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should the mix be at 0db when you start to master?
Old 21st September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
should the mix be at 0db when you start to master?

yeah it's probably a noob question but I would like to know I'm gonna make this post and then go trounce around google a bit and then check back.

The problem I am having is that when I finish a track I'll mix it and get all my levels right and feel good about how it sounds but when I try to go over and work on the master track and get that commercial loudness my kick drum always goes away everything else normally sounds pretty good just the kick completely gets completely muddy and lost instead of banging right there where it was before I start the mastering
Old 21st September 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
the mix should peak below odb dfs ...if I understand your problem properly then you need to work on your mixing... "loudness potential" ...as I call it depends on alot of things but one major aspect is the mix itself... FREE LESSON - Down On Me - Mix Session Episode 1 of 3 - Ken Lewis
the link above should give you some hints...
Old 21st September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
wado1942's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Get good at mixing, forget trying to make it loud. You have no control over how loud your customers will hear your music, no matter how hard you try. Trying to make a hot master before you get the hang of mixing will only frustrate you. There's a reason the mastering engineers, specialists in their field, took years to get where they are. It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to do what they do (and there's a lot more to it than cranking the levels). When you start insisting on super-hot masters, it makes the necessity for a lot of experience even more great.
Making it "loud" WILL degrade the audio, there's no way to avoid that, absolutely no way. However, a great mix and a great mastering engineer will let SOME of the original sound (not all) pass through all the horribly destructive processing required to "make it loud".

Sorry, but this is a once a day question and people always seem to worry about loudness before quality. If you get the quality first and a very skilled mastering engineer knows where to make the compromises to avoid turning the mix into complete mush in the "don't let the meters move at all" game. I'll remind you again that "making it loud" will just make the person on the other end turn down their volume, leaving wimpy sound compared to one that's not as "loud" that your customers will crank.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
Verified Member
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
100% on all of that.
Old 21st September 2012
  #5
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
I always mix peaking to -6 because I don't want the analog stage of my monitor D to A stressed which could easily affect how I mix.

Most of today's players have digital volume controls which results in the audio never approaching the analog limit of the device's D to A converter.
Old 21st September 2012
  #6
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
If you start at 0db, then you have no room to apply your mastering processes. you leave as much room as needed. this can be between -6dB and up and a mix at -12dB is perfectly fine for mastering. Its all relative

Cj
Old 22nd September 2012
  #7
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
Agree with Bob above. If it's going to be mastered with a DAC/analogue chain/ADC loop, then the analogue gear will probably be wanting to see the decades old standard of 0dBVU, which usually equates to around -18dBfs RMS for the converters. Keep your peaks around -12 to -6dBfs and you should be in the right ballpark. If it's already peaking at 0dB then the mastering engineer will just turn it down 6dB or so before starting work (at least that's what I often have to do).

Of course if the mastering engineer is working all ITB then it might not be such a concern.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #8
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
To clarify my point, while mixing, I want everything I hear to be very linear and undistorted. That way I won't be correcting the shortcomings of my monitoring with results that sound worse everywhere else.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Second what everyone else has said. Loudness potential is a great term for it, and Pensado's Place has had a few features on it in the last couple of episodes.

You will probably find you are balancing your kick drum way too loud. Whilst you are trying to "master" your track, you are having to hit the limiter too hard to get to commercial levels, thereby pushing the kick back into the mix in a non-pleasant way. So, the solution is to mix in a way that doesn't require as much raw volume to get the same impact - the never-ending fun of mixing!

As an aside, try and get yourself into the habit of monitoring at the same volume, and not too loud. I go for 83dB at the mixing position, roughly using the K System. This should help you instinctively leave enough headroom whilst mixing, if properly calibrated. Monitoring at a low volume is also less fatiguing and, according to most people, gives better results.
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
To clarify my point, while mixing, I want everything I hear to be very linear and undistorted. That way I won't be correcting the shortcomings of my monitoring with results that sound worse everywhere else.
Can you explain a little more, please?
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Slug1's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering ➑️
If you start at 0db, then you have no room to apply your mastering processes. you leave as much room as needed. this can be between -6dB and up and a mix at -12dB is perfectly fine for mastering. Its all relative

Cj
+1

When mixing keep levels in the -15dbfs average using the meters in your DAW. Try not to let them clip. And this goes especially for the master fader. Have fun.
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nama ➑️
Can you explain a little more, please?
Lots of common DACs have analog stages that leave a great deal to be desired headroom-wise due to minimal, i.e. cheap power supplies. When you get up in the top of their range, there is often edginess and/or a loss of low-end "punch." This distortion will adversely affect one's mixing decisions.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
You can start at any level with floating point DAW & Plug-in's.
In the end you have master out fader so if you hear any distortion or too much red lights just turn it down a bit and turn up you monitors for the same level this is very simple.
Some plug-in's (analog emulations for example) internally calibrated for some standart input & output levels so above these levels saturation algo will be there so watch out for this things.
Old 24th September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
^ Yes, but it's not good practice to rely on tweaking the master fader if possible, and proper calibration will just make your life easier and mean you don't have to do that very often. But in the end I agree with you, I recently had a bit of a mad mixing session and had unknowingly lowered the master fader by 4.5dB, so I'd ended up running things a little hot to have it back at 0dB. Would defy anyone to notice any sonic difference though .

Plug in point is very true, you have to make sure you're correctly gain staging in and out of them, and a lot of people forget that. Most sound so horrible over saturated.
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