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Subject: Headroom on the stereo master bus....

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Original Message 1/1                 Date: 25-Mar-11  @  02:42 PM   -   RE: Headroom on the stereo master bus....


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Hi there, when mixing in a DAW whose internal resolution is at 32bit float or above with a 24bit fixed output there is absolutely no wrong in seeing your peaks hit -12dBFS on the output meter. Whilst as a visual indication this may look low it it still has a noise floor in excess for 30dB improvement over 16bit CD's !
This is the case whether you are planning to get professional mastering or whether you are going DIY.

Working at this level with a +4dBu specced soundcard (output) will also likely result is less distortion on the input stage of a consumer amplifier which some people may be using. (i.e. the input level to the amplifier will not be too hot, in general a consumer amplifier is expecting a lower level signal than that provided by a typical soundcard when a mix is approaching 0dBFS)

You may find your volume control is a little higher up as a consequence of this lower level mixing.

Now this takes a little planning in the mix gain staging so when you start your mixing try only peaking your kick drum at -18dBFS / -16dBFS on the stereo output when solo'd and as the mix builds up you will slowly see headroom being eaten into on your DAW master output. the more you mix like this the more you will know where your kick/bass needs to be at when you start mixing for your mix style.

The result is less chances of overs and cleaner 24bit output files ready for either DIY or professional mastering, it's a win, win situation



SafeandSound Mastering, low cost, high end

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