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

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Fri Mar 3 10:25:11 PST 2017

On Fri, 3 Mar 2017 18:59:17 +0100, Axel 'the C.L.A.' Müller wrote:
>On Thu, 2 Mar 2017 23:46:54 +0100 Ralf Mardorf 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

Sure, a limiter can't do magic, it needs a method to work, it can not
really "cut" away the unwanted peaks. However, take the context into
account, IOW what else I have written.

>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.

Exactly, wrong usage of a limiter does cause ducking, because a limiter
is not a compressor. For some dynamic tasks a compressor is required and
much more important is EQ'ing. I already said that and you even kept it
by the quoting:

>> A pumping alike impression could happen, if the limiter is used,
>> were a compressor should be used [snip] assuming a parametric EQ is
>> already used to get rid of a possible frequency that is involved
>> causing the peak [snip]

But it is always good to claim to mention somebody working for decades
as audio engineer for known comapnies is plain wrong and after that
simply to write the same as the person who should be completely wrong,
already has written.



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