This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Mastering Compressors

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by TheWinterSnow, May 25, 2013.

  1. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    3,090
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Lately L2 hasn't been cutting it for me. Even though it is a look ahead limiter with more extreme settings, the kick and snare get murdered. I can get my mixes loud, but there is still a good 2-3dB that I can get to be more comparable to more dynamic mixes (Sneap, Richardson, Bogren etc) so I went to experiment with a look ahead side chain compressor to use the transients to duck the rest of the mix.

    One major problem that I noticed that I never noticed before is even when the release is on the fastest setting (1ms) there is a very slow recovery time before the compressor finally opens back up. Basically the compressor is still active and ducking the signal even though the side chain is below the threshold and the release is set extremely fast. This is because the recovery time, or the time constant of the envelope filter is still "discharging" and thus still active. The release control is more of a hold control for how long the compressor begins to react after the envelope signal begins to decrease but does nothing to control how fast the compressor opens up AFTER the signal drops below the threshold.

    As a result I have a transient that is long gone and the compressor is still on. I have noticed this effect (without sidechaining) with my other compressors. I noticed though that the recovery time is quicker than the RMS meter in the DAW so I know it isn't a limitation of the DAW, but a set time constant in the plugin itself.

    So without going outboard gear like a crazy mofo are there sidechain compressors that have quick recovery times for the purpose of mastering that have side chain and preferable look ahead? I really like look ahead because the attack of the compressor follows the transient, I just wish I had a compressor that followed the amplitude of the tail end of the transient. I know that automation of every single transient on all the other tracks would work, but doesn't seem viable in the mastering phase to get maximum clean loudness.

    What is the standard way of mastering to get maximum loudness without obvious clipping, what are the typical methods and gear used to properly track transients and duck the other tracks in perfect time so that you can have a smashed to shit mix and still have a clean kick and snare that has no audible or visible clipping in the waveform.
     
  2. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Messages:
    12,582
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    My mixes pre-mastering usually hit around -18 to -16 RMS, so I've got another 7-9db to make up to get it hitting the -9ish sweet spot. I'd be lying if I said I didn't do the bulk of this via Ozone's maximizer.
     
  3. Bay Studio

    Bay Studio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Austria/New Jersey
    ^This, and for me its Ozone aswell, followed by TheGlue. I highly recommend this plugin! Used it once, and never left it out since.
     
  4. wutzington

    wutzington massive member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Cologne
    I guess a lot of mastering compressors are built to not tame peaks, but compress the dynamics across song sections in a nice way.
    For what you are trying to do I suggest to just use a different limiter, like FGX, L3, pro-L or Ozone.
    L2 isn't really something the big guys use for anything but demos anymore.
     
  5. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    lreland
    I use ozone, turn everything except the maximizer off.

    A mastering guy I really respect does a lot with clipping in the analogue domain. He has a few different stages of high end outboard and conversion and clips in stages. Works wonders for getting the volume up while not affecting the overall mix the way a limiter does.

    You've to be very careful that distortion doesn't appear though. It works best when you make sure there's no odd hits poking up over the mix, gotta be careful at the first bar of choruses for example where a kick drum might be hit a bit harder. If you keep this in mind you can get a very loud, clean mix and the loudness process is fairly transparent.
     
  6. Mikaël-ange

    Mikaël-ange Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Are you sure about that?:D

    L2 have a sound that re shaped the whole industry and I can guaranty you that 90% of the mix you can ear outside the metal scene (Top 100) have an L2 put across the 2bus at the mixing stage.

    That behind said, don't expect getting your loudness cranking an L2 on 2bus and call it a day. L2 work with 2/3 db GR max.

    To the OP:
    I can sound snobbish but getting a loud master is the easy part of the job, when you have a great mix shaped for that (I don't say your mix aren't good, don't misunderstood... but maybe they aren't shaped to go loud).

    After reading your post, it sound like you try to get the whole loudness from one devise (L2), and this result to pumping and other artifact like you described.

    Jeff mentioned one interesting thing in his post (beside using ozone): his mix hit around -18 to -16dbfs rms. I don't know how Jeff work but let's me decribe my way to handle this (many other use the same process).

    I don't try to get one element do the entire job (compressor or limiter).
    Instead I shape my mix with several compression stage.
    So my drum get compression on insert (really little) and I mult a lot (kick and snare).
    All my drum go to a drum bus where I compress or limit (1/2db GR). So at this stage, my track are already processed and shaped to hit the 2bus.
    I don't usually using bus for other thing than drum so all other elements (gtrs, vox...etc) go straight to the 2bus.
    On the 2bus I have a compressor (GSSL, C1 or Red3) with 1/2 db GR, followed by a limiter (L2007) hitting 3db GR max. This last stage is where you use your L2.
    So you have your mix ready to go to mastering.
    Idea behind is to ease the mastering comp work so you don't have to hit it like world war III.

    If your kick/snare are still murdered after this use the L2007 across your drum bus with the loud preset. What this limiter do is of course allow you to bring your element (in this case your drum) really loud; but also adding the mid range you need to get that loudness perception (mid=loud).

    One other thing you can try is expand your transient before they hit your 2bus comp (try with transient designer or the free flux plugin ( bittersweet)...).

    For the mastering stage, as Jeff mentioned ozone work great, or as wutzington mentionned use the slate fgx.
    You can aslo try push your mix with a make up gain (comp make up gain are good for that) going back to your AD converter.
    As I said on an other post, Ted Jensen was know to use a CL1B pair to do that (really clean make up gain).

    Good luck
     
  7. Machinated

    Machinated Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    ^

    that is good advice. for a loud mix you need it to be really controlled. any frequencies eating up headroom will kill your mix when you try and go loud.

    for loudness go with FG-X or ozone.
     
  8. Charles J

    Charles J New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    my mastering chain varies per project but you'll always see L2 followed by FG-X (compressor off, only using the limiter portion to re-establish transients and widen the mix a bit with dyn perception knob).

    There are a few other plugs in there but I like L2 either before or after the limiter(s) im using to get level. Kind of like a 'pre mastering' filter for peaks; only hit less than 3dB at the loudest bits.

    L2 has a SOUND, and I really like that sound when used VERY sparingly.

    First in my chain is usually the Brainworx M/S mastering EQ to cut the lowww lowwws as to not kill my limiters with low-end mud eating up all the head. REALLY important... but ive usually got my mix fully clean of that extreme lows/highs by all the filtering I tend to do
     
  9. El_Gato

    El_Gato I love this gain

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Spain
    Right, I think all the hate towards the L2 is just because they push it too hard for what it is. I always said I like what it does on the master bus, even more when used sparingly. I like it not being transparent.

    My "compressors" on the master bus are: tape sim, saturation, SSL sim, L2 and Ozone maximizer.

    I scored a great deal that I couldn't ignore on a recently released 500 series IGS S-type compressor (SSL-ish) for 400€ :cool: Let's see if I finally ditch the Waves 4000 bundle for good.

    [​IMG]

    From their FB:
    "Here it is, the new S-Type Mix Bus Compressor in 500-series module.

    Some features:
    - Stereo compressor,
    - Double space unit,
    - All stepped manipulators (exc. Mix),
    - Sidechain HPF,
    - 20 points GR LED bar,
    - Low power consumption,
    - Affordable price, 495 Euro, exc. VAT.

    Available now".
     
  10. Habsburgs

    Habsburgs Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,766
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    you HAVE to post a mix :D i want to hear all that sweet gear

    how do you usually process your mults kick/snare?
     
  11. FrankTheSmith

    FrankTheSmith Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Whenever I used L2 to make it "commercial" loud it ALWAYS made the snare just disappear. The FG-X is amazing It preserved the dynamics and also making it loud, but eventually I got really carried away with how loud I'd make a song haha.
     
  12. amarshism

    amarshism Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Brisbane CBD
    Anyone here clipping their converters for loudness. I'm gonna start experimenting with it this week.
     
  13. Aaron Smith

    Aaron Smith Envisage Audio

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,946
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I clip my Crane Song HEDD in mastering from time to time, sounds quite good.
     
  14. Mikaël-ange

    Mikaël-ange Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I work mainly on pop/urban stuff right now but same thing apply to modern rock or metal;)

    Ok, chain otb:

    original kick>ssl comp>ssl eq
    -distressor/160x>pultec/api 550 (low)
    -ssl comp>550 (mid)
    -160x>1073 (knock)
    -transient designer/DS201>8200 or ssl eq (attack)

    original snare:ssl comp/distressor>ssl eq
    -transient designer/DS201>ssl eq (attack)
    -160x/distressor/C1>ssl eq/8200/1073 (meat/body)
    -transient designer>ssl eq (decay)
    -ambiance/non linear verb really short (sustain)

    ITB/hybrid:

    Org kick>transient designer>waves ssl (comp/eq)
    -160x/D3>waves 550
    -Rcomp/C4>550
    -digi gate>digi comp>filterbank
    -digi gate>digi comp>transient designer>filterbank

    Org snare>waves ssl
    -digi gate>digi comp>transient designer>filterbank
    -digi comp/C4/waves ssl comp/filterbank/ssl eq
    -transient designer>waves ssl
    -dverb/revibe>waves ssl

    Everyone going to a drum bus...
    OTB: 33609/ssl quad
    ITB: massey L2007
     
  15. Eduardo Apolonia

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Messages:
    983
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Algarve, Portugal
    More or less my way of doing it.
    The main difference is that I use 2 compressors on the mix bus and then clip a few dBs on the A/D, usually the HEDD. Then 1 or 2 limiters.

    I prefer 2-3 limiters with 1.5dBs of gain reduction than 1 limiter with 4.5dBs of gain reduction. Less artefacts.
     
  16. wutzington

    wutzington massive member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Cologne
    No one really uses the L2 for loudness anymore.

    Sure, for color and killing transients it might work wonderfully.
    Not for loudness though.
    I think the thing sounds like shit when it's doing more than 1db of GR.
     
  17. Mikaël-ange

    Mikaël-ange Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I doubt any ME ever used an L2 for loudness, that was my point. ;)
     
  18. wutzington

    wutzington massive member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Cologne
    I'ms sure there were people who did when the thing first came out.
    When did it get released btw? 1994/1995?
     

Share This Page