mastering tricks for gaining level

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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat May 09, 2020 11:11 am

Standard CLIP is good, put it next to last before the limiter. So long as it's just acting on the drum transients (and ideally just the big stray peaks) you can get a few dbs transparently.

-8 LUFS is pretty loud, you might just have to dig into the limiter more than you'd like. Slow down the release if it's getting too crunchy.

If the vocals are freaking out the limiter too much, try compressing them more beforehand. If they're peaky in the midrange a dynamic eq can work wonders.

A lot of 'the trick' is just making sure the eq is right before doing any of the loudenizing stuff.

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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by joninc » Mon May 11, 2020 12:56 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 11:11 am
Standard CLIP is good, put it next to last before the limiter. So long as it's just acting on the drum transients (and ideally just the big stray peaks) you can get a few dbs transparently.

-8 LUFS is pretty loud, you might just have to dig into the limiter more than you'd like. Slow down the release if it's getting too crunchy.

If the vocals are freaking out the limiter too much, try compressing them more beforehand. If they're peaky in the midrange a dynamic eq can work wonders.

A lot of 'the trick' is just making sure the eq is right before doing any of the loudenizing stuff.
thanks for this - much appreciated. I agree -8 is pretty loud and louder than I ideally want to go. I am pretty good with -10 ish personally.

I have stereo busses going out to a summing mixer and some outboard - I can put the standard clip across a drum buss - but it appears the distortion I am getting is related to vocal peaks... I do have compression happening on the vocals but I can put this across that buss as well or some sort of low ratio and fast comp/limiting instead...

or you mention a dynamic eq like the WAVES F6 ? not sure how that is a good solution exactly as i don't want to aler the eq/character of the vocal too much ... could you explain how you'd use that? (BTW i am often using this already on individual tracks to shape Lead vocals and soften hard upper mids 1-3 k - recently bought SOOTHE2 which I'm experimenting with in a similar fashion)

what would you reach for?
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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon May 11, 2020 2:36 pm

Well, tough to say without hearing it, but if your issue is vocal peaks causing distortion, Standard CLIP (or any clipper) isn't what you want unless you have it set really soft...which if you can do it on just the vocal stem I suppose is worth trying, but soft clipping is just distortion....so you'd be trying to solve a distortion problem with distortion....

If you're happy with the tone of the vox, then dynamic eq probably isn't what you want either (but it might be, see below), I typically use that when there's painful vocal peaks sticking way out of the mix, these are almost always between 2-4k. But it sounds like you've got that area under control already.

So probably just good old compression. I like TDR's Kotelnikov when I need to do "a lot" of compression as transparently as possible.

Where is the distortion happening? I.E. is it fine if you bypass the limiter? If so then you know the problem is the limiter, so try a different one, or try a slower release and/or longer lookahead time. If none of that is working out, then go back and try dynamic eq....you know that your vocal peaks are freaking out the limiter (which....is there a lot of low mid on the vocals? Low mids are usually what cause problems in limiters.), so try finding the freq area of the vocals where they're loudest and rein that in a few db.

I had a record awhile back where...I forget what it was that was freaking out the limiter, but the limiter was clearly not happy and kept distorting...one band of dynamic eq in DMG Essence fixed it easily.

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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by joninc » Tue May 12, 2020 11:50 am

I've been using the Ozone 7 maximizer in the IRC 3 setting ("balanced"). I have Ozone 8 too - maybe I should see if that works better. The weird thing is that I can see on the meters that it's only doing a few db - maybe 2 or 3 - but I can really hear the crackling and see it corresponding with vocals.

Seems like the Slate FG-X is sometimes smoother when I've run into this issue too.
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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue May 12, 2020 1:27 pm

If it's crackling the release time is too fast and/or there's just too much low mid in the vocals at those spots. So either automate an eq move at those spots or automate the limiter for a slower release.

Or convince your client to spend $35 and you can make it my problem. :D

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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by cgarges » Tue May 12, 2020 6:26 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:27 pm
Or convince your client to spend $35 and you can make it my problem. :D
That's my mastering trick for getting things louder without screwing them up!

(Although in the "mix" world, Boz Labs' "The Wall" plugin is a great fairly transparent limiter when used carefully.)

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joninc
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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by joninc » Thu May 14, 2020 6:56 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:27 pm
If it's crackling the release time is too fast and/or there's just too much low mid in the vocals at those spots. So either automate an eq move at those spots or automate the limiter for a slower release.
I don't see any option to alter the release time in Ozone 7. The vocals are pretty carved out - it's kind of a mystery to me to be honest.

I seem to be able to get more level out of FG-x without the same crackling so it's something to do with this specific limiter.

They may end up sending it out for mastering eventually but the budget was tight - which was why I did it in the first place. I think next time somebody is pushing for more level then I can comfortably get, I will have that conversation.
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Re: mastering tricks for gaining level

Post by joninc » Tue May 19, 2020 12:24 pm

joninc wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 6:56 pm
I don't see any option to alter the release time in Ozone 7. The vocals are pretty carved out - it's kind of a mystery to me to be honest.
The "character" slider appears to be the release... mystery solved. That absolutely helps - I had it on the fastest setting!
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