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lovesexy



Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 254
To clip or not to clip?
      #1022731 - 06/12/12 01:04 PM
I have a track that has a nice laid back groove but the snare and claps chop through the mix and cause it to clip slightly in cubase. However, it's kind of what makes the tune work and when I put a limiter on the snare and claps friends have said that it just doesn't groove the same.
The mix is fine and I'd like to master this baby. Is a bit of clipping generally considered ok before mastering (in wavelab). I've tried using a limiter on the whole mix but it just doesn't have the punch that i want. The clip isn't audible by the way.

Thanks in advance for any help.


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Richie Royale



Joined: 12/09/06
Posts: 4402
Loc: Bristol, England.
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022738 - 06/12/12 01:22 PM
Cubase is forgiving when it comes to overs, but have you tried to bring all the faders down a few dB to keep the output level down below zero? Or grouping and then reducing the level of the group inputs.

You'll need some headroom for mastering as well.

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lovesexy



Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 254
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022749 - 06/12/12 01:42 PM
Thanks for the reply. Should I just pull the main volume down before bouncing? If so what kind of headroom do I need?


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Richie Royale



Joined: 12/09/06
Posts: 4402
Loc: Bristol, England.
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022760 - 06/12/12 01:58 PM
You can pull down the main fader, but ideally you should be aiming at not maxing out the main fader when preparing the mixdown.

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lovesexy



Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 254
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022796 - 06/12/12 03:58 PM
What I dont get is that Cubase says I have a maximum of -2db when I bounce but when I place the wav in Wavelab it says I have -9db! What's that all about?


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Happy Birthday Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21916
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022799 - 06/12/12 04:20 PM
Different metering ballistics.

Hugh

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Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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oggyb



Joined: 09/02/08
Posts: 1615
Loc: Leeds, UK
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1022833 - 06/12/12 07:34 PM
I have found over the years that Cubase *appears* to lower the volume of mixdowns if the output is over zero on the master fader, seemingly just to keep things tidy when converted to fixed-point maths. The same happens with track bounces.

I have noticed a 3dB reduction in bounces/mixdowns many times, and it has nothing to do with metering ballistics.

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SafeandSound Masteri...



Joined: 23/03/08
Posts: 1055
Loc: London UK
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1023079 - 07/12/12 07:21 PM
I recommend not clipping your master output. It is not that clipping is good and that it by default sounds better than a limiter popped on the end. (Though it potentially can do but thats another kettle of fish) Moreso that unlimited can sound better than limited. This time, as advised pull the master out down by the required dB to give yourself a little headroom.

And for future times consider this way of working :

http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/gainstructure.html

Are the Wavelab meters showing RMS values? Although that would be pretty hot for a completely unlimited mix and would be fairly heavily compressed. Is the fader at zero?

cheers

SafeandSound Mastering
Mastering services online


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Santarosa



Joined: 18/11/09
Posts: 142
Loc: Brazil
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1023121 - 08/12/12 02:12 AM
I was doing some experience in "mastering" (by that I mean pseudo mastering) some songs I mixed and I got better results, in exact the same regards of grooving, by clipping a bit in the plugin chain to get louder than using a lot of limiting. That means I was getting a punchier and fatter sound comparing too versions of the same song at same loudness with the one I used a bit of clipping in transient peaks and less limiting.

I hope my english words could be understandable.

That anyway was just a learning experience and I used only plugins in a home studio environment. I wasn't using cubase though and I know the way different softwares responds to clipping can lead to different results. I used Reaper. Anyway, by your reports it seems we had the same feeling about clipping and limiting.

Cheers,
Chico


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Happy Birthday Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: Santarosa]
      #1023138 - 08/12/12 09:20 AM
Digital clipping creates anharmonic distortion, which means that it generates non-musically related distortion components, most of which are at frequencies below the fundamentals. This is a completely unnatural kind of sound effect, and a lot of people find it quite unpleasant... but it will certainly make a mix sound 'fatter' and louder.

Hugh

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Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Santarosa



Joined: 18/11/09
Posts: 142
Loc: Brazil
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1023174 - 08/12/12 02:36 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Digital clipping creates anharmonic distortion, which means that it generates non-musically related distortion components, most of which are at frequencies below the fundamentals. This is a completely unnatural kind of sound effect, and a lot of people find it quite unpleasant... but it will certainly make a mix sound 'fatter' and louder.

Hugh





I forgot to say that in my above mentioned experience I also compared the pseudo master versions with the mix itself (same "loudness volume" for all - sorry my non technical terms). The mix was always cleaner, punchier and groovier.

Cheers


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Happy Birthday Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21916
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: Santarosa]
      #1023178 - 08/12/12 03:24 PM
Quote Santarosa:

The mix was always cleaner, punchier and groovier.




Digital clipping can not possibly result in a 'cleaner' mix -- it will always add non-musical distortions -- but then I'm assuming 'cleaner' means less distorted. Perhaps you have a different meaning for the term. I'm not entirely sure I understand your subjective terms 'punchier' and 'groovier'.. but if you like the results then that's fine.

I was simply trying to offer some technical background to what the process is doing at a technical level.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Santarosa



Joined: 18/11/09
Posts: 142
Loc: Brazil
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1023389 - 10/12/12 03:18 AM
Hello Hugh,

I was actually agreeing with you. When I said the mix was cleaner it was because I wasn't clipping it neither using limiting. I used digital clipping and limiting only in my pseudo master experience. Then I compared the three versions at the same loudness: mix versus master with clipping and just a bit of limiting versus master with limiting only.

When I say punchier my subjective feeling is that the low frequencies are tighter and transients seems to hit you in a more pleasant, stronger and cleaner way. By groovier I understand something like the bit feels more free (difficult to explain, even more cause I am not english).

I hope that was better to understand.

Cheers,
Chico


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SafeandSound Masteri...



Joined: 23/03/08
Posts: 1055
Loc: London UK
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: lovesexy]
      #1023470 - 10/12/12 02:19 PM
Definitely worth seeing how this clipping holds up in your chosen lossy audio codec, could be some unforeseen surprises there. Not saying clipping does not occur from time to time if you have been boxed into a corner perceived volume wise by a client who is adamant. But it is not done in a light hearted way without thought for the consequences. I personally see it as a last resort for those who have already made fidelity a second priority.

SafeandSound Mastering
cd mastering studio


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Mixedup
active member


Joined: 03/09/03
Posts: 4827
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: To clip or not to clip? new [Re: SafeandSound Mastering]
      #1023696 - 11/12/12 03:06 PM
Reading this SOS article might help the OP. Basically, you have to work at reducing the peak level of the snare/kick without screwing up the impression given by the attack portion of the sound.

I'll often clip the snare deliberately, but using my converters (sequencer>D/A>preamp applying boost>A/D), not in software. My guess is that it's the analogue stages before the actual converters overloading that makes this work *in some mixes*.


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