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Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:37 pm

Hi all

I'm trying to bounce out a wav in order to master in Wavelab. I've managed to lower the master volume so that it doesnt clip in cubase. However, when I place the wav in Wavelab it states that the maximum db is -10 after analysis. I dont want to have to export the track a million times just to get the right volume in Wavelab. Anyone else have this problem?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:39 pm

If you are having to turn down the master fader in Cubase then your mix is too hot.

You'd be better checking the peak levels of your inidividual tracks in Cubase, getting them to look sensible (peak -10dBFS would be a good starting point), then constructing a mix that looks sensible with Cubase's master fader at zero.

Typically I'm aiming for a mix that peaks anywhere between -6dBFS and -3dBFS, though if I'm close to the latter it's likely I need to take a closer look at some of my tracks - maybe a rogue snare/kick peak or something that needs taming.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby artzmusic » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:16 pm

Also, putting a limiter in your master out will help. Set it to what you want, maybe -3, and adjust so that it only affects the transients. That way when exported to Wavelab you know for sure the max level will be -3.

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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:44 pm

The Elf wrote:If you are having to turn down the master fader in Cubase then your mix is too hot.


It should be ok as long as the master doesn't over load.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:58 am

artzmusic wrote:Also, putting a limiter in your master out will help. Set it to what you want, maybe -3, and adjust so that it only affects the transients. That way when exported to Wavelab you know for sure the max level will be -3.
I disagree. Getting a sensible mix level is good practice. Putting a limiter on the master to make it *appear* you're getting a sensible mix level is not.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:01 am

Music Manic wrote:
The Elf wrote:If you are having to turn down the master fader in Cubase then your mix is too hot.
It should be ok as long as the master doesn't over load.
But it if you're having to move the master to prevent overload your mix is too hot. Fix the problem at source - it's about prudent level control, and it should be second nature.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Kaw-Liga » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:02 am

Try turning down the master fader -10 dB or more. I think it is strange that Wavelab needs it to be that way, but just do it, and all will be fine. The sound will be exactly the same, but it will sound half as loud. It's all done digitally with no artefacts. When a program asks you to do something, it is usually because it is best that way. I'd listen to the app, and try it!

BTW: Logic has the option for automatic normalizing after bouncing. Is there such a thing in Cubase too? Can it be adjusted to normalize to -10 dB? If so, you should do that, and have no more trouble. If not, it's very strange, since Cubase and Wavelab should work together very well.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:55 am

There's no way what you're describing should be the case if your routing is correct. Sounds to me like you have two signals running out the same output in Cubase - could it be that both the stereo buss and your control room are monitored via the same audio interface outputs, causing a sensible mix level to sound like it's clipping? That could explain why you need to attenuate the stereo buss so significantly to get a workable level in Cubase. But then I suspect you're only exporting the stereo buss signal, resulting in a quiet signal in Wavelab...
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:05 am

Thanks for the responses. I just find it strange when Cubase states that the maximum output is 0db and in Wavelab it's closer to -10db. Should this result in any problems regarding hiss or noise in general or is that not a problem in the digital world?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:35 am

I think Matt's suggestion is highly likely.

Are you using Cubase's Control Room?

In older versions of Cubase you could end up with the main outputs AND the Control Room outputs duplicated and it produced this kind of problem (though it didn't usually show on Cubase's meters).

Go into Routing and make sure that if Control Room is switched on then your main stereo outputs are set to 'Not Connected'.

Also how are you rendering your mix from Cubase? Are you using 'Export Audio'?

Give us as many details as you can. What version of Cubase? What do your Audio interface's meters say?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:47 am

The Elf wrote:
In older versions of Cubase you could end up with the main outputs AND the Control Room outputs duplicated and it produced this kind of problem (though it didn't usually show on Cubase's meters).



I didn't think that was possible as activating the control room deactivates the main output if using the same outputs on the AI.

I would do a simple check by running a softsynth/tone at -10 on its channel and seeing what is showing on the Cubase main output, bounce that file once verified both are at -10 and then import into Wavelab and see what that says.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:54 am

I'm using Cubase 5. yep, just use the 'export audio' function. I don't really understand what you guys mean. I have a stereo out and now I have activated control room but I can't find a way to select 'not connected' on the stereo bus.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 am

Oh, to disconnect it's in 'vst connections' right? Ok so now my Stereo Out is kind of greyed out. Is this still my master volume?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:01 am

Richie Royale wrote:
The Elf wrote:
In older versions of Cubase you could end up with the main outputs AND the Control Room outputs duplicated and it produced this kind of problem (though it didn't usually show on Cubase's meters).
I didn't think that was possible as activating the control room deactivates the main output if using the same outputs on the AI.
No it didn't deactivate them. That was the problem.

In C7 you can now set your main outputs for exclusive use.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:04 am

lovesexy wrote:I'm using Cubase 5. yep, just use the 'export audio' function. I don't really understand what you guys mean. I have a stereo out and now I have activated control room but I can't find a way to select 'not connected' on the stereo bus.
Don't activate Control Room for now. Just make sure you only have any of your outputs allocated once across Cubase's connection panels.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:06 am

lovesexy wrote:Thanks for the responses. I just find it strange when Cubase states that the maximum output is 0db and in Wavelab it's closer to -10db.


Not all meter scales are the same, and you need to be careful about whether you are talking about absolute or relative decibel scales, and what the reference level is in the case of an absolute scale!

Digital (sample) meters generally go up to 0dBFS which is the maximum digital peak level in broad terms. 0dBFS is the same for everything -- Cubase, Wavelab, Logic, Pro Tools etc

So if a digital file is peaking close to 0dBFS in Cubase, it will also peak close to 0dBFS in Wavelab -- it can't do anything else. If you're getting different readings between the two systems then something is awry with the configuration or the way you're using one or other system.

Cubase -- if I recall correctly -- has a number of different metering options. If the meter has numbers above the 0dB mark then it's not a digital sample meter and all bets are off! Could you be using some form of pseudo-VU style metering which incorporates a level of headroom above the 0dB mark?

An easy way of checking what is going on is to find a calibrated reference tone file on the web -- there's a -20dBFS sine wave test tone here:

http://abluesky.com/wp-content/uploads/_HR-Images/BlueSkyTes...

Play that file in Cubase and note the meter reading. It should be -20dBFS if you pan it to one channel only (depending on the pan law in use). Then play it in wavelab and check again. Finally, export it from Cubase and see what happens...

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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:25 am

Ok, but then I'm back to square one. I've regardless of which 'out' I use it's still the same. In Cubase it states that my maximum volume is- 0.5 db and in Wavelab after global analysis it states -8.32. However, when I look at the level meter in Wavelab it corresponds perfectly with the Cubase. Anyway, what sort of max db should you bounce stuff out of cubase at in order to master in Wavelab?

Thanks
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:47 am

Are you sure you are comparing like with like? It sounds as if from Cubase you are getting the peak level and Wavelab is giving you RMS.

Either way, peak or RMS, -8dB is not a problem, particularly if you are exporting as 24 bit files. Does the file in Wavelab sound the same as the output in Cubase? If the answer is yes then I wouldn't consider you to have a problem.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:52 am

Yeah, on the global analysis interface it says rms. I seem to remember something about that from my previous album. What the hell does it mean again? What kind of -db should I be bouncing out at in order to give me enough headroom before I master?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:52 am

Btw, sounds the same, no problem there.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:02 pm

Peak level is the absoulte highest sample in the signal, RMS is an average value that approximates the level at which you perceive it (roughly speaking!)

Leave plenty of headroom before mastering, -18db RMS is often cited as a good level to aim for. This isn't easy using the stock Cubase 5 meters as they are peak meters.

This article should give you a few pointers: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov10/a ... e-1110.htm
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:25 pm

Thanks guys.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:32 pm

lovesexy wrote:Yeah, on the global analysis interface it says rms. I seem to remember something about that from my previous album. What the hell does it mean again? What kind of -db should I be bouncing out at in order to give me enough headroom before I master?

As I mentioned above, if you're tracking at sensible levels, and mixing with a view to retaining sensible gain structure from each track to the master buss, then you should be well away from clipping. With peaks of -10dBFS across my tracks I'd expect a master level peak of around -6dBFS with drums, bass, guitars, et al blazing.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:50 pm

So when you're bouncing out at 24 bit it doesn't really matter what kind of headroom you have within reason?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby lovesexy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:51 pm

Is a maximum of -23 db rms too little?
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:32 pm

lovesexy wrote:Is a maximum of -23 db rms too little?


Still plenty: 24 bit gives you a theoretical signal to noise ratio of 144dB, so with -23dB you'd be work with a SNR of 121 dB (it's a little more complicated than that in reality) which is still more than the theoretical 96dB of 16 bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_bit_depth
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Guest » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:46 pm

Hairy Ears wrote:Are you sure you are comparing like with like? It sounds as if from Cubase you are getting the peak level and Wavelab is giving you RMS.


That's what I was thinking.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Guest » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:48 pm

The Elf wrote:
As I mentioned above, if you're tracking at sensible levels, and mixing with a view to retaining sensible gain structure from each track to the master buss, then you should be well away from clipping. With peaks of -10dBFS across my tracks I'd expect a master level peak of around -6dBFS with drums, bass, guitars, et al blazing.

Ye! I agree Elf. Some VSTi plugins run very hot and need a bit of tweaking.
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed May 01, 2013 9:39 am

The Elf wrote:If you are having to turn down the master fader in Cubase then your mix is too hot.

But, as there's plenty of headroom in Cubase's mixing engine (though not necessarily in every plugin effect you may apply) it's quite acceptable to tame the output level by bringing down your master fader
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Re: Cubase master level??

Postby The Elf » Wed May 01, 2013 10:07 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:
The Elf wrote:If you are having to turn down the master fader in Cubase then your mix is too hot.
But, as there's plenty of headroom in Cubase's mixing engine (though not necessarily in every plugin effect you may apply) it's quite acceptable to tame the output level by bringing down your master fader
True, but it's indicative that something simply isn't right. Rather than turn down the master as a sticking plaster it would be good practice to sort out the problem at source. It simply makes life easier. Some of those old practices are worth preserving in the digital age!
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