Mastering

Hi there..
I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

Comments

  • Hi there..
    How use this??? Why always grey out? Is this for time stretching?

    Other question, how do for choping sample on slate?? 🤧

  • How use this??? Why always grey out? Is this for time stretching?

    ;-)

    Other question, how do for choping sample on slate??

    Not available currently, people usually use external app - good choice is Reslice - in standalone version you can export chopped loop as zip package - after you send this zipped package from Reslice into Nanostudio, it automatically unzips files into Library/Inbox folder, from there you can load them to Slate pads

  • edited November 2019

    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    just put any mastering plugins you want to to use on "Main Mix" channel ;-) (in default project main mix is top-level channel where all other channels are folded inside it. If your project has different architecture, just group all top level tracks into new parent track which will work as "main mix" and you're there...

  • @andicsaputra said:
    Hi there..
    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    Yep! If I've written it in NS2, I prefer to do mastering in NS2 :) That way I keep it all together.

    Mastering is a huge topic, but NS2 has many options to help you. If you're learning how to master (like me!) there's a lot of info out there.... here's a video I found helpful: but also spend some time on google

    You can easily spend hours mastering a song if you want. But my key thoughts are:

    1. use an EQ-3B cut out frequencies you don't need, especially low frequencies - e.g on a lead, cut out the bass frequencies if that lead doesn't need them. That gives room for the other instruments.

    2. try to make the low frequencies mono or central in the mix so that you are spreading the hard work between the two speakers (the Stereo Gain fx has a mono button if you want to make this simple)

    3. listen for any annoying frequencies, and cut them out with a EQ-3B

    4. use EQ-3B to balance the range of frequencies so that it sounds good to you, but if you find your settings on any of the gain knobs are more than about +4 you may need to go back to mixing levels or think about what instruments are playing where

    5. put a little reverb. distortion and compression on the master to make it sound more like a real room :)

    Everything you try, A/B it by turning the effect on and off and asking yourself whether it makes a difference... just watch out that a small change that makes something louder always sounds better, but soon your mix is just loud noise, so check that any change you make doesn't just sound better because it's a little louder.

    Your key tools are the EQ-3B, your choice of groups and sends, and a touch of compression. You'll learn a lot from the process, and figuring out how to make it happen.

    It's a bit difficult to give rules on how to master, since it depends on your music style, and what you want the mastering to do... But the tools are there. If you have a track, you're welcome to post it here. along with what you'd want mastering to improve, and I could suggest how I'd try to do that? Yay collaboration! :grin:

  • @dendy said:

    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    just put any mastering plugins you want to to use on "Main Mix" channel ;-) (in default project main mix is top-level channel where all other channels are folded inside it. If your project has different architecture, just group all top level tracks into new parent track which will work as "main mix" and you're there...

    @Trigger_the_Monkey said:

    @andicsaputra said:
    Hi there..
    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    Yep! If I've written it in NS2, I prefer to do mastering in NS2 :) That way I keep it all together.

    Mastering is a huge topic, but NS2 has many options to help you. If you're learning how to master (like me!) there's a lot of info out there.... here's a video I found helpful: but also spend some time on google

    You can easily spend hours mastering a song if you want. But my key thoughts are:

    1. use an EQ-3B cut out frequencies you don't need, especially low frequencies - e.g on a lead, cut out the bass frequencies if that lead doesn't need them. That gives room for the other instruments.

    2. try to make the low frequencies mono or central in the mix so that you are spreading the hard work between the two speakers (the Stereo Gain fx has a mono button if you want to make this simple)

    3. listen for any annoying frequencies, and cut them out with a EQ-3B

    4. use EQ-3B to balance the range of frequencies so that it sounds good to you, but if you find your settings on any of the gain knobs are more than about +4 you may need to go back to mixing levels or think about what instruments are playing where

    5. put a little reverb. distortion and compression on the master to make it sound more like a real room :)

    Everything you try, A/B it by turning the effect on and off and asking yourself whether it makes a difference... just watch out that a small change that makes something louder always sounds better, but soon your mix is just loud noise, so check that any change you make doesn't just sound better because it's a little louder.

    Your key tools are the EQ-3B, your choice of groups and sends, and a touch of compression. You'll learn a lot from the process, and figuring out how to make it happen.

    It's a bit difficult to give rules on how to master, since it depends on your music style, and what you want the mastering to do... But the tools are there. If you have a track, you're welcome to post it here. along with what you'd want mastering to improve, and I could suggest how I'd try to do that? Yay collaboration! :grin:

    Well dude, Okay2... i understood 🤗🤗🤗
    Thank you for your support dud, you’re helpful!!!
    For @Trigger_the_Monkey i will trying it, but need more times btw. So Before I’m used BM2 and GB. I don’t have a PC yet but I don’t want, maybe like iPad 😬.
    And after the NanoStudio 2 released for iPhone then i tried it, I was shocked!! I was thinking my iPhone is my PC right now 👨🏻‍💻😜. It’s really good app!!! Just needs little options, as you know.. but this is enough for me. Especially I’m glad about the stock plugins and UI it’s helpfully! So i made music like a lofi beat btw..

    So again thanks all😘 I will trying it.. 👨🏻‍💻🤗

    *note: sorry about my English, I’m still learning and learning..

  • edited November 2019

    @andicsaputra said:

    @dendy said:

    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    just put any mastering plugins you want to to use on "Main Mix" channel ;-) (in default project main mix is top-level channel where all other channels are folded inside it. If your project has different architecture, just group all top level tracks into new parent track which will work as "main mix" and you're there...

    @Trigger_the_Monkey said:

    @andicsaputra said:
    Hi there..
    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    Yep! If I've written it in NS2, I prefer to do mastering in NS2 :) That way I keep it all together.

    Mastering is a huge topic, but NS2 has many options to help you. If you're learning how to master (like me!) there's a lot of info out there.... here's a video I found helpful: but also spend some time on google

    You can easily spend hours mastering a song if you want. But my key thoughts are:

    1. use an EQ-3B cut out frequencies you don't need, especially low frequencies - e.g on a lead, cut out the bass frequencies if that lead doesn't need them. That gives room for the other instruments.

    2. try to make the low frequencies mono or central in the mix so that you are spreading the hard work between the two speakers (the Stereo Gain fx has a mono button if you want to make this simple)

    3. listen for any annoying frequencies, and cut them out with a EQ-3B

    4. use EQ-3B to balance the range of frequencies so that it sounds good to you, but if you find your settings on any of the gain knobs are more than about +4 you may need to go back to mixing levels or think about what instruments are playing where

    5. put a little reverb. distortion and compression on the master to make it sound more like a real room :)

    Everything you try, A/B it by turning the effect on and off and asking yourself whether it makes a difference... just watch out that a small change that makes something louder always sounds better, but soon your mix is just loud noise, so check that any change you make doesn't just sound better because it's a little louder.

    Your key tools are the EQ-3B, your choice of groups and sends, and a touch of compression. You'll learn a lot from the process, and figuring out how to make it happen.

    It's a bit difficult to give rules on how to master, since it depends on your music style, and what you want the mastering to do... But the tools are there. If you have a track, you're welcome to post it here. along with what you'd want mastering to improve, and I could suggest how I'd try to do that? Yay collaboration! :grin:

    Well dude, Okay2... i understood 🤗🤗🤗
    Thank you for your support dud, you’re helpful!!!
    For @Trigger_the_Monkey i will trying it, but need more times btw. So Before I’m used BM2 and GB. I don’t have a PC yet but I don’t want, maybe like iPad 😬.
    And after the NanoStudio 2 released for iPhone then i tried it, I was shocked!! I was thinking my iPhone is my PC right now 👨🏻‍💻😜. It’s really good app!!! Just needs little options, as you know.. but this is enough for me. Especially I’m glad about the stock plugins and UI it’s helpfully! So i made music like a lofi beat btw..

    So again thanks all😘 I will trying it.. 👨🏻‍💻🤗

    *note: sorry about my English, I’m still learning and learning..

    Check out this site. Scroll down until you come to a section that says “Hear The Difference”. It allows you to do an AB comparison between un-mastered and mastered versions of different styles of music.

    A big part of mastering is “tasteful” use of EQ and compression to try to make your music sound best across different playback platforms (ear buds, car stereo, home speakers).

    One thing to remember is there will always be some compromise between what you hear on your studio monitors and what is heard elsewhere. That can’t be avoided.

    https://www.landr.com/what-is-mastering/

  • @anickt said:

    @andicsaputra said:

    @dendy said:

    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    just put any mastering plugins you want to to use on "Main Mix" channel ;-) (in default project main mix is top-level channel where all other channels are folded inside it. If your project has different architecture, just group all top level tracks into new parent track which will work as "main mix" and you're there...

    @Trigger_the_Monkey said:

    @andicsaputra said:
    Hi there..
    I have question about final mastering, is anybody doing for final mastering on NanoStudio 2/ inside app? So how to do that thanks..

    Yep! If I've written it in NS2, I prefer to do mastering in NS2 :) That way I keep it all together.

    Mastering is a huge topic, but NS2 has many options to help you. If you're learning how to master (like me!) there's a lot of info out there.... here's a video I found helpful: but also spend some time on google

    You can easily spend hours mastering a song if you want. But my key thoughts are:

    1. use an EQ-3B cut out frequencies you don't need, especially low frequencies - e.g on a lead, cut out the bass frequencies if that lead doesn't need them. That gives room for the other instruments.

    2. try to make the low frequencies mono or central in the mix so that you are spreading the hard work between the two speakers (the Stereo Gain fx has a mono button if you want to make this simple)

    3. listen for any annoying frequencies, and cut them out with a EQ-3B

    4. use EQ-3B to balance the range of frequencies so that it sounds good to you, but if you find your settings on any of the gain knobs are more than about +4 you may need to go back to mixing levels or think about what instruments are playing where

    5. put a little reverb. distortion and compression on the master to make it sound more like a real room :)

    Everything you try, A/B it by turning the effect on and off and asking yourself whether it makes a difference... just watch out that a small change that makes something louder always sounds better, but soon your mix is just loud noise, so check that any change you make doesn't just sound better because it's a little louder.

    Your key tools are the EQ-3B, your choice of groups and sends, and a touch of compression. You'll learn a lot from the process, and figuring out how to make it happen.

    It's a bit difficult to give rules on how to master, since it depends on your music style, and what you want the mastering to do... But the tools are there. If you have a track, you're welcome to post it here. along with what you'd want mastering to improve, and I could suggest how I'd try to do that? Yay collaboration! :grin:

    Well dude, Okay2... i understood 🤗🤗🤗
    Thank you for your support dud, you’re helpful!!!
    For @Trigger_the_Monkey i will trying it, but need more times btw. So Before I’m used BM2 and GB. I don’t have a PC yet but I don’t want, maybe like iPad 😬.
    And after the NanoStudio 2 released for iPhone then i tried it, I was shocked!! I was thinking my iPhone is my PC right now 👨🏻‍💻😜. It’s really good app!!! Just needs little options, as you know.. but this is enough for me. Especially I’m glad about the stock plugins and UI it’s helpfully! So i made music like a lofi beat btw..

    So again thanks all😘 I will trying it.. 👨🏻‍💻🤗

    *note: sorry about my English, I’m still learning and learning..

    Check out this site. Scroll down until you come to a section that says “Hear The Difference”. It allows you to do an AB comparison between un-mastered and mastered versions of different styles of music.

    A big part of mastering is “tasteful” use of EQ and compression to try to make your music sound best across different playback platforms (ear buds, car stereo, home speakers).

    One thing to remember is there will always be some compromise between what you hear on your studio monitors and what is heard elsewhere. That can’t be avoided.

    https://www.landr.com/what-is-mastering/

    Ohh.. thank you so much. Thanks for your support it would be helpfully too.. 🤗🌈

  • edited November 2019

    Not specifically limited to mastering, but one of the most helpful series of videos on mixing and production I’ve seen to-date.

  • when it comes to mixing this was for me super helpful many years ago, really great video

  • The fun part of mastering inside of NS2 on a bigger tune :lol:

    BUT that’s got some hefty plugins on the master chain (fabfilter limiter at 32x over sampling haha, multiband at 4x, and grind is a beast and I wouldn’t use it but it’s basically part of this one drum tracks entire sound, so I deal with it) and shedloads of stuff going on. Takes awhile for a 5min song :smiley:

    My biggest tip is to take your time and Master in the morning when your ears are fresh. Listen to some reference material and then start. And not at a loud volume. If it sounds bad quiet, it will sound worse loud.

  • Also, a good sounding track is probably 90% mixing and 10% mastering. The mix is where the big stuff happens, mastering is just the wax polish on top.

    I found this a nice view into what happens with a big hit dance song in the mixing and mastering stages. Not really something you can use 1:1 in Nanostudio but it made some things click for me when I first saw it and I keep going back to it periodically.

  • @drez said:
    The fun part of mastering inside of NS2 on a bigger tune :lol:

    BUT that’s got some hefty plugins on the master chain (fabfilter limiter at 32x over sampling haha, multiband at 4x, and grind is a beast and I wouldn’t use it but it’s basically part of this one drum tracks entire sound, so I deal with it) and shedloads of stuff going on. Takes awhile for a 5min song :smiley:

    My biggest tip is to take your time and Master in the morning when your ears are fresh. Listen to some reference material and then start. And not at a loud volume. If it sounds bad quiet, it will sound worse loud.

    This confuses me. If you’re mixing, eq’ing, etc., listening to a real-time rendering, and then additional processing requiring a slowdown is being applied ... that what comes out is different than what you mixed to, isn’t it? Do you just assume it sounds “better” because it’s higher quality? Or do you compare to see how the results have changed and if they really sound better / how you wanted them to? Does it take multiple iterations to get the final “slow” rendering the way you wanted it?

    Thanks for any insight. I always prefer the highest quality end result in the audio, but if I’m needing to “guess” at what subtle alterations might be happening, I’d rather live with slightly lower quality, unless there’s aliasing or something I can hear that needs the higher quality render.

  • @drez so, you're in final stage of your new track ? That is pretty cool, can't wait to hear it ! :-)

  • edited November 2019

    @number37 said:

    @drez said:
    The fun part of mastering inside of NS2 on a bigger tune :lol:

    BUT that’s got some hefty plugins on the master chain (fabfilter limiter at 32x over sampling haha, multiband at 4x, and grind is a beast and I wouldn’t use it but it’s basically part of this one drum tracks entire sound, so I deal with it) and shedloads of stuff going on. Takes awhile for a 5min song :smiley:

    My biggest tip is to take your time and Master in the morning when your ears are fresh. Listen to some reference material and then start. And not at a loud volume. If it sounds bad quiet, it will sound worse loud.

    This confuses me. If you’re mixing, eq’ing, etc., listening to a real-time rendering, and then additional processing requiring a slowdown is being applied ... that what comes out is different than what you mixed to, isn’t it? Do you just assume it sounds “better” because it’s higher quality? Or do you compare to see how the results have changed and if they really sound better / how you wanted them to? Does it take multiple iterations to get the final “slow” rendering the way you wanted it?

    Thanks for any insight. I always prefer the highest quality end result in the audio, but if I’m needing to “guess” at what subtle alterations might be happening, I’d rather live with slightly lower quality, unless there’s aliasing or something I can hear that needs the higher quality render.

    To make sure we’re on the same page here, I do many (so very many) iterations. My writing process is:

    • Empty slate. No premade template, just one channel.
    • I just start with the first thing that comes to my hands whether it’s drums, bass, lead, pad, etc.
    • I start building around this thing, but I don’t mix anything unless it is to sculpt a sound to make it sound a specific way.
    • As I start to add types of sounds (drums, bass, leads, raps, pads, etc) I start to group each of those into group tracks (ie, 2 bass tracks in a group, 3 drum tracks grouped, 4 Raps, etc). Still no real mixing or EQing.
    • If I start to add strings, I will group all of them, but then I will do sub groups of those (violins, cellos, hi string, bass string, fulls...all in their own subgroup) because I tend to layer those... a lot.
    • Now I start to put compressors specifically for side chaining on the main sub groups and create a couple of different side channel tracks in its OWN subgroup that I send to the side chain compressors and start to tweak based on what’s going on in the track. I automate those sends a lot, mostly the amount of signal I send to those side chain compressors.
    • Now that I start to have an idea of all the sounds that are making up the song, I start throwing in Eq’s to start carving out space for all the different parts and what frequencies I want to bring out...not by boosting frequencies, but by cutting frequencies that I don’t need on other channels. I start to shelve out higher frequencies in the bass subgroup to make room for the higher string parts, etc.. It’s a long process for me because I listen to different sections to see if what I want to “pop” is actually popping out. I also automate filters, etc to cut stuff out as needed at different sections to make space for different things at different times.
    • I create true compressors (not sidechain comps) to start wrangling in those peaks and also bring out quiet things like strings and also fatten up basses
    • Now I start to add return channels for delays, reverbs, distortions, etc and start sending various channels or subgroups to those. I also side chain those and tend to roll off a lot of the low end of those so they don’t muddy the mix.
    • When I’m finally starting to finish up with the arrangement of the song (like the intro, chorus’s, bridge, verses etc are all laid out and I’m not changing the length or the placement of those sections anymore) THEN I start to automate. I add strereo gains and automate the volume of various tracks. I automate reverbs, delays, filter sweeps, the volumes of the returns on each sidechain source so that I can bring out different instruments at different times. Like sometimes I want the piano to be the sidechain source instead of the kick..all that takes automation. This process takes me forever. Days and days.
    • Now that the song is 80% complete, the last 20% takes the longest. Here is where I am listening, tweaking, taking a some time off, coming back to it, tweaking some more, taking a break, etc. I find that if I try to do it all to quickly I end up getting set in a rut and not necessarily hearing things objectively. So I leave it for a couple days (or more if I get busy with life) and come back and see if it’s still sounding good to me. Lots of times your ears get tired and what you hear after a couple days sounds nothing like you thought it did :lol:
    • Now that I feel I have the best mix I can make across all the individual channels and stems...now I can finally focus on mastering. This is where I normally use izotope ozone and/or neutron on the desktop to dial in troublesome frequencies and start setting the elastic EQ nodes to automatically duck specific frequencies. BUT, on this tune I’m working on now, I’m trying this with the fabfilter plugins in NS2 on the main grouped track and I think it’s going to be acceptable for me. I’m trying to do everything I can in ios if I can because it’s fun to do! See how far I can push the platform.
    • I render out masters, see how they sound, then go back and tweak the original mixes if I discover I just can’t quiet get it right because maybe there’s too much bass in the bass or highs in the strings, etc. I do a bunch of these, and again, I take time off and keep trying with fresh ears. I don’t work weeks on a song just to rush through the mastering process and make it sound good enough. I want it to sound the best that I can, to the best of my ability. Time has no meaning to me, if it doesn’t sound right I’m not done.
    • Finally, if I’m ever satisfied enough, I’m done! Sometimes, I just throw songs out at any point, even right before mastering, if I realize...after listening to this song for days and days...that it actually...sucks :lol: Then I cry for a few minutes (...hours?) and never listen to it again haha. Life’s too short to try and fix crappy music. A new idea will come along and you’ll be so glad you didn’t waste any more time on the other one.

    Anyway, that’s my own process. Others I’m sure are much more efficient and able to turn out spectacular stuff in a shorter period of time, but this works for me.

    EDIT: I forgot to talk about upping the over sampling on the plugins for mastering. At the start I did leave them at no oversampling but could definitely hear differences in the render, mostly on the distortion tracks I’ve got for this specific song. In general I love distortion and I think I hear the difference when I crank up the over sampling on those tracks and on anything I’m using a higher resonance amount on filters. Could be my ears wanting to hear it as better, but it’s worth it to me. This song was taking .4x render time before I added those fabfilters to the master chain anyway. But OMG did the battery drain start to happen fast haha. I really am maxing out the CPU on this 2017 12.9” Pro. She’s been so good to me and has handled everything I’ve thrown at her :heart:

  • @dendy said:
    @drez so, you're in final stage of your new track ? That is pretty cool, can't wait to hear it ! :-)

    Yeah man! Been taking me way to long to get a hold of this mix. Too many channels haha. My good friend is making an artwork for it, so I’m waiting on him to finish that up then I’ll throw it up on SoundCloud so it can smash all the frequencies I’ve slaved over :lol: the 96khz/32bit wav files sound so much better. I might post those somewhere for people to compare with if they want.

    I find it amazing how much better it sounds after taking my time and figuring out what doesn’t sound quite right in the main mix and fixing it instead of just trying to attempt a fix at mastering time. You end up ruining the whole song because you cut something or boost it for the entire song instead of just fixing a few problem frequencies on a few specific channels At a few different points in time. I think patience is the key for me.

  • edited November 2019

    thanks for sharing, cool to see somebody is using at 95% same process like me (including throwing away almost finished song :cry: :)))

    :+1: :+1:

    Btw did you try for mastering Klevgrand Grand Finale ? I'm very addicted to their Korvpressor - amazing compressor, best on iOS, it works just perfect- i can do with it in seconds somethign for which i need half hour with any other compressor+eq+limiter, so i'm seriously considering checking Grand Finale - in case it has same "mojo" like Korvpressor it may be ultimate mastering tool..

  • edited November 2019

    @dendy said:
    thanks for sharing, cool to see somebody is using at 95% same process like me (including throwing away almost finished song :cry: :)))

    :+1: :+1:

    Btw did you try for mastering Klevgrand Grand Finale ? I'm very addicted to their Korvpressor - amazing compressor, best on iOS, it works just perfect- i can do with it in seconds somethign for which i need half hour with any other compressor+eq+limiter, so i'm seriously considering checking Grand Finale - in case it has same "mojo" like Korvpressor it may be ultimate mastering tool..

    I had korvpressor on a couple channels but it was starting to hang on load and save (like that was the plugin name it was trying to load and hanging) so I ripped it out. To be honest, it could have been grind the whole time, but was just pulling stuff out to get it to work. Grind...I shake my fist at thee! The hoops I’ve jumped through just to get files to load and render have been brutal. Now, about 50% of the time, Grind loads up and the entire grind UI is just blank. I have to try and delete it and reload it so get it to show up. If it wasn’t for this whole drum section that basically highlights the feedback I get from it, I would rip it out. But it sounds too cool!

    Fabfilters limiter and multiband comp on the master channel have really impressed me. I’m starting a new song just on iPhone and I’m doing it with only NS2 plugins as experiment. Need to figure out how to create a feedback loop with the waveshaper and some routing, if that’s possible?

  • never had single issue with corpressor and i almost overuse it :-)

    Need to figure out how to create a feedback loop with the waveshaper and some routing, if that’s possible?

    didn't tried it yet, but in theory audio send AUfx plugin which is part of ApeMatrix package ?

  • Thanks for the posts, @drez and @Stiksi

    I hadn't seen that Future Music video, or even heard of Luca Pretolesi, but boy does he contribute a lot to get the sound of that track to where it was when released, and he explains why he's doing what he does so well, which is great because the tools in NS2 can often get you a similar effect... I'm keeping a link to that video in my notes :)

    @drez, great expo on how you go about the production process, you don't often see people go to the effort of laying it out so well.

  • Thanks for the truly generous and informative reply @drez. I see that it’s much more an iterative process with those final renders. I’m sure the process is worth it. I too have found that I can learn a lot from what is different between different renders of the same track. Sometimes I like the original better, sometimes I find that what I thought I liked before sounded flawed in that new light.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

  • You’re welcome @Trigger_the_Monkey and @number37. I think this forum has a lot of great resources we can each pull from. So many talented musicians, engineers and sound designers. The music coming out of the NS2 users is really good and the folks Matt has surrounded himself with are very active here and have been very helpful sharing how they not only use NS2 but create. Thankful for all these great artists on the forum.

  • Hi everyone, this is a fantastic thread/resource - my thanks to all who already contributed!

    I'm a new poster here, but long-time user of Nanostudio (1&2) (I love it/them) and I am also now self-teaching myself things like mixing and mastering to try and get my tracks to sound as good as possible.

    One question I have for Nanostudio 2 is about the mixing channels screen : When I mix audio stems in most apps (for example Auria), the meters show a scale with 0db at the very top, and I am reading about how things should generally stay around the -10db to -6db area and so on (before mastering) - but on Nanostudio 2 I see a 0 marking and above that, a +6 and +12... !! which show red in the master channel whenever something goes above zero. (I assume red = bad ;-D) Can anyone clear up my confusion or point me to a resource/manual page for Nanostudio where I can figure out why they are different on different apps, and what numbers are 'best practice' to avoid clipping etc? My previous experiences come from some years back using analogue four track tape recordings etc, so I am a bit new to the digital version of metering, which appears to work in a different way.

    I realise this is huge topic and I'm not expecting anyone to give me full in-depth tutorial ;)

    I'm just interested in finding more resources and always learning more. I've recently posted a couple of tracks in the Creations Thread in case anyone is interested in the context of what kind of music I am making.
    Cheers all, and many thanks for this great community!

  • Welcome to the forum. :)

    TLDR; version:

    • having meters that go above 0db is normal for modern DAWs and equipment
    • Targeting below 0db for all tracks is good practice.
    • Targeting 0db or below for the master can be critical.
    • Targeting -14db LUFS for the entire track is generally advised if you will be uploading to streaming services.

    Long version:

    Your question surprised me a little because I can't recall any DAW that has 0db at the top of the meters. They always have 0db somewhere below the top, with some room above for peaks higher than 0db. I'm guessing the meters you have seen are on apps or equipment that will clip if the signal goes over zero, leading to distortion.

    Most DAWs process audio internally with 24 or 32 bit, which allows them to work with audio that goes over 0db without distorting. If a digital system can only work with 16 bit integer numbers, then a wave form more than 0db can't be calculated so it is "clipped". Picture a sine wave flattened off at the top instead of being rounded. It introduces distortion.

    What this means is you don't have to worry quite so much about "gain-staging", which is trying to keep all meters safely below 0db because the DAW won't introduce clipping distortion internally. It's still a good practice because when you export your song it may end up in a 16bit format that will clip if over 0db. You also don't know for sure how certain plugins may react with audio over 0db.

    Assuming you've kept things reasonably under control in your tracks, the critical part is the master level. Attitudes about this have been changing over the years. Most streaming services are now processing uploaded audio to sort of level them out to a standard measure of loudness (non technical explanation). This means, if you upload audio that is outside those loudness measurements, they'll adjust the volume and apply compression or limiting for you ... which can noticeably change the sound of your track.

    To avoid this, at the final stages of mastering, people seem to usually say to target a loudness of -14db LUFS, which is what Spotify uses. What is LUFS? It's an international standard way of measuring "loudness". It differs from just volume. I won't go into detail - you can look it up if interested.

    How to do that? Well, you can't with BM3 or any other DAW I know of. You need an app that can. One inexpensive app that can do LUFS metering is 4Pockets Analyzer & Tuner plugin. The Fab Filter plugins such as Pro L2 have even better tools for LUFS level mastering, but are expensive. I believe ToneBoosters has plugins that have LUFS as well. Grand Finale has LUFS metering, but it's not as useful as the others for LUFS because it doesn't measure for the full song.

    The important thing with LUFS is to play the entire track to get the overall LUFS. Playing just part of a track won't give accurate results. In general, I don't worry about LUFS at all until the very last stage.

  • edited August 5

    @number37 thanks for such an in-depth answer! I will take on board your tips and suggestions and keep on trying things out :)
    I already bought FabFilters ProEQ3 which was (in my experience) totally worth the money, so I might be in the market for the FFPro Limiter too... I usually keep a watch on iOSnoops.com for lots of apps, for deals and special offers ;)

    Just for completeness, [and hopefully to resolve your confusion at never having seen something the way I described it, which is almost certainly down to my description...! =) ] here is a partial screenshot of something playing in Auria Pro on my iPad. I can see two scales for each fader: the left hand one has the 'zero setting' for the fader - so I can increase or decrease the volume in the mix, by going + or - dBs
    ... but I'm reasonably sure that the right hand scale is in relation to the light-up meter readings, and is a reading in dB (with a zero at the top). It is also colour-coded with (I assume) green being in the OK zone, yellow/orange in the 'watch out' zone, and red being a 'danger of clipping' zone.

    Does that reading of the UI seem right to you?

    Many thanks for your insights, and those of everybody else in this wonderful forum community!

    Last question - I do see that the Master fader/meter is always going higher than my individual faders - meaning I can have each track not-clipping but the master track is clipping. It makes sense to me (as the audio files are being added together) but I wonder what is the best practice for solving this? eg reduce all individual tracks to a lower-than-optimal level so that the Master track is at the right level, or reduce the Master fader so the total output is lower, etc. I guess it depends on whether the meter is showing the levels arriving at the Master bus or the levels leaving the Master bus...? I have the same issue/question when using the mixer view in Nanostudio too.

    Thanks in advance! Have a nice day!

  • edited August 5

    reduce just master.. you don't need take a care about volumes of individual channels, because NS is using for mixing 32 bit floating point precision (that floating point is important) which means it is almost impossible to get clipping ;) Just try it - set volumes of faders all the way up - it looks othat now it is all totally clipped - but now put fader on master all the way down until it is not clipping - and you hear all sound is clear even throug it looks like i dividual tracks meters are clipping - but they aren't - because dynamic range of 32bit floating point precision is 1528 dB

    If you want undertand more about how modern DAWs are mixing and why it is totally not important what is level of i dividual tracks and only thing you need to watch is master, chech this video.. It is primary about Reason but same can be applied to any DAW

  • Hi @bobheads you're right about Auria Pro's meters. I haven't been in there for awhile and I never noticed it. I suppose it's designed to look like hardware. With analog hardware you would get clipping above 0db so it makes sense to top the meters out there I guess. In a modern DAW, I would call it a design decision more than anything functional. On the other hand it's possible that Auria Pro actually does do some kind of clipping intentionally at 0db - I don't know, I haven't tested it.

    As for levels on individual tracks and the master, I think your get the idea now. It's just not critical to manage levels as carefully as it was with hardware. There's still a lot of lingering assumptions left over from those days, but they're just not relevant any more except for the final output.

    I still like to keep to those principles as general guidelines though. Despite DAW capabilities, I have seen non-distortion plugins that do distort or sound differently when driven over 0db. I like to keep my levels in check, ideally so that only super minor adjustments are needed on the master. To me it's just good housekeeping ... but I don't obsess about it.

  • Many thanks @dendy and @number37 ! =) =)

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