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Thread: Raising Master Fader to gain volume

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    Raising Master Fader to gain volume

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    Hey guys,

    Is there any detriment to raising the master fader to increase volume before exporting from the DAW?

    Say I don't want any compression, but just want the mix louder -- on this particular mix, I can raise the master fader 6db without clipping. Is there any downside to doing this?

    btw: I had the master fader at 0 for the entire recording process.

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    Not really. I prefer doing it at the bus gain control but that's just a work method pref - for metering,gain goes into the compressor limiter etc.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

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    As long as it doesn't clip, you are fine.

    A lot of people use a mastering limiter to add the gain, even if the limiter isn't limiting. They do this just in case of a stray transient. Having the limiter act on a few transients across an entire song won't be noticed.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Sweet, thanks guys. I find that just adding the slightest compression or limiting gives an undesirable sound, especially in the drums, which is why I'd like to just raise the fader.

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    One question...
    When you raise the master fader by 6 dB...you may not hear any clipping, but do you *see* the signal well into the red?

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    One question...
    When you raise the master fader by 6 dB...you may not hear any clipping, but do you *see* the signal well into the red?
    No there's still a lot of headroom. It's just in the yellow.

    I don't know what this means in terms of "why"...did I mix everything too low? I never know how to start a mix in terms of volume and wind up with this problem a lot. I tend to put the faders all at 0 and then move a lot of them down, so the mixes are always quiet (this one was -25db and I got it to -19db by raising the master fader 6db). I'm not sure if this is normal.

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    It's not a problem at all. With the whole system being so wide and forgiving, and while you're working on 'a mix', at least through most of the process 'where it's landing isn't critical (best to come under anyway.
    And didn't mean to imply there that compression (or limiting) has to be (or is) the default condition. I do have a limiter I like on the master by default, but it's only there for convince ('just in case' during rough mix bounces for example). Only towards the end- then I work the mix up- and into it's final level, and decide if or how much compression, and how hard hitting the limiter sounds right.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

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    Nola, when you render your mix, have a look at the wave form. See those volume spikes, those little outliers that are much louder than anything around them? I noticed a few on the latest mix of your song that I heard. Often they are transients that are so brief you don't even hear them, but they will cause problems when you try to raise the overall level of your mix. Unless there is a very good reason for them to be there, you don't want them. Many home recordists will probably slap a limiter on the master bust. What I prefer to do is hunt them down to the source and fix as many of them as possible manually. By fix, I mean split the audio file of the offending track on either side of the part that is causing the spke, then manually lower the level of that part by a few dBs as needed. Snares, kicks and toms are common sources. Sometimes it's a combination of several tracks.

    Here's a quick way of zeroing in on the spikes. Render your song, then import the rendered file back into the DAW as a track and mute it. Now you can just look at the wave form and see exactly where in the song the spikes are happening. I'm sure there are other ways of doing it.

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    "Here's a quick way of zeroing in on the spikes. Render your song, then import the rendered file back into the DAW as a track and mute it. Now you can just look at the wave form and see exactly where in the song the spikes are happening. I'm sure there are other ways of doing it."
    Hey, I use that method my self. But I'll do you one better, and save you a step :>)
    1) Make a new bus in your mix template. Call it 'mix or what ever. It's routed direct to the same physical output pair as your master. Nothing goes on it, and everything stays 'zeroed'.
    2) Render your mix as a new track in the DAW.
    3) Assign new mix track to the dedicated 'mix bus.
    Play and view. Already aligned, none of that needing to remember to un-do effects' or 'zero your master to listen to it.
    And a copy is also saved with the proj.
    I'll often have several mix versions saved/name dated to referrer back to as needed in a project.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

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