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Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

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Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Pitchfork » Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:55 pm

I am recording a full DJ mix, but have never got the hang of the master channel DJ mix..

I know its a case of putting a Limiter on Ableton's Master channel, and the mixing of two fully limited tracks (in todays loudness wars)! but careful mixing of EQ etc is fine to blend them together, no problem there

Its the master channel and final render that i get stuck with ..

I have the Waves plug ins and sometimes use L2 at the setting "16-bit hi-res master" but maybe lowering the threshold a little?

Also as the tracks overlapping are fully mastered and limited, its trying to get a nice final DJ mixdown without it looking like a brick!

I also select all the tracks/waveforms in Ableton and drop the clip gain slider and drop down all the waveforms to say -5.00db to get some headroom back? Am I doing this right?

Do i need to drop the clip gains of every track? I usually record a quiet mix on the Mac (Ableton) then import into an editor like SoundForge and go through every 5 mins of track (out of the 60 mins!) and do the volume individually looking at the waveform which takes ages?! and is probably laughable and long-winded!!

Is there a specific limiter or compressor for DJ mixes? I know of others that use Mixmeister and use the internal Limiter on master channel and then do the mix, and export? How are professional DJ Mix albums completed?

Its just the master channel / finalizing that im stuck on
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:04 pm

Pitchfork wrote:I am recording a full DJ mix, but have never got the hang of the master channel DJ mix..

I know its a case of putting a Limiter on Ableton's Master channel, and the mixing of two fully limited tracks (in todays loudness wars)! but careful mixing of EQ etc is fine to blend them together, no problem there

Its the master channel and final render that i get stuck with ..

I have the Waves plug ins and sometimes use L2 at the setting "16-bit hi-res master" but maybe lowering the threshold a little?

Also as the tracks overlapping are fully mastered and limited, its trying to get a nice final DJ mixdown without it looking like a brick!

I also select all the tracks/waveforms in Ableton and drop the clip gain slider and drop down all the waveforms to say -5.00db to get some headroom back? Am I doing this right?

Do i need to drop the clip gains of every track? I usually record a quiet mix on the Mac (Ableton) then import into an editor like SoundForge and go through every 5 mins of track (out of the 60 mins!) and do the volume individually looking at the waveform which takes ages?! and is probably laughable and long-winded!!

Is there a specific limiter or compressor for DJ mixes? I know of others that use Mixmeister and use the internal Limiter on master channel and then do the mix, and export? How are professional DJ Mix albums completed?

Its just the master channel / finalizing that im stuck on

I'm not clear what a "full DJ mix" is? A version of a song you've recorded optimized for thumping bass and maximum loudness (Radio mix, Acoustic mix, DJ mix...)? Or a pre-recorded DJ set of commercial material?

If the latter, won't it have been fully compressed and limited already - if that's appropriate to the type of music? Do you need to hammer it further?
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:22 am

Exalted Wombat wrote: I'm not clear what a "full DJ mix" is? A version of a song you've recorded optimized for thumping bass and maximum loudness (Radio mix, Acoustic mix, DJ mix...)? Or a pre-recorded DJ set of commercial material?

If the latter, won't it have been fully compressed and limited already - if that's appropriate to the type of music? Do you need to hammer it further?

Yes I was doing a 10 track dance mix of around 60 mins... and yes in this climate all the tracks already look like a maximized brick! so was wondering how i get around that.

I think i will do the 90 min mix as normal with eq transitions, then lower the individual mix tracks all to around -7.00db so that the master has some headroom. Export this as a mix and in an editor, I will just put a L2 Maximizer etc and bring everything up to a loud 0.00 or maybe just under at -0.03db?

This is the way i was doing it, so looks like i maybe was doing it right afterall...
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:40 pm

So if all the source material is already hyper-compressed, tell us again what you'd hope to achieve by bashing it into another brick wall? Are you aiming for white noise?
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:00 am

DJ mixes I've done have always been done on vinyl therefore a small amount of compression and limiting can help even out the tracks for playback. With digital tracks that have been limited to square wave levels, you might not need anything other than a tiny amount of limiting to ensure you don't go over zero. Also not every track will be compressed to that kind of level, but you don't want to then compress the life out of it.
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Pitchfork » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:14 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:So if all the source material is already hyper-compressed, tell us again what you'd hope to achieve by bashing it into another brick wall? Are you aiming for white noise?
\

You misunderstand.

As these tracks are already squashed, then mixing them with EQ etc and overlapping will result in two playing at once and almost certain push it into the Red over 0db....

Whats the best way of getting past this without re-limiting the tracks again but still getting the tracks and the mix transisitons up to 0db?

Do I lower clip volumes or waveform gains etc to say -8db and then use normalize or a limiter to gently push everything back to around 0db for a nice mix? otherwise the tracks play ok, but when the transitions play (even with eq mixing) these are 3 times louder

Im just looking for tips for an average waveform through out without squashing everything
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:09 pm

Yes, I would mix with the gains down to allow for tracks to blend and then once you have finished the mix, then bring up the level and apply a small amount of limiting to ensure you don't go over zero.
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:00 am

When a new track enters, you don't just pile it on top of the mix at full volume surely? DJ desks have channel faders for matching levels from each deck, them a crossfader for transitioning between them. There's no level hump at the crossfade area that needs compressing.
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:01 am

You fade in the incoming track until it is the appropriate level and then fade out the preceding track. Variable RMS values, cuts of EQ in the mix and style of mixing vary. There isn't a blanket answer to this, like all music production.
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:58 am

Richie Royale wrote:You fade in the incoming track until it is the appropriate level and then fade out the preceding track. Variable RMS values, cuts of EQ in the mix and style of mixing vary. There isn't a blanket answer to this, like all music production.

Well, whether you crossfade raw volume, or crossfade frequency bands the aim is still to avoid a perceived volume hump at the transition?
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:05 pm

I suggest you try DJing to find out.
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Pitchfork » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:08 pm

Easy now...

It was only to ask of the recording of a mix as every dance track is limited to the max anyway, and yes i DJ out regularly and use EQ, fx, and fades of course lol!

It was just a master channel question in using something like Ableton Live that was all..
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Strangy » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:07 pm

no need for limiting really... Do a test recording at a point which you know is likely to be the loudest part of the mix. Set gains appropriately, record with ample headroom to prevent ANY clipping during the mix/recording

Open the file and increase the level of the overall mix so that the highest peaks are just below clipping. Should be plenty loud enough at this stage and there’s probably no need for any further limiting if you’ve kept an eye on the meters and kept good gain practice throughout the mix.

If you find the occasional transition is creeping up and relatively loud to the rest of the mix (probably too loud/jumping out) you could perhaps automate some subtle limiting on those parts of the mix (as a compromise). You’ll loose the punch/impact of the mix and any build up or drop will probably sound weaker than it could’ve done. Better to manually reduce the gain of this section slightly to re-balance. If you need to do either of these, do it before paragraph 2!

Balancing eq / maintaining relative track volumes etc is a necessity and key unless you're going for some crazy dynamic shifts during in the set!
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:48 pm

Louie Vega was always a master of controlling the dance floor with using the volume on the Urei 1620 as I'm sure most others of his generations were too.
The way he worked the tracks and the room's level with the basic controls of that mixer, learned a good deal from that. Most DJ's now days haven't a clue.. sorry
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Re: Recording DJ Mix, what Limiter settings on Master?

Postby Pitchfork » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:09 am

Just a follow up on this, After doing a full 60 min DJ mix, maybe Normalize at RMS seems to pump everything to near 0db in Sound Forge, and get everything at equal loudness?

I never use RMS in Normalize but is this a solution for just getting maximum loudness for a DJ mix?
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