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Levels on pre-master mixdown

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Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby k47_ » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:54 am

Hello,

Perhaps someone can give me some light in here.


As is understood the operating level with nebula is -18db=0VU. For this reason I use to mix to get no more than -18dB in Master Buss and then I render.

Now when going to master I apply the same procedure with gain staging and then the output of the last nebula instance (German Mastering Console OUT)I have -18dB.

Now to reach a hot final mix (-0.3dB) what I do?

What I tried:

Turn the Nebula GMC output knob to max, then level reach -12dB. i place FreeG and push the fader up 10dB. I push limiter (L2) no more than -3.7dB(threshold)with Out Ceiling set at -0.3.

The Dynamic Range result around -15/-12.

Am I doing it fine?

Thanks in advance,

Cris
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Re: Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby enriquesilveti » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:22 pm

Is fine for music where there is no levels rules yet. Some suggest K-meter v2 (-1 TP/-16 LU) but is not implement yet (Itunes will do it ASAP) so you are going to the maximum allowed by the media (digital file). If you will make encoded version: MP3, AAC or MPA check that your level will not distort the codec. For broadcasting that levels are wrong and you should re-level, re-limit depending the country. So I suggest to keep a no limiter version in maximum quality, for example BWAV/FLAC 24/96.
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Re: Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby Melon_Jack » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:15 pm

I dunno, i just keep my audio clean. -18dB or not - doesnt matter much. Use your ears. Turn volume up, until u start to hear "pops and cracks". I think, -18dB it is suggested level. Not panacea, but with more headroom for future mastering. My tracks recorded with Studer 963 (1989) at ~-10dB, and with some nebula preamps and fx + FabFilter Pro-L on master my mixes are very hot, fully breathin in result.
For example, this "draft".) (Just a couple hours of work, but with nebula it sounds different, more life =) I don't mind -18 or -10, just drive input, until i hear distortion or "closed" sound.
Sorry for my crappy english =)

Did u try to push input volume to -6 by peaks?
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Re: Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby enriquesilveti » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:30 pm

There is no problem to use dynamic range limiting, compression or distortion as artistic tool. Just avoid to go over the system limit and is about -1 dBFS in digital using a true peak meter. Just to say you, you have a final delivery media or medias and seems that levels in that media/s will me regulated, for digital player suggested level is -16 dBFS RMS = around -16 LU. Level in live sound will be regulated, also in Spain. Plus EBU is working in metadata DRC profiles for portable player, TV, etc (they called "rendering devices").
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Re: Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby k47_ » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:04 pm

Hey thanks for reply guys,

Happened to me that pushing volumes up to -18dB RMS / -8db Peak during mastering the little drops appear somewhere.

I working around -18dB RMS with peaks around -12db and -8db, for recording, tracking and mastering. I have results very very low and thin in comparison with commercial final products, and let me be clear: I am not in loudness war, not at all.

I do not use a lot of nebula preamps because I have real tube pre and some comps too. Actually, I take a lot of care to have enough Dynamic Range in all my work. But, if I do not limit in the end to press it a bit the result I get is very thin.

Maybe I doing something wrong somewhere, but I cannot find out. I will check my soundcard: RME Multiface (cause it have an Output level through jumper: Hi Gain, +4 dBu,-10 dBV inside) just to check if it is in any wrong volume but I don't think so because the card is set +4 dBu as factory default.

Note from the Multiface manual:

"The device ships with +4 dBu as factory default. The according headroom meets the latest EBU recommendations for Broadcast usage. At -10 dBV 12 to 15 dB headroom are common practice, each mixing desk operating at -10 dBV is able to send and receive much higher levels. Lo Gain allows to work with high levels, best suited for professional users who prefer to work balanced and at highest levels."


What I don't understand is that I have to pump up the volume around 8 or 10dB with a fader volume control(FreeG) as the last insert before the limiter. Maybe I have to give a little bit more dBs in every step when mastering?

Have a nice weekend dear colleagues.
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Re: Levels on pre-master mixdown

Postby enriquesilveti » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:01 pm

Due we have very accurate meter now, for example true peaking meter, we can work near -1 dBFS on digital, digital is lineal there is no difference from hi levels to low levels. You should caliber your speakers to -75/-85/-95 dB SPL. About a -10/-12 of trim dBFS in commercial music normally works here to make a ABX comparison with same similar loudness. If you work in a hidrid studio environment, you should take care about how much volt can analog devices handle and how accurate are the internal meters.

About RME +4, you should not believe any one. Measure it with a voltmeter! Last week I caliber Mytek AD/DA to -20 dBFS <-> 1.25 v (pin 2/3) then I must to make a small calibration in my speaker controller to match RME FF800 and Mytek output for comparison.

See that new RME UFX now has +24 dBu outputs! I Still don't understand why we can not caliber any output depending ours needs.

So.
1. Caliber gear with volts, and don't believe anyone.
2. Check loudness (level trim) before make an ABX comparison between yours and other works.
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