MClass Maximiser Query

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deeplink
Posts: 34
Joined: 08 Jul 2020
Location: Dubai

Post 27 Jul 2020

Hi RT

When I use the maximiser on drums, sometimes the transient still bleeds through and the master starts clipping. I guess the the MClass devices are so transparent that they hardly work as intended to?

Anyway, obviously the 4ms look-ahead can fix this but then produces some undesired results...

HOWEVER, I find that without using look-ahead and placing 5+ maximisers in series seems to resolve the issue - and I am able to do some drastic eq changes, really change the sound of my drums/kick in a simple way without going into the Red.

My question is, is the above a suitable work-around for clipping issues and sound scalping? Or is such use of the maximiser generally unheard of and can lead to some other issues along the way?

aeox
Posts: 2731
Joined: 23 Feb 2017

Post 27 Jul 2020

Did you try with soft clipping on and set to max? I usually do that with the limiter part turned off.

deeplink
Posts: 34
Joined: 08 Jul 2020
Location: Dubai

Post 27 Jul 2020

aeox wrote:
27 Jul 2020
Did you try with soft clipping on and set to max? I usually do that with the limiter part turned off.
10+ Years of using Reason and I thought the soft clipping is only engaged when the Limiter is ON.... I will give this a go

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 1181
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 27 Jul 2020

Just adding to the soft clipping: If the signal isn't that hot on the meter, you can have two units, first one with the gain turned up to the maximum so the signal passes the threshold of ~ -8db where the soft clipper starts adding harmonics, and the next one with the gain turned all the way down to keep things levelled. Only soft clipping engaged in the first unit, no lookahead, no limiting. This helps with rogue transients in the mix.

chaosroyale
Posts: 390
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 27 Jul 2020

Ah yes, Reason, where even the main limiter needs a goddamn workaround.

tl;dr -the Mclass maximizer is garbage and shouldn't be used as a limiter.

I would recommend waiting for Ozone elements to go on sale again, sometimes it is around 29 dollars. Or use the perfectly functional and professional but sadly out-of-date Ozone maximizer RE (I would recommend elements; cheaper in the sale, better GUI, and more modern features)

deeplink wrote:
27 Jul 2020
Hi RT

When I use the maximiser on drums, sometimes the transient still bleeds through and the master starts clipping. I guess the the MClass devices are so transparent that they hardly work as intended to?

Anyway, obviously the 4ms look-ahead can fix this but then produces some undesired results...

HOWEVER, I find that without using look-ahead and placing 5+ maximisers in series seems to resolve the issue - and I am able to do some drastic eq changes, really change the sound of my drums/kick in a simple way without going into the Red.

My question is, is the above a suitable work-around for clipping issues and sound scalping? Or is such use of the maximiser generally unheard of and can lead to some other issues along the way?

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 1181
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 27 Jul 2020

Well, I'd start with having lots of headroom so limiting is nothing but a safeguard to avoid clipping. I'll have the lookahead on as well. This limiter goes away once the track is mixed cause by then there are zero chances of anything coming near clipping and it is mastering time, which obviously does not involve the mclass maximiser. I'll have a true peak meter before the safeguard limiter, which, again, isn't doing anything at all other than catching rogue peaks and is there for safety reasons and will be removed down the line.

Headroom. Make your life easier by having stuff peaking at a level far from 0db and you'll never have to worry about these things. The good old -6db thing is a great place for me personally cause I don't think I'll do anything that's going to be so drastic that 6dbs are going to suddenly spike up... Maybe give that a try?

EdGrip
Posts: 1881
Joined: 03 Jun 2016

Post 28 Jul 2020

Ozone Elements is often being given away free or nearly free by Plugin Boutique with any other purchase. I got it that way.
In RE, KiloHearts' Limiter is a brilliant little free device that I grab for all sorts of things. It might be worth a try.

TritoneAddiction
Posts: 2463
Joined: 29 Aug 2015
Location: Sweden

Post 28 Jul 2020

Get another limiter. Honestly the MClass limiter sucks, at least if the purpose is to use it as a transparent limiter on the master. It can be used to enchance transients on drums, but other than that I haven't found a use for it.
People here have already recommended good alternatives. Listen to them.

User avatar
selig
RE Developer
Posts: 8698
Joined: 15 Jan 2015
Location: The NorthWoods, CT, USA

Post 28 Jul 2020

There IS something potential useful about the MClass Limiter, which is using it without lookahead but adding Soft Clip (even with the Amount set to minimum). This can add a very obvious "attack" on drums etc. without adding peak level. Read on if interested…
To start, the threshold is fixed at 0 dBFS like other mastering limiters, which means you have to use it a little differently when using it on a track or sub-mix bus compared to a mix bus.
For example, if your tracks all "peaks @ -12 dBFS" for all your audio/instruments (like mine do), you'll need to likely add a Gain device before and after the limiter to get it to "do it's thing". Specifically, if your input is at -12 dBFS peaks, you'll have to add more gain before the input since the input only has 12 dB gain max, which only gets to right up to the threshold but not over. You'll also need to subtract 12 dB on the output to put things back in perspective, which sets up a nice system because at that point your audio is JUST below the threshold. Meaning, every dB of gain you add to the input from there should equal the amount of gain reduction you'll get. Add 6 dB more gain, get 6 dB gain reduction. But since we're intentionally not using look ahead, the "overshoot" of the transients will cause an overall increase in peak levels, which is where Soft Clip comes in.
In this case, it's a useful thing, because Soft Clip, even at the minimum setting, will not allow overs but will preserve the added "attack" of the overshoot. The final "trick" to controlling the amount of "attack" you hear is to adjust the attack to Mid or Slow to increase the attack time, thus increasing the overshoot - but without increasing the peak level. This trick allows drums etc. to be crushed by the limiter but the transients to still be heard clearly, and is useful on it's own but IMO even more useful as a parallel channel if overall transparency is desired. Obviously this is very "source dependent" so it's effect will vary depending on what shape your source drums are in!

Side note: years ago I remember reading an article on intentional clipping. This was in the late 1980s and I had some super-transient samples (timbales IIRC) that were normalized to 0 dBFS but still so much softer than the other instruments in the percussion set on my S900. The article mentioned that short term clipping, that is to say clipping for less than 5 ms, is difficult for the human ear to perceive as "clipped" or distorted etc. For drums and percussion, this is especially so, but even for many acoustic instruments especially those that are picked (guitar, mandolin), plucked (harp, violin), or hammered (piano, dulcimer). This is because the acoustic energy in the transient stage is mostly noise anyway, and thus you can clip/distort it without changing it's quality very much. But that's why you only have 5 ms to work with, because as the sound decays the noise elements quickly vanish, leaving the pure "tone" exposed - which WILL sound distorted if clipped! So the more transient the sound, the more you can clip without revealing the clipping, so to speak. Which is exactly what we're doing in the above examples with the Maximizer. :)
Selig Audio, LLC

User avatar
Drawat
Posts: 25
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Berlin

Post 02 Aug 2020

selig wrote:
28 Jul 2020
There IS something potential useful about the MClass Limiter, which is using it without lookahead but adding Soft Clip (even with the Amount set to minimum). This can add a very obvious "attack" on drums etc. without adding peak level. Read on if interested…
To start, the threshold is fixed at 0 dBFS like other mastering limiters, which means you have to use it a little differently when using it on a track or sub-mix bus compared to a mix bus.
For example, if your tracks all "peaks @ -12 dBFS" for all your audio/instruments (like mine do), you'll need to likely add a Gain device before and after the limiter to get it to "do it's thing". Specifically, if your input is at -12 dBFS peaks, you'll have to add more gain before the input since the input only has 12 dB gain max, which only gets to right up to the threshold but not over. You'll also need to subtract 12 dB on the output to put things back in perspective, which sets up a nice system because at that point your audio is JUST below the threshold. Meaning, every dB of gain you add to the input from there should equal the amount of gain reduction you'll get. Add 6 dB more gain, get 6 dB gain reduction. But since we're intentionally not using look ahead, the "overshoot" of the transients will cause an overall increase in peak levels, which is where Soft Clip comes in.
In this case, it's a useful thing, because Soft Clip, even at the minimum setting, will not allow overs but will preserve the added "attack" of the overshoot. The final "trick" to controlling the amount of "attack" you hear is to adjust the attack to Mid or Slow to increase the attack time, thus increasing the overshoot - but without increasing the peak level. This trick allows drums etc. to be crushed by the limiter but the transients to still be heard clearly, and is useful on it's own but IMO even more useful as a parallel channel if overall transparency is desired. Obviously this is very "source dependent" so it's effect will vary depending on what shape your source drums are in!

Side note: years ago I remember reading an article on intentional clipping. This was in the late 1980s and I had some super-transient samples (timbales IIRC) that were normalized to 0 dBFS but still so much softer than the other instruments in the percussion set on my S900. The article mentioned that short term clipping, that is to say clipping for less than 5 ms, is difficult for the human ear to perceive as "clipped" or distorted etc. For drums and percussion, this is especially so, but even for many acoustic instruments especially those that are picked (guitar, mandolin), plucked (harp, violin), or hammered (piano, dulcimer). This is because the acoustic energy in the transient stage is mostly noise anyway, and thus you can clip/distort it without changing it's quality very much. But that's why you only have 5 ms to work with, because as the sound decays the noise elements quickly vanish, leaving the pure "tone" exposed - which WILL sound distorted if clipped! So the more transient the sound, the more you can clip without revealing the clipping, so to speak. Which is exactly what we're doing in the above examples with the Maximizer. :)
It's a very good tip! :thumbs_up:
It works like a charm on drums and let the MClass Maximizer shine in another light. :lightbulb: :thumbs_up:
Thank very much Selig! :thumbs_up:

client6
Posts: 3
Joined: 10 Jun 2020

Post 03 Aug 2020

That is an awesome maximizer use—I tried it out on a few tracks and the the punchiness was really enhanced. Thanks!

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