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  #1  
Old 04-18-2019, 11:33 PM
lowthert lowthert is offline
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Default Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Hello all. Apologies upfront for the silly questions (I am a musician - not an engineer!)

I have 14 songs ready for mastering and the Mastering house have come back and said that the tracks are all too loud - peaking at 0db. So there is a lot of work done in the mix - automation on the fader and plug-ins, multiple tracks etc.

How can I bring the mix down to -6db to give them the headroom they need?

Should I just put something on the master bus and bring the whole level down?

Some of the tracks are commit tracks already - can I recommit everything to 0 and then pull all the faders down to get to -6db? Will this affect the quality of the tracks to recommit committed tracks (if you know what I mean)

Or - and hopefully not - do I have to start over totally with the mix and remix everything to bring the volume down...

Awaiting your wisdom and sage advice folks...

Thanks in advance,

Tony
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:21 AM
elicious elicious is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Hey Tony,
Just open a Master fader strapped across your main outputs,
and pull the fader down.
It will bring down your mix proportionately, and make it suitable for mastering.

Hopefully, there are no brick wall limiters on your Master bus adding to the volume; if so just remove that.

A very useful, inexpensive, and intuitive tool to help with this is the Klanghelm VUMT,
which you can set at the VU setting and -15 reference level.
As you pull down the fader, it will be reflected in the meter,
and in the future, it can greatly help you with your gain staging...
e
For the record studios
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:17 AM
lowthert lowthert is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Hey... thanks for coming back quickly and with some reassuring advice. So I insert another master fader before the real master fader and insert the meter first in the master bus - pull it all down on the new fader to -15db and leave the real master fader at 0 - right?

Thanks a million again. Tony
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Last edited by lowthert; 04-19-2019 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:00 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

I would drop each track or bus that feeds the 2-bus by 2dB and then put a quality compressor on the 2-bus. Sure it will be a little less loud but the mix will sound better and you'll have given your mastering engineer the headroom he needs. Just bringing things down with a master fader (I never use them) isn't a good remedy.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:52 AM
lowthert lowthert is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Thanks Jack - I get that but the problem is that I have these tracks automated and touching the fader will mean essentially having to remix the whole lot. That is why I asked about commit - print the track to another one at 0 - which will also print all of the dynamics - and pull the whole lot down by the same value. Would that also work? Can I reprint a .cm track to another .cm track without losing quality?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:06 AM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

There is nothing wrong with pulling back the master fader. The resulting bounce will be exactly the same, only quiter. You can confirm this by reversing the process, on the bounced file, increasing the volume by the exact same amount, alingning it next to the original -0db file and reversing phase on one of them. (Assuming this is a 24 bit session w/24 bit files and the master is not clipping.)

If these are mastering professionals, they should know this, and be able to do it themselves.

On the other hand they might be hearing something clipping and want you to in fact do a second mix with everything pulled back as Jack described. If you insist that you want it to sound like the bounce you made in the first place, it should not be necessary.

My 2c, anyway.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Enough good info said but i must add and suggest to start using VCA groups . If tracks or Master fader is clipping it should alter your mix sound can't say how much but it will . Next time its safer to watch the meters while mixing . There are some good new meters out there that can help on this too . If you are new on mixing i suggest you to read about LUFS meters and VCA groups .
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:08 AM
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Bob Olhsson Bob Olhsson is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Assuming you have processing on the master fader, you want to add a second master fader after the main master fader. Another solution is simply bouncing to 32-bit float files.

I think my main concern would be to give everything a listen with the level after the master bus pulled down in order to make sure my monitoring hadn't been overstressed leading to unintended artistic choices.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:44 PM
lowthert lowthert is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Thanks guys - all great advice and learnings for for me. I bought the Klanghelm and spent the time, remixed the track to ensure -10 on the master bus and the whole thing sounds much better...

I learnt a lot yesterday - a good day! Now for the other 13 tracks...

Thanks all.
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Last edited by lowthert; 04-20-2019 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:40 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Headroom for Mastering - Please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowthert View Post
Thanks guys - all great advice and learnings for for me. I bought the Klanghelm and spent the time, remixed the track to ensure -10 on the master bus and the whole thing sounds much better...

I learnt a lot yesterday - a good day! Now for the other 13 tracks...

Thanks all.
Why not try a trim plug on the tracks so you don't mess with the faders?
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