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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:23 am 
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Hi

Even with the "hold" on the meters, and maximised to full screen, and effective use of compressors/limiters... I think I need a better way of ensuring no clipping ("overs") in my individual track mixes, and then master bus when Mastering.

Would some kind of RMS / level meter on the master bus be the thing? Something that scans or monitors the entire track as it plays through? It's not that I'm fighting the "loudness wars", but something close to -1dB is my goal, and that's HARD with the existing Mixcraft (much as I love it!) metering.

BTW am using Mixcraft Pro6.

thanks!
nicky


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:26 am 
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Do I need a freeware/simpler version of this 'Digital Peak Meter Pro' from Blue Cat?
http://www.bluecataudio.com/Products/Pr ... kMeterPro/
:-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:57 am 
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A good limiter with metering is helpful. It can be a little tricky to use the included compressors/limiters in Mixcraft, especially since they don't have meters.

I googled "free vst limiter" - led me to this:
http://sirelliot.blog.com/2011/06/13/si ... series-iv/
http://sirelliot.blog.com/globaldownload-section/

Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising...

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:31 am 
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Vibrant Audio wrote:
A good limiter with metering is helpful

Thanks so much!

I've been using "BLOCKFISH" (classic stuff, and has a compressor in series/limiter mode where it chains 2 compressors) for a long time, and also the newer Focusrite "Midnight" compressor. Both with great results. True standalone limiters are a bit harder in freeware, but I'm trying out "Loudmax".

To be honest, the Multiband Compressor in MC Pro6 is also quite good, as well as the Tube compressor built into the Izotope master tool.

So... compressing isn't so much the problem...although good Limiting is tougher in freeware.

But to master to CD or to MP3 (slightly different dB tolerance I understand), I need to have accurate metering.
This Steinberg meter here looks good. Not sure if it works outside Cubase tho'...

That's still my problem...
:-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Try this free one for metering:
http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/

I love some of the Voxengo plugs. Soniformer is awesome.

Also, this article and video might be helpful to you:
http://productionadvice.co.uk/the-best- ... y-can-buy/

By the way, I tried that Sir Elliot plugin I mentioned above - it's not very good. :(

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Oooh yes! Will try "Span"...(looks good!) Soniformer isn't free from what I can see.
Think I tried their (average) EQ once.

Thanks so much!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:33 pm 
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msnickybee wrote:
Hi

Even with the "hold" on the meters, and maximised to full screen, and effective use of compressors/limiters... I think I need a better way of ensuring no clipping ("overs") in my individual track mixes, and then master bus when Mastering.

Would some kind of RMS / level meter on the master bus be the thing? Something that scans or monitors the entire track as it plays through? It's not that I'm fighting the "loudness wars", but something close to -1dB is my goal, and that's HARD with the existing Mixcraft (much as I love it!) metering.

BTW am using Mixcraft Pro6.

thanks!
nicky
Compressors and limiters have no effect on clipping. Clipping is due to the level of the signal at source. By the sound of it, all of your channels are at too high a level. Drop them all by 50%, this will give you the headroom you need. The db level of MC's output is irrelevant, as long as you make sure that it is not clipping. After rendering you can import the render into MC and normalise it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Hmmm. That's interesting!
Well, maybe I *am* getting it all wrong :-(
This is what I'm doing:-

Record guitars typically -18dB
Individual track compression/effects so approx -6dB each track
Rough mix summing approx between -9dB to -4dB, ensuring dynamics

Now...I could just finish this mix, then render and re import to master it as you say...
But the temptation in Mixcraft is there to use izotope and bus compression and a limiter to finish it... And ensure loudness without clipping.

I should also say that I tested the rough mix before bus compression with "Span" metering and it reported all well within. After the bus compression and limiting I achieved -0.5dB, which is a configurable parameter in the MX6 Multi band Compressor.

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:04 pm 
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msnickybee wrote:
...
Now...I could just finish this mix, then render and re import to master it as you say...
But the temptation in Mixcraft is there to use izotope and bus compression and a limiter to finish it... And ensure loudness without clipping. ...
Yes, fine. Smash the living crap out of it if you wish, just make sure that the output of your limiter is under 0db - say -2db for example. Then you can render it to wav, and normalise the render to 0db.

I mean, you could actually set the limiter output to 0db and then you wouldn't need to re-import and normalise, but that allows absolutely no margin for error on the part of the limiter, so the normalisation method will get you there with a decreased chance of distortion/clipping.

A dynamic range meter is going to do nothing to help you with clipping problems because -well, it measures dynamic range, not clipping.

But seeing as you are already into loudness and dynamics, I suggest you get the TT Dynamic Range meter (free). I use this on every recording I make. If you want to make the recording loud yet still retain an acceptable level of dynamics, you need to be looking at a range of 6.xdb during the loud parts.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:43 pm 
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msnickybee wrote:
I tested the rough mix before bus compression with "Span" metering and it reported all well within. After the bus compression and limiting I achieved -0.5dB, which is a configurable parameter in the MX6 Multi band Compressor.

What do you think?

As you have found, compressors and limiters have an effect on clipping. You are able to push the overall loudness to where you want but keep the outputs from clipping.

A great thing to do is to compare your finished mix with another "pro" song with similar instrumentation in the same genre. By placing both songs in separate tracks in a new Mixcraft project you can A-B compare by ear between the tracks for loudness, dynamics, eq, etc.

Like aj wrote, a dynamic range meter is a must. You can find info on the TT meter here. Again, compare your mix to other similar songs in the same genre.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:49 pm 
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Hi VA

I downloaded the TT meter, unzipped and installed the .dll with my others - program filesx86 > Acoustica > VST > 3rd party.

I have a stand alone on my desktop but can't locate the VST plugin from Mixcraft.

Any ideas?

Thanks

Trevor

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:09 am 
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aj113 wrote:
Yes, fine. Smash the living crap out of it if you wish

You guys are ace!
Thanks for the advice :-)
...and maybe for my genre, I shouldn't be compressing/limiting in this way...
[Closest similar songs (I wish!) are Luka - Suzanne Vega, Another Day - Paul McCartney]

Looks like I did "smash" i?. The advice to compress/limit to eg. -1.0dB then reload in showed me what the meters didn't show... that the limiter is obviously crushing it. Or maybe just taming the peaks? (or destroying the dynamic range in the chorus!?)
Seems like I should do as you say, reduce all the levels. When I've done that before (even if I do the normalising thing - and that's a great idea!), I end up with an overall quiet song, even though the range is there & it peaks up to eg -1dB...so maybe it's those things called "transients?" or spikes in certain instruments. Hmmmm. All the metering in the world won't fix... perhaps I need limiting or EQ etc on the specific tracks that are causing that... I guess a master bus limiter isn't a quick fix!

What do you guys think (pic with master bus compress/limit, eq, etc & other pic is with nothing at all on master bus ie my final-ish overall mix)

thx!


Attachments:
no_masterbus_effects.jpg
no_masterbus_effects.jpg [ 39.55 KiB | Viewed 1104 times ]
clipping.jpg
clipping.jpg [ 42.52 KiB | Viewed 1106 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:23 am 
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Styles, genres, methods, aproaches and tastes all vary infinitly, and everyones got an opinion. Since you asked heres mine.
Judging by the waveforms and your description alone, you are starting with levels too hot, over processing and can likely hear undesireable results.
I'd suggest that unless you desire an audible compressed result, back it way off. Remove the limiter and forget you have one. At least for now.
And some tips, try using compression sparingly on individual tracks, mostly to control dynamics on tracks that have a lot of dynamic range. (Vocals or an acoustic guitar for instance, that go from quiet to loud, or are performed with too much variance in mic spacing for example.) If more "perceived loudness" is desired, save that for the final stages and try using multiple passes of mild compression instead of one pass of heavy compression. If you still feel the need for a limiter, I would place it on the "master" in the end and use it VERY lightly. Try these methods and see if that helps "open up" your mix a bit.

Stay in tune,
Mark

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:31 pm 
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I just want to say a huge, massive THANK YOU to aj113 & mbliss and all you guys!!!!!

I went back to the drawing board... and did the best mix I could. Again. I'd got too locked into "mixing into the master bus compressor". Because I read it somewhere! Crazy!!

There's no separating mixing, getting the best mix you can... and the fine art of Mastering...

So, like aj113 originally suggested, I reduced all levels, and mixed a 16/96 WAV (with nothing on the master bus), then put it in a new blank project, using one of the more gentler iZotope settings ("Classical 2") and a tweaked Multiband Compressor. Then finally "normalised" (I'm so UK spelling...) I mean, the mix wasn't bad as it was... it just seemed to lack... lack some "sparkle?". No, that's not it, it just sounded a little flat. Not simply reverb, but something a bit more like an Exciter??? This seemed to improve it, anyway.

And the waveforms at least *look* better...?
The final mix (I had to go back and fix all peaks, ride the faders on the vocals, and some hard piano velocities), and then the final master are below...
It drops off after 3/4 of the song, because I haven't recorded the Bridge vocals yet....lol

Thanks.
I've neglected doing the washing-up for this. But it was worth it! (So rock n roll...)
Fantastic advice :-)


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mastered_it_maybe_lots_to_learn.jpg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:03 pm 
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I forgot to mention that I actually made it sound awful!! lol
There's obviously no distortion etc now, and it's clean, but the compressor thingy, izotope etc is now giving a different sound.... I guess it would, now that it has a weaker signal, maybe...

So. I got a good mix. Just needs a minor polish. If I can...

I couldn't get that TT meter download to show me anything other than something that looked like a Pay site. The Voxengo one isn't too bad.

A job for another night (have neglected my family enough!)

:-) :-)


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