How To Make a Fat MixNayskii
My best advice on this is to stage the gain reduction.
Don’t try to do it all at once.
Have many clippers and limiters around the track. Sounds, groups, busses, etc can all have their own clippers or limiters that only do a TINY bit. The should be inactive most of the time and just serve to remove those tiny moments of extreme peaking you get during stages of summing.
The goal is TRANSPARENT peak reduction BEFORE the final limiter.
I often hold little shootouts on each group or buss. This means going back and forth between different devices and settings until I find the one that gets the result I want in the most high fidelity way.
Then when you’re at the final limiter you can have one last stage of peak clipping first and then only reduce the gain 6db or LESS in the final limiter to get a loud mix.
I try not to do more than 6dB reduction on the master limiter, hence staging the peak removal earlier. I have been known to break this ‘rule’ tho!
Also: Pro-L2: transparent mode, no look ahead, no true peak limiting, attack around 200ms, all stereo linking off. I choose these Pro-L2 Settings because time based compression processes tend to color the sound. Transparent mode in Pro-L2 colours it the least. Look ahead off (and over sampling turned up) preserves transient response. Unlinking the stereo processing preserves the width. Turning true peak off also preserves transient response. Don’t use look ahead if you want nice transients.
By doing this staged clipping / limiting I have been able to explore the extremes of loudness without noticeable distortion.
Clipping isn’t bad unless it sounds bad.
Clipping can often sound cleaner than limiting, it colours the non-clipped portions of the sound less and the transients tend to come out sharper.
Clipping a dj set is usually a bad idea but using clippers in your production is basically mandatory at this point!
Don’t be afraid of clipping! Clipping wants to be your friend <3
I got my last track to -2 LUFS this way! -2!
It is admittedly meant to be obnoxiously loud and distorted sounding but none of the distortion you hear is from the gain reduction or limiting.
Here is it for reference, downloads are enabled if you wanna dissect it.
Oh also: you want your side chains triggering 20 ms EARLY. When I started doing that I got a LOT more out of my drums.
If you learned anything useful please consider checking out my renegade music coaching community and record label over at https://ProducerDojo.com.
Lots of love
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