Dubspot Instructor Daniel Wyatt offers a glimpse into Level 3 of our Mixing & Mastering program; explains and demonstrats Basic Limiting using iZotope‘s Ozone 4. Students will learn essential tips and techniques for polishing their tracks, and giving them a finished, professional sound.
As the loudness war marches on, the modern mastering engineer increasingly turns to his/her limiter to create masters that keep up with the ever-increasing commercially-expected level. Essentially the limiter is a compressor that works with a fast attack, fast release, and a high ratio. As the threshold is decreased, the limiter quickly pulls down the peak transients (mostly the kick drum) and, then, with the the newly-created headroom, turns up the newly-compressed track with the make-up gain. This is where the primary loudness comes from!
Different limiters have different personalities and tonalities. The most important quality in a mastering compressor with regard to electronic music production is it’s ability to retain the low-frequency content while conducting the sometimes extreme amounts of compression/limiting that modern music requires. iZotope’s Ozone Mastering suite has a Loudness Maximizer that is capable of generating a club-poundingly loud master without sacrificing the low-end of the track. As the kick drum keeps happy club-goers dancing all across the globe, the mastering engineer must be careful to not decrease the kick’s power in the new master. When applied with skill and sensitivity, the Loudness Maximizer can create some amazingly pleasing yet very loud results.
Using the mastering limiter is one of three main ways of creating loudness. The other two are: compressing the low-frequencies of the track with a multiband compressor and then raising the level of that band, and by creating “perceived loudness” — which is a boost of either EQ or saturation in the upper-mid frequencies. In the first practice of multiband compression, additional RMS energy (slow moving acoustic power) is created by adding more compressed low-frequency to the mix. In the second practice, additional “presence” is created by way of additive EQ or saturation in the 2000-8000 K zone to make the track feel “closer”, ergo, louder.
All three of these practices, limiting, multiband compression, and increasing perceived loudness, combine to generate a loud, modern master. Ozone provides all of the tools to achieve this goal, as well as other mastering tools to create greater stereo width and imaging. Every aspect of mastering with Ozone is taught in Dubspot’s Mixing and Mastering course — both online and in the physical school. In addtion, the basic techniques are demonstrated on Dubspot’s Youtube tutorial channel.
As a final thought, while it is a very exciting and powerful feeling to make a track louder, it is very important that one does not participate in the ever-escalating loudness war. please excercise some restraint. Dynamics are a good things, and limiter-abuse strips the track of it’s low-end dynamics and can create a non-bouncy, harsh master. recently there has been a new trend on the part of the top producers to “run the other way” and deliver tracks to Beatport that are not over-limited. If these well-respected tastemakers and veterans can continue with this movement, there is hope on the horizon of the loudness war.
- Daniel Wyatt, Dubspot Instructor and Mixing & Mastering Engineer
Transform rough ideas and basic compositions into dance floor bangers and sonically pleasing commercial quality masters. Learn the well-kept industry secrets of EQ, compression, panning, level balancing, reverb and special effects from platinum mix/mastering engineer, Daniel Wyatt, senior Dubspot Instructor.
“The videos were helpful and the chats were great. I expected a lot out of this course and I got it!”
- Jon Yu, California
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