Raise volume or just limit?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by MadMoose, Nov 6, 2001.

  1. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I recently mastered a project that a guy recorded at home in Cubase and he said he wanted it the level raised but not totally slammed. I ran it through an analog path for EQ and a little compression and did the limiting with L1. However I hit it he wasn't all that happy with the result and said it sounded smooshed. I was shooting for an RMS of -13 to -12 and most songs were around -18 to -15 to start with. While experimenting I decided to try doing the raise volume command and while it obviously clipped the waveform I have to say that it did a better job of retaining the dynamics while making it louder. Any thoughts on this?
     
  2. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    It sounds like the compressor is the problem. My guess anyway. The L1, if not abused, retains a lot of what you start with. I sometimes run 2 L1. That way you get a lot more level without killing the dynamics or tone. I also find speeding up the release on the L1 makes things sound more natural to me.

    My $.02
    :w:
     
  3. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Jay,

    Depending on the type of music, I find that the L1 can start to adversely affect sound quality with a threshold setting as low as 3 or 4. It wasn't until I got the L2 plug that I fully appreciated how bad the artifacts were with the L1 limiter or L1 Ultramaximizer.

    Greg
     
  4. brad

    brad Guest

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  5. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I did the mastering in two stages. The first was compression with the DCL-200 and EQ from the Dakings. I saved the results as WAV files and burned a disc for him to listen to. When he heard it he was happy and didn't mind the little bit of compression I used. The hammer came down when I started the limiting though. The sound he was the happiest with was raising the volume and clipping the hell out of it. I couldn't let that happen so I ended up using the volume just to get a dB or two with a light pass of L1. The end result was good, he was happy and I got paid.

    But I was just curious as to if people used clipping rather then limiting for level because it's more transparent. At least with those songs, on that day with my monitors and to my ears it was more transparent.
     
  6. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Jay,

    << But I was just curious as to if people used clipping rather then limiting for level because it's more transparent. >>

    Clipping should certainly not be more transparent than limiting. If it is, you know you are hitting your limiter way, way too hard. If you absolutely must raise the level so high then you need the right tools for the job and the L1 obviously isn't it.

    The problem with clipping is that the results can be unpredictable. Your DACs may not sound too bad if clipped a little but this may not be the case with the DACs on home systems or when passed through Codecs for broadcast. In other words, your little bit of clipping might end up a great deal more noticable and it's the person who engineered the recording that will get blamed for this technical fault.

    I don't like using the word "never" in music, so I'll just say that digital distortion (clipping) is virtually always extremely undesirable. Most engineers would agree that clipping is about the most fundamental mistake that can be made with digital audio.

    Greg
     
  7. yuppie

    yuppie Guest

    i totally agree with Greg about clipping, you never know how clipping will result into different audio systems.



    If you absolutely must raise the level so high then you need the right tools for the job and the L1 obviously isn't it.

    Greg, what would be the right tools for the job?
     
  8. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Yuppie,

    << Greg, what would be the right tools for the job? >>

    I'm not the best person to ask as I'm not a mastering engineer and don't believe in the really crunched limiting that often occurs in the commercial pop sector. The only thing I can say from personal experience is that you can hit the L2 a lot harder than the L1 and with less nastiness.

    If it's just a producer that you need to please, the best thing to try is to pretent to play around with a plugin while secretly raising the monitor pot!! :D

    Greg
     
  9. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Originally posted by Greg Malcangi:

    Clipping should certainly not be more transparent than limiting. If it is, you know you are hitting your limiter way, way too hard. If you absolutely must raise the level so high then you need the right tools for the job and the L1 obviously isn't it.


    The level I was shooting for wasn't all that high. Maybe -12 RMS which is pretty tame in comparison to most current releases. Before raising the volume I was getting around 1-2dB of limiting with occasional spikes around 5 or 6dB. I wouldn't call that hard limiting. If I was into it at 5-6db at all times it would be hard limiting.
     
  10. brad

    brad Guest

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