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Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby Wonks » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:27 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Whichever way you look at it, a 'protective limiter' in the DAW is a bit of a chocolate fire guard!

http://www.ichthuswebdesign.com/product ... fireguard/
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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:28 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:And I have a hunch that full-scale digital noise was less of an issue in the (g)olden days of analogue :headbang:

So you've never had a performer hang their headphones on the microphone or plugged a line level output into a mic input? Accidents certainly happen in the analogue world too but that's why the monitor level control is often the largest knob on the desk.
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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:35 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Matt Houghton wrote:And I have a hunch that full-scale digital noise was less of an issue in the (g)olden days of analogue :headbang:

So you've never had a performer hang their headphones on the microphone or plugged a line level output into a mic input? Accidents certainly happen in the analogue world too but that's why the monitor level control is often the largest knob on the desk.

Not when mixing, no. Not much call for mics at that stage... and the further the performer is away from the mix room the better IMO :bouncy:

Though I do certainly value my monitor controller's level control and mute function.
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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:39 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Whichever way you look at it, a 'protective limiter' in the DAW is a bit of a chocolate fire guard!

Chocolate is a tad harsh. It's more like a fireguard with slightly wider than usual spaces between the wires, in that it stops some of the problems but not all. It lowers the risk, without removing it. I have certainly had plug-ins spew out noise without crashing the DAW. Though I agree an analogue solution after the D-A converters would be more effective...
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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:07 pm

:thumbup: the headphones-hung-over-a-mic thing isn't the only way to create howl rounds, of course, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who, when setting up for mixing, made a patching error with the outboard which resulted in a squeak or two and a desperate dive for the monitor mute button...:-D
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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby hz37 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:36 pm

It depends a bit on the post processing you are willing to do.

With your DAW in floating point, it is usually okay to have peaks that are over 0 dBFS. As long as you bounce down to floating point, you can adjust the gain to be below 0 dBFS before you render your final file to an LPCM audio file.

But here's where things can become a little tricky. If you are mixing for delivery where there are rules about both loudness level and peak level (as is the case in just about all broadcast situations), you might end up with an audio file that violates those rules. For instance, here in Europe we have the EBU R128 loudness norm which specifies that the average loudness of program material must be -23 LUFS (a.k.a. 0 LU) +/- 0.5 LU (unless it's live sound, then there is a tolerance of +/- 1. LU) and a peak level requirement of -1.0 dBTP. Now if you mix your program material without a limiter, with a nice loudness average of about -23 LUFS, you might end up with a file that has the required loudness but has peaks that overshoot -1.0 dBTP. That file will be rejected by the broadcast company. Alternatively, you could put a limiter on the master bus (with a brick wall setting, maybe at -2.0 dBTP as a safety buffer), still mix at -23 LUFS and even if you end up half a dB too soft, you can still gain the whole thing half a dB and end up well within the requirements. The limiter might do very little during the entire mix, but it saves you from overshooting on one or two moments. This is a case where no-one will hear the limiter doing anything and you staying out of trouble with your client. In the US it's almost the same, except with slightly different loudness and true peak specs.

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Re: Protective limiter with the Master Control Fader at 0dB?

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:20 pm

Re Matt's point about hearing protection, I have an analogue limiter patched into the monitor amp's insert point. It's post the amp's volume control so I never need to reach for the volume control in a crisis, and it reacts much faster than I ever could. The threshold is set to protect my hearing, but it also protects the speakers from clipped signals. The "limit" lamp tells me when it's working. Over the years it's saved my ears many times.
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