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-psycledelics- Discussions TIPS BOARD Mastering Gain
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dilvie




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  Mastering Gain        Go on top to this Page

Dilvie's Psycle Tips Volume One: Mastering Gain

I've noticed that a lot of questions lately have been about gain. With that in mind, here are some tips that are sure to make life a little easier for some newbies:


Don't tweak the wire volumes!

This tip is at the top of my list for one very good reason: Wire volumes are the most natural way to control your over-all global mix, independent of your pattern expression. If you set wire volumes arbitrarily in your patterns, you break your ability to control your global mix without editing patterns. So how do you do gating and other volume expression that 0Cxx won't let you control?


Use the gainer plug

The way an instrument or effect implements volume can varry from one machine to another, and it's possible that a volume option may not even exist in some plugins. Luckily, there is a gainer plugin in the effects when you need it (ayeternal Gainer). When you can't tweak a volume parameter, don't tweak the wire -- use the gainer.


Use wire volumes to control your master mix

The reason for the top two tips is this: Eventually you're going to want to turn down an instrument, or an effect, or the effect level of some instrument, and you won't want to edit EVERY VOLUME SETTING in EVERY PATTERN that addresses it -- if you've been tweaking wire volumes, that's exactly what you've got in store. On the other hand, if you NEVER tweak wire volumes from patterns, you can use them to reliably set the over-all global level of every output from every machine.


Share effects like reverb

Effects that are useful for more than one instrument should be shared. Set their output level to nominal, and control their volume by adjusting the incoming signal level for each signal source you connect. For example, I often use a single reverb plugin for all reverb in my music. It's always set to unity gain at the output, and I control how much reverb each instrument gets by setting the input level accordingly.

This has two advantages:


  • It creates a consistent accoustic space and adds to the cohesiveness of the sounds
  • It saves CPU power without sacrificing audio quality.



Pay attention to your gain path

Your gain path is all about headroom. You want to ensure that you maximize the amount of control you have over the level settings of your machines. That means paying close attention to your gain settings. Ideally, if an effect output can be set at unity gain (ie, by controlling the effects input level), it probably should be.

This rule of thumb doesn't always apply. Some effects exist specifically to tweak their output level. Effects that control amplitude for expression should be the first effect in your path to the master output (ie, instrument -> gainer -> reverb -> master).

Shared effects should always have output set at nominal. Control effect level by adjusting the effects input level. Most of my effect outputs are nominal, but I still retain a lot of control over the effect levels. If you turn down the effect output, you turn down that effects headroom, which means you don't have as much freedom to set the effect level for individual effect inputs.


Before you turn something up, turn something else down

Now that you've got a great way to control your over-all mix without editing patterns, you're probably going to do a lot more level tweaking (trust me, this is a good thing). Rule #1 here: Before you turn something up, turn something else down -- if you can't hear something in your mix, chances are the reason for it is that something else is drowning it out. If you can get away with turning down that something else, it'll probably be better for your mix.


Filter the frequency hogs

If you turn something down, but it's still dominating your mix, don't be afraid to slap a filter on it. Chances are, a high-pass or low pass filter will do the trick. There are some good filter plugs in Psycle -- put them to good use. Remember, filters are better at cutting frequencies than gaining frequencies, but they can be used to bump a specific frequency -- set the cut-off and give the filter some resonance. Depending on the filter, you should get a bit of a boost centered around the cut-off frequency.


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Last edited by dilvie on 30.12.2003, 22:44 o'clock.

27.12.2003, 19:11 Profile of dilvie Add dilvie to your Buddy-List Homepage of dilvie Add dilvie to your Contact-List AIM Screenname: dilvie23
mutilus




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Thanks for the useful tips Dilvie--mixing/mastering is something I really need to work on... can I ask what is meant by unity gain/nominal?


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28.12.2003, 02:38 Profile of mutilus Add mutilus to your Buddy-List
dilvie




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         Go on top to this Page

Unity Gain:

Short answer = the default level setting for psycle machines.

Long answer = the level setting such that the output level does not change the level of the incoming signal.

Nominal:

Nominal has a different meaning, but in signal path gain settings, it is almost equivallent. Technically, Nominal means:

The exact or intended value of a specific parameter. For the Gain setting, this means zero. Any setting other than nominal is known as a tolerance, and is specified in positive and negative values relative to the nominal setting.

In other words, for any device that passes a signal through, the ideal setting for maximum headroom is Unity, which is ideally 0 (Nominal), but some effects will make a signal louder or softer depending on the parameters you set, in which case, you may want to set a tolerance to try to match the input level better (ie, to achieve unity gain, if possible).

Clear as mud now?

- Eric


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Last edited by dilvie on 28.12.2003, 23:28 o'clock.

28.12.2003, 21:30 Profile of dilvie Add dilvie to your Buddy-List Homepage of dilvie Add dilvie to your Contact-List AIM Screenname: dilvie23
Taika-Kim




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         Go on top to this Page

Hey, we DO have Slicit these days And it doesn't crackle & pop like using the Gainer to do gating...

Good tricks anyway...

And of course, in the end of the chain, there should always be the L2 Ultramaximizer or the Voxengo equivalent Assuming that the individual master inputs haven't been limited at some point.

Along with the "turn something down before turning some else up", understanding how dynamic plugs like compressors work has been one of the most revealing aspects of sound programming to me.

Learn to use those compressors etc, people! They mean the world when you need to keep things in order... And when you want to use that 16-bit headspace we got to the max!

30.12.2003, 15:52 Profile of Taika-Kim Add Taika-Kim to your Buddy-List Homepage of Taika-Kim
dilvie




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quote:
Original by Taika-Kim
Hey, we DO have Slicit these days And it doesn't crackle & pop like using the Gainer to do gating...



Slicit is wonderful for gating... definately one of my favorite effect plugins, but it's not very good at creating smooth volume fades, and some gating patterns are impossible with slicit. For those, tws and the gainer plug are definately the way to go.

quote:

And of course, in the end of the chain, there should always be the L2 Ultramaximizer or the Voxengo equivalent Assuming that the individual master inputs haven't been limited at some point.



I like the idea of putting these in-line within psycle a lot more than processing outside of psycle, when it's too late to go back and fix problems in the mix. As I've said before, if you're going to do this, it might be a good way to run everything to a gainer plug instead of the master and then you'll have the option of running your entire main mix through post-processing plugins such as ultramaximizer, or whatever happens to be your favorite.


quote:

Along with the "turn something down before turning some else up", understanding how dynamic plugs like compressors work has been one of the most revealing aspects of sound programming to me.



Just remember that compression can be over-done easily (ehehe, just listen to some of my music for good examples of that).

Compression comes with a trade-off. You lose dynamics when you compress your mix, and as we've recently seen, most of the psycle community really needs to work on putting more dynamics into their mix, rather than taking dynamics out.

quote:

Learn to use those compressors etc, people! They mean the world when you need to keep things in order... And when you want to use that 16-bit headspace we got to the max!



Certainly, people should learn to use all of the standard production tools. Every little bit helps.

For beginners, though, understanding how the signal path works is critical. Knowing how to properly set up an effects chain and a mix is critical, and I think that many people are still having trouble with that.

Some people should pay special attention to sharing effects. =) In general, you only need one reverb plugin -- not because computers can't handle lots of reverb (which is also true), but also because you need to create a consistent acoustic environment for your song to inhabit. Using different plugins with different settings will only muddy the mix and confuse the space.

Using different reverb plugins with the same settings only wastes CPU power. The only other reason you might want to use multiple reverb plugins is to control the effect level of different instruments individually, but if you follow my tips and always set the reverb output level to nominal and control the effect levels at the input, you can still do that effectively with only one plugin.

A lot of producers also share compressors, delay, chorous, phasers, etc...

- Eric


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30.12.2003, 20:46 Profile of dilvie Add dilvie to your Buddy-List Homepage of dilvie Add dilvie to your Contact-List AIM Screenname: dilvie23
kSh




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Is it possible to do a maximize like Voxengo Elephant or L1 Ultramaximizer do freeware ways? I do not own either Waves or Voxengo stuff. Maybe you know some interesting ways to do that

Regards,
kSh


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30.12.2003, 22:54 Profile of kSh Add kSh to your Buddy-List
soundwave




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  outofrange        Go on top to this Page

Thank you for the tips, Dilvie. Information was interestingly ingested and digested just a few hours before reveiwing your disclosure. Applied directly to project 'outofrange'.
You may have noticed the volume changes on the wire volumes. One Filter and one Reverb was employed for the use of Lead1-Lead7, seven beautiful arpeggio leads, \
AH AH AH AH!


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31.12.2003, 16:00 Profile of soundwave Add soundwave to your Buddy-List Homepage of soundwave AIM Screenname: sillyramsey
dilvie




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Ack -- volume changes on the wires are exactly what you want to avoid! Doing that will mess with any mix you set up from the machine view by right-clicking on the arrows between machines.

If you want to change volumes from the pattern, insert a gainer and smooth tweak the gain knob (tws, CTRL-` by default).

Remember that you can figure out how to tweak any parameter by right-clicking on the parameter -- it lets you set a value manually, and gives you instructions on how to set that particular value from the patterns.

On my computer at least, a display bug prevents the display of the gainer knob, but right-clicking just beneath the menu in the pop-up window still brings up the info window that tells you how to tweak the value.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

- Eric


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01.01.2004, 01:18 Profile of dilvie Add dilvie to your Buddy-List Homepage of dilvie Add dilvie to your Contact-List AIM Screenname: dilvie23
soundwave




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  woops        Go on top to this Page

quote:
Original by dilvie
Ack -- volume changes on the wires are exactly what you want to avoid! Doing that will mess with any mix you set up from the machine view by right-clicking on the arrows between machines.

If you want to change volumes from the pattern, insert a gainer and smooth tweak the gain knob (tws, CTRL-` by default).

Remember that you can figure out how to tweak any parameter by right-clicking on the parameter -- it lets you set a value manually, and gives you instructions on how to set that particular value from the patterns.

On my computer at least, a display bug prevents the display of the gainer knob, but right-clicking just beneath the menu in the pop-up window still brings up the info window that tells you how to tweak the value.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

- Eric



Heh, yeah, well... i did use a gain module. Just not the right way i guess. Hmmm... adding 7 more gain effects to the mix. Oh well, guess it will help more than anything. I will have to fix that. Thanx


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01.01.2004, 14:33 Profile of soundwave Add soundwave to your Buddy-List Homepage of soundwave AIM Screenname: sillyramsey
dilvie




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You only need seven if you need to control the levels of each individually from the pattern editor -- otherwise, you could just plug them all into the same gainer and tweak them all up and down with one command. =)

Personally, I usually use a few instruments and tweak them all individually, but if you've got lots of instruments, and you're doubling parts (like in an orchestra), grouping could be an efficient way to keep a handle on the situation. =)

- Eric


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01.01.2004, 19:47 Profile of dilvie Add dilvie to your Buddy-List Homepage of dilvie Add dilvie to your Contact-List AIM Screenname: dilvie23
kSh




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Ehmm... I guess there are no maximization ideas? (see my prev. post)

Regards,
kSh


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03.01.2004, 10:12 Profile of kSh Add kSh to your Buddy-List
pooplog
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kSh:

Ultramaximizer is really just a brickwall limiter with automated release control, and some waveshaping and dither options.

The "ultra" waveshaping does sound good, though.

There must be some freeware limiters out there that can be used for such a task.


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Seraph




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"Gating"?...


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SAS




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quote:
Original by kSh
Ehmm... I guess there are no maximization ideas? (see my prev. post)

Regards,
kSh



check: PalancarWare Brick

It's an easy to use (freeware) Brickwall Limiter. It's probably what you're looking for.


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