Do you use limiters in the mix stage ... etc

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Zac
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Post 08 Feb 2019

I only really use limiters when mastering but I'm wondering if I could and should be using them in the mix stage? Especially on drums.

I'd appreciate any info on how and where you use them. Also, which ones you use and whether or not they report their latency for delay compensation.

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WeLoveYouToo
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Location: portland, or

Post 08 Feb 2019

i don’t know of any limiters that dont report their latency, but i only use the m-class or waves or ozone. a limiter is basically a compressor with a ratio that doesn’t let any sound get past. so traditionally it’s used when mastering to cut off the sharp transients that don’t add to the perceived dynamic range of a song.
but use a limiter whenever you want a sound that’s squashed like that. it works well on drums. i have never use a drum without compressing/limiting the transient to at least some degree, for example.
edit: actually the ozone limiter is called a “maximizer” and i think so is the m-class.
i don’t know what exactly the difference is, i think it might be dynamic or has a variable knee or something.

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Zac
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Post 08 Feb 2019

WeLoveYouToo wrote:
08 Feb 2019
i don’t know of any limiters that dont report their latency, but i only use the m-class or waves or ozone. a limiter is basically a compressor with a ratio that doesn’t let any sound get past. so traditionally it’s used when mastering to cut off the sharp transients that don’t add to the perceived dynamic range of a song.
but use a limiter whenever you want a sound that’s squashed like that. it works well on drums. i have never use a drum without compressing/limiting the transient to at least some degree, for example.
edit: actually the ozone limiter is called a “maximizer” and i think so is the m-class.
i don’t know what exactly the difference is, i think it might be dynamic or has a variable knee or something.
Thanks. I know that not all REs report their latency... if i were to use a limiter in the mix it would be important so that it can be compensated for.

I'll try and expand more on why I'm asking this question:

I'm finding that my mixes don't always respond well to mastering - e.g. my mix will sound balanced with the drums nice and up front and punchy ... but after mastering the result is bad... weak and dull. I'm thinking I'm not applying enough compression to my drums. So when mastering they are being slammed and ducking the rest of the mix?

So I'm wondering should i limit my drum bus(es) so that they only occasionally provide the highest peaks in the mix? (Or their peaks are only a certain set number of db above the highest peaks from the rest of the mix?) ...

PhillipOrdonez
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Location: Colombia

Post 08 Feb 2019

Hey Zac,

The best people to tell you how to improve your mix that becomes weak after mastering is the mastering engineer who masters your music! Unless it's the mastering engineer who is at fault for ruining a seemingly balanced mix?

Anyway, fwiw, I tend to compress the hell of the drum bus in parallel... And sometimes use a compressor on the kick off in layering different kicks or if the kick needs shaping in any way.. it is really case dependent!

I would like to hear what more experienced mixers have to say on the matter, although without sound examples, we are shooting in the dark.

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aeox
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Post 08 Feb 2019

Personally I never use a limiter on the drum bus.

Could we hear it with and without said mastering?

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O1B
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Post 08 Feb 2019

God, no!

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Zac
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Post 08 Feb 2019

Phillip, I'm the mastering engineer ruining my mixes ;)

Aeox, i might try and come up with an example but I'm a bit flaky right now, hopefully I'll take advantage of your expertise.

OB1, that suits me. No work in this direction necessary ;) The overall issue remains tho. :(

S1GNL
Posts: 74
Joined: 31 Jan 2018

Post 08 Feb 2019

WeLoveYouToo wrote:
08 Feb 2019
i don’t know of any limiters that dont report their latency, but i only use the m-class or waves or ozone. a limiter is basically a compressor with a ratio that doesn’t let any sound get past. so traditionally it’s used when mastering to cut off the sharp transients that don’t add to the perceived dynamic range of a song.
but use a limiter whenever you want a sound that’s squashed like that. it works well on drums. i have never use a drum without compressing/limiting the transient to at least some degree, for example.
edit: actually the ozone limiter is called a “maximizer” and i think so is the m-class.
i don’t know what exactly the difference is, i think it might be dynamic or has a variable knee or something.
The difference is the soft clipper.

S1GNL
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Joined: 31 Jan 2018

Post 08 Feb 2019

Sure. On channels and submixes. It really depends on what you want to achieve.
A limiter is a compressor with an infinite ratio. The MClass Compressor can be used as a limiter, just set ratio to infinite ♾:1

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 259
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 08 Feb 2019

Zac wrote:
08 Feb 2019
Phillip, I'm the mastering engineer ruining my mixes ;)
Well that could be a reason why your tracks aren't sounding so good after mastering...

We want before/after examples! ;)

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Zac
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Joined: 19 May 2016

Post 08 Feb 2019

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
08 Feb 2019
Zac wrote:
08 Feb 2019
Phillip, I'm the mastering engineer ruining my mixes ;)
Well that could be a reason why your tracks aren't sounding so good after mastering...

We want before/after examples! ;)
Ok, I'll try and find one i can bear sharing, but it won't be today... thanks

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Loque
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Post 08 Feb 2019

Always...if needed.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

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MannequinRaces
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Post 08 Feb 2019

If you want to kill any dynamics your drums have go ahead and limit the hell ouf them, lol. Not sure why you’d want to hard clip the drums... what genre of music would this before. If you’re trying to sound like Metallica’s Death Magnetic or whatever it was go for it, haha. If you’re producing a jazz record you’d be put in front of a firing squad. :)

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kuhliloach
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Post 08 Feb 2019

If you think of digital signal processing in terms of pure creativity there are no rules. One thing I learned opening Reason song files I didn't make is that people do all kinds of crazy things, and using limiters at the mixing stage is very common. It has to do with what's needed, and if an effect makes a sound the producer likes it's a done deal.

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QVprod
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 09 Feb 2019

Theres a misunderstanding here that limiters can only be used to make something louder, which is part of what you'd use one for in mastering. However, a limiter is just a compressor with a large ratio. You can use it to compress as you would with any other compressor.

TritoneAddiction
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Location: Sweden

Post 09 Feb 2019

No.
Maybe like one time on a snare or something.

EdGrip
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016

Post 11 Feb 2019

Grab that free kHs Limiter. It's very simple, but good, and you can chuck it in anywhere you like and get a feel for what it does. I'm still learning how to use limiters and compression - TDR Kotelnikov is a very educational device - and its manual, YouTube videos, and KVR forum are all very useful (and it's free)

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WeLoveYouToo
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Location: portland, or

Post 11 Feb 2019

S1GNL wrote:
08 Feb 2019
WeLoveYouToo wrote:
08 Feb 2019
....
edit: actually the ozone limiter is called a “maximizer” and i think so is the m-class.
i don’t know what exactly the difference is, i think it might be dynamic or has a variable knee or something.
The difference is the soft clipper.
ah, that makes sense.
thank you

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Exowildebeest
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 12 Feb 2019

EdGrip wrote:
11 Feb 2019
Grab that free kHs Limiter. It's very simple, but good, and you can chuck it in anywhere you like and get a feel for what it does.
Yes!

I use this nice little limiter for mix purposes, when I need to cut out some nasty peaks, such as ones that keep spiking through compression. I use it quite often. There's really nothing wrong with using limiters in mixing. The Khs limiter is great for this, it's small in both rack size and CPU use and limits transparently enough for tracks in a mix (not for master duty imo, but I have a feeling it was never even intended for that).

Just be sure to use the limiter as a Mix Channel insert, that's where it'll utilize Reason's latency compensation.

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