.
I'm sorry but this is incorrect. In DAWs if he is pulling down the master fader he will unequivocally gain more headroom, the clipping is by no means done, it isn't present at all.
Old 14th March 2014
  #42
Lives for gear
 

I can just see the future of mixing coming to this... "gimme that *rappers name* sound!"

oh you mean the one where i just turn all the faders to +12 and lower the master fader?

lol... smh
Old 14th March 2014
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
No.

No, no, no.

A million times: no.



That's not how the mix buss on any modern DAW works. It is impossible to clip the master fader. Hell, it's impossible to internally clip ANY part of the DAW mixer. It can't be done.

Turning down the master fader will absolutely gain you headroom.
Are you telling me that if I take a channel fader that has signal peaking at 0db and turn it up by 12db, it will not internally clip? Or, if I insert a gain plugin on the same channel and pump the gain by 24db, it won't internally clip? I can hear it clipping...
Old 14th March 2014
  #44
Lives for gear
 
stinkyfingers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by con_thafam View Post
If you lower the master fader, does the clipping go away?
You're probably just clipping your interface and not the internal master bus in Ableton.
clipping does go away when lowering the master fader.
it is not D/A clipping, i have tested by routing ableton's output through soundflower to an analyzer.
doing the same with logic or reaper will pass the 32 bit float (unclipped) signal.
Old 14th March 2014
  #45
Lives for gear
 

In Pro Tools no, it wont sound clipped with every mix fader at +12 and the master fader low.

However!

In doing that, you wont have a stable platform for mastering as the true spacing of the mix will be so warped.
So do it cuz you like the sound, but dont call it mixing.
Old 14th March 2014
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
I can just see the future of mixing coming to this... "gimme that *rappers name* sound!"

oh you mean the one where i just turn all the faders to +12 and lower the master fader?

lol... smh
That "sound" would be identical to keeping the faders closer to unity.

Also, if the channel faders are at +12dB, that'd be a good indication that the tracking engineering was using very conservative levels, which means virtually no chance of clipping plugins (or any other signal path), which means cleaner audio.

The only potential downside would be if you're using those damn Waves plugins with the "modeled analog noise" (x1,000,000) and your SNR ended up getting outta hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
Are you telling me that if I take a channel fader that has signal peaking at 0db and turn it up by 12db, it will not internally clip? Or, if I insert a gain plugin on the same channel and pump the gain by 24db, it won't internally clip? I can hear it clipping...
It is not clipping the Pro Tools mixer. You can solve the problem you hear simply by turning down the master fader, with no damage whatsoever to the waveform.

You should read the Digi/Avid white papers; it's very important for a professional to have at least a basic understanding of how his tools work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
In Pro Tools no, it wont sound clipped with every mix fader at +12 and the master fader low.

However!

In doing that, you wont have a stable platform for mastering as the true spacing of the mix will be so warped.
So do it cuz you like the sound, but dont call it mixing.
What does this even mean? "The true spacing"?

Can you elaborate?
Old 14th March 2014
  #47
Lives for gear
 

@bgrotto if the end result sounds the same, why not then encourage correct mixing practices? A well mixed song sounds great, with every aux and master fader at 0db.

yes you can achieve "similar" results by other methods but, again, thats not mixing.
Old 14th March 2014
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
@bgrotto if the end result sounds the same, why not then encourage correct mixing practices? A well mixed song sounds great, with every aux and master fader at 0db.

yes you can achieve "similar" results by other methods but, again, thats not mixing.
Define correct mixing practices.

IMO the only definition is "A well mixed song sounds great". What level every fader is at, is irrelevant.

I personally do believe in proper gain staging and like to have a handle on all my levels and faders, but I can't tell someone their way of mixing is "incorrect". That would be incorrect.
Old 14th March 2014
  #49
Lives for gear
 

i personally hated to put it that way myself but we gotta save some dignity! lol when would we draw the line? apple already has an automix feature in logic x. is iTunes "sound check" mastering?
Old 14th March 2014
  #50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
@bgrotto if the end result sounds the same, why not then encourage correct mixing practices?
The whole idea of "correct mixing practices" is absurd on its face. I can rattle off dozens of classic recordings that threw such convention to the wind and are now considered sonic masterpieces. At the end of the day, if it sounds right, it is right. But feel free to tell some of the most accomplished engineers on the face of the planet that they're doing it wrong.

Quote:
A well mixed song sounds great, with every aux and master fader at 0db.
In fact, a well mixed song sounds great. Period. You should have stopped there.

I can assure you that you've heard hundreds, if not thousands, of songs you'd consider "well mixed" where a subgroup or master fader isn't sitting on 0db.

There's nothing incorrect about moving the master fader. If there were, you wouldn't have been given the option to do so in the first place.

Quote:
yes you can achieve "similar" results by other methods but, again, thats not mixing.
I didn't say you can achieve "similar" results. I said you can achieve identical results.

In any event, mixing is the act of combining multiple signals into fewer signals, typically two for stereo reproduction. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking our job is particularly any more specialized or glamorous than that.

Quote:
i personally hated to put it that way myself but we gotta save some dignity!
"Save some dignity?"

What's undignified about using tools exactly as they're designed? Or, for that matter, what's undignified about using tools NOT as they're designed? You do know why the Fairchild 660 and 670 are considered classics these days and command $15k/channel, don't you?

Quote:
lol when would we draw the line? apple already has an automix feature in logic x. is iTunes "sound check" mastering?
Comparing those things to gain staging is foolish. A complete non-sequitor.

EDIT: and you still haven't clarified what you meant by "true spacing" of a mix, and how a change to the master fader might render a track unmasterable.
Old 14th March 2014
  #51
@Claborn
I fully understand where you're coming from. It is important to preserve the "art of mixing". I don't worry about it though, cause in the end of the day "A well mixed song sounds great", and if someone can't manage to mix without clipping everything everytime, I doubt their mixes are that stand out anyways.
I think in this specific case, where the OP mixed everything a little hot, and now can't seem to match the same balance of levels, fx, etc by turning "everything" down, it's not really an issue to just turn down the master fader a bit.
IMO, if people understand how their DAWs actually work, it gives them a little more freedom, or wiggle room if you will, to keep going and not have to stop whatever creative flow they're in. Red is not always the enemy. Especially if you know your monitors/room pretty well.
Old 14th March 2014
  #52
Lives for gear
 

@bgrotto so you disagree that you agree with me? you're posts are very conflicting sometimes.

but you're right, screw it, every kid with a macbook is a Mix Engineer now. i give up. thread done.
Old 14th March 2014
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
@bgrotto so you disagree that you agree with me? you're posts are very conflicting sometimes.
What are you talking about? My point is as straight-forward as it gets: a good-sounding mix is a good mix, regardless of fader levels or "correct mixing practices". I'm pretty sure I've been completely consistent there. Can you point to a particular statement I made that is confusing you?

It seems you're trying to elevate the act of mixing music into some complex, exclusivist (or perhaps exclusionist) club, while the reality is it's really no more complicated than the act of combining signals.

And I really am itching to know what you meant with that whole "true spacing" thing, and why a change to the master fader would leave a track unmasterable.

Quote:
but you're right, screw it, every kid with a macbook is a Mix Engineer now. i give up. thread done.
Every kid with a macbook IS a mix engineer, provided they use that macbook to make a mix down.
Old 14th March 2014
  #54
Lives for gear
 

I just smoked a bowl and it's not really worth it. con_thefam is right, let people do what they do, i was just trying to help.

As far as true spacing goes.. yeah thats great you can stick electric tape over the check engine light when your mix is running hot but what else is pro tools doing? is the bounced file going to come out the same? if levels are hitting the top, what level are they really at? what about if you needed to send the master engineer stems? your whole mix is based off the master fader! if you gain stage properly, you wont have to worry about any of that.
Old 14th March 2014
  #55
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

I always held the notion that touching the master fader was taboo...but now if I understand correctly, that is a phenomenon that relates mostly to the analog realm. Either way, I have pretty disciplined gain staging practices ITB...it's second nature to me so I see no need to go against the conventional wisdom at this point just because I *can*...

I don't play around with any exotic routing or sends and I use a few plugins on my tracks as it is with only a a compressor and a soft clipper, maybe an EQ on the master buss...so K.I.S.S works for me.
Old 14th March 2014
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claborn View Post
As far as true spacing goes.. yeah thats great you can stick electric tape over the check engine light when your mix is running hot but what else is pro tools doing?
Nothing. If the mix buss is overloading, and you lower the master fader, your audio is no longer clipping or distorting in any way.

Quote:
is the bounced file going to come out the same?
Yes. Identical. If you don't believe me (or the several Digidesign and Avid white papers on the subject) feel free to test it yourself. Put together a quick, faders-up mix in Pro Tools that isn't clipping the master. Bounce that. Next, push all the channel faders up until you ARE clipping the master, turn down the master fader to compensate (bringing the peak level back to where the initial, un-clipped pass was), and bounce that. Then import the two bounces into a session, level match them, and flip the polarity on one. You'll find they cancel out completely.

Quote:
if levels are hitting the top, what level are they really at?
Do you understand how bit depth relates to summing in Pro Tools (and most every other DAW), and how these applications use it? Check this out: PT10 gives you 64 bits (floating) on the mixer, and 32 bits (floating) for plugin processing, or 48 and 24 (both fixed), respectively, with older hardware.

So, the PT mixer has over 384db of dynamic range for newer systems, and 288db for older ones.

Every time you double a signal, you get a 6db rise. So, to double a signal 10 times, you'd need 1,023 duplicates of that track. And that would only eat up 60db of headroom. Even on an older system, you'd still have over 200db left. On newer systems, you have considerably more.

In short, it is literally impossible to clip the Pro Tools mixer. It cannot be done.

If you wanna test it out for yourself, make a new session, and create as many tracks as your system will allow. Set all the faders to +12db, and add a Signal Generator plugin to every one of them (make sure your monitor volume is muted!!!!). You've just completely blown up the master fader.

Now, pull the master fader down until it's no longer showing an overload. Bounce a few seconds of that. Then, have a listen. Does it sound distorted? No, because Pro Tools' mix engine has more than enough headroom to cope with that. Again, you cannot clip it.

Quote:
what about if you needed to send the master engineer stems?
Assuming you're printing each stem through the master fader, there would be no problem.

Also: if a mastering engineer ever asks me for stems, he's fired. Don't **** with my mix like that; that's not your job.

Quote:
your whole mix is based off the master fader! if you gain stage properly, you wont have to worry about any of that.
My whole mix is absolutely not based off the master fader, but to each his own. Although even if it were, I would never worry about it, because I know I can dial it down (or up!) if I needed less or more level. That's precisely the way the PT mix engine was designed the way it was.

Let me make another point. As someone who has mixed thousands of songs, hundreds of records, I've played around with many different approaches to mixing. I've made every mistake in the book. One thing that has a tendency to happen, especially on complex ITB mixes, is that despite my very excellent gain staging (which I assure you, is as good as it gets), there is occasion where creative flow takes over and I find myself with a balance that is great, but built upon a series of decisions that lands my master fader in the red. Oftentimes it's parallel processing. Sometimes it's a certain approach I take to subgrouping. The specifics are irrelevant. If I've just spent 8 hours honing a mix, and in the last one or two hours, found myself overloading the master, despite the fact that my tracking levels are conservative and I'm not clipping a single plugin or aux send anywhere in the session, there's absolutely no way in hell I'm NOT gonna just turn down the master fader a few db to gain my head room back. I'm sure as hell not gonna spend hours reverse engineering my creative work to ensure I properly group all the necessary tracks to bring channel faders down without upsetting any balances (assuming it's even possible, which, many times isn't the case).

Talk about a vibe buster. Not gonna happen. Like I said elsewhere in the thread, why not make one (or two, if you count adjusting mix buss compression thresholds) move that solves the problem instead of hundreds? Engineering isn't validated by complexity. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanilla_Dutches View Post
I always held the notion that touching the master fader was taboo...but now if I understand correctly, that is a phenomenon that relates mostly to the analog realm.
We adjust group faders all the time in the analog realm. In fact, if anything, it's probably even MORE common for those of us working on consoles, and especially to tape.

The notion about avoiding touching the master fader comes, frankly, from message board discussions like this where people are either ignorant to the way their tools work, or are underestimating other users' intelligence so they end up oversimplifying their explanations. That, or they think they can create some kind of mystique and privilege for themselves by overcomplicating their work. I don't really know. Suffice to say, though, the master fader is fair game. Do what you gotta do. Do what sounds good.
Old 14th March 2014
  #57
Lives for gear
 

@bgrotto sounds great man
Old 15th March 2014
  #58
Deleted User
Guest
Maybe you should use the plugin below:



https://www.soundtoys.com/sxsw2014/&rc=405-6058-631














Only the wise will catch on
Old 15th March 2014
  #59
@Claborn
If someone is sending their stems to be mixed/mastered somewhere, they can always just bounce the stems to 32 bit. That way the "clipping" that would result from the removed master bus plugins and/or fader level, would not be destructive. You can literally load that "clipped" 32 bit file and turn down that audio fader, and voila, you have your clean audio again. That to me is the only real benefit of 32 bit audio.
Old 15th March 2014
  #60
@bgrotto
Hey bud, I don't know if you realize it or not, but you do come off a little hostile and aggressive in some of your posts. The information is flawless, but the attitude is a little unnecessary. Obviously, I could be wrong, and that might not be your intention at all. Anyways. Good debate overall.
Top Mentioned Products
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump