Clipping

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Clipping

Postby sintrade » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:13 pm

I'm new to Cubase Artist 6.5. When I mix down, the meters on my tracks are hot. My stereo mix track is just clipping into the red. I save the song to my desktop anyway just to listen, but when I play it back (as an mp3) in Windows Media Player, the volume is only putting out about 60%. In other words, while mixing, the sound is nice and strong. Once mixed down and played, the sound is about half the volume. What am I doing wrong?
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Re: Clipping

Postby Jarno » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:25 pm

sintrade wrote:when I play it back (as an mp3) in Windows Media Player, the volume is only putting out about 60%

60% of what? How did you measure this 60% figure? Compared to what? So ... what's your 100% reference?
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:29 pm

60% of the original LOUDNESS! Its not an exact figure. Its just playing back considerably quieter than when i'm in cubase.
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Re: Clipping

Postby Jarno » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:42 pm

OK! How about if you import your MP3 back into Cubase and play it fronm there? Is the loudness OK? Or is it different from what you hear during your mixdown process?
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:06 pm

I import it into cubase as a WAV file. I mute it, and play back the original tracks. Then mute the original tracks and play back the imported mix. Definately half the volume of the original.
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Re: Clipping

Postby thinkingcap » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:13 pm

sintrade wrote:I import it into cubase as a WAV file. I mute it, and play back the original tracks. Then mute the original tracks and play back the imported mix. Definately half the volume of the original.

Where is the masterfader of the project?
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:17 pm

minus 3.3
Anything more clips dramatically.
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Re: Clipping

Postby thinkingcap » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:22 pm

sintrade wrote:minus 3.3
Anything more clips dramatically.

(Though 3.3 dB don´t make "half the volume") - The stereo mixdown file must be listened to with 0.0 when comparing with the single tracks mix. And no FX in the master insert (if you use some for the mixdown)
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Re: Clipping

Postby Jeff Hayat » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:13 am

Control Room on?
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:48 am

I put stereo mix to 0 and lowered track volumes. Did same test. It is a little better but can def hear a difference in volume.
I don't think cubase Artist has Control Room. I've been working with the Mixer.
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:04 am

All of my tracks' volume meters are bouncing right around -6 (neg 6). With my master stereo mix set at 0.0, the red clipping signal is going nuts.
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Re: Clipping

Postby Split » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:17 am

sintrade wrote:All of my tracks' volume meters are bouncing right around -6 (neg 6). With my master stereo mix set at 0.0, the red clipping signal is going nuts.


well turn the master fader down untill it stops "turning red" !

When comparing the exported file level to the mix level it's important to compare like with like.

If you import the mixdown back into the project and play it with the master fader down, say 6dB, then obviously the imported mix will be 6 dB lower than it should be!!! Think about it!
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Re: Clipping

Postby Jeff Hayat » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:39 am

Split wrote: If you import the mixdown back into the project and play it with the master fader down, say 6dB, then obviously the imported mix will be 6 dB lower than it should be!!!!


That ^

When you render a file, and import it back into Cubase, the master fader must be at zero for you to hear it at the proper volume. This is regardless of where the master fader is when you mixdown.

sintrade wrote:All of my tracks' volume meters are bouncing right around -6 (neg 6). With my master stereo mix set at 0.0, the red clipping signal is going nuts.


Dude - are you working with compression, and/or a limiter on the master bus?
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:57 am

Split wrote:well turn the master fader down untill it stops "turning red" !


When I "turn the master fader down until it stops turning red"... then I'm right back where I started, at the very TOP of this THREAD!

Jeff, I'll try your suggestion.
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Re: Clipping

Postby alexis » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:06 am

1. If you want to reimport it and hear it play back at the same volume you heard when you exported it - the master fader at playback must be at 0.0 (as thinkingcap and split said).

2) Even if you have 100 tracks that aren't in the red, they all "add up" and it is easy for the master fader input to be in the red. Do you know about changing what the meter is displaying, in terms of input to the bus vs output from the bus?

- you can change the master fader display so that it shows how hot the summed signal is coming IN to it from your individual tracks. This is NOT affected by the master fader position, and doesn't have much to do with clipping.
- alternatively, you can change the master fader display so that it shows how hot the signal is LEAVING Cubase. This is affected by how hot it is going into the master bus, PLUS THE POSITION OF THE MASTER FADER (plus anything you might have inserted into the master bus, potentially).

3) So a couple of things you can do:
a) Don't worry how hot the signal is going INTO the master bus, just pull the master fader down so that it doesn't show red when the meter is set to "output" FROM the master bus (as mentioned by thinkingcap and split!).


b) Depending on how hot the individual tracks are, and how many of them you have, if you do it that way you might find the master fader winds up having to be pulled WAY down to keep the signal from clipping on the way out of the master bus.

If you find it more aesthetically pleasing to instead have the master fader parked at 0.0: route all of the individual tracks into a group channel (instead of the master bus), route that group bus to the master bus, and adjust the fader ON THE GROUP CHANNEL to control how hot the signal entering the master bus is. The best way to do this might be to have the meter reflect the output from the master bus, then just adjust the fader on the group channel up or down while playing the project until you find a good output level from the master bus.

It sounds really complicated when you read this, but it is really pretty easy to get this kind of thing going. In each instance, the goal is to make sure there is no "red" on the master fader when it is set to show output. It really doesn't matter too much whether there is "red" showing on the individual tracks, or on the input to the master bus, at least in terms of final sound (though having signals displayed at a decent "non-red" level with the faders set not too far from 0.0 makes for a prettier looking mixer panel!).

HTH -
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Re: Clipping

Postby thinkingcap » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:21 am

Just in case no one has mentioned this yet:
to compare your 2 Track mixdown to the single track mix, the master fader for the two track mixdown must be at 0.0 and you should not have any inserts int the master, whereas it must be at -3.3 for the single track mixdown, with used inserts activated.
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Re: Clipping

Postby Split » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:56 am

We can't keep reiterating the same advice in different forms!!! (as much as we like to repeat each other :mrgreen: )

Maybe there is a problem with your description.

Is it that you think your mixdown is not as "loud" as other tracks that you listen to?

If so then that's an entirly different kettle of fish :lol:
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Re: Clipping

Postby sintrade » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:08 pm

Split wrote:Is it that you think your mixdown is not as "loud" as other tracks that you listen to?If so then that's an entirly different kettle of fish

I would like to thank everyone for their invaluable knowledge. Like I said, I have only been using cubase artist for a couple of weeks. But to answer SPLIT's question..
I mix down a song on cubase. Meters all look good. I play a professional CD (steely dan, yes, etc) to compare if my volume levels are comparable. I know pro CDs use multi $$ equipment, but my volume is right there with the volume as a pro CD.
I export a mixdown to my desktop. I play back the mixdown and the overall volume is about half of what I originally heard in cubase. When I email the mixdown to band members, they all say it's way too quiet and their media players levels are barely moving.

I am sorry if I am causing frustration with senior members, but I am just as frustrated. I really want to learn this. Maybe someday I'll be able to help one of YOU!!
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Re: Clipping

Postby Split » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:22 pm

It sounds to me that your problem is that your mix file is not comparable to professional mastered tracks.

Just maybe not explaining it well. That's ok.

Look up volume maximizing and finalising/mastering. That is where the loudness/volume is made up.

Be prepared for lots of advice about this to follow :D
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Re: Clipping

Postby alexis » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:26 pm

sintrade wrote:
Split wrote:Is it that you think your mixdown is not as "loud" as other tracks that you listen to?If so then that's an entirly different kettle of fish

I would like to thank everyone for their invaluable knowledge. Like I said, I have only been using cubase artist for a couple of weeks. But to answer SPLIT's question..
I mix down a song on cubase. Meters all look good. I play a professional CD (steely dan, yes, etc) to compare if my volume levels are comparable. I know pro CDs use multi $$ equipment, but my volume is right there with the volume as a pro CD.
I export a mixdown to my desktop. I play back the mixdown and the overall volume is about half of what I originally heard in cubase. When I email the mixdown to band members, they all say it's way too quiet and their media players levels are barely moving.

I am sorry if I am causing frustration with senior members, but I am just as frustrated. I really want to learn this. Maybe someday I'll be able to help one of YOU!!


It is beginning to sound like a 2nd kettle a bit ...

You might want to try this - take your Steely Dan song, rip it to your computer as a .wav, and insert that .wav track into the project you are working at. Then make the following comparisons:

1) Mute the Steely Dan track and play your project. Note how loud it sounds. Then, without adjusting the master fader (and with the Steely Dan track fader at 0.0), mute your project and play the Steely Dan track. Note the loudness, and compare.

2) Export/reimport your project to a single stereo .wav track, then run Cubase Audio statistics on it - note especially the RMS value. Then do the same on the Steely Dan track - compare.

I'm going to guess that in the first comparison, the Steely Dan track sounds lots louder, and in the second its RMS value is much higher, than your imported .wav track? If so, that is where mixing/mastering technique (and $$ of equipment) come into play.

In any case, while you sort through all that, some practical advice to help your band members hear it better:

1) Before exporting it, do one more process - do Audio Normalize - that might make it a bit louder, without adjusting the finely crafted relative volumes of the tracks (which a compressor/limiter would).
2) Tell your band mates to just turn the volume knob way up when listening to your projects!
Alexis

One way to get variable-tempo audio to follow a grid here.
- A more detailed explanation for how to get variable-tempo audio to follow a grid here!
- And here for MIDI

Some ways to render virtual instruments to audio here.

Tips Tricks and Workflow Goodness

CubaseTutorial.net - very nice collection of instructional youtubes

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Re: Clipping

Postby Audiocave » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:34 am

You should have some kind of "audition bus" setup to play mixes and other stuff through so that it doesn't actually pass through the master bus for those comparisons. You can use the exact same pair of,hardware outs, but just always bypass the master bus for those things.

So you'd print a mix, it auto-imports, you assign it's output to the 'audition bus' (sub-out), directly to the hardware outs, not passing through the master bus (or it's plugs or fader trim if any). To make those kinds of direct comparisons your render playback has to be a unity gain all the way to the monitors.
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