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  • logicluvva
    Posts: 158
    Joined: Jun 17th, 2008, 04:11
    Gain Levels at Mastering
    Hullo. I am mixing/ mastering a track and although I'm enjoying it I am still confused, despite having watched Steve H's tutorial on Mastering. It's to do with the raising of level on the 24-Bit File. There's a Gain plug-in before the compressor and ultimately in the chain...an Input Gain on the Limiter.All on the Master Buss. Like Steve showed us. I am getting confused as to where I raise the level.Do I pump up the level at the Gain plug-in...or do this at the Input Gain of the limiter ? Or both ? How do these Gains differ ? It's a fundamental misunderstanding of the video that I am having. The original file is not very high in level and that's not supposed to be a bad thing. It sounds pretty good for the purposes of showing the song I have written to prospective artists.....but as it's my first proper mix I would like to be put clearer over these details.What I have done is ' felt' my way around when I know I should be more knowledgeable. There's just acoustic guitars, a pad and vocals..so I don't want the guitars to sound 'squeezed'. This leads to questions over the effect of compression on acoustic instruments in the mix and master too. But for now it's the 'Gain' thing mainly. I am really enjoying having a go at Mastering though and Steve has gone a long way in making it fun. Thanks for any help as always : )
    Reply
  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Hi logicluvva Personally, I'd try out different gains and listen to the effect on the music... Raising the gain pre-compression and after it will have different consequences on your song. Raising the gain on the adlimiter will most likely 'squeeze' the sound - but then again it depends on how much compression and limiting is being applied and the musical content... Hope that helps Rounik
    Reply
  • logicluvva
    Posts: 158
    Joined: Jun 17th, 2008, 04:11
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Thanks Rounik. " Changing anything affects everything ". I'm getting there. Cheers
    Reply
  • JamieInNC
    Posts: 186
    Joined: Nov 16th, 2009, 01:04
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Hey logic, I've been taking classes on mastering audio and might be able to throw in a few comments from what I have learned. First, and depending upon how quiet the audio is without processing, it is important to know that mastering pros use as few plugs/units as possible when sending audio through the effects chain. There could be a noticeable degradation in your sound as you pile effect upon effect, especially if it has lots to do with make up gain from EQ and compressor usage. Before any EQ or compression, you might want to bounce your audio into a 24-bit wave file that only has one gain plug set to comfortable levels. Be sure to leave headroom, as it doesn't have to be super loud before EQ and compression. When bouncing, be sure that you are bouncing 24-bit with NO dithering and NO normalization. Those are the very last things you do. When you have audio at a better level, a bit of make-up gain as needed on both the EQ and compressor should do the trick, and if you can, try to use as little gain on the limiter as possible. The reason for this lies in the chance that using too much gain on the limiter may exacerbate artifacts that are left over from less-that-perfect use of the compressor. If fidelity is not so much an issue at this point, it should be ok, but the final product would definitely require attention to this matter. So I guess the point of all this is, try to use as few plugs possible to reach your goal. Hope this helps a bit! Jamie
    Reply
  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Nice tips Jamie! Thanks for sharing :) I agree with everything you've written! Rounik
    Reply
  • JamieInNC
    Posts: 186
    Joined: Nov 16th, 2009, 01:04
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Thanks Rounik! Even though I decided to take the class for further knowledge and practice, I have to say that the videos here were a very effective introduction to the concept of mastering. Steve really hits all the important points. I have to admit that when we got to dithering, I was a bit lost, but after a bit of study, I realized what it's for, how to use it, and the difference it makes in the final sound. Mastering really is a rather esoteric part of the process, but if one thing good came out of it, it helped clue me in to the process behind its importance. And if I ever domsend my music to a professional, I would not only understand what's going on, but can also communicate efficiently with him/her. Jamie
    Reply
  • logicluvva
    Posts: 158
    Joined: Jun 17th, 2008, 04:11
    Re: Gain Levels at Mastering
    Thanks again. Cheers Jamie for the input.. I have learnt that the mix itself is probably where I should be thinking of dealing with the frequencies a lot more than I had been.To try and achieve placement and clarity as best I can.The carving of eq and that low-mid build up. But... It is all very enjoyable and that's what counts most. That oscillation from musician to engineer and back etc.You have to just keep on playing. Thanks again. I'm trying to get that upfront vocal sound now. : )
    Reply
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