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how much Headroom to leave?

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?

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CRJJ
KVRer
 
5 posts since 26 Jan, 2013

Postby CRJJ; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:40 am how much Headroom to leave?

I produce E.D.M and usually mix while i'm producing, I usually have the kick at 0db or very close to 0db and then mix everything else around that. That way i can get very close to the same volume as the big producers. So far i have had no complaints about my tracks and one of my song's was featured in Hardwell's mix.


I kinda get the impression that my songs sound slightly squashed though (to me anyway) and i'm wondering if that might be because of headroom. I was thinking that i should start with the kick as -6db, mix everything around that and then when the track is done, just bring the volume up with a limiter. Could i do this the other way around by putting a limiter on the master right in the beginning then bring the volume down -6db, then just mix as i usually do with the kick at 0db, then at the end bring the limiter back up to 0db?


Laidback Luke told me to mix as loud as possible, just so long it doesn't distort...now that begs the question, is headroom necessary? well i would think it is because obviously mixing loud isn't working out the exact way i want it to.


I know this question has probably been asked many times, but i did search and couldn't find the exact answer i was looking for.
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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
 
16481 posts since 27 Jul, 2005, from the wilds of wanny

Postby thecontrolcentre; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:46 am

CRJJ wrote:I was thinking that i should start with the kick as -6db, mix everything around that and then when the track is done, just bring the volume up with a limiter.
That makes more sense to me than mixing with a limiter on the master.
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waltercruz
KVRian
 
523 posts since 3 Dec, 2011

Postby waltercruz; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:47 am

thecontrolcentre wrote:
CRJJ wrote:I was thinking that i should start with the kick as -6db, mix everything around that and then when the track is done, just bring the volume up with a limiter.
That makes more sense to me than mixing with a limiter on the master.


This is what Tarekith recomends on his mastering guide: http://tarekith.com/assets/mastering.html
KVR/eSoundz: waltercruz
My soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/waltercruz
CRJJ
KVRer
 
5 posts since 26 Jan, 2013

Postby CRJJ; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:49 am

thanks guys will check it out :wink:
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tehlord
KVRAF
 
6727 posts since 22 Sep, 2008, from Windsor. UK

Postby tehlord; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:57 am

Start with your kick fader at -10db and mix around that.

All your problems will go bye bye
Tijl
KVRist
 
143 posts since 28 Feb, 2008

Postby Tijl; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:58 am

although this question has come up more than once, I am pro leaving headroom and mixing at lower volumes to turn it up later... or maybe not even turn it up, but just to have enough room so I can comfortably fit everything in my mix without having to brute force everything in there.

How can you even mix without clipping and constantly having to turn down the master fader when (at least) the obligatory clap/snare are still to be added on top of the kickdrum in EDM?

Also note that reading 0db on your mixer inside your DAW is the peak value, so not so much a true indicator of how loud everything realy is, its just the loudest peak in the sample/track.
CRJJ
KVRer
 
5 posts since 26 Jan, 2013

Postby CRJJ; Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:59 am

tehlord wrote:Start with your kick fader at -10db and mix around that.

All your problems will go bye bye


Is there a difference between putting the kick at -10db on the step sequencer volume fader, and putting it as -10db on the mixer fader? that's also something i'm a bit confused about lol.
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tehlord
KVRAF
 
6727 posts since 22 Sep, 2008, from Windsor. UK

Postby tehlord; Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:03 am

Most modern kick samples peak at 0db, so I always set them to -10db on the DAW fader. If by step sequencer you mean drum plugin (?) then I tend to leave that exactly wherever it is.
CRJJ
KVRer
 
5 posts since 26 Jan, 2013

Postby CRJJ; Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:03 am

Tijl wrote:although this question has come up more than once, I am pro leaving headroom and mixing at lower volumes to turn it up later... or maybe not even turn it up, but just to have enough room so I can comfortably fit everything in my mix without having to brute force everything in there.

How can you even mix without clipping and constantly having to turn down the master fader when (at least) the obligatory clap/snare are still to be added on top of the kickdrum in EDM?

Also note that reading 0db on your mixer inside your DAW is the peak value, so not so much a true indicator of how loud everything realy is, its just the loudest peak in the sample/track.


Oh right i get what you're saying. It seems that from most of what i've read (on google) it's better to mix quieter so i'll definetly try it that way. thanks for the advice.
CRJJ
KVRer
 
5 posts since 26 Jan, 2013

Postby CRJJ; Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:13 am

tehlord wrote:Most modern kick samples peak at 0db, so I always set them to -10db on the DAW fader. If by step sequencer you mean drum plugin (?) then I tend to leave that exactly wherever it is.


this is the step sequencer
Image


or the mixer
Image
padillac
KVRist
 
345 posts since 27 Nov, 2011

Postby padillac; Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:51 am

It's up to you where you turn it down. There is a difference though: turning it down at the mixer means that the signal is still 0db going through any plugins. If you turn it down at the source (step sequencer or the sample itself) then it will be -10db going through plugins.

(personally I turn it down at the source)
Eric C.
KVRist
 
96 posts since 2 Jun, 2012

Postby Eric C.; Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:32 pm

I leave around -8 or -10 and I never put my kick(s) at 0. Kicks aren't that loud these days. You have to blend that @#$% in with the mix.
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Vospi
KVRist
 
62 posts since 31 May, 2011

Postby Vospi; Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:11 pm

I kinda get the impression that my songs sound slightly squashed though (to me anyway) and i'm wondering if that might be because of headroom.


Nope, it's not. Salvation is not there. Mainly it's the way you mix, also the way that you compress (or do not compress?) your instruments; also it's a kind of limiter you use; also it's an amount of peaks you tend to kill with it.

I was thinking that i should start with the kick as -6db, mix everything around that and then when the track is done, just bring the volume up with a limiter.


Usually starting mixing on low levels and gaining it just with your volume knob is OK, though it's automatically sets in you in position from which you a) cannot compare your material with anything and b) cannot track any kind of mutilations that will happen when you'll turn your limiter on. Such tracking can be quite handy and could potentially help you.

Could i do this the other way around by putting a limiter on the master right in the beginning then bring the volume down -6db, then just mix as i usually do with the kick at 0db, then at the end bring the limiter back up to 0db?


You can do it, but the less unneeded sound processing you do, the better, remember it. Also, it depends on your host. I see you using FL Studio as I do; it allows you to get away with hot levels, but there's no software where it can be recommended.

Also, padillac has a point when he says that you might be clipping some plugins. Sometimes that's much more crucial then just clipping your DAW's channel. There are some plugins that just can't handle it, so they naturally chop peaks off (Waves old linear EQs, for example).

--

Once again, most likely it's just the way you've mixed it.
Maybe your audio example can give us a better perspective.
http://vospi.com/music — dream and bass; rush and roll; educated and emotional music.

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