Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
continuous
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by continuous » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:51 am

Not sure if this is the article Tone Deft is referencing but...

http://www.wiretotheear.com/2008/01/25/ ... mment-4341

Works for me...

I've never mixed anything down to a finished state though so????
Last edited by continuous on Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

davepermen
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by davepermen » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:51 am

just turn the master volume down. that's one fader, and fixed.
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Atardecer
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Atardecer » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:28 am

Just turning down the master fader doesnt get around the fact that your still clipping your master bus input. Put an EQ on there with metering, youre still distorting. Sorry but thats just lazy and its bad gain structure - period. Maybe most folks dont care but good gain structure is vital to a good mix. A good way to start is by pulling down the faders in your default template to reasonable levels before you start if you know that youre eventually going to go over. All my tracks are at -10db by default - shame you cant set the level on new tracks as mentioned though.

davepermen
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by davepermen » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:39 am

if the individual tracks don't clip, there shouldn't be clipping in the summing before the master. that's what the summing engine is for. (even that has it's limits, of course. but hitting those is very hard).

yes, bad habit, but it works with no distortion hearable. and without changing any tracks that somehow depend on the volume (imagine putting all volumes down but having them linked with some sidechaining. will all get affected due to it, even when done with a utility.
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by leisuremuffin » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:34 am

Atardecer wrote:Just turning down the master fader doesnt get around the fact that your still clipping your master bus input. Put an EQ on there with metering, youre still distorting. Sorry but thats just lazy and its bad gain structure - period. Maybe most folks dont care but good gain structure is vital to a good mix. A good way to start is by pulling down the faders in your default template to reasonable levels before you start if you know that youre eventually going to go over. All my tracks are at -10db by default - shame you cant set the level on new tracks as mentioned though.

nope. here's an experiment you should try:

put an audio clip on a track

put two utility plugs on the track

turn both utility plug's gain knobs all the way up

play the clip and listen to the horrible distortion

put two utility plugs on the master channel

turn their gain all the way down and listen to the beautiful and undistorted signal




what you should be aware of is that you will potentially blow up and distort any plugs you have on the master channel because the fader is post effects.
but you will not distort the master bus input.



acceptable gain structure practices are different in the digital world.


please don't be afraid to put the master fader anywhere you want to.


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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Moody » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:54 am

Outsource your mixes.
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Hermanus » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:26 am

Since I've been wisely adviced to leave the master volume at 0db and rather focus on the tracks' volume levels, it has saved me some mixes.

Don't be afraid, it's rewarding, once you catch this and stick to it for next projects :wink:

If you use a dynamic limiter expannder_ as T-racks or Ozone, be careful to set every levels before using it_
it could give you the feeling everything is cool, but sometimes by turning it off, you can see master go red>> the plugin only flatten audio in such cases and it's what we want to avoid, isn't it.
Last edited by Hermanus on Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by nathannn » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:28 am

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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by distaudio » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:52 am

I always run my projects with the master fader at -12db. It is always good to leave yourself plenty of headroom not only for your mixing but also for when you send it to master.

Unless of course you have some of those Waves plugs that make things mad fat. You get me?

There was some discussion on such things on Sound on Sounds latest Podcast number 019.

http://www.soundonsound.com/

Podcast player is at the bottom of the page if you are interest.

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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by leedsquietman » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:51 am

Because I come from analog, I leave the fader at 0 and bring the TRACK faders down. That was good analog practice and translates to good digital practice, although you can reduce the master channel if you prefer if you are working with 24 bit audio.

Leave the headroom on your track channels. Live 8 makes that super easy because you can group the faders and adjust one and bring a whole bunch of faders down the same level. Watch your levels - Live gives you peak readings for each track channel and make sure the peaks are no higher than -6dB (and lower on things such as pads, rhythm guitar etc). Quick transient bursts, especially on drum tracks can shoot things higher, put a limiter on your drum channel to catch any stray peaks.

You can always add gain later, or during a mastering session, but too much gain is like putting too much salt in your soup - once you overdo it, it's not easy (or possible in the case of the soup) to easily fix it, whereas it's super easy to add gain later. The use of Utility is also a good idea.
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by concept_control » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:33 pm

I'd concur with leedsquietman. If you think the mix sounds good but it's clipping the master, then turn all channel volumes down by the same amount till it doesn't clip any more. As mentioned, if you do your volume automation with utilities in the channels rather than on the channel volume, you're free to tinker about with their relative volumes without messing your fades about. If there's rogue stuff in the mix that is fluctuating crazily in volume that shouldn't (like the bass) then compress it individually, but I would leave the master fader at zero and not limit it either.

On the soup front, you could maybe filter then fractionally distill it? :D

BOB Cooper
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by BOB Cooper » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:21 pm

is it a track for a live set or a "studio" track ?

if studio : well, you should be way under 0db anyway, if you want to do a nice and efficient mastering. limiter on bass wouldn't be sufficient.

turning every faders done can be a poblem even without automation in arrangement because it really changes the coherence of the mix.
easy to adjust again if you have a few tracks, but if you like to work with a lot of small samples with a lot of tracks, it could be problematic.

if live track : well, putting the master below 0db is problematic if you have to use resampling....

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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by crumhorn » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Maybe you can group the tracks and use the group fader to control the gain.
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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by BOB Cooper » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:47 pm

I'm new to 8, still haven't use that group function... reading you reminded me I should try it, and will then probably enjoy nice complex systems with it, thank you !

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Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by SubFunk » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:24 pm

forget about a limiter and all that rubbish, TURN IT DOWN, as much as needed without running into clipping. period. what is always the problem to keep levels not ridiculous hot all the time... and then you lot wonder that it sounds like poo... (sorry for that, but really!)

turn your monitors up instead if you need an ear blast, that is what you have the volume knob on your soundcard for...

over and over the same mistake... utter (and sorry to say, stoopid) obsession with volume and bass, i tell you the less you concentrate on those two items, and the more you simply concentrate on an overall balance of a mix and do not attempt to make it particular loud and bass heavy in the first place, the more bass and volume will come out of your mixes, eventually... the key is a good balance... the rest comes then automatically, the more bass obsession the more muffled (that lovely poo sound) and the quieter it will come out. believe me.
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