View Full Version : Trimming volume of all tracks (automation enabled)

11-01-1999, 09:49 AM
The situation is following:

I'm about to mix down this song. I'm happy with the relative track levels, some of which are a result of heavy volume automation. Problem: The Master (Output 1-2) is clipping. What do I do? I click the group "All" and slide the Master fader down a little. Then unclick "All" and slide the Master back to zero. That seems to work fine when there's no volume automation. But when I use it, the automated track levels seem unaffected...

Can someone, please, shed some light on this (simple, I guess) problem? Please, help.


11-01-1999, 03:00 PM
Yep, dBHead, you're right about it being pointless to have a masterfader if you intend to keep it at 0, unless you use it to strap stuff across the whole mix..
But, well, Yaroslaw has a valid point, how to trim levels on tracks as a whole? Also, I've found it anoying with mute-automation, how do you mute a track, so that it stays muted, when there's automation running? -Yes I know I can delete the mute's, and I know I can use the regular volume automation to do the same thing. Except, if you need to use the "mute frees voice" feature to free up more voices, but maybe you still want to keep a track muted for a few run-thrus..
Ok, I admit, it sounds like a long-shot, and for me it would be, since I have the habbit of bouncing stuff to groups, so that I don't end up having to deal with 40-odd tracks at mixdown, but, well, it was just a thought..


11-02-1999, 12:23 AM
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but why are you clicking "ALL?" You don't need to do that. Just bring the master fader down until it isn't clipping anymore. Your automation levels will be intact, and your overall mixed level will be the only think affected by the master fader.

Remember, the master fader isn't a compressor. Simply putting it at zero doesn't mean it will keep levels there. All it means is that the master fader will neither increase nor decrease the volume of the sources being fed into it. In a nutshell, keeping a master fader at zero is kind of pointless because you'd be getting the same level coming out of 1-2 as you would with no master fader at all.

Paul Schwotzer
11-02-1999, 07:04 AM
I've found that grabbing a volume line at its far right end will raise or lower the entire curve, even across regions and changes that occur in the graph. If the volume line has been lowered to zero, grab it anyway and move it down. So, I guess one could select ALL tracks and lower volume using this method.


11-02-1999, 08:05 AM
to change all relative track levels while keeping atoumation intact do the following:
1. set all tracks to display automation in the edit window
2. select all tracks by pressing <return> and (command-A)
3. select trim tool (])
4. grap a section of automation data, and change the value by moving the mouse up or down
5. all tracks will be affected equally, and automation will stay intact

11-02-1999, 09:01 AM
1a. Group "All"

11-02-1999, 10:21 AM
Not quite so simple. If you're feeding any auxes with a compressor or efx on them, changing the levels that go to the aux will affect the sound - like if you have a bunch of bgv's feeding a stereo aux and using the aux to comp and eq to save dsp. For this you have to go through and make a group that selects all elements not using an aux and then the auxes themselves. What I do from there is select trim and then write automation on the grouped tracks.I then trim back the automation by the desired amount using a fader from the group (shown in delta value),hit return, command A, open the automation window and begin playback. Afterplayback starts I'll just selct "write to all" or "write to end" in the automation window and it's done. I don't like doing global automation trims in the edit window because I can never remember what you're supposed to do to make the trim curve constant(with no breakpoint at the end)

11-02-1999, 06:01 PM
nipple- your right, i didn't think of that. but if mixing were simple anyone could do it and we would have no money.
maybe we should complain! http://www.digidesign.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif
there sure is a lot of that here-

Steve MacMillan
11-03-1999, 12:23 AM
Go to the mix window and open the automation control floating window. Highlight & make a group of all the tracks you wish to trim back. Select the 'trim' automation mode on one of the group's faders. Then select the 'write' automation mode on the fader. This should put the group into the relative trim mode with all faders green and at zero. Play your session and trim back the fader by a set amount (you can hold down the command key for hi rez movement). Let go and click the <-> key on the automation control window, this will write the offset right thru the song. Try it, it's easy, and the best part is that you can hear what you're doing.


[This message has been edited by Steve MacMillan (edited 11-03-99).]

11-03-1999, 08:01 AM
Thank you for your suggestions.

dBHEAD-"Just bring the master fader down until it isn't clipping anymore" - Don't you think it would be just like lowering the volume of a clipped audio file? It doesn't change the fact that it is clipped...

Paul Schwotzer & coaster "grabbing a volume line; select trim tool" - it really should be more simple than going into graphic details to make a simple change like what we're trying to achieve here.

cerberus - "Group "All"" - That seemed obvious to me before i actually tried it with tracks containing automation...

Steve MacMillan - your suggestion seems like the best solution, although I wish it sounded less "sophisticated". And by the way - <Highlight & make a group of all the tracks you wish to trim back> - How do I go about selecting ALL tracks in my song, without Shift-clicking like 32 or more of them?

OK. If anyone thinks they have a better way of lowering the volume of all tracks, please share it with us. And, just to start a new flame, I am raising this question:

Does lowering the volume of a clipped Master fader equal to lowering the level of the cause (tracks being too loud) or the effect (the clipped output)???

Peace - Yaro

[This message has been edited by yaroslaw (edited 11-03-99).]

11-03-1999, 10:39 AM
Another issue:

When you mix down, bouncing Output 1-2 to a stereo file, is it OK for the master fader to clip (red led) occasionally, or is it totally unacceptable? I've noticed that if I really wanted to save the Master from the harm of clipping, my mixes would be so low in volume that I would be ashamed to even show them to the mastering house... Or are they used to it?


Steve MacMillan
11-03-1999, 10:56 AM
A quick primer on master faders....

If you are using the 24bit mixer plug-in then you can pull down a master fader as much as 30 db without it's output clipping. Any plug-in attached to the master will see it's input drop as you lower the master fader (plug-ins are post fader).

An aux fader has no additional headroom, if you see reds on it's meter then pulling down the aux will not help. If you are using an aux then you can insert a master fader assigned to the aux's input to attenuate before the aux. All plug-ins on an aux are pre fader (the level of the aux does not affect the input to the plug-ins).

You may still want to reduce the fader levels of the entire mix if you find yourself running out of room to push up a track loud enough in the mix. You can easily select all faders by clicking on the border just to the left of the 'All' group in the group list. Then by shift clicking a track name on a fader you could deselect efx returns and subgroup components as needed. Save what's left as a trim group...


[This message has been edited by Steve MacMillan (edited 11-03-99).]

11-04-1999, 12:39 AM
I guess I'll confuse things further. If the INDIVIDUAL TRACKS are clipping, then, no, pulling down a master fader can't help. If that's the case, I'd have to ask: can you actually HEAR the clipping? I've had clip lights come on for transients which are so quick nobody can hear them. If that's the case, you can either ignore them or grab the pencil tool and rewrite the waveform.

But, gosh, maybe I'm tripping but the master faders on my Pro Tools system operate just like master faders on a real mixer. They're summing amplifiers, plain and simple. You play a mix once with the faders at zero and get a clip light; pull them down a few dB and play the mix again -- no clip light. As I understand it, the master fader sends the Boolean algebra equasion to the D/A. If the current output level would overdrive the D/A, you clip. But pulling the master fader down changes the equasion. At some point, the least significant bit on the loudest part becomes a zero and then you aren't clipping anymore.

That having been said...I like Steve MacMillan's response best of all. It's only a tad more complicated than pulling down a master fader and it should solve the problem even if you ARE overdriving at the input stage.