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CLIPPING !!!!

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by parisowar, May 8, 2015.

  1. parisowar

    parisowar Member

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    Hello guys. I need your opinion on this. Please answer only if you have experience and not just because someone told you so.

    I have a friend whose results on mixing/mastering are great. He is a pro!
    He was showing me one of his mixing projects where he mastered the song in the same project. When he disabled all the plugins on the MasterBus to my surprise i saw the meter of Master Bus clipping like hell!!! I asked him what's going on and here is his answer.

    "It clips because i bypassed the plugin which drops the level. Signals dont get any damage or clipping until you export it, so even if it clips on input of Master bus its still save. Dont be confused about it. What i wanted to say is that you only need headroom when mixdown unmastered tracks for mastering of album in separate project, and here you need some headroom to avoid random peak clipping, but if you do all that things in one project, you dont have to worry about it"

    Well, what do you think about this?!?!?!

    p.s the first or second plugin in his signal chain drops the level down a lot
     
  2. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    He's wrong... the input of the first plug-in in the chain will be fed a clipped signal
     
  3. Arsonstudios

    Arsonstudios Member

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    he is right.
    because of 32 bit floating point processing you have basically infinite headroom as long as things stay 32bit floating point...
     
  4. He's Dead, Jim

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    ding ding ding
     
  5. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    IF they do.
    Regardless, It's still not best practice to do so.
     
  6. ForHerDeadEyes

    ForHerDeadEyes Señor Member

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    I might've misunderstood, but the master bus starts clipping when he disables the plugins?
    Doesn't sound wrong to me if he has a limiter/compressor that lowers the level of the signals on it.

    Some plugins allow you to see if the input on the plugin is clipping, if that does clip, then it's probably bad, depending on the clipping amount.
     
  7. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    Just seems backwards to me.

    Why not just lower all the tracks in the session and then bump up the volume in mastering?
     
  8. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    This is just classic bad gain staging. Yes, you can technically get away with it if the first plugin doesn't shit the bed, BUT unless redlining the input of a plugin does something positive you are just creating a habit that can (and likely will) bite you in the ass down the road. Many plugins have a sweet spot and many do some nasty things at the top end of their range. Plus, if you ever work in the analog realm habits like these will make you look like a hack.
     
  9. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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  10. parisowar

    parisowar Member

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    Well my friend saw your comments and told me

    "Again..., the signal doesnt get any damage if it overloads the input of master bus. It gets damaged only after it, so if you Lower the volume on fx chain of master bus, everyhing will be safe"

    Well guys he is probably right. His work is so massive, clear and balanced that doesnt leave room for any doubts...

    For many years i had different opinion on this, mostly because i was told so, but it seems that "proper" gain staging has no real meaning in the digital realm, unless someone is an amateur mixing enginee and wants to take a "safe" path
     
  11. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    Cool. So just do whatever the hell you want then.

    Egan is still right. All your friend is doing is using his first plugin to attenuate the signal when he should technically be pulling down all the individual faders a corresponding amount. In the digital world this probably isn't hurting much of anything. When he'll notice a difference is if he starts outputting signals through an analog desk without really paying attention to proper gain staging. 32 bit floating point gives you plenty of headroom, analog gear doesn't. I've seen more than a few inexperienced engineers come and try to mix through our API and send out way too hot a signal, and wonder why things start distorting. Plus in the digital realm things are generally calibrated to sound best at near -18dB RMS. He may be pushing some plugins a bit farther than where they should go, but that would probably be audible.

    So why have a specific plugin that you use just to attenuate the signal on the master buss? That's what the damn faders are for. Again, depending on your system, mixing ITB this way is probably fine, but just because someone else does it a weird way doesn't mean you should. I've seen videos of Joey Sturgis and Misha tracking with their meters SUPER hot for no apparent reason. And they manage to get things sounding good. Ultimately it's your ear that will win out. If you hear distortion, back off. "Proper" gain staging most certainly DOES have a meaning in the digital realm, so don't ignore it based on one persons workflow! you can and most likely will encounter issues with this somewhere in your career, so be aware!

    Your friend's mixes probably sound great because of his ear, and IN SPITE of improper gain staging, not because of it.
     
  12. Mago

    Mago Austrian Blech Machine

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    Why asking a question if you don't even bother considering actions based on the answer anyway?

    "so you wanna have italian or chinese?"
    "chinese"
    "well fuck you, I'm gonna order a pizza anyway"

    :lol:
     
  13. Heabow

    Heabow More cowbell!

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    Chinizza? :lol:
     
  14. mstone564

    mstone564 Member

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    He probably has something like FreeG as the first insert on the master bus that trims down the gain. This is totally okay.

    Either that or he's hitting his first plugin really hard (something like VCC or Satson) on purpose for a certain effect.
     
  15. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    I think this is exactly what he was talking about. The Sum of all tracks is hitting the masterbus in the reds, so he uses a trim plugin or something to trim it back so it hits in the green, leaving headroom for processing, mastering etc......
     
  16. parisowar

    parisowar Member

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    Hey dudes thanks everyone for your answers.
    I asked this questions because until now i didn't know that clipping the input of the master bus in the DIGITAL realm is not a problem.
    Obviously i was not referring to analogue, i know that in analog, gain staging is very important.
    I clearly described that mixing/mastering was made in the same project, in the box!
    So there is no reason answering based on what if he was using analogue gear!!! HE WAS NOT FOR THIS PROJECT!!!
    When riding a car there's no need to wear a helmet... Oh yes i know , what if you were riding a bike...! :p
     
  17. Trevoire520

    Trevoire520 Member

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    Yeah technically this is ok itb because of the way that 32 bit mixers work IF the plugin he's using doesn't shit the bed (a digital trim/gain plugin will likely work fine but anything with analogue modelling is likely to distort. If he's working in protools he could actually bypass the plugin altogether as PT master faders are pre-insert, so you can just pull the master fader down until things aren't clipping anymore.
     
  18. Kohugaly

    Kohugaly Member

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    the cool thing about float numbers (a format that most DAWs pass audio-streams in) is that they have technically infinite dynamic range (really it's about 10^38 which is roughly 700dBFU). If the plugin only does linear stuff (like digital EQ or gain staging via multiplication) there is no penalty/decrease in quality no matter the actual amplitude of the signal.
    I do this all the time, driving the input on a bus hot (not because individual tracks are hot, but because their sum is) and attenuating it with trim plugin. Faders and meters in most DAWs have highest resolution in 0db--20dB range, so it is convenient to keep the faders in that region. You may use trim plugins on outputs of every relevant track, but adjusting them individually / hooking them up so they move synchronously is IMHO a little tedious.
     
  19. B36arin

    B36arin Member

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    In PT10 the trim plugin actually clips on input if you overload it. If I want to clip the master slightly I will do exactly that, feed the master bus with a too hot signal and put the trim plugin in the first slot so it clips. It can kill you if you don't know about it though.

    I always use the master fader for lowering the master level if it is a problem, in PT(and probably most other DAWs) the master fader is pre-insert. That way you don't clip and your signal will be fine.
     
  20. Kohugaly

    Kohugaly Member

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    Really? In FL studio faders are always post-insert. I even saw DAWs, that have pre and post gain on the FX chain (basically have trim plugin on both ends build in), which is very convenient. I wonder why that is not a standard :-D
     

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