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peaking at mixdown

Discussion in 'Recording' started by downflow, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. downflow

    downflow Guest

    My music is either too loud (peaking) or too soft. In general do you ride the master faders for the whole song? I have my tracks recorded pretty hot so as I add more tracks over the course of the song it overloads. Should I shoot for about -3db on the master meter through the whole song? I like some dynamics but I don't want someone to have work the volume knob the whole way through. Appreciate it!
  2. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Same question I had when I first started mixing... if I made everything loud enough to compete with CDs I compared it to, everything was clipping. They get that volume with compression AFTER the mix is complete- this usually is part of mastering, not mixing.

    So don't worry about the volume when you're mixing. Get everything to sound the way you want it with about -6db being the highest peak (guys, help me with that number). Don't ride the master fader. Once you get the mix right, either have it mastered professionally or, if you need to do it yourself, put a stereo compressor/limiter on it to get the volume up to where you need it.

    I'm sure there are more posts about the mastering part. But for now, turn all the faders back down, and make sure nothing is clipping during the mixing phase. It's almost impossible to get that kind of distortion out, especially if you're mixing digitally, so make sure it doesn't happen.

    Good luck!

  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    If durring mixing you are at all thinking or worried about it being loud or the same level as your favorite CD's you are doing damage to the music and a dis-service to your client as well as you. Concentrate, worry and focus on mixing for the best musical balance. That should be the only goal while your mixing. Any time you worry or focus on being loud, you always lose dynamics.
  4. downflow

    downflow Guest

    Thanks for the info, guys, it helped me a lot on my first song.

    Here's a new, but related problem I 'm having: I am mixing down our latest and greatest ;) , and the intro is not even measuring on the meter (below -21), then after a pause, it jumps up to around -9 to -6. I still have tracks to add!

    I was trying to be "pro" so I pulled everything down to 0. Then I brought up the vocals and guitar which are the only two tracks at that point. Then after the pause I add in drums, bass, and harmony. This is where it hits -9 to -6 already. Then there is another pause, and I bring in a distorted guitar and then it's around -6 to -3. I'm at a loss here.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    In DAW, I record individual tracks averaging at about - 6 on the digital scale. I then mix the tracks to a level of about -2 on digital scale at the masters. This get my mix as loud as most commercial CDs. To get this level without overs, I usually have to apply a bit of limiting on the 2-bus. I never used to do this with an analog console but I find myself doing it all the time in DAW. I don't know the explanation why, but to do this on an analog console make everything sound like sh*t but in DAW it doesn't seem to hurt the mix at all.. ??? :confused:
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    On analog mixes, I divide everything up into subsections and send to the 8 subs...these I'll do sometimes in 4 stereo mixes with an appropriate compressor or eq on the inserts there...some tracks I leave out of these subs and simply send them to the master with their own outboards inserted..this allows me a very tight control on things that are similar in the mix such as backing vocals,back ground guitars,keyboard pads,and the drumset...I use these subs as mono left/mono right making the individual panning much more prevalent in the mix...this seems to give a better front/back spatiality with the advent of the subs level controls as a set of masters for that particular section.It also gives me a calmer set of meters at the main stereo bus and lets me hit the mastering recorder at -3 more easily, leaving room for the real pro mastering to gain it a bit more without having to repair anything.
  7. tmix

    tmix Guest

    I agree with Davedogs technique.
    I usually bus certain things together (background vocals / jangly guitars / drums / percussion) and lightly compress (sometimes heavy) similar soundstage items ,then send those to master bus and if absolutely necessary put a very light compression on that. I record mainly acoustic music so for me I'd rather have the least mount of compression at one time. I'd rather send the signal through three levels of 1:1.5-2 compession at a high threshold then hammer it once.

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