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

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Fri Mar 3 10:42:43 PST 2017

On Fri, 3 Mar 2017 19:25:11 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>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 conditions.  
>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.

PS: Take into account what ratios are use, for sane compressor usage.
There's a reason why a compressor is named compressor and a limiter is
named limiter. A head-on collision on the Autobahn is more or less
impossible. It's possible, but indicates a really big underling problem.
A pumping limiter is like using the wrong driving direction on the

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