Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Ed J
Posts: 583
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:42 am

Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Ed J » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:23 pm

Anyone got any tips for this (other than "turn stuff down")?

I'm really struggling on the track I'm working on at, it's not overly heavy sound-wise or anything, but the damn thing starts to clip as soon as I add my bassline (big pumping compressor thing).

I'm dropping below ~150hz depending on instrument, often a lot higher, and generally making space for everything both pan- and eq-wise, and the mix doesn't sound bad at all, it's just clipping, which is arse.
Some stuff, and some other stuff. Honest.
Currently on a huge and mostly pointless promotion drive, come play:
Soundcloud!
Facebook!!
Twatter!!!

synnack
Posts: 2053
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:55 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by synnack » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:29 pm

limiter on the bass track?
MBP | Live 9 Suite | Max for Live | Push | MOTU Ultralite | iPad | Analog Modular Synths | Moog Voyager
aka "Tempus3r" | Music | Blog | Twitter | Soundcloud

Image

Tarekith
Posts: 17671
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Tarekith » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:34 pm

Well, I hate to say it, but if everything is so loud that you're clipping the master but it ounds fine otherwise, you just need to turn everything down. Not sure why that's such a problem though.
Tarekith
Ableton Forum Administrator
InnerPortalStudio.com - Professional Audio Mastering

Ed J
Posts: 583
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:42 am

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Ed J » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:35 pm

tempus3r wrote:limiter on the bass track?
Not an issue, no single track is going over 0db on its own, and I can mess with the sliders if needs be. Problem is, if I turn the bass down, it's too quiet ;)

Tarekith wrote:Well, I hate to say it, but if everything is so loud that you're clipping the master but it ounds fine otherwise, you just need to turn everything down. Not sure why that's such a problem though.
Fair enough, I seem to get the levels "right" to my ears but always clip at the moment. it's a bugger to turn everything down cus I've got a bit of volume automation going on: did this with a limiter on at first (by accident) so I didn't realise it was clipping until earlier!
Some stuff, and some other stuff. Honest.
Currently on a huge and mostly pointless promotion drive, come play:
Soundcloud!
Facebook!!
Twatter!!!

nbinder
Posts: 867
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:47 pm

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by nbinder » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:48 pm

Well... opposed to the "less/no compression" position that is widespread here, I suggest to figure out what can be done with a limiter/compressor anyway. If the sound is really ok, the transients still seem to be there, then there must have been some transient spikes that are not necessary.

But before you do any dynamic processing on the master, try shifting the notes a tiny bit. Sometimes you solve problems like this by removing transient clashes - it might even sound better... less "mechanical".

Are you sure you really tried solving the problem with EQing properly?

Sarrova-Q
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:18 pm

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Sarrova-Q » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:51 pm

Try the "Utility" audio effect on the master and just lower the gain.
Or (maybe even better) use the utillity effect (with a gain that is low enough) and copy the effect to all tracks.
This way you're also avoiding problems with headroom.

Tone Deft
Posts: 24154
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:19 pm

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by Tone Deft » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:51 pm

Tarekith wrote:Well, I hate to say it, but if everything is so loud that you're clipping the master but it ounds fine otherwise, you just need to turn everything down. Not sure why that's such a problem though.
I can't find that great article on keeping your levels down. great reading.

the answer is to turn down your tracks. many users have asked for a way to have Live default the level of new tracks to -12dB or -6dB or whatever, but NOT have them come up as 0dB for exactly this reason.
In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?
-Moz

leisuremuffin
Posts: 4721
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:45 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by leisuremuffin » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:55 pm

go ahead and bring the master fader down.
Don't be afraid, it won't hurt anything.


.lm.
TimeableFloat ???S?e?n?d?I?n?f?o

synnack
Posts: 2053
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:55 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by synnack » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:05 am

Ed J wrote:
tempus3r wrote:limiter on the bass track?
Not an issue, no single track is going over 0db on its own, and I can mess with the sliders if needs be. Problem is, if I turn the bass down, it's too quiet ;)
So? The level on the master is accumulative. Either you have to turn things down, or turn the master down. If your mix sounds perfect and only the bass is driving it over 0db you either turn the master down or try a limiter on the offending track.

As was pointed out, especially in live 8, you can just select all tracks and turn them all down a little at once. done.
MBP | Live 9 Suite | Max for Live | Push | MOTU Ultralite | iPad | Analog Modular Synths | Moog Voyager
aka "Tempus3r" | Music | Blog | Twitter | Soundcloud

Image

leisuremuffin
Posts: 4721
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:45 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by leisuremuffin » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:08 am

tempus3r wrote: As was pointed out, especially in live 8, you can just select all tracks and turn them all down a little at once. done.

not if he has a bunch of volume automation in the arrangement.


.lm.
TimeableFloat ???S?e?n?d?I?n?f?o

chevthewizard
Posts: 256
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:21 am
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by chevthewizard » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:09 am

Just whack a Utility set to -X dB on all the tracks...
My Website | Myspace | Soundcloud
birdhouse19 wrote:i was playing a club last night and had to play some rap, and i know ableton live isnt very good with rap without a sound card.

synnack
Posts: 2053
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:55 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by synnack » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:15 am

leisuremuffin wrote:
tempus3r wrote: As was pointed out, especially in live 8, you can just select all tracks and turn them all down a little at once. done.

not if he has a bunch of volume automation in the arrangement.


.lm.
Hence the suggestion to use Utility instead of the actual track volumes either for your automation (which you can paste to utility) or to actually turn the tracks down relative to the track volumes.
MBP | Live 9 Suite | Max for Live | Push | MOTU Ultralite | iPad | Analog Modular Synths | Moog Voyager
aka "Tempus3r" | Music | Blog | Twitter | Soundcloud

Image

theque
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 11:47 am
Location: adelaide
Contact:

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by theque » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:27 am

leisuremuffin wrote:
tempus3r wrote: As was pointed out, especially in live 8, you can just select all tracks and turn them all down a little at once. done.

not if he has a bunch of volume automation in the arrangement.


.lm.

yeah, and map them all to one knob.


knotkranky
Posts: 4336
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:08 pm
Location: la

Re: Keeping the damn master level below 0db

Post by knotkranky » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:19 am

yes

Set your Maximizer limiter max out to -0.1 or lower and bring up the threshold level a bunch.

Then you have leeway with the threshold to sdjust volume and headroom together while protecting the out level.

If you use a straight limiter it's gonna be way more difficult to fuss with a session wide fader group.

Post Reply