Peaks and Limiters

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by TonyM, May 16, 2003.

  1. TonyM

    TonyM Guest

    I'm very green at this stuff and i ran across something i just don't get.

    I squashed a mix in Wavelab with the L2 to -0.2db with threshold of -7 and Arc on, the wavelab output meter actually read -0.2db, ok fine and dandy.

    Later, i took a closer look at the original mix and saw some nasty peaks at -0.09 and a little dc-offset so i removed that and fixed peaks with pencil (whew..labour intensive work ) so the file then peaked at -1db.

    When i then went to squash in L2with the same settings the file only reached -2db in wavelab. Even when i dropped threshold it would not go higher than -1.7db.

    I thought by taking care of those rogue peaks I would be able to squash more and gain more volume.

    What is goin on here? Is this simply the difference between compressors and limiters?

    Just so you know, i'm not looking to win the "loudist" war, i'm just experimenting and learning.

  2. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Tony. I think I know what you are asking here, but I have to confess I'm not familiar with wavelab. I'll try to answer your question as best as I can, with my own experiences. I do however have a question of my own. When you say "peak" are you referring to a raised level of volume, or are you referring to a volume overload, a clip, or distortion? It sounds to me like you are speaking of the latter, and I would like to know how these got there.
    Into the good stuff now. The first thing to consider is what kind of a mix you have. For funkier more punchy mixes, it is sometimes better to limit/compress different bandwidths separately. If you don't, you may rob the mix of it's punch by overcompressing low and lowmid freq's. More so, consider that in a mix like this, while processing the full bandwidth, exceptionally dynamic sounds like the kick drum for example, will trigger your comps and this will be quite audible everywhere else.
    In heavier music, ie metal, thrash, sometimes a hard limiter adds a nice edgy sound to screaming vox and scratchy guitars, while getting you a strong increase in volume right away.
    In the same way that you apply compslimiting to sounds like a snare drum, you must think about what elements create the sound you have, and how your processing will change that. If you use a high compression ratio on a snare, and set the attack super fast, you will squash the hell out of it. Simply by changing the attack time you can let the drum articulate itself well by allowing the stick stroke to come through.
    What you may need to do here is to take a multi-stage approach. Compress, limit, attack different frequencie bands, one at a time If you adjust too little, you can always adjust more on the next pass. Be mindful of attack and release times.

    It sounds to me like you are trying to force this mix into something it is not. If it must go in this direction, then guide it gently, one step at a time. If you are new, practice makes perfect. :c:
  3. TonyM

    TonyM Guest

    Steve,the former was what i meant. Maybe the use of the adjective nasty on my part was what made that unclear. I thought of the peaks as nasty because they were much to close to 0db and would hinder further squashing. There is no clipping in this mix.

    Thank you for the great suggestions, Multiband squashing is something i have not tried yet.

  4. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    May 26, 2003
    use a multi band comressor and keep playing with it along side a computer spectrum alaizer with program material similar to what your recording it takes a while took me a week to figure out to get my over all cd to red book decent sellable volume the goal is to flat line your mix about the same volume and raise the volume as a whole with a stero compressor this is a very novice answer but it works ,but id keep your volume under 3 db and light compression if your sending it out for mastering i know im gonna get reamed for saying this but i hate softwear compression and i went out and bought a cheap multi band comressor behringer 9024 unit its like $179 now i paid over 300 for mine anyway i love the thing it sounds way better then the wavs c4 imho and it allows you to solo the bands to a specific range and listen to what pro cds sound like through just certain freq bands its a 6 bands compressor
    thats my advice at least haivng it to solo the bands is worth the 179 imho
  5. TonyM

    TonyM Guest

    Yes, spectrum analyzers are great for checking out eq balances.

    I still can't figure out the odd behaviour of that mix.

    If you kill the volume peaks in a mix you should be able to increase overall volume even more with the L2, but in this mix it doesn't happen.

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