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Limiting: A Test?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Codemonkey, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Now, this is a stupid question. I know it for sure.

    What do you think of the idea that:
    - You get a rough mix
    - You slap a limiter on the master bus - drive it hard, so it's almost continually brickwalled - and with a 3-400ms release.

    I think it could be potentially useful for a minute, to see if your mix can:
    - Stand up to massive limiting and still sound airy (even if only a little)
    - Still sound balanced

    I tried this just now and well, yeah it sounds awful, but I can really hear the background instruments standing all over each other.

    Edit: this is only for a test. You take it off after a few minutes of messing around.

    Anyone else think anything of this?

    (Oh, and make sure you take the limiter off before a mixdown)
  2. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I think you would run in to too much pumping for that to be useful. I will hard limit individual tracks if I want more volume, but the master? Even after I've compressed the master, putting a limiter of -1 on will have undesirable sound effects (if the mix is already getting close to 0).
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Ack. Missed a few key words. Let me clarify...

    This was only as a test - you put it on for 5/10 minutes and take it off. While it's on, you can hear how your mix works with massive limiting, and I think you can hear the background instruments standing on each other's toes more.

    By taking the dynamics out, I think it leaves more time to focus on EQ.
  4. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I would slap a big health warning on that idea.

    It could be a good strategy if you were mixing something that you knew was going to be smashed in mastering elsewhere. Otherwise it is just as likely to lead you astray as to provide you with any insights. Dynamics and EQ are not separate processes that can be addressed at different stages of the mix: you need to balance all the elements in a holistic manner.

    eg: you think your kick drum needs more definition as its getting lost in the mix. You might be able to fix this by boosting the 3-5KHz region on the kick channel. Or it might be better to enhance the dynamics of the kick by backing off the compressor attack time, or maybe inserting an upward expander or a transient designer type plug... how are you going to judge that if you're smashing off all the transients before you listen to it?

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