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Thread: Mastering on reaper

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    Morning

    I have initially rendered the song to Mp3 so I could check the mix on other systems and how it compared to previous recordings (also Mp3 format for comparison). I was surprised to find it was way quieter than previous recordings on my old Korg D1200 standalone. I've checked levels on the song and the master level is generally peaking around 0db with the master fader set to 0db. As previously mentioned the original track recordings were all done with average levels of -18 db. I'm a bit miffed as to why the level is so low / poor.

    Any pointers appreciated

    Mark

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    I've noticed that the db levels on the master are split into 3...what I assume is stereo L/R but also a central db metre that doesn't seem to correlate with those either side...I assume I should be peaking no higher that the green markers on the L/R metres?

    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Morning

    I have initially rendered the song to Mp3 so I could check the mix on other systems and how it compared to previous recordings (also Mp3 format for comparison). I was surprised to find it was way quieter than previous recordings on my old Korg D1200 standalone. I've checked levels on the song and the master level is generally peaking around 0db with the master fader set to 0db. As previously mentioned the original track recordings were all done with average levels of -18 db. I'm a bit miffed as to why the level is so low / poor.

    Any pointers appreciated

    Mark
    If you are peaking at 0 but still find it quiet, you probably need a fair amount of compression/limiting to bring up the lower volume sections. I find its better to get this done at the mixing stage (taming loud peaks) so that the master does not get overly compressed/limited.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I've noticed that the db levels on the master are split into 3...what I assume is stereo L/R but also a central db metre that doesn't seem to correlate with those either side...I assume I should be peaking no higher that the green markers on the L/R metres?

    Mark
    I think this is what you are referencing.... On mine, the outer bars are RMS, the inner bars are track(s) Peak. I reset my display offset to align -18 to 0. I think default was -14 to 0.
    NewOffset.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I've noticed that the db levels on the master are split into 3...what I assume is stereo L/R but also a central db metre that doesn't seem to correlate with those either side...I assume I should be peaking no higher that the green markers on the L/R metres?

    Mark
    I'll echo what @mjbphotos said. If you want it louder then compress elements in the mix that have a lot of dynamics.

    You could start by putting a limiter on the mix bus to give you some idea of how far you have to go. If it's just a few dB that might be all you need. More than that may require compressing individual tracks or subgroups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    If you are peaking at 0 but still find it quiet, you probably need a fair amount of compression/limiting to bring up the lower volume sections. I find its better to get this done at the mixing stage (taming loud peaks) so that the master does not get overly compressed/limited.
    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    I'll echo what @mjbphotos said. If you want it louder then compress elements in the mix that have a lot of dynamics.

    You could start by putting a limiter on the mix bus to give you some idea of how far you have to go. If it's just a few dB that might be all you need. More than that may require compressing individual tracks or subgroups.
    I suspect you're right. When I've recorded in the past I've always used a joe Meek preamp and used the recommended settings for attack / release. Moving over to recording on reaper and using VST effects I'm kinda feeling in the dark. I've added the JS compressor to all acoustic guitar / bass and vocal tracks from the start although I don't really know what setting I should use so left alone. If anyone has any recommendations for a good free compression / limiting VST that would be great. I'm no engineer so something with presets would be great....

    How do people rate the JS stuff for compression/ limiting?

    On this subject, does anyone still use a physical preamp prior to the audio interface or do you just use plug ins?

    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleVO View Post
    I think this is what you are referencing.... On mine, the outer bars are RMS, the inner bars are track(s) Peak. I reset my display offset to align -18 to 0. I think default was -14 to 0.
    NewOffset.jpg
    Ok...I may get round to understanding and making the display bespoke for me...right now I just need to be sure which metre is an accurate gauge to make sure I'm not gonna be making the mix clip / distort etc

    Thanks

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    Just avoid going into the red on the output.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    If anyone has any recommendations for a good free compression / limiting VST that would be great. I'm no engineer so something with presets would be great....

    How do people rate the JS stuff for compression/ limiting?

    On this subject, does anyone still use a physical preamp prior to the audio interface or do you just use plug ins?
    I don't use Reaper, but I do use the Cockos plugin pack that includes the ReaEQ, ReaComp etc. Those are my default channel plugins. Even when I was experimenting with Reaper I didn't use the JS stuff much.

    The system I usually use is a medium format mixer connected to a line level interface, so technically I am using a preamp ahead of the interface because it's required. There's also a patch bay and rack of hardware compressors. Most of the time I'm working on familiar performers so it's pretty safe to commit to a bit of processing on the way into the DAW. If I had to I could easily depend entirely on plugins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    If anyone has any recommendations for a good free compression / limiting VST that would be great. I'm no engineer so something with presets would be great...
    Mark
    Mark,
    I've had good luck with the ReaComp and the Master Limiter that are built-ins. However, initially, it took me learning what the compressor does and how it works, to get any good out of it. Believe me when I say that I have butchered a lot of audio tracks, during my learning phase. CTRL + Z and "remove" effect is your friend. Presets did not get it done for me, because I found that proper use is content-specific, requiring ears.


    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Ok...I may get round to understanding and making the display bespoke for me...right now I just need to be sure which metre is an accurate gauge to make sure I'm not gonna be making the mix clip / distort etc
    Thanks
    Best advice as @gecko zzed said: stay out of the red.
    Dale
    Last edited by DaleVO; 12-08-2019 at 13:30.

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