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  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Understanding db and headroom?
    I've never understood the principle behind controlling the dynamics of submixes and busses. I always stay away from bussing because I'm confused. Let's say I have 3 channels that don't clip, I then buss them to a common channel-- now they clip. Do i have to put a limiter on every buss or submix I make? Won't things get dynamically squashed by the time they get to the master strip (which also has a limiter on it)? Currently, I'm wanting to combine 30 audio files into one new file which will be them put into a project. The project itself will have a limiter/compressor on the master strip. What should I know and do to feel comfortable creating submixes? Help! It doesn't make sense to me. Thanks!
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Hey CoFane, I think you'll find Steve H's Logic's Mastering toolbox tutorial a gem: [url]http://www.macprovideo.com/tutorial/Logic401[/url] Especially check out the first few videos on dynamic range, etc. In quick answer to your questions... Don't place limiters on your Busses... I'd recommend leaving that for the Output 1-2 channel strip. There's absolutely no reason why you can't lower the levels of the 3 channels... How are you sending them to a Bus? Using the send or routing via the output of the 3 channels? I'd recommend the former and the beauty of submixes is they don't NEED to be outputted to the Stereo 1-2 output all the time. Mute them as you see fit or the Main output will get overloaded! Hope that makes sense. Rounik
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  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    I actually own Steve's mastering tutorial. I'll have to review it. You say that there's no reason why I can't lower the levels of the 3 channels. But I don't understand how that won't affect the balance of the mix... If I have 3 tracks that all have perfect volume levels and sound great in the OVERALL MIX, how is it possible to then buss their OUTPUTS (not sends) to a new buss then LOWER their levels respectively (so that the buss doesn't clip)? Won't that lower their individual levels in the overall mix, therefore affect how my overall mix sounds? Thanks for your help. This has always been a conundrum for me!
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Interesting... so try this: 1. Solo the 3 channels (with output routed to Output 1-2). 2. Look at the Output 1-2 level meter. 3. Now Bus the outputs from the 3 channels to Bus... e.g. 10 4. Check the Aux Channels Level outputs. It should read the same as in Step 2 above. Is this what happens for you? Do you have any inserts on the Aux channel or the Output 1-2. Cheers Rounik
    Reply
  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Rounik, you are a true wizard! Okay, I'm actually working with 4 channels now and I'm following your instructions. 1) I've soloed all 4 channels 2) Output 1-2 meter clips at 2.8db (because I've taken off the Master limiter). 3) Now I'm bussing the 4 channels' outputs to Bus 1. 4) Bus 1's Aux strip clips at 2.8db as well. You are right. My question still remains though about the submix itself if I am to BOUNCE the submix to it's own audio file. Let's say I want to combine all 4 of these tracks (which are being routed to Bus 1) into one new audio file. I want to use the new audio file in my project instead of the 4 individual tracks. Since the Aux strip is clipping at 2.8 db won't it be bad for me to create a new audio file from that? Won't I have to attenuate one or more of the 4 channels' faders in order to make an audio file that doesn't clip? Won't that affect the original balance of levels that I had when all 4 tracks where on seperate channels? Thanks for your help Rounik! I hope I'm not asking too much of you. If it's any consolation, I'll be ordering 2 new tutorials today! :-)
    Reply
  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Hey CoFane! No! You're not asking too much... that's what these forums are here for my friend... for us all to learn! So ask & answer away :) OK... Yes... in that case I'd suggest that you're levels are too hot per channel. In the Mixer you can drag across to select multiple channel strips. Then adjust the levels of one and they'll all be raised/lowered respectively. This shouldn't affect the balance of the mix then. A couple of rules of thumb: - The Stereo Output 1-2 should never clip. - Leave some headroom on the Stereo Output channel so you can Master it later. - Try not to use any Limiters etc on the Stereo Output when mixing. Although sometimes it's nice to have A/B it... Hope this helps... and that I've understood your question. :) Rounik
    Reply
  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    You have understood my question!! Thanks. I guess all my confusion has stemmed from the fact that I ALWAYS limit outputs 1-2! In other words, ALL my channels are probably already hot and they are all being limited on the master. If I start watching outputs 1-2 and ensuring that they NEVER clip then I could (in theory) buss any number of channels together to an aux and that aux will not clip either right?? I'll start watching my levels now. I won't put a limiter on the master strip EVER (unless I'm done with the whole mix and am at the mastering stage). Does this sound like good practice?? Using a compressor at all times on the main outputs is fine though right? As long as I'm not engaging the compressors limiter??
    Reply
  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Sorry, one more thing--- After I have a song professionally mixed and mastered in Logic I will load all the perfectly mixed tracks into Live (for performance)... This makes Live's outputs clip bigtime though!! If I want to keep the mix unified should I lower ALL track faders equally until outputs 1-2 no longer clip?
    Reply
  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    Hey Cofane, When I'm mixing I may place a compressor on the Stereo Output 1-2 channel... but it's always bypassed unless I want to listen to how the mix sounds with said compressor/limiter. Strange that a Mastered track is clipping in Ableton Live... can't explain that... try importing a commercially released track from a CD into Live. Does the same issue apply? :) Rounik
    Reply
  • coFane
    Posts: 121
    Joined: Jan 30th, 2007, 10:36
    Re: Understanding db and headroom?...
    well, it's not really a mastered track once I dump it into Live, it is all the EXPORTED tracks of a song that I created in Logic. They are all in their final state but when they were exported in Logic the individual tracks WERE NOT processed by the master strip...
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