Mastering the Master Compressor

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selig
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Post 11 Dec 2016

Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Dither should ALWAYS be applied only once. The only other rule is that no changes can be made to the level after adding dither. So as long as you don't break either of these rules, dither works as intended.
:)
Noted, but the reason i ask is because the way you said that it was "another reason" why you patch the maximizer/dither after the master output that make me tilt. Do that reason is because you use fade out to your track or it's because something else ?

Also when you say dither should always be applied once then i guess it's only when exporting after the mastering has been done and never applied if exporting post tracking or mixing, correct ?
Dither is only added when you reduce bit depth. For example, once you reduce bit depth from 24 to 16 (and add dither), the only reason to add dither again would be to reduce bit depth further, which is not common at all!

The main reason why I put Ozone after the Master Outputs is because I'm using the Master Insert "PRE COMPRESSOR" for my side-chain filter trick. The OTHER reason is dither.

There's also the fade out issue, for which there are two schools of thought. One is that you should fade out at the mix stage, and then master with the fade in place. The possible issue here is that as you fade, the amount of limiting will change, which may or may not be something you like. If you're doing a ton of limiting this may be more of an issue. But it's also probably the way most records were faded in the early days. The other school of thought is that you should limit first, then fade out after the limiter (but before adding dither), so that the "sound" of the limiting doesn't change as you fade. This has never bothered me, so I take the first approach because it's less of a headache to setup properly! If I was to use the second approach I'd use two Ozones, with a Selig Gain between them for the fade, using the first Ozone for limiting and the second for dither. This works with other limiters too, I'm just using Ozone as an example since it's what I'm using presently.
:)
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Goriila Texas
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Post 11 Dec 2016

selig wrote:Here's the simplest (and most effective) setup for the side chain process described in the video:
Image

Here's the front view, showing the starting point settings (Note: "Solo Hi Band":
Image

Finally, remember to make sure this button is pressed in the master section:
Image
In this instance where is the master out going to. What channels are going to outputs 1&2?

Edit: This works as well after trial and error. I had it set to 100hz which kick in all compression. By adjusting x-over I was able to get my kick from behind the bass. :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Goriila Texas on 11 Dec 2016, edited 1 time in total.

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Goriila Texas
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Post 11 Dec 2016

Got a drum and heavy bass track using this method and don't hear any improvements at all. Got the x-over frequency set to 100hz and solo lo band selected on imager. I guess I'll watch how the guys did it on the youtube vids.

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Goriila Texas
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Post 11 Dec 2016

EnochLight wrote:Fantastic new (October 27, 2015) tutorial from Chris Petti (of Dubspot; Knob Theory) on Reason's master bus compressor and compression in general:

Enjoy!



* Also: project files can be downloaded from their website to A/B the difference on your setup. Nice!
This method works as advertised,you can control the dynamics with x-over perfectly.

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selig
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Post 11 Dec 2016

Goriila Texas wrote:
selig wrote:Here's the simplest (and most effective) setup for the side chain process described in the video:
Image

Here's the front view, showing the starting point settings (Note: "Solo Hi Band":
Image

Finally, remember to make sure this button is pressed in the master section:
Image
In this instance where is the master out going to. What channels are going to outputs 1&2?
The Master Outputs go to Hardware Interface channels 1/2, by way of Ozone.


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selig
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Post 11 Dec 2016

Goriila Texas wrote:Got a drum and heavy bass track using this method and don't hear any improvements at all. Got the x-over frequency set to 100hz and solo lo band selected on imager. I guess I'll watch how the guys did it on the youtube vids.
I find I typically need a higher frequency than 100 Hz to get the desired results. I fine tune the setup by adjusting the crossover frequency until I see what I've previously described, which is kick and snare giving equal gain reduction.
:)
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Goriila Texas
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Post 11 Dec 2016

selig wrote:
Goriila Texas wrote:
selig wrote:Here's the simplest (and most effective) setup for the side chain process described in the video:
Image

Here's the front view, showing the starting point settings (Note: "Solo Hi Band":
Image

Finally, remember to make sure this button is pressed in the master section:
Image
In this instance where is the master out going to. What channels are going to outputs 1&2?
The Master Outputs go to Hardware Interface channels 1/2, by way of Ozone.

I just edited my comment works as advertised. :thumbs_up:



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Goriila Texas
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Post 11 Dec 2016

selig wrote:
Goriila Texas wrote:Got a drum and heavy bass track using this method and don't hear any improvements at all. Got the x-over frequency set to 100hz and solo lo band selected on imager. I guess I'll watch how the guys did it on the youtube vids.
I find I typically need a higher frequency than 100 Hz to get the desired results. I fine tune the setup by adjusting the crossover frequency until I see what I've previously described, which is kick and snare giving equal gain reduction.
:)
Yes that was the issue good tip. :thumbs_up:

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tobypearce
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Post 12 Dec 2016

Hi Selig,

Your approach makes sense - no point in disrupting the signal flow by having something pass through the compressor twice.

I already have a couple of things in my master FX path (high pass filter to get rid of very low signals, and a stereo imager to make everything below 150hz mono).

Is there a way to implement your solution whilst also retaining other effect processors in the master FX (that treat the whole sound)?
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Voyager
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Post 12 Dec 2016

selig wrote:Dither is only added when you reduce bit depth. For example, once you reduce bit depth from 24 to 16 (and add dither), the only reason to add dither again would be to reduce bit depth further, which is not common at all!
Sure, but you agree that you're going to reduce bit depth only on a mastered file track right ? I mean i see no reason to add dither when you're done with your mixing and you plan to send it to a third party for mastering, agree ? In short terms what i mean is that you apply dither ( if needed ) to a mastered file track only.
selig wrote:The main reason why I put Ozone after the Master Outputs is because I'm using the Master Insert "PRE COMPRESSOR" for my side-chain filter trick. The OTHER reason is dither.
So you mean that the dither should always comes after the bus compressor ?
selig wrote:There's also the fade out issue, for which there are two schools of thought. One is that you should fade out at the mix stage, and then master with the fade in place. The possible issue here is that as you fade, the amount of limiting will change, which may or may not be something you like. If you're doing a ton of limiting this may be more of an issue. But it's also probably the way most records were faded in the early days. The other school of thought is that you should limit first, then fade out after the limiter (but before adding dither), so that the "sound" of the limiting doesn't change as you fade. This has never bothered me, so I take the first approach because it's less of a headache to setup properly! If I was to use the second approach I'd use two Ozones, with a Selig Gain between them for the fade, using the first Ozone for limiting and the second for dither. This works with other limiters too, I'm just using Ozone as an example since it's what I'm using presently.
:)
I never use fade out, but as usual your bring very interesting points :thumbs_up:

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Voyager
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Post 12 Dec 2016

tobypearce wrote:Is there a way to implement your solution whilst also retaining other effect processors in the master FX (that treat the whole sound)?
As Selig suggested the best way is to put them between your master output and the audio interface or you can keep them in the master insert if you want but then they will come before you compressor if it do not bother you.

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selig
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Post 12 Dec 2016

Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Dither is only added when you reduce bit depth. For example, once you reduce bit depth from 24 to 16 (and add dither), the only reason to add dither again would be to reduce bit depth further, which is not common at all!
Sure, but you agree that you're going to reduce bit depth only on a mastered file track right ? I mean i see no reason to add dither when you're done with your mixing and you plan to send it to a third party for mastering, agree ? In short terms what i mean is that you apply dither ( if needed ) to a mastered file track only.
selig wrote:The main reason why I put Ozone after the Master Outputs is because I'm using the Master Insert "PRE COMPRESSOR" for my side-chain filter trick. The OTHER reason is dither.
So you mean that the dither should always comes after the bus compressor ?
selig wrote:There's also the fade out issue, for which there are two schools of thought. One is that you should fade out at the mix stage, and then master with the fade in place. The possible issue here is that as you fade, the amount of limiting will change, which may or may not be something you like. If you're doing a ton of limiting this may be more of an issue. But it's also probably the way most records were faded in the early days. The other school of thought is that you should limit first, then fade out after the limiter (but before adding dither), so that the "sound" of the limiting doesn't change as you fade. This has never bothered me, so I take the first approach because it's less of a headache to setup properly! If I was to use the second approach I'd use two Ozones, with a Selig Gain between them for the fade, using the first Ozone for limiting and the second for dither. This works with other limiters too, I'm just using Ozone as an example since it's what I'm using presently.
:)
I never use fade out, but as usual your bring very interesting points :thumbs_up:
To clarify: Adding dither is done to deal with bit depth reduction. If you reduce bit depth, you can choose to add dither. If you're not reducing bit depth, don't add dither. None of the other points are relevant when discussing adding dither or not. Exporting at 24 bits for further processing, don't add dither. Exporting at 16 bits for any reason, add dither - but you don't HAVE to add dither when reducing bit depth, it's optional.

Better if I state it this way: IF your master fader always stays at 0 dB, you can add dither BEFORE the master fader. If it's anywhere else, you need to add dither AFTER the master fader.



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Voyager
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Post 12 Dec 2016

selig wrote:Better if I state it this way: IF your master fader always stays at 0 dB, you can add dither BEFORE the master fader. If it's anywhere else, you need to add dither AFTER the master fader.
Which means when i'm importing my 24 bit audio track for mastering and have no plan to use any fade out and thus leaving my master fader to 0dB i should in this case use my dither in the master insert and not after my master output ?

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selig
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Post 12 Dec 2016

Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Better if I state it this way: IF your master fader always stays at 0 dB, you can add dither BEFORE the master fader. If it's anywhere else, you need to add dither AFTER the master fader.
Which means when i'm importing my 24 bit audio track for mastering and have no plan to use any fade out and thus leaving my master fader to 0dB i should in this case use my dither in the master insert and not after my master output ?
Yes, you can do it either way in this case. I'm a creature of habit myself, so I tend to do things the same way if there's no reason to change. Fewer decisions makes my life simpler, like always wearing a seatbelt instead of deciding if I need it each time, or always locking my car instead of deciding if I need to do so or not. Or always telling the truth, as Mark Twain says… ;)
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Post 12 Dec 2016

selig wrote:Yes, you can do it either way in this case.
Ok so the dither location have mostly to do with the fader position, but when you say "If it's anywhere else, you need to add dither AFTER the master fader" so even if the fader is in a static position or automated for a fade out ?
selig wrote:I'm a creature of habit myself, so I tend to do things the same way if there's no reason to change. Fewer decisions makes my life simpler
Somehow agree, but sometimes forcing ourselves to go beyond simple decisions can lead to great unexpected things especially when creating music :)

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selig
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Post 12 Dec 2016

Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Yes, you can do it either way in this case.
Ok so the dither location have mostly to do with the fader position, but when you say "If it's anywhere else, you need to add dither AFTER the master fader" so even if the fader is in a static position or automated for a fade out ?
selig wrote:I'm a creature of habit myself, so I tend to do things the same way if there's no reason to change. Fewer decisions makes my life simpler
Somehow agree, but sometimes forcing ourselves to go beyond simple decisions can lead to great unexpected things especially when creating music :)
Like I said, you can do it either way as long as you follow the rules I've already mentioned. Maybe best to simply remember that once you add dither, you cannot further process the audio signal in any way. That's why it's best to add it last. If you always do this, you'll never ever need to remember another "rule" about it. Simples. ;)

unexpected things are typically not welcome at the mastering stage, such as exporting at the wrong sample rate, etc.
:)
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Voyager
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Post 12 Dec 2016

selig wrote:Like I said, you can do it either way as long as you follow the rules I've already mentioned. Maybe best to simply remember that once you add dither, you cannot further process the audio signal in any way. That's why it's best to add it last. If you always do this, you'll never ever need to remember another "rule" about it. Simples. ;)
I'll stick to the plan :)
selig wrote:unexpected things are typically not welcome at the mastering stage, such as exporting at the wrong sample rate, etc.
:)
Absolutely agree for the mastering stage, but i should have mention that i was talking about the creation stage of the track, many times i've create nice melodies with which i could have stick with but because i have an habit to push things always further even if sometimes it take me many hours but often at some point it clic and i end with things from nice to amazing ;)

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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 14 Dec 2016

selig wrote:
Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Since a loudness limiter is designed to get the levels to a very specific point, it must be last or you defeat it's purpose in my experience.
:)
Good point, that was my initial though too.

selig wrote:Another reason for patching the Maximizer AFTER the Master Outputs (and therefore after the Master Fader) is because I use Ozone and it's built in dither, and once you add dither you shouldn't do ANYTHING to the signal
But dither isn't anyway usually applied just once when you export your file post mastering ? So having the dither after or before the master output shouldn't be a concern no ?
Dither should ALWAYS be applied only once. The only other rule is that no changes can be made to the level after adding dither. So as long as you don't break either of these rules, dither works as intended.
:)
Would you not dither 16 bit?

I am not sure. Dithering on 16 bit seems safe choice. The only issue might be a tiny bit of noise but that's never a problem, at least not for me. A the same time I believe that not dithering at 16 bit, even on mastered material, is not an issue as well. I never ran into issue when testing these things. In theory 16 bits offers wide dynamics, but even in classical and jazz, most of that range is not used.
Last edited by Marco Raaphorst on 14 Dec 2016, edited 1 time in total.

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selig
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Post 14 Dec 2016

Marco Raaphorst wrote:
selig wrote:
Voyager wrote:
selig wrote:Since a loudness limiter is designed to get the levels to a very specific point, it must be last or you defeat it's purpose in my experience.
:)
Good point, that was my initial though too.

selig wrote:Another reason for patching the Maximizer AFTER the Master Outputs (and therefore after the Master Fader) is because I use Ozone and it's built in dither, and once you add dither you shouldn't do ANYTHING to the signal
But dither isn't anyway usually applied just once when you export your file post mastering ? So having the dither after or before the master output shouldn't be a concern no ?
Dither should ALWAYS be applied only once. The only other rule is that no changes can be made to the level after adding dither. So as long as you don't break either of these rules, dither works as intended.
:)
Would you not dither 16 bit samples?

I am not sure. Dithering on 16 bit seems safe choice. The only issue might be a tiny bit of noise but that's never a problem, at least not for me. A the same time I believe that not dithering at 16 bit, even on mastered material, is not an issue as well. I never ran into issue when testing these things. In theory 16 bits offers wide dynamics, but even in classical and jazz, most of that range is not used.
Dithering is only used when REDUCING bit depth (truncation), so I'm not sure I'm clear on your question. Most samplers use a higher bit rate internally when doing anything such as changing levels, pitch, etc. So if you load a 16 bit sample into an NNXT, it will be output at 32 bit floating point since that's it's (and Reason's) internal bit depth. It would ONLY be when you export back to a fixed bit depth that you would need to add dither, and only if you reduced the bit depth back to 16 bits.

If OTOH, ALL you did was to play back the sample at unity gain with no other changes at any point in the entire signal path, you should theoretically be able to export at 16 bits without adding dither (simply truncating the signal). This is because at that point there would be no information added at bits 17 on (zeros), and you can simply discard the zeros. But I can't think of any reason why you would do such a thing, and in every other case there would NOT be zeros at the 17th bit and beyond, even if all you did was lower the gain by a dB. And this is why you add dither AFTER truncation (reducing bit depth), to help smooth over the fact you've just thrown away some data.
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MarkTarlton
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Post 23 Sep 2019

I was wondering if anyone still has the screenshots that selig posted for his setup on sidechaining the master comp, and all the important steps on how to set it up properly without the latency. I have read this before, but it's been so long that my brain needs a refresher, and I tend to learn better from viewing images, than just reading text...I have gone over a few different threads, and can't seem to find what I'm looking for, most all the photo links have expired.

I know selig has gone over this countless times, so no need to explain the whole process, I just need the wiring and stereo imager set up so I can make sure I am doing it right.

I guess a reason document could work too :)

Thanks!

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kuhliloach
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Post 23 Sep 2019

I seem to prefer level-pumping using automation or Rack Extensions like PUMP versus using compressors for side-chaining. I find level-pumping simpler, cleaner, more fun, more flexible, more predictable, and a lot more interesting. Consider this choice wasn't accessible when side-chaining was first conceived, but now it is. Anyone care to elaborate on the pro's and con's of the two strategies?

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aeox
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Post 23 Sep 2019

selig wrote:
28 Oct 2015
Oh no, this guy is promoting the wrong way to use side chain in the master compressor. No one seems to get that you are patching the output of the compressor back into itself (including delay), which defeats the purpose of side chain EQ/Filtering.

Oh man, it get's worse: @3:47 he patches the control room output into the key input "to allow the entire mix to side chain itself" - does he not know this is exactly how a compressor works WITHOUT a side chain input? This isn't rocket science here, really makes me wonder who "fact checks" these tutorials… :(

Seems like almost everyone making tutorials for side chain on the master messes this up. I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore.

It's really SO easy to do this correctly - aren't this guys supposed to be "experts" here?!?!?
:)
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Post 24 Sep 2019

selig wrote:
14 Dec 2016

Dithering is only used when REDUCING bit depth (truncation), so I'm not sure I'm clear on your question. Most samplers use a higher bit rate internally when doing anything such as changing levels, pitch, etc. So if you load a 16 bit sample into an NNXT, it will be output at 32 bit floating point since that's it's (and Reason's) internal bit depth. It would ONLY be when you export back to a fixed bit depth that you would need to add dither, and only if you reduced the bit depth back to 16 bits.

If OTOH, ALL you did was to play back the sample at unity gain with no other changes at any point in the entire signal path, you should theoretically be able to export at 16 bits without adding dither (simply truncating the signal). This is because at that point there would be no information added at bits 17 on (zeros), and you can simply discard the zeros. But I can't think of any reason why you would do such a thing, and in every other case there would NOT be zeros at the 17th bit and beyond, even if all you did was lower the gain by a dB. And this is why you add dither AFTER truncation (reducing bit depth), to help smooth over the fact you've just thrown away some data.
What is your opinion about this article?

http://productionadvice.co.uk/when-to-dither/

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