[Ardour-Users] Peak levels on master bus vs single track

Axel 'the C.L.A.' Müller axel-mueller-74 at web.de
Fri Mar 3 09:59:17 PST 2017

On Thu, 2 Mar 2017 23:46:54 +0100
Ralf Mardorf <ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net> wrote:

> On Thu, 2 Mar 2017 23:22:50 +0100, Robin Gareus wrote:
> >On 03/02/2017 09:47 PM, Will Godfrey wrote:
> >> On Thu, 2 Mar 2017 21:39:12 +0100
> >> Robin Gareus <robin at gareus.org> wrote:
> >> 
> >> <snip>
> >>   
> >>> You really want a limiter on the master-bus (not on individual
> >>> tracks) As far as free software goes, I'd use swh's
> >>> fast-lookahead-limiter.  
> >> 
> >> Hmm. Not always. I was once sent a track by a friend that had
> >> horrendous ducking of the vocal due to the percussion track
> >> triggering the limiter. 
> >
> >good point. It's not a general recommendation, but probably the correct
> >one in the case that Alf mentioned.
> >
> >Yet if a percussion track can duck vocals due to a limiter on the
> >master-bus, that percussions must have been well above the set limit
> >(and actually pump the whole mix, not only vocals).
> Actually the whole mix could be just percussion + vocals ;).
> However, if the limiter limits peaks of the percussion, it doesn't
> affect vocals that don't cause peaks, too, since it doesn't compress
> the signal. A limiter should never cause pumping. A limiter might cause
> distortion, if it has to cut too much of the level.

That's plain wrong!

A (regular) limiter (even one with lookahead) is just a compressor with
an infinite ratio. Hence it can cause pumping. It might just have such
short attack and release times that it might get unnoticed under sane

If it causes "horrendous ducking" then the limiter is definitely hit
too hard and most likely there's also a serious problem in the mix
in general.

> A pumping alike impression could happen, if the limiter is used, were a
> compressor should be used instead or in combination with a limiter,
> assuming a parametric EQ is already used to get rid of a possible
> frequency that is involved causing the peak, so it's better done by the
> track and not by the main signal.
> Regards,
> Ralf
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