sysrqer wrote: ↑Sun Nov 06, 2022 4:01 pm
I think that's great advice and it's something I've been practicing recently. I also like putting the export on to my phone/mp3 player and going for a walk, somehow when you are walking around and just listening things jump out more than they do when you're in front of your computer.
It does work
And yeh, that's also a good thing to mention. Listen on the kind of devices the average person will listen on; A phone with budget earphones, for example. Listen to it this way in both noisy and quiet environments. Although cheap earphones don't have the most accurate sound, they will definitely tell you something useful! Another one I hear mentioned a lot, especially by professional engineers, is to listen to it on your car's audio system (assuming you have one). I think the main reason for this is to listen on a system you're used to listening on. That's just as important as the quality of the system; You know what professional mixes sound like on your regular playback systems so if your mix has issues then you should notice them. But also, most people are not listening on the same kind of systems in the same kind of scenarios we are when we're working on music. It's definitely stuff to consider when finalising your mix. You've got to check a variety of devices to get the best picture.
As for the original question in this thread which I think has already been answered but I'll give my take anyway; Limiters in the context of the master bus are best used to catch just the highest peaks. Ideally they should only be working every now and then, doing maybe 2-3db of reduction (likely when the kick & snare hit as they tend to be the points in a song with the highest peaks). They definitely shouldn't be working constantly because they have a horrible sound and will squash the life right out of a mix! Be careful.. It's very easy to over do it with them! So yes, try to use them in a transparent way.
You can also use a compressor on the master bus and when done right it can really gel a mix and enhance/create some lovely movement. But again, be careful not to over do it. I usually only have about 0.5 - 1.5db reduction in the end. However, when I'm dialling in a compressor I usually have quite a lot of reduction happening; Maybe 8db worth. This is because it really helps me to hear the timing of the compressor so I can dial in the attack & release to match the timing & groove of the song. Once it's setup nicely I will then back off and get the reduction down to a more reasonable level.
Finally, another option for reducing peaks is 'soft clipping'. It's compression of sorts but it's not actually turning the volume down, it's just chopping off the top of the waveform instead. So, it doesn't provide any rythmical benefits but it does tame peaks and can give you some nice, subtle distortion. There are soft clipper plugins you can use. Tape emulation plugins also do this and I like to use them a lot.
I'll leave it at that but hopefully I've given you some ideas if you weren't already aware of these things