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15thDimension
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limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:17 PM Reply

Is it a good idea to use a limiter on the track of a mixer? I've been having a little trouble with sounds peaking over 0db and causing clipping, and I've been trying to find a way to build the mix and avoid this.
Its seems a good way to do this without limiting the master channel would be to either compress or limit each track to make it stay consistently under a certain level. The only problem is then the sound doesn't stand out in the mix.

I was wondering others opinions on how to avoid clipping, make sounds stand out and blend in when they need to and whether limiting is a god idea.

I did a forum search but didn't find what I was looking for so I'd greatly appreciate some other thoughts.

SymbolCymbal
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:19 PM Reply

Whenever i have peaking/clipping sound i always throw a limiter on the track and it usually works every time.
Just so we are clear, what software are you working with?

15thDimension
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:23 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:19 PM, SymbolCymbal wrote: Whenever i have peaking/clipping sound i always throw a limiter on the track and it usually works every time.
Just so we are clear, what software are you working with?

FL Studio 9.7 right now.

Mich
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:25 PM Reply

Limiters will probably help you if you can't be bothered to spend a little time on your mixing to keep everything under 0db.

But seeing as you don't have a problem with that, I'd just throw of the limiter; it should give your songs more dynamics.

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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:26 PM Reply

Ideally, you want to avoid the clipping in the first place by making sure the output volume of your track never allows it to clip, but using compressions and limiters on the complete mix of a track is pretty much commonplace in the realms of mastering in post-production. If you need to do it, be careful as such techniques can have unpleasant side effects in the form of artifacts. You risk getting a really good sound for most of your track, then undesirable effects where the limiter has to kick in.

If it's only peaking in a few select moments, try tweaking your individual channel levels first to see if you can smooth out the problem before you go heavy-handed on mastering the entire track.

15thDimension
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:27 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:25 PM, Mich wrote: Limiters will probably help you if you can't be bothered to spend a little time on your mixing to keep everything under 0db.

But seeing as you don't have a problem with that, I'd just throw of the limiter; it should give your songs more dynamics.

Right, the mix certainly sounds better at least a little. The thing is without a limiter a get clipping, so I work with each individual track, but my volume levels relative to other tracks end up not the way I intended.

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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:32 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:17 PM, 15thDimension wrote: Is it a good idea to use a limiter on the track of a mixer? I've been having a little trouble with sounds peaking over 0db and causing clipping, and I've been trying to find a way to build the mix and avoid this.
Its seems a good way to do this without limiting the master channel would be to either compress or limit each track to make it stay consistently under a certain level. The only problem is then the sound doesn't stand out in the mix.

I was wondering others opinions on how to avoid clipping, make sounds stand out and blend in when they need to and whether limiting is a god idea.

You get clarity not by raising the volumes, but by individualizing the instruments by frequency, and by making sure they don't compete with eachother.

Something clips? Look at a parametric EQ, see what freqs are jacked. Cut out the subs and the high-highs, assuming the instrument is neither this will make a bit more room. Lower the problem channels mixer volume until it doesn't clip. Simple as that. If you have a dyanmic issue where it drops too quiet, compress before EQ.

Limiting will cut your audio quality, and that's a bad idea, especially if you are cutting out from a clipping noise... the pristine signal that once was had is just demolished at this point.

In my opinion, never mix with compression/eq/limiters on the master channel unless its just being toggled on for some sort of effect. It will make it more difficult.

As a really easy test, turn off all your limiters, lower your master mixer channels volume down by like 30%, and adjust the other volumes of the mixers until things are more balanced. It will likely save you from any clipping, and make it glaringly obvious what is overpowering your mix and causing conflict.


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Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:38 PM Reply

I remember this problem when I first started making music. It seemed that the only way to make my sounds audible were to turn them up to the clipping point. What you'll want to do is learn a couple of mixing tips. Try this: if a single sound is too loud, turn it down until it's not clipping. Then figure out why the volume is so low and fix it (not with compressors or limiters) until it sounds audibly fine. If the volume of it is perfectly fine and it's not loud enough, then amplify it a bit. If still not, then you can try compressors (not limiters). If not even then, then you try limiters.

Go around on google and look at some mastering tutorials and such. They are a great help in learning to make your music sound loud, good, and clear without any problems.


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15thDimension
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:43 PM Reply

@invisibleobserver

So essentially you're saying that if the mix seems cluttered or certain frequency ranges are too loud that overall decreasing the volume and EQing is a way to solve it?

15thDimension
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 04:51 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:38 PM, Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud wrote: Try this: if a single sound is too loud, turn it down until it's not clipping. Then figure out why the volume is so low and fix it (not with compressors or limiters) until it sounds audibly fine.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, If the volume is too low then to turn it down, and then figure out why the volume is so low? Would that be because it was just turned down?

sorry for double post btw

kulajs
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 05:09 PM Reply

Hmmm my tracks are peaking over 0db and i just love it.But the simplest way is when you start you project add maximus at master with preset clear master or transparent and then every sound you add categorize it to seperate channels and treat individually with eq or limiter,compresor..and try using spectrum analyzer for better results!!

Buoy
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 05:11 PM Reply

I will occasionally put a limiter on the master channel if there is some clipping caused by excessive transients, usually from drums. In such cases, limiting won't really be audible unless you really overdo it.

If it's just generally too loud I'll just use a simple gain plugin on the master channel and bring the entire mix down a few notches (or alternatively you could bring every single mixer channel level down but this'll probably be a messy affair if you've automated any of them).

If you can hear a specific element that is probably causing the clipping then yeah you should have a look at that and see if you can fix it. If anything, maybe you could put a limiter on THAT instead.


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Buoy
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 05:25 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 05:09 PM, kulajs wrote: Hmmm my tracks are peaking over 0db and i just love it.But the simplest way is when you start you project add maximus at master with preset clear master or transparent and then every sound you add categorize it to seperate channels and treat individually with eq or limiter,compresor..and try using spectrum analyzer for better results!!

It's generally not a good idea to put any dynamic processing on the master channel before you're done with the production and have a rough mix. This because the compressor will behave differently (basically squash your mix more and more) as you add new elements and you will not get predictable results when you go change individual levels etc... like if you bring down the level of one sound it'll likely just make another sound pop out too much and then you continue like that until ultimately you are left unsatisfied with a shit mix that doesn't sound anywhere near as good as it did before you started messing around with it.

so yeah while slapping a mastering suite on an unfinished track will make it sound better initially, it's best just to resist the urge and keep the master channel clean until you have pretty much finished the song.


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InvisibleObserver
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 05:32 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:43 PM, 15thDimension wrote: @invisibleobserver

So essentially you're saying that if the mix seems cluttered or certain frequency ranges are too loud that overall decreasing the volume and EQing is a way to solve it?

Avoid the remarks about putting volume editing functions on the master. This will make mixing more difficult to do well - everything you hear is being modified. Bad, you want to mix dry/clear of some sort of master. Its not nice on processing either. They do work if you mix without them, then turn them on for your render to catch unexpected transients that clip. Say you put a filter on something and there's a resonant frequency in the high end that is shrill... just as an example, limiter on your master will catch that. However the limiters I'm pretty sure in FL will all be applying some gain unless you take the time to turn them off.

If your mix is cluttered sounding, it either is, or you are making it cluttered. Decreasing volume is the sure fire way to dodge clipping, if you can as a general rule, eq things down, instead of up. The less harm you do to your audio signals, the more defined and clear they will sound. When your instruments are happy and not fighting, they sound better.

Good EQing will help you a shit ton.

I've whipped an example together for you.

Play me! "Quick EQ Explanation.mp3"

Look at me! "EQ Graphic.jpg"

I have a music box playing from the Kontakt sampler, first 2 loop play through it is NOT EQ'd (eq on the left). Second two play through it IS EQ'd (on the right). There is hardly any difference between the two. When you introduce more instruments to fill the gaps, the difference of their quality will become impossible to tell.

The key thing though, as you can see on the parametric EQ, with the second EQ on, I have more room in the bass end (lack of red lights), and high high end for other things to layer. So when other instruments play, the reducing of noises from my music box, won't conflict with other instruments, allowing more of them to be heard. Less cluttered.


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joshhunsaker
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 05:54 PM Reply

This is the best freeware limiter you can get:

http://loudmax.blogspot.com/

Have fun. You can push as hard as you want with virtually no detectable distortion.

kulajs
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 06:00 PM Reply

It's generally not a good idea to put any dynamic processing on the master channel before you're done with the production and have a rough mix.

Maybe,but everyone has different methods for making songs.Belive me i put Maximus,soundgoodizer,and 32 band eq everything on master channel and then start working on my projects because that way i can hear how will certain sounds will behave(also every sound is treated individually),and i can tweak instantly everything i want!

kulajs
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 06:05 PM Reply

It's generally not a good idea to put any dynamic processing on the master channel before you're done with the production and have a rough mix.

Maybe,but everyone has different methods for making songs.Belive me i put Maximus,soundgoodizer,and 32 band eq everything on master channel and then start working on my projects because that way i can hear how will certain sounds will behave(also every sound is treated individually),and i can tweak instantly everything i want! Didn't RE sorry!

Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 06:25 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:51 PM, 15thDimension wrote:
At 1/7/11 04:38 PM, Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud wrote: Try this: if a single sound is too loud, turn it down until it's not clipping. Then figure out why the volume is so low and fix it (not with compressors or limiters) until it sounds audibly fine.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, If the volume is too low then to turn it down, and then figure out why the volume is so low? Would that be because it was just turned down?

sorry for double post btw

Sorry, worded that wrong. If you have a sound that's really loud (like clipping excessively), then isolate that sound and turn the volume down on it until it stops clipping. Then figure out why it's clipping (like if you just turned the volume up too much, or there is an effect that boosts too much, or the sample itself clips, whatever the dilemma). This is one of those things where it's easier done than said.


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15thDimension
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 08:00 PM Reply

Sorry, worded that wrong. If you have a sound that's really loud (like clipping excessively), then isolate that sound and turn the volume down on it until it stops clipping. Then figure out why it's clipping (like if you just turned the volume up too much, or there is an effect that boosts too much, or the sample itself clips, whatever the dilemma). This is one of those things where it's easier done than said.

Ahh I get you now xD

@invisibleobserver(I do that cause the post is too long to quote)

That makes SO much sense with the audio and visual examples you supplied. Thanks you very much for explaining that.

Nonetheless I will experiment around with different methods that ppl suggested.

Rucklo
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 10:18 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 05:11 PM, SBB wrote: I will occasionally put a limiter on the master channel if there is some clipping caused by excessive transients, usually from drums. In such cases, limiting won't really be audible unless you really overdo it.

that's depends on the type of music you're working with. if you're mixing recorded orchestral stuff, you can more or less forget about even pushing the limiter to work even only 0.1dB. All compression/limiting will introduce clipiping, since that's what they effectly do - but certain music is way more forgiving, like most electronic music.

the best way to avoid clipping is not using a limiter, but - brace yourselves - LOWER THE VOLUME OMFG!
way too many people don't realize the big impact dynamics have to song, even if it's fully electronic. i suggest not only to the OP, but to everyone, to start play with the faders. this ancient artform is also known as mixing.

yeees....


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 10:31 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 10:18 PM, Rucklo wrote:
At 1/7/11 05:11 PM, SBB wrote: I will occasionally put a limiter on the master channel if there is some clipping caused by excessive transients, usually from drums. In such cases, limiting won't really be audible unless you really overdo it.
that's depends on the type of music you're working with. if you're mixing recorded orchestral stuff, you can more or less forget about even pushing the limiter to work even only 0.1dB. All compression/limiting will introduce clipiping, since that's what they effectly do - but certain music is way more forgiving, like most electronic music.

the best way to avoid clipping is not using a limiter, but - brace yourselves - LOWER THE VOLUME OMFG!
way too many people don't realize the big impact dynamics have to song, even if it's fully electronic. i suggest not only to the OP, but to everyone, to start play with the faders. this ancient artform is also known as mixing.

yeees....

Lol, that reminds me about how two years ago before I knew how digital sound worked, I kept turning up one part that was too quiet and wondering why it wasn't getting louder. The signal was clipped by the limiter so hard it barely had any peaks at all! :p

Rucklo
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 10:38 PM Reply

At 1/7/11 10:31 PM, Reaper93 wrote: Lol, that reminds me about how two years ago before I knew how digital sound worked, I kept turning up one part that was too quiet and wondering why it wasn't getting louder. The signal was clipped by the limiter so hard it barely had any peaks at all! :p

Most modern day music are casualties of the loudness-war, disfiguring them to something hideous like this visual representation of the wave-form of a fictional every-day-pop-rock-song:

limiters and such


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 12:10 AM Reply

At 1/7/11 04:17 PM, 15thDimension wrote:
I was wondering others opinions on how to avoid clipping, make sounds stand out and blend in when they need to and whether limiting is a god idea.

Okay, this is achieved through MIXING. Got a vocal track? Mix the frequencies for bass completely down to clear the KICK DRUMS and BASS INSTRUMENTS.

For KICK DRUMS and BASS INSTRUMENTS alter the frequencies for them so they stand out IN THEIR OWN WAY on particular frequencies.

TIP:
Find a free SPECTRAL ANALYZER (define) and LOOK to see what FREQUENCIES of the song are PEAKING the signal. Instead of turning the WHOLE SONG DOWN, find the instrument that's doing it and equalize it properly!

This is an amazing Spectral Analyzer. FREE.
Blue Cat's FreqAnalyst
Download as: Mac AU / Mac RTAS / Mac VST / Win DX / Win RTAS / Win VST / Win x64 DX / Win x64 VST

This will help you solve your problem PRIOR to using a limiter. Always use a limiter, I say. But EQ first!

limiters and such


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 12:13 AM Reply

At 1/7/11 10:38 PM, Rucklo wrote:
Most modern day music are casualties of the loudness-war, disfiguring them to something hideous like this visual representation of the wave-form of a fictional every-day-pop-rock-song:

LMFAO. Rucklo....funny pic. AYE the first time I seen that block wave compression was on a song by Metric. And that's what's so amazing about the producer of metric, James Shaw. He can equalize all the sounds so good that once he CRANKS ALL TEH SONGS UP FULL BLAST AND MAXES THE SOUND OUT AT -.60dB IT SOUNDS LIKE FUCKING ANGELS. lol


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 12:16 AM Reply

Voxengo SPAN is also an amazing spectrum analyzer. I've never cared much for BlueCat's products (maybe because I've only used their crappy ones), but that spectrum analyzer looks sweet.


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 03:51 AM Reply

At 1/7/11 08:00 PM, 15thDimension wrote: @invisibleobserver(I do that cause the post is too long to quote)

That makes SO much sense with the audio and visual examples you supplied. Thanks you very much for explaining that.

Nonetheless I will experiment around with different methods that ppl suggested.

Excellent to hear. If you have any further questions, do say so and when I see so, I will do you the favor of uploading more images/example clips. Mixing really isn't difficult in itself, all it requires is basic knowledge of the tools, and a bit of patience to uphold some sound editing philosophies. While these 2 aspects of audio editing both require other facets such as some reasearch/studying/patience/experience/h ands on familiarity, mixing is not difficult. The most receptable receiver is the one who asks what to receive. Be that and you'll learn quickly.


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 04:52 AM Reply

Rendering my tracks with excessive limiting/compression on the master bus always ends up in a poor sounding tune. It's how I always do it though, because at least at first, that sucking/pumping/breathing sounds oh so awesome.

But then after subsequent listens, you realise your kick has no balls, and the less busy parts of your song begin to sound unnaturally loud.

Then you stop working on it.

Then you come back to your computer a week later and decide to take another crack at writing music. This time, it'll be better. You have a good feeling that you're going to put together a bankable tune. Or at least a decent club banger. Heck, this bassline is sounding pretty phat! And that's not a bad kick either. Hmmmm, it's missing something.

I know what it is!!! I forgot to put a limiter on the master bus!!!

*facepalm*

Rucklo
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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 06:11 AM Reply

At 1/8/11 04:52 AM, jarrydn wrote: I know what it is!!! I forgot to put a limiter on the master bus!!!

*facepalm*

DON'T WORRY, DYNAMICS, I'LL SAVE YA!!!

*suckerpunshes jarrydn*

DYNO-MAN AWAY!


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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 06:49 AM Reply

At 1/8/11 06:11 AM, Rucklo wrote: DON'T WORRY, DYNAMICS, I'LL SAVE YA!!!

*suckerpunshes jarrydn*

DYNO-MAN AWAY!

Ow!!

Hey! Where the fuck did all my plugins go?!?!

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Response to limiters and such Jan. 8th, 2011 @ 03:56 PM Reply

Don't mix so loud, I always mix so the master bus is peaking at around -10db. You'll have to be careful with limiters too, since they limit peaks they flatten things, reducing attack and dynamics.

The moral of the story is, don't mix loud, mastering is for achieving loudness.