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  #1  
Old 06-12-2009, 11:00 AM
Wango Wango is offline
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Default Mastering headroom

Not quite appropriate for this forum, but I know there are lots of experienced peeps here.

The question is: how much headroom do you leave for mastering?

I've been using between 4 and 5 db below peak.

With anything above that, I find it difficult to get a solid, punchy sound without distortion. But then again, I'm no mastering engineer. So, is there a general consensus?

Thx.

- Wango
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:32 AM
rqstudio rqstudio is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

I like mastering in my Masterlink, it's a great place to archive all of your finished products + it's easy to create playlist and listen in other environments then go back and make minor changes. I usually add between 4 to 7 db's of compression then set the output level to .10 (a 10th of a db before '0') then bring up the level in the limiter till it sounds very punchy, just to the brink of distortion, then maybe back it off a tad. Result? a professional sounding recording.
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:40 AM
AlexLakis AlexLakis is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

What is this Gearslutz now?

To answer your question, I'm usually between 3-5dB.
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2009, 11:47 AM
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MultiCore MultiCore is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

I let my music (final mixdown) peak at -18dBFS at all times, so that the mastering engineer can get them properly mastered.
-18dBFS is an AES recommendation. The world of video uses -20dBFS for instance.

Don't ask my why but the big tech guys have -18dBFS as a reference for a good reason.
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  #5  
Old 06-12-2009, 11:57 AM
Wango Wango is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiCore View Post
I let my music (final mixdown) peak at -18dBFS at all times, so that the mastering engineer can get them properly mastered.
-18dBFS is an AES recommendation. The world of video uses -20dBFS for instance.

Don't ask my why but the big tech guys have -18dBFS as a reference for a good reason.
Thanks guys - good info.
Multi - what does dbFS stand for and how does it translate to PTLE?

I always put a master fader on my mixes, with the output set to zero.
I mix my stuff such that the end result ends up between 4 and 5 db below the master fader '0'.

So, would -18dBFS be -18db on my master fader?

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:14 PM
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MultiCore MultiCore is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

dBFS, FS stands for Full Scale. So the absolute limit in the digital world is 0dB, anything above is distortion.

Your master fader should always be at 0dB you can lower them but that won't get rid of the distortion. As the incoming signal will slam your masterbus.
So lowering your master fader won't get rid of the distortion except when your master out is slamming in to your AD/DA converter.

If you wanna do it yourself (mastering) try to get a god mixdown at -18dBFS, do the eq-ing , compressing etc... and set your limiter out at -0.3dBFS or -0.2dBFS

Ooh and yes -18dBFS is -18dB on the masterfader. try to get the meter to analyse your audio from here: Dynamic Range
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:32 PM
Wango Wango is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiCore View Post
dBFS, FS stands for Full Scale. So the absolute limit in the digital world is 0dB, anything above is distortion.

Your master fader should always be at 0dB you can lower them but that won't get rid of the distortion. As the incoming signal will slam your masterbus.
So lowering your master fader won't get rid of the distortion except when your master out is slamming in to your AD/DA converter.

If you wanna do it yourself (mastering) try to get a god mixdown at -18dBFS, do the eq-ing , compressing etc... and set your limiter out at -0.3dBFS or -0.2dBFS

Ooh and yes -18dBFS is -18dB on the masterfader. try to get the meter to analyse your audio from here: Dynamic Range
Thanks, Multi - great info.
I will not do the mastering myself - I'm running test masters using Izotope Ozone.

I'll download that range meter and check it out.

- Wango
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2009, 12:38 PM
AndyJCP AndyJCP is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

Probably the -18dBFS come from the fact that -18dBFS equals 0dBu.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may0...es/digital.htm

But I don't understand why you have to leave that much headroom for the mastering engineer. I would expect around 5dBFS should be sufficient or am I wrong?
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2009, 01:00 PM
Wango Wango is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

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Originally Posted by AndyJCP View Post
Probably the -18dBFS come from the fact that -18dBFS equals 0dBu.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may0...es/digital.htm

But I don't understand why you have to leave that much headroom for the mastering engineer. I would expect around 5dBFS should be sufficient or am I wrong?
That's what I had thought also - but will try this. If the AES says this is the way to go, can't argue.
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:26 PM
StavrosSound StavrosSound is offline
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Default Re: Mastering headroom

Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiCore View Post
I let my music (final mixdown) peak at -18dBFS at all times, so that the mastering engineer can get them properly mastered.
-18dBFS is an AES recommendation. The world of video uses -20dBFS for instance.

Don't ask my why but the big tech guys have -18dBFS as a reference for a good reason.

For film that's not exactly correct. Its:

-18 dBFS rms = 85dBSPL = 0 vu

for TV or DVD its usually:

-18 dBFS rms = 78dBSPL = 0 vu
-18 dBFS rms = 79dBSPL = 0 vu

For some higher-concept films, -20 has become the new standard. It's not for max peak, but rms for pink noise, giving you 18 to 20dB of headroom. -18 is usually where "cafe conversation" dialogue sits. Anything in raised voice, yelled, delivered from the throat and not the chest, etc usually sits much higher, closer to -12 dBFS. Overall though, no matter how loud the peaks are, the target across a whole program in LEQ(a) for mono center channel dialogue vias the Dolby LM100 is usually -27dBFS (an a-weighted rms reading). Sometimes its -24 for TV; each place has it's own standard, however -27 tends to be the norm (hence Dolby's default -27 dialorm for metadata). In the end, -27 dialrom translated closely to using -18dBFS as an rms reference level
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Last edited by StavrosSound; 06-13-2009 at 12:30 AM. Reason: correct term
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