Old 11-09-2019, 08:11 AM   #1
Baggage
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Default Master fader and rendering

Is the master fader considered the two buss or the master buss, or both. I'm at the output stage for a session and wondering if I should but my outboard compressor on a summing track before the master fader, or on the master fader itself?

Thanks for any advice1
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:34 AM   #2
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Default This might help

As far as 2 bus or master, I believe they are used interchangeably.

I think you could route to your outboard compressor from either a submaster or master but others would know more about any up or downsides there. Apparently one way is to use reainsert as a plugin in your master or submaster effects chain.

Here is a good thread related to what you are talking about that will give some good insight regarding the master bus though. It was in relation to saving CPU but is relevant to what you are asking.

It talks about creating a master track or submaster (one of way of which would be to create a folder of the entire project, that way all the audio is automatically routed through the folder)to save cpu.

I believe one of the last few reaper updates included some performance improvements for folders, IIRC.



https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....+on+master+bus
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:32 PM   #3
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As far as 2 bus or master, I believe they are used interchangeably.

I think you could route to your outboard compressor from either a submaster or master but others would know more about any up or downsides there. Apparently one way is to use reainsert as a plugin in your master or submaster effects chain.

Here is a good thread related to what you are talking about that will give some good insight regarding the master bus though. It was in relation to saving CPU but is relevant to what you are asking.

It talks about creating a master track or submaster (one of way of which would be to create a folder of the entire project, that way all the audio is automatically routed through the folder)to save cpu.

I believe one of the last few reaper updates included some performance improvements for folders, IIRC.

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....+on+master+bus
Thank you for the link. It answered a few questions.

...I'm noticing that when I use the high speed offline render I loose my tracks with outboard gear via reinsert. When I use the real time online render they don't get lost. Lastly, when I render out a wav. file it is not as loud as the mix when played back in iTunes. Any thoughts there?
Thanks again!

Last edited by Baggage; 11-10-2019 at 09:13 AM. Reason: update
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:30 PM   #4
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...I'm noticing that when I use the high speed offline render I loose my tracks with outboard gear via reinsert.
How would you expect that to work?
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Baggage View Post
Thank you for the link. It answered a few questions.

...I'm noticing that when I use the high speed offline render I loose my tracks with outboard gear via reinsert. When I use the real time online render they don't get lost. Lastly, when I render out a wav. file it is not as loud as the mix when played back in iTunes. Any thoughts there?
Thanks again!
Processing what your outboard gear is doing to the signal and allowing reaper to code that into your song as it sends the signal from the compressor back to reaper can only be done in real time. Think about it, a hardware compressor works with electrical components and time parameters not calculations, so if reaper/your computer is computing the processing in faster than real time of your song, the compressor would not work right...if that makes sense. I don't think you can use any outboard processing with offline render, but I don't use outboard gear, so not well versed in the details of that.

Your second question is not clear to me. Need more info.
Are you saying that you rendered a wav of your mix, played that rendered wav in reaper then played that same rendered wav in itunes and it sounded louder in itunes?

I am just guessing what you're getting at here, but if you want to make sure your mix is at a relatively competitive level, once you render it, place your stereo wav into a project and measure its loudness with some sort of loudness meter, there are free ones available.
For reference load a wav of a commercial song of which you like the mix, and measure its loudness to compare it to yours. this way you are comparing apples to apples. Media players like Itunes can do all sorts of processing to the signal (eq, compression whatever) though I don't specifically know about what itunes specifically does.

As far as how and what makes a mix loud is a whole other can of worms...but everything from tracking levels, to how you compress, eq, and limit each track, bus, and the entire mix will all play into how loud you can get it and how good it sounds in the end, ie does it sound good and loud or just loud...
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:32 AM   #6
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Processing what your outboard gear is doing to the signal and allowing reaper to code that into your song as it sends the signal from the compressor back to reaper can only be done in real time. Think about it, a hardware compressor works with electrical components and time parameters not calculations, so if reaper/your computer is computing the processing in faster than real time of your song, the compressor would not work right...if that makes sense. I don't think you can use any outboard processing with offline render, but I don't use outboard gear, so not well versed in the details of that.
Admittedly, I jumped the gun with this question and soon after figured that out.

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Your second question is not clear to me. Need more info.
Are you saying that you rendered a wav of your mix, played that rendered wav in reaper then played that same rendered wav in itunes and it sounded louder in itunes?
In reaper I've created a mix that I was satisfied with, levels and all. I rendered out a wav file and listened to it in iTunes, but it was several db lower than the un-rendered mix. Therefore I did another render with the master fader level higher. It did make the rendered file louder but still not as loud as the un-rendered mix. I've done some more research and it appears that this is a common issue. Some of the answers given to others is that to achieve a professional (louder) rendered file you have to go through a mastering process to bring up the level. Other answers mentioned that there are multiple variables that go into the mix itself to get it louder, such as your advice on how it is mixed with compression, limiters etc.
Apparently not just one answer. I was hoping it was as simple as an unchecked box that would solve the problem... Thanks for the insight.

Last edited by Baggage; 11-11-2019 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:44 AM   #7
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It can start out very easy. If the loudest peak in your mix isn’t very close (within 1db or less) to 0dbFS, you don’t have any chance at all. Just turn up the master until it comes close to 0. Render that and see where you’re at.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Baggage View Post
Admittedly, I jumped the gun with this question and soon after figured that out.



In reaper I've created a mix that I was satisfied with, levels and all. I rendered out a wav file and listened to it in iTunes, but it was several db lower than the un-rendered mix. Therefore I did another render with the master fader level higher. It did make the rendered file louder but still not as loud as the un-rendered mix. I've done some more research and it appears that this is a common issue. Some of the answers given to others is that to achieve a professional (louder) rendered file you have to go through a mastering process to bring up the level. Other answers mentioned that there are multiple variables that go into the mix itself to get it louder, such as your advice on how it is mixed with compression, limiters etc.
Apparently not just one answer. I was hoping it was as simple as an unchecked box that would solve the problem... Thanks for the insight.
OK, I wasn't sure how much about mastering you were familiar with.
Yes, part of mastering is making the mix louder,(and if you don't do this it will be no where near a commercial mix in level), part of which is very simple as ashcat said, just turn up the gain as close to o as possible without going over. If that doesn't do it, the rest is done with a limiter at the least, and some compression may be used as well. And again, how the rest of the mix is done will the affect the apparent loudness as well (the dynamic range etc).

FYI I am in the habit of leaving the master fader at 0, and start my mix by making sure all the tracks are low enough that master is no where near clipping (some suggest -18 RMS for each track). That way you don't clip the master so easily and if your mix ends up a bit low, it does no harm to put a gain plug on the master channel and turn it up so it is peaking closer to 0, then compression and limiting to pump up the overall loudness and reduce dynamic range if you like). Doing some reading about mastering will help you get more familiar with these concepts. Then some reading about the history of the loudness wars might interest you ( some say they are over)...Have fun!
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
It can start out very easy. If the loudest peak in your mix isn’t very close (within 1db or less) to 0dbFS, you don’t have any chance at all. Just turn up the master until it comes close to 0. Render that and see where you’re at.
Ashcat, I did move the master to 0 and slightly above but the render out is still quieter in the iTunes playback compared to the reference tracks I'm using in iTunes. My metering for each track is hitting around -18 before the render. I've also right clicked on the master track and changed the offset to 0 from (-)14 (not sure if this is the right thing to do but I went for it) but still no increase in the rendered wav file.

***edit*** does LUFS have anything to do with your mention of 0 on the master?

The render doesn't sound bad, just quieter and I could live with it. My quest here is to find out why it is lower and if what I'm doing is wrong in a professional sense (although I am far from pro), or if what I am doing is normal for pros, and the rest is left to mastering.

Last edited by Baggage; 11-12-2019 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:23 AM   #10
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OK, I wasn't sure how much about mastering you were familiar with.
Yes, part of mastering is making the mix louder,(and if you don't do this it will be no where near a commercial mix in level), part of which is very simple as ashcat said, just turn up the gain as close to o as possible without going over. If that doesn't do it, the rest is done with a limiter at the least, and some compression may be used as well. And again, how the rest of the mix is done will the affect the apparent loudness as well (the dynamic range etc).

FYI I am in the habit of leaving the master fader at 0, and start my mix by making sure all the tracks are low enough that master is no where near clipping (some suggest -18 RMS for each track). That way you don't clip the master so easily and if your mix ends up a bit low, it does no harm to put a gain plug on the master channel and turn it up so it is peaking closer to 0, then compression and limiting to pump up the overall loudness and reduce dynamic range if you like). Doing some reading about mastering will help you get more familiar with these concepts. Then some reading about the history of the loudness wars might interest you ( some say they are over)...Have fun!
Thanks JM. When you say you use a limiter are you putting that on the master fader or other tracks. I've heard other say to not put fx on master?

Last edited by Baggage; 11-12-2019 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:05 PM   #11
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Thanks JM. When you say you use a limiter are you putting that on the master fader or other tracks. I've heard other say to not put fx on master?
If you are referring to the display offset when you right click on the master track meters, that will have no effect on the sound, only on how the meters are displaying information and levels.

You can put the limiter on the master for mastering/making the mix louder and it should work fine.(most people use compressors in the actual mix and not limiters, but limiters are also used in mixing in certain instances - a limiter is basically a compressor with an infinite ratio). From what I've read it might be less efficient or use more cpu in some cases with a lot of plugins on the master, but I don't know the details. But it will work fine unless you are running out of cpu overhead, I believe. I have rendered with mastering on the master track with good results

You shouldn't need to unless running out of cpu but, You could create a "submaster". A parent track which contains all the rest of your project tracks as folders will do this quickly and automatically. If it is done by routing all your tracks to a track acting as the submaster, then you have to make sure all the tracks go to the "submaster" and then the submaster is routed to the actual master track, You have to make sure that your submixes are not being routed to the master twice (ie to the submaster and directly to the master).

If your quest is try to find out why your mix is quieter, the lack of compression and limiting on the master track or 2 bus is likely your main answer. Commercial tracks are all compressed and or limited to some degree and that definitely makes them louder.

There are limiter plugins included with reaper, in the JS plugins.Try one of those. Set the ceiling at -0.2 or so to prevent any digital overs and pull the threshold down. You will hear it get louder. The key is to not overdo it, because it will ruin to sound and get distorted. Sometimes using a few limiters in series each with a lesser amount of gain reduction can have a more "Transparent" result since each limiter doesn't work as hard and it sounds more natural.

Try it! Just a word of warning though, that if your ears are not trained to hear the effect the limiter is having, you can do a lot of damage to your sound. It would best to do more gentle to limiting to avoid that.

Regarding what is professional, a "professional" mix will be mastered, probably by someone other than the mix engineer, and that mastering will include limiting that makes it louder. So if you don't feel you understand how to do it, you would avoid limiting the mix and send it to the mastering engineer and let them make it louder. But your mix will be quieter sounding than commercial mixes, if you don't compressed and/or limit it yourself or have someone else (a mastering engineer) do it.

Last edited by JohnnyMusic; 11-12-2019 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:03 PM   #12
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If you are referring to the display offset when you right click on the master track meters, that will have no effect on the sound, only on how the meters are displaying information and levels.

You can put the limiter on the master for mastering/making the mix louder and it should work fine.(most people use compressors in the actual mix and not limiters, but limiters are also used in mixing in certain instances - a limiter is basically a compressor with an infinite ratio). From what I've read it might be less efficient or use more cpu in some cases with a lot of plugins on the master, but I don't know the details. But it will work fine unless you are running out of cpu overhead, I believe. I have rendered with mastering on the master track with good results

You shouldn't need to unless running out of cpu but, You could create a "submaster". A parent track which contains all the rest of your project tracks as folders will do this quickly and automatically. If it is done by routing all your tracks to a track acting as the submaster, then you have to make sure all the tracks go to the "submaster" and then the submaster is routed to the actual master track, You have to make sure that your submixes are not being routed to the master twice (ie to the submaster and directly to the master).

If your quest is try to find out why your mix is quieter, the lack of compression and limiting on the master track or 2 bus is likely your main answer. Commercial tracks are all compressed and or limited to some degree and that definitely makes them louder.

There are limiter plugins included with reaper, in the JS plugins.Try one of those. Set the ceiling at -0.2 or so to prevent any digital overs and pull the threshold down. You will hear it get louder. The key is to not overdo it, because it will ruin to sound and get distorted. Sometimes using a few limiters in series each with a lesser amount of gain reduction can have a more "Transparent" result since each limiter doesn't work as hard and it sounds more natural.

Try it! Just a word of warning though, that if your ears are not trained to hear the effect the limiter is having, you can do a lot of damage to your sound. It would best to do more gentle to limiting to avoid that.

Regarding what is professional, a "professional" mix will be mastered, probably by someone other than the mix engineer, and that mastering will include limiting that makes it louder. So if you don't feel you understand how to do it, you would avoid limiting the mix and send it to the mastering engineer and let them make it louder. But your mix will be quieter sounding than commercial mixes, if you don't compressed and/or limit it yourself or have someone else (a mastering engineer) do it.
JM, Thanks. Lots of good info in this post. I'll try the limiter and see where it takes me.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:32 PM   #13
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In general, yo be 'safe', don't compress or limit by more than 1 or 2 dB till you get accustomed to how it works and sounds, unless you have a specific sonic goal beyond loudness.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:23 PM   #14
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In general, yo be 'safe', don't compress or limit by more than 1 or 2 dB till you get accustomed to how it works and sounds, unless you have a specific sonic goal beyond loudness.
Thanks Philbo. It's not that I want my mix louder, it's more of a question as to why my renders are not as loud as my mix???
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:39 PM   #15
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Thanks Philbo. It's not that I want my mix louder, it's more of a question as to why my renders are not as loud as my mix???
Did you test to see how different in level your mix and render are, by measuring it with a loudness plugin?

If not:
-Set a loop of part of your mix, maybe the loudest part.
-Download a loudness meter, (again there are free ones available, I think one is called youlean loudness meter) put it on your master bus as the last plug in the chain, or put it on the monitor chain. Play the loop and note the LUFS reading.
-Now import your render of the song into the same project and measure that (you have to bypass any plugins on the master track of the project when you measure the loudness of the render, because the render has already been affected by those so would be processed twice by playing back the render with them on). Now measure the LUFS of your render.
-That should give you an idea of how the levels really compare
-You could do the same thing with a commercial mix to see how your mix objectively compares(I think I mentioned this earlier), again bypass any master track plugs, so the commercial mix is not processed by them as you measure.
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:30 PM   #16
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Just downloaded youlean, thanks! Will test this weekend.
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