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Misunderstanding on Mastering Headroom vs Bit-Depth
Old 20th January 2013
  #1
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Misunderstanding on Mastering Headroom vs Bit-Depth

Okay, I've been searching on this topic quite a bit, but haven't found this directly addressed in any threads. If it has been, feel free to direct me.

I know headroom on a mix being prepared for a master is a widely discussed topic, but I have some confusion on this when involving bit depth.

To my understanding, 24-bit audio has 144db of dynamic range, correct? To which one can deduct that '1 bit' represents (roughly) 6db of that range. Now I often hear the ideal amount of headroom to leave before mastering is somewhere around -12db to -3db. My question is, let's say your mix (don't focus on this too much just throwing these numbers out there) has an average level of -18db and peaks at -8db. Wouldn't this mix only be 23bit, since it's not using that extra 6db of word length?

Now I also understand that for CD quality a 24bit mix will be converted down to 16bit, so it might be assumed that this extra bit wouldn't matter. But wouldn't this be the same as recording at 88.2khz and converting to 44.1? Isn't getting everything out of what you're doing what this is all about?

Feel free to correct me on any of this, I'm sure I'm missing something here. I'm kind of doing a 'put 2 and 2 together' and am confused with the result.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #2
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Hi Mike,

I totally get your question. The best advice I can give anyone is to try not to think of 16 vs 24-bit based on 6dB-per-bit increments. It is more about the "range" of values from 0 to loud. With 16-bit, you have 65,536 distinct dynamic "steps" between 0 and the loudest value, whereas with 24-bit you have over 16 million steps.

Baring that difference in mind, recording in 24-bit at a lower RMS level is still worlds above the best of what 16-bit can offer, simply because of the larger range of values involved.

Getting as much fidelity out of the process as possible is definitely important, but the lower RMS levels are a good compromise to ensure other issues (clipping etc) don't take place which will cause you other issues down the road.

When converting that -18dBFS RMS 24-bit master down to 16-Bit, you can still adjust the RMS level upwards during that process to make the best of the 16-Bit medium, but with 24-bit, you have lots more room to work with so keeping the levels low is certainly fine (and a good thing to do in my view).

All the best !
Rob
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustMastering ➡️
Hi Mike,

I totally get your question. The best advice I can give anyone is to try not to think of 16 vs 24-bit based on 6dB-per-bit increments. It is more about the "range" of values from 0 to loud. With 16-bit, you have 65,536 distinct dynamic "steps" between 0 and the loudest value, whereas with 24-bit you have over 16 million steps.

Baring that difference in mind, recording in 24-bit at a lower RMS level is still worlds above the best of what 16-bit can offer, simply because of the larger range of values involved.

Getting as much fidelity out of the process as possible is definitely important, but the lower RMS levels are a good compromise to ensure other issues (clipping etc) don't take place which will cause you other issues down the road.

When converting that -18dBFS RMS 24-bit master down to 16-Bit, you can still adjust the RMS level upwards during that process to make the best of the 16-Bit medium, but with 24-bit, you have lots more room to work with so keeping the levels low is certainly fine (and a good thing to do in my view).

All the best !
Rob
So then it's not about loudness - Those -6dBfs RMS tracks peaking at -.5 are about maximizing resolution!

Now I get it.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
So then it's not about loudness - Those -6dBfs RMS tracks peaking at -.5 are about maximizing resolution!

Now I get it.
LOL :D! That would be too funny if the loudness war was all just a big misunderstanding. "Oh, loud? No, I was just trying to get the most of 16-bit". If only...

Rob
Old 22nd January 2013
  #5
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There is a bit of truth to that statement actually. How integer works is just a set of numbers with an equal 'distance' between them. But loudness is based on logarithms, and overlaying the same values will diminish fidelity the closer the integer gets towards zero, because the integer is not logarithmic.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustMastering ➡️
LOL :D! That would be too funny if the loudness war was all just a big misunderstanding. "Oh, loud? No, I was just trying to get the most of 16-bit". If only...

Rob
So my policy of never peaking a master over -4 or -5dBfs, regardless of rms level, should not have issues with regards to resolution - be it 16 or 24bit.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
So my policy of never peaking a master over -4 or -5dBfs, regardless of rms level, should not have issues with regards to resolution - be it 16 or 24bit.
When mastering your going closest to zero, for e.g. set a limiter to -0.10 db..
The RMS level is up to you really, depends on how crushed you like your songs..

I usually aim for -10 RMS.. Something like - 7 or 5 is another Death Magnetic and sounds obviously very bad.

Then dither and bounce to a 16 bit track, on the limiter I use.. I have the option to dither and export @ 16 bit even though the track actually bounces at 24.. When converting to 16 bit e.g. MP3 I have no nasty surprises.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6ccb844 ➡️
When mastering your going closest to zero, for e.g. set a limiter to -0.10 db.
And what - Shadow specifically - is the reason for doing that?

Why not set that limiter at -4dBfs, or -10 if someone is so inclined?
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
And what - Shadow specifically - is the reason for doing that?
A) Because unless your limiter is crap or your mix is really bad, you won't exceed 0dB. So there shall be no distortion even if your just catching peaks. (Unless your slamming it against the limiter, doesn't matter at what level you do that though, I can set a limiter to -4db and slam against it. Doing that still sounds horrible)..

B) I hate to say sheep, but it's a long standing practice method that if you want to compete as a professional, you need it loud enough. Not talking about loudness wars here, you can make it sound good and reasonably loud.

C) I can't think of a reason not to?

Edit:

On Slate FGX to listen to the track @ a pre-processed volume whilst turning up the limiter. It stops fletcher munson getting involved and you can tell if the limiter is affecting your track or not at certain volumes and RMS levels..

Cool stuff.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➡️
A)

C) I can't think of a reason not to?.
I can: I don't follow crowds!

I'm trying to get levels back to what they were, pre-CD. I may have to turn the volume up a little more, but it's good exercise for the wrist and it sounds dayam good!
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
I can: I don't follow crowds!

I'm trying to get levels back to what they were, pre-CD. I may have to turn the volume up a little more, but it's good exercise and it sounds dayam good!
Well then back off on the RMS.. It's that simple.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6ccb844 ➡️
Well then back off on the RMS.. It's that simple.
Already have! I also don't constantly scrape ceilings -even with an occasional peak - just "because it's there".

Sign me

"The GSlutz Conservative"
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
Already have! I also don't constantly scrape ceilings -even with an occasional peak - just "because it's there".

Sign me

"The GSlutz Conservative"
Good stuff, I bet you shouldn't have any issues then.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #14
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It's not really harmful to peak at -5dB, but for a given listening level (i.e. the listener turning it up 5dB relative to if you'd peaked at 0dB) you're effectively adding 5dB of dither noise to no benefit.

If you want to encourage music with less/no limiting/brickwalling, I think you'd be better off peaking nearer 0 and then it will be less jarring after a very loud, limited master while still sounding at least as good as if you peaked at -5.

edit: this is assuming PCM as final delivery format. If these are premasters for data-compressed downloads then yes there are more implications, although I suspect peaking at just about 0dB is still fine when there is no brickwalling.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #15
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Recording and mixing with more headroom is all about making my production decisions while staying within the sweet spot of the analog stages of the converters I'm using for recording and monitoring.

This is a good idea because the power supplies of most common converters that sell for less than $2500 a channel leave a great deal to be desired. Pro-sumer analog recorders had the same problem only the noise was way way worse!
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haberdasher ➡️
It's not really harmful to peak at -5dB, but for a given listening level (i.e. the listener turning it up 5dB relative to if you'd peaked at 0dB) you're effectively adding 5dB of dither noise to no benefit.

If you want to encourage music with less/no limiting/brickwalling, I think you'd be better off peaking nearer 0 and then it will be less jarring after a very loud, limited master while still sounding at least as good as if you peaked at -5.

edit: this is assuming PCM as final delivery format. If these are premasters for data-compressed downloads then yes there are more implications, although I suspect peaking at just about 0dB is still fine when there is no brickwalling.
Do you really think anyone's going to notice that dither noise?? I know I wouldn't. But then my hearing is marginally better than that of 43-year radio veteran JD Imus.

With all due respect, -5dBfs is as close as any peak will get to 0 on MY desk. I have the end-listener's playback equipment to think about as well - a lower source input combined with a higher volume setting is actually good for it.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
Do you really think anyone's going to notice that dither noise?? I know I wouldn't. But then my hearing is marginally better than that of 43-year radio veteran JD Imus.

With all due respect, -5dBfs is as close as any peak will get to 0 on MY desk. I have the end-listener's playback equipment to think about as well - a lower source input combined with a higher volume setting is actually good for it.
Yes I would, where exactly have you pulled this -5 thing from anyway? It makes no difference if you go -0.10 or -20..

You need a limiter on, in an experiment I actually damaged a stereo going over 0... It takes one snare transient to push it.. End game, is this for personal use or are you planning to release it?

There are some mastering guy's on here, which far outweigh my 12 years.. Some of them probably worked on the tracks your trying to re-create and I've never heard anything of the sort.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustMastering ➡️
Hi Mike,

I totally get your question. The best advice I can give anyone is to try not to think of 16 vs 24-bit based on 6dB-per-bit increments. It is more about the "range" of values from 0 to loud. With 16-bit, you have 65,536 distinct dynamic "steps" between 0 and the loudest value, whereas with 24-bit you have over 16 million steps.

Baring that difference in mind, recording in 24-bit at a lower RMS level is still worlds above the best of what 16-bit can offer, simply because of the larger range of values involved.

Getting as much fidelity out of the process as possible is definitely important, but the lower RMS levels are a good compromise to ensure other issues (clipping etc) don't take place which will cause you other issues down the road.

When converting that -18dBFS RMS 24-bit master down to 16-Bit, you can still adjust the RMS level upwards during that process to make the best of the 16-Bit medium, but with 24-bit, you have lots more room to work with so keeping the levels low is certainly fine (and a good thing to do in my view).

All the best !
Rob
Thanks for the reply!

This is starting to make more sense to me, although I do have a few more questions.

So realistically when recording in 24-bit, it probably doesn't matter if the pre-master peaks at -8db, or -5db as long as it's not clipping? Would it be safe to say that if you're certain a pre-master isn't clipping and peaks at say, like -1.8db, that's it okay to leave it like that? Not trying to argue simply for the sake a louder mix, just of curiosity.

Also I'm curious, is there any sort of definitive margin/threshold of amplitude at which your pre-master would lose noticeable dynamic range? Or lose a "bit" for that matter?

Again thanks for the help
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
Recording and mixing with more headroom is all about making my production decisions while staying within the sweet spot of the analog stages of the converters I'm using for recording and monitoring.

This is a good idea because the power supplies of most common converters that sell for less than $2500 a channel leave a great deal to be desired. Pro-sumer analog recorders had the same problem only the noise was way way worse!
I've heard this about analog equipment before, having none myself I haven't really been able to experience it. Does this apply to software, too? Or do you think that, when using software, this extra headroom wouldn't be necessary as long as the mix peaked below 0db? Are there other reasons?
Old 23rd January 2013
  #20
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🎧 15 years
You can't hear what the software is doing without a converter. My experience with working 24 bit has been that erring on the low side always sounds better than erring on the high side. It simply isn't worth the time trying to squeeze a few extra dB of level in a mix.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➡️
Yes I would, where exactly have you pulled this -5 thing from anyway? It makes no difference if you go -0.10 or -20..

You need a limiter on, in an experiment I actually damaged a stereo going over 0... It takes one snare transient to push it.. End game, is this for personal use or are you planning to release it?

There are some mastering guy's on here, which far outweigh my 12 years.. Some of them probably worked on the tracks your trying to re-create and I've never heard anything of the sort.
I feel that -4 or -5dBfs peak masteris a fair compromise between the sheep(peak -.5dBfs) and what I feel in my heart is the right thing to do.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegomes ➡️
Thanks for the reply!

This is starting to make more sense to me, although I do have a few more questions.

So realistically when recording in 24-bit, it probably doesn't matter if the pre-master peaks at -8db, or -5db as long as it's not clipping? Would it be safe to say that if you're certain a pre-master isn't clipping and peaks at say, like -1.8db, that's it okay to leave it like that? Not trying to argue simply for the sake a louder mix, just of curiosity.

Also I'm curious, is there any sort of definitive margin/threshold of amplitude at which your pre-master would lose noticeable dynamic range? Or lose a "bit" for that matter?

Again thanks for the help

It's a pleasure. You are correct. With 24-bit you have a very large margin to work with so if your source mix is only peaking at -8, that's absolutely fine, and best of all, if the level does need to be brought up during mastering for some reason, then there's room to do it. Occasional high peaks are fine too. If they are going to cause issues, the ME will catch it and either ask you to adjust it in your mix, or they will address it during mastering if it can be done without adding serious artifacts.

To your other question, here's an interesting video - at around 45 minutes in, Ethan Winer demonstrates, in real time, what diminishing bitrate does to sound quality using SoundHack's "Decimate" plugin. I wanted to share this to illustrate that really, unless you are planning to produce mixes at extremely low levels, you won't have to worry too much about dynamic range/degradation. It does exist from a numerical perspective (you're technically correct that you can "lose a bit"), but 6, 10, or even 36dB below 0dBFS will not cause you any serious sound quality issues at 24-Bit (there are lots of other interesting demonstrations by Ethan, and others, in that video as well).

EDIT: by "Pre-Master" if you're talking about a finished master, -8dBFS is okay for that too, so again, you're absolutely correct. There's nothing saying you have to peak at 0dBFS, in fact, I wouldn't really try to hit a target with the peaks per se. It's more about musicality, getting the energy/momentum in the mix right, perceived loudness, and making sure that peaks aren't an issue in the process.

Cheers !
Rob

Last edited by JustMastering; 23rd January 2013 at 04:37 AM.. Reason: Added comment (afterthought)
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➡️
A) Because unless your limiter is crap or your mix is really bad, you won't exceed 0dB. So there shall be no distortion even if your just catching peaks. (Unless your slamming it against the limiter, doesn't matter at what level you do that though, I can set a limiter to -4db and slam against it. Doing that still sounds horrible)..

B) I hate to say sheep, but it's a long standing practice method that if you want to compete as a professional, you need it loud enough. Not talking about loudness wars here, you can make it sound good and reasonably loud.

C) I can't think of a reason not to?

Edit:

On Slate FGX to listen to the track @ a pre-processed volume whilst turning up the limiter. It stops fletcher munson getting involved and you can tell if the limiter is affecting your track or not at certain volumes and RMS levels..

Cool stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
And what - Shadow specifically - is the reason for doing that?

Why not set that limiter at -4dBfs, or -10 if someone is so inclined?
I think you two may be referring to different things. What do you mean by "setting the limiter?" I feel like Shadow is talking about setting the threshold to -0.10dB and K-Man is referring to where the signal is peaking.

That being said, setting the threshold to -0.10dB doesn't mean you have to slam the signal into it. Hell, it can be just precautionary and the signal may not even touch it. I don't really understand why someone would set the threshold at -4. If you aren't going to be attenuating the signal at all, then you could set it at -0.10 and still preserve dynamics. If you are going to be attenuating, you're going to decrease dynamic range anyways, so what is the difference between a smashed signal peaking at -4 and one peaking at -0.10?
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotchontheRocks ➡️
I think you two may be referring to different things. What do you mean by "setting the limiter?" I feel like Shadow is talking about setting the threshold to -0.10dB and K-Man is referring to where the signal is peaking.

That being said, setting the threshold to -0.10dB doesn't mean you have to slam the signal into it. Hell, it can be just precautionary and the signal may not even touch it. I don't really understand why someone would set the threshold at -4. If you aren't going to be attenuating the signal at all, then you could set it at -0.10 and still preserve dynamics. If you are going to be attenuating, you're going to decrease dynamic range anyways, so what is the difference between a smashed signal peaking at -4 and one peaking at -0.10?
My whole master will be lowered by -4dBfs - not just the peaks. The RMS will be 4dB lower. So I'm not "smashing" anything. A DR12 track with a rms of -14 will still be a DR12 track at -18. It's peaks just won't come as close to 0dBfs as it did with the higher rms.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
My whole master will be lowered by -4dBfs - not just the peaks. The RMS will be 4dB lower. So I'm not "smashing" anything. A DR12 track with a rms of -14 will still be a DR12 track at -18. It's peaks just won't come as close to 0dBfs as it did with the higher rms.
I don't see how that makes any sense, all your doing is giving yourself - 4 to 5 db less headroom. An RMS of -14 will still peak, some transients are so quick like snares that a Vu (D or A) can't see it slap bang on time.. At -14 you would actually make things sound worse, because you don't have as much headroom.

I gather the mix won't have copious amounts of compression if your going for something more vintage? Which makes the limiter work harder..

-14 @ -0.1 or 0.5 dbfs makes sense
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD ➡️
I don't see how that makes any sense, all your doing is giving yourself - 4 to 5 db less headroom. An RMS of -14 will still peak, some transients are so quick like snares that a Vu (D or A) can't see it slap bang on time.. At -14 you would actually make things sound worse, because you don't have as much headroom.

I gather the mix won't have copious amounts of compression if your going for something more vintage? Which makes the limiter work harder..

-14 @ -0.1 or 0.5 dbfs makes sense
My apologies for not explaining it clearly.

I'm just TURNING THE WHOLE DAMN THING DOWN by 4dB, so it peaks at -4.

Does that clarify things a little?
Old 23rd January 2013
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegomes ➡️
Okay, I've been searching on this topic quite a bit, but haven't found this directly addressed in any threads. If it has been, feel free to direct me.

I know headroom on a mix being prepared for a master is a widely discussed topic, but I have some confusion on this when involving bit depth.

To my understanding, 24-bit audio has 144db of dynamic range, correct? To which one can deduct that '1 bit' represents (roughly) 6db of that range. Now I often hear the ideal amount of headroom to leave before mastering is somewhere around -12db to -3db. My question is, let's say your mix (don't focus on this too much just throwing these numbers out there) has an average level of -18db and peaks at -8db. Wouldn't this mix only be 23bit, since it's not using that extra 6db of word length?

Now I also understand that for CD quality a 24bit mix will be converted down to 16bit, so it might be assumed that this extra bit wouldn't matter. But wouldn't this be the same as recording at 88.2khz and converting to 44.1? Isn't getting everything out of what you're doing what this is all about?

Feel free to correct me on any of this, I'm sure I'm missing something here. I'm kind of doing a 'put 2 and 2 together' and am confused with the result.

You're thinking about the wrong end of the sample:
The difference between 24 bit & 16 bit is the addition of 8 bits at the END of the sample allowing more precision:
1000100010001000 = 16 bit
100010001000100010001000 = 24 bit

The first bit of a PCM sample represents the largest step (like in our decimal system) and more bits means more precision (like when you write numbers behind the dot). The maximum amplitude of both 16 bit & 24 bit is the same: 0dBFS.

When your mix peaks at -8dBFS you could say that you leave the FIRST bit unused, but you still take advantage of the bits at the end.

So the answer to your question is semantics: No it is not 23 bits, but it is true that only 23 bits are modulated.

- Regarding dynamic range and bits:
A PCM signal of 24 bits has an encoding range of 144dB.
The dynamic range of your audio signal will most likely be less. Usually the difference between the loudest peak and the noisefloor is less then 90 dB.
That gives you a 'cushion' of aprox 54dB, the headroom you leave is part of that cushion.
Taking a large enough cushion/headroom saves you from the worry of introducing distortion on loud peaks. It frees you to focus on the sound of your mix rather than the safety of your mix.

But funny enough we often seem to try to use as little of that cushion as we can.
Like a film where all the action takes place in the top half and then mostly towards the upper edge of the screen.

You are free to place your audio signal within the limits of that 144dB range.
Only when you exceed the boundaries you will get problems:
Clipping if you go to loud and truncation distortion or dither noise if you go too quiet.
But in the case of a 90dB signal you can place the loudest peak at -45 dBFS without adding any errors. Try it.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustMastering ➡️

EDIT: by "Pre-Master" if you're talking about a finished master, -8dBFS is okay for that too, so again, you're absolutely correct. There's nothing saying you have to peak at 0dBFS, in fact, I wouldn't really try to hit a target with the peaks per se. It's more about musicality, getting the energy/momentum in the mix right, perceived loudness, and making sure that peaks aren't an issue in the process.

Cheers !
Rob
I don't fully agree here, or maybe I read your edit the wrong way.

True, -8dBFS on a master is legal, but...
In the mastering stage you already know the loudest peak and it will only change by controlled action (that's what mastering is for).
Leaving the peaks at -8dbFS on a finished master makes no sense in a mastering context. It only increases the need for limiting in order to get the desired 'perceived loudness'.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➡️
My apologies for not explaining it clearly.

I'm just TURNING THE WHOLE DAMN THING DOWN by 4dB, so it peaks at -4.

Does that clarify things a little?
It does
Old 23rd January 2013
  #30
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🎧 5 years
Ok folks, I found this excellent article 16 vs. 24 bit Audio Recording Demystified about "16bit vs 24bit" that does a lot more than explain the advantages of the latter. It actually explains what bit depth means for time travelers like myself from the '70s. lol

The final paragraph reads *almost* as inspiring as a Presidential inaugural address(!):

Exerpt: "Bit Depth. Ok, this is the gospel according to Tweak! Use 24 bit for every recording if you have this feature. I was a believer for the past decade that 16 bit was the way to go and I have absolutely changed my mind. No matter of what you are recording this is true. If you have a nice mic, a very good preamp and a clean audio system and are recording highly dynamic instruments such as acoustic guitars, classical orchestras, acapella vocals, the difference will be there. But! Its not that 24 bits of data makes the sound better. It actually does not. What is does is give your audio more room to breathe in the numeric realm of digital audio. Remember, we are talking about numbers, calculations, not analog waveforms. With 24 bits of data demarcing your recording medium, its is possible to record extremely dynamic music, with very quiet soft passages and extraordinary loud passages. Quiet passages will be less likely struggling to stay above the noise floor on your system. One can record with no compression. You can record at lower levels, with more headroom. This ensures that the occasional peak is not truncated at the top and it will give converters some room the breathe. Because you are not pushing the limits of your bandwidth, your instruments will sound clearer, and the vocals may sound "cleaner", the song will mix better and there will be less noise. So its not that 24 bit recordings sound better. In fact they may sound just as bad or worse than 16 bit. But 24 bits gives the recordist a noise floor and headroom to create an excellent recording. Its a tool, and in the right hand, it can blow you away, audio wise.

" End excerpt.

Aaaamen brotha, preach it baby!!

Most inspiring I find are the lines "..Quiet passages will be less likely struggling to stay above the noise floor on your system. One can record with no compression. You can record at lower levels, with more headroom..."

This dude must be hanging out with my boy Barry-D!

So let me ask: WHY has exactly the opposite of all that, happened?! Why aren't our musical bretheren tapping the well?
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