master fader

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Flange
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master fader

Post by Flange » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:55 pm

I have been reading an article about mixing and it says this -
"your tracks are likely to hot (i.e. too loud) and are taking up way to much headroom on your master fader. Your goal is to bring down the gain of all of your tracks so that by the time they compound at your main output pair, you have plenty of headroom on your mix buss."


I dont understand why this is a problem. Cant I just turn the master fader down??
DAW -
Ableton 10

System -
Windows 10

Interface -

Fireface UC

Tarekith
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Re: master fader

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:01 pm

Sure, that works too. Historically people would often recommend to leave it at 0 just as good practice, but it's not a big deal if you just want to turn the master fader down too. As long as it's not by a lot, like more than 30-40dB.

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:31 pm

In complex projects it always works better if you don't touch/automate the track/master faders. Use a utility.
I made that mistake, and now I can't rely on the indicator anymore to see which track was clipping.

I'm also new at this, but that was a mistake I won't repeat.
I have the feeling, it is best to always adjust the gain at the first device possible. So usually the instrument or clip. Is that correct?

jestermgee
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Re: master fader

Post by jestermgee » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:22 pm

TomViolenz wrote:In complex projects it always works better if you don't touch/automate the track/master faders. Use a utility.
I made that mistake, and now I can't rely on the indicator anymore to see which track was clipping.
Master fader for sure. I wouldn't automate that as what Tarekith said you can use that to adjust your final output stage.

I always automate my track faders and use a utility to set the overall track volume or adjust the input to the track from the instrument (if there is one). Reason being it is all directly accessible from a mixing console and making simple changes to volume on a console is much easier than fiddly utilities. Doing sound mixing for films you need constant access to track automation and typically you need to adjust it while watching video.

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:47 pm

jestermgee wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:In complex projects it always works better if you don't touch/automate the track/master faders. Use a utility.
I made that mistake, and now I can't rely on the indicator anymore to see which track was clipping.
Master fader for sure. I wouldn't automate that as what Tarekith said you can use that to adjust your final output stage.

I always automate my track faders and use a utility to set the overall track volume or adjust the input to the track from the instrument (if there is one). Reason being it is all directly accessible from a mixing console and making simple changes to volume on a console is much easier than fiddly utilities. Doing sound mixing for films you need constant access to track automation and typically you need to adjust it while watching video.
Oh yes I see the utility in that. But I don't have anything with faders, so the advantage of seeing the indicator clip directly on the track outways that ATM.

Tarekith
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Re: master fader

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:50 pm

I work the same way typically, master fader at 0, not clipping any of the track meters while the master meter stays around -6dB or less.

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:51 pm

BTW, I hope the OP doesn't mind a quick high jacking of his thread.
Are there metering plug-ins that show me a color-heat map with indication of clipping, for each track in arrangement.
Aligned over the whole timeline?

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:55 pm

Tarekith wrote:I work the same way typically, master fader at 0, not clipping any of the track meters while the master meter stays around -6dB or less.
My problem is that I often record quite messy with a lot of overshoots on different tracks and different time points.
This means I have a lot of clean up to do later. And it is always not so fast to find which track clipped at what time.
So the clip indicator changing color on the track is a big help.

Mage2k
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Re: master fader

Post by Mage2k » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:59 am

TomViolenz wrote:
Tarekith wrote:I work the same way typically, master fader at 0, not clipping any of the track meters while the master meter stays around -6dB or less.
My problem is that I often record quite messy with a lot of overshoots on different tracks and different time points.
This means I have a lot of clean up to do later. And it is always not so fast to find which track clipped at what time.
So the clip indicator changing color on the track is a big help.
Keep in mind that due to the way Ableton's summing engine is implemented in 64 bit (and has been since before they made the entire program 64 bit) with the 0dB mark not at 0 the non-master tracks don't actually clip when they hit red (top 0dB). There is actually a *lot* of headroom on them. The only problem with hitting red on them is you can't see by the meters how much over you are at any given point once they are totally topping relative to the other tracks out on the display, you just have the peak readings.

fishmonkey
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Re: master fader

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:09 am

TomViolenz wrote:BTW, I hope the OP doesn't mind a quick high jacking of his thread.
Are there metering plug-ins that show me a color-heat map with indication of clipping, for each track in arrangement.
Aligned over the whole timeline?
there are some plugs that will show you a historical overview of the loudness of a track, but they range from not-so-cheap to not-at-all-cheap:

http://www.meterplugs.com/lcast
http://www.nugenaudio.com/visLM_loudnes ... U_RTAS.php
http://www.tcelectronic.com/lm2-plug-in/

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:43 am

Mage2k wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:
Tarekith wrote:I work the same way typically, master fader at 0, not clipping any of the track meters while the master meter stays around -6dB or less.
My problem is that I often record quite messy with a lot of overshoots on different tracks and different time points.
This means I have a lot of clean up to do later. And it is always not so fast to find which track clipped at what time.
So the clip indicator changing color on the track is a big help.
Keep in mind that due to the way Ableton's summing engine is implemented in 64 bit (and has been since before they made the entire program 64 bit) with the 0dB mark not at 0 the non-master tracks don't actually clip when they hit red (top 0dB). There is actually a *lot* of headroom on them. The only problem with hitting red on them is you can't see by the meters how much over you are at any given point once they are totally topping relative to the other tracks out on the display, you just have the peak readings.
So in my sceneario, I recorded several tracks and when they play together the master clips (I have a Limiter on it of course), but none of the tracks do, because I had adjusted the volume of them with the track faders. How do I now find out which track is the culprit?
If I left the track faders at 0dB, it seems to be always the track that is going over its own 0dB level, that is the one I have to do something about in order to get the Master below 0dB. So the color indicator tells me with one look where to adjust something.
Considering what you said about the summing, I don't know if that is coincidence, or if it is really that closely corelated. (it shouldn't be right?!)

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:03 am

fishmonkey wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:BTW, I hope the OP doesn't mind a quick high jacking of his thread.
Are there metering plug-ins that show me a color-heat map with indication of clipping, for each track in arrangement.
Aligned over the whole timeline?
there are some plugs that will show you a historical overview of the loudness of a track, but they range from not-so-cheap to not-at-all-cheap:

http://www.meterplugs.com/lcast
http://www.nugenaudio.com/visLM_loudnes ... U_RTAS.php
http://www.tcelectronic.com/lm2-plug-in/
Thanks, I checked them all out and they are indead to expensive for a hobbiest like me. But what was even more dissappointing, was that all of them only give you the loudness history. (BTW. how can this be so difficult that the plugs must be so expensive? I mean Live is measuring the loudness of each track constantly. Should be easy to store that data and make a graph over time from that)
What I had hoped for was something like those spectrographing analysers giving me a frequency heat map overlayed on the loudness graph so that I have a overview which frequencies might be problematic. I know good eqs like Equilibrium make those heat maps. But they don't output it in a way where I can access that map later. Also the map is not tied to my arrangement timeline.
Did really no one take that logical next step to integrate all this?!

fishmonkey
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Re: master fader

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:32 am

to be honest i'm not sure why you feel you need a special tool to work this out. it's easy to work out where the overs on the master are.

from there you just need to do a little detective work, bearing in mind that there are a number of different interactions between tracks that might cause a loudness spike. for example, maybe you have a number of tracks that happen to have sounds that peak at the same time, with similar frequency content. none of those tracks needs to be 'peaking' at their track meter, yet you may end up hitting the master too hard once they are summed together.

TomViolenz
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Re: master fader

Post by TomViolenz » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:49 am

fishmonkey wrote:to be honest i'm not sure why you feel you need a special tool to work this out. it's easy to work out where the overs on the master are.

from there you just need to do a little detective work, bearing in mind that there are a number of different interactions between tracks that might cause a loudness spike. for example, maybe you have a number of tracks that happen to have sounds that peak at the same time, with similar frequency content. none of those tracks needs to be 'peaking' at their track meter, yet you may end up hitting the master too hard once they are summed together.
For some reason single track peaking and master peaking are always closely related in my case. So that it saves on the detective work I have to do, when I see the track clipping.
I think it is because already during writing I try not to have to many overlapping frequencies.
But if it would indeed be frequencies clashing causing the clipping, then a timeline-frequency heat map per track with overlayed loudness, would be even more useful. Does such a thing really not exist?

fishmonkey
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Re: master fader

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:53 am

your ears should be able to tell you which tracks and sounds are causing the problem...

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