Noob Question About Mixing

After so many years I’m still a total noob when it comes to mixing and getting my tracks to sound right.

I’ve always been trying hard to keep my tracks from peaking (exceeding 0db) on master, but I’ve started wondering if that really is important? Can I just not care about that as long as it still sounds good or is it important to keep under 0db?

A little addon to this topic:

I’m working on a track with only samples atm. No modulation anywhere, on samples or on effects. But still I get volume spikes on random places from time to time. WTH is causing that?

What does clipping mean?

Good question :)

This should help you to gain a better understanding of it:


Put a maximizer on the master channel set it to -3 dB threshold.

Okey, so lesson learned from that is stay below 0db. Damnit

That would work as a limiter and turn down volume on the other tracks if modulation on a vsti f.ex suddenly “peaks” right? I’ve tried with limiters on master before, but when stuff isn’t properly mixed already that can have some very nasty effects on everything.

Something that’s helped me on the “only samples”-track i mentioned earlier here, has been to throw in an EQ10 on various sounds and use the cut resonance-preset… Seems there’s often too much resonance in the sounds i choose, or at least when they get mixed together they peak like crazy because of resonance. Well. Getting closer to figuring it out

I usually put a maximimizer with the “master limit fast” preset on the master track; that one limits everything to -0.2 db and clipping is history…
BUT it doesn’t prevent distortion or some other “annoying” effects :angry: and, as you mentioned, this limiting might turn your whole mix up-side-down, so you have to adjust the track volumes.
I also use EQ’s and Filter on -every- track. Filtering allows you to cut those resonances and to clean up the sound esp. when using samples. Not that I’m a mastering pro (actually I suck… :unsure: ); but those are the hints i’ve been given all the time and I think i’m getting closer to it… :wink:
well, just play around and trust you ears… :walkman:

My ears obviously don’t know much about how to mix, so I’m gonna try this plugin out and see if maybe my eyes can help :P :

A friend of mine just recommended it to me, so I’m gonna look into it

You want to watch out for Masterclass Tutorial by “CTRL Z” on youtube. Part 6 and 7 keeps the information you are looking for.

(btw i know what clipping means. Just wanted to give Ceero an idea to think about. :walkman: )


wrt to peaking, set your mater volume to -6db, also, (correct me if i’m wrong) isn’t that also a sign of frequencies clashing between tracks?

Thanks man, I’ll have a look through those

Think so, that’s what I’m trying to get to the bottom of

someone told me… it’s ‘better’ to put limiters on individual tracks as the limiters don’t have to work so hard that way so you keep a more transparent sound… and it give’s you more control of the overall mix. same with compressors… spread the load…etc… btw, sometimes it helps to do compressor > limiter > compressor , that will reduce the peaks and the last compressor can be used to make up the gain volume again. so … if you limit the peaks you can get a louder overall sound…without clipping. also… maybe you just need to turn everything down a bit ? but that kinda depends on the kind of music.

A limiter is just a compressor with a high ratio (often considered anything over 20:1) so whoever told you that probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

perhaps, but when you limit individual tracks the limiting can calculate its look ahead better as when you use only one limiter on the master…

When adjusting my mix, I often use a Maximizer on the master (sometimes with a few max’d gainers in front) set to extreme settings to get an idea of what my song may sound like when played extremely loud, or through bad speakers. I use it to adjust levels to make certain instruments poke through more, so the ear can actually make them out. Then, when I’m all done, I remove the Maximizer and voila: perfectly mixed track!

Granted, I often need to adjust some things at that point, but it really does take a lot of the guesswork out of mixing.

Yeah but you still wouldn’t use effectively three compressors in a row. At least I wouldn’t. Seems very strange, even if we are talking about digital operation, not analogue style.

well… you stack the compressors each with different attack and release settings so you can get a more stable sound… if that’s what you need for that specific sound.

i just realized some might say all this is mastering and not mixing… but bleh… ;]

Compression Eq Compression or Compression Distortion Compression I do quite often, sometimes with limiters for their sound, but never bothered cascading purely compressors. Suppose some do have particular sounds though.

And it is mixing if it’s on individual tracks, not on the master.