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EQ or Compression first ? Overloading limiter input ?

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I have my 30 seconds demo recorded and ready to be sent to my guitar player. I just wanted to make some mini home "mastering" to be sure I'm not too low in levels (or too high god forbid :D).

I recorded everything really carefully (nothing clipping, not even close to) and I wanted to have Broadcast Ready mastering preset as my starting point. Now I have 2 concerns I'd like to get more familiar with...


1. Should EQ be before or after compression ? I read debate on that... If I make some EQing before compression, will compression squash my EQ changes ?

Or should I compress first and than make some EQing ?


2. I have Adaptive Limiter as my last plugin in chain. Now...If I understood well, left meter (Margin) is showing input level and right meter (Margin) is showing my output level, is that correct ? Than Input Scale knob is for how much signal I want l to put into limiter and Out Ceiling is my limiting knob, or my loudest allowed peak in the mix ? Gain is simply for boosting gain for whole mix, am I right ?

If so, what if my input is clipped (you can see red OVER indicators on the left) ?

Should I be concerned, since nothing is clipping in the mix and it sounds pretty good (but I have cheap crappy monitors) ?


Thanks you guys a lot. Cheers.


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1- EQ/Compression: It depends on what you're trying to do and what you processing. In most cases, I'd use an EQ before compression, but it really depends - either could be correct. Use your ears on this one...


2. Ad Limiter - I would recommend that you first reset the Output Ceiling to -0.1. That should give you enough margin to keep the output from overshooting and clipping. Next I would set the Gain to zero. Then lower your Input so that it peaks just below clipping. With this set, now start raising the Gain until you reach the desired level of limiting.

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100% agree with ERO on both counts.


1) Let's say you are EQing/compressing a guitar mic that has a lot of snare bleed in it. You use an EQ plug-in to EQ out some of that snare as best as you can. If you compressed before that EQ, then you'd be compressing the guitar every time the snare hits, which is not desirable. So in that case you'd put the EQ before the compression. But compression changes the frequency content of your sound. Let's say that after compression you've lost some of the guitar's presence and brightness. You could put an EQ after the compression to bump up those high-mids a bit. Putting that EQ before the compressor wouldn't yield as good a result in that case.


I know you're talking about processing the whole mix, but basically that's the idea: corrective EQ before the compressor, artistic EQ after. But really you have to experiment and see what sounds best for your situation. There's nothing wrong with using two EQs. Nothing wrong with using two or more compressors either. Do what the project at hand needs.


2) In theory, reduce the input gain so the input scale doesn't clip. In practice, use your ears.

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Thank you guys, you really helped me.


I know I should use my ears as my main guide, but I really freak out when see things going into red. My early last recording sessions ended distorted because I was totally reckless and my signal path levels went wild.

Now I try to keep everything tight and safe in order to have some fun time in the mixing process and not to fix things.


ERO....Ok, I'll go slowly with AD Limiter. Reset everything and put OutCeiling to -0.1 (I thought it will be more safe if I put -0.3 :D ), than I'll start adding Gain as you said.


David...Yeah, I'll try to add more than one EQ and Compressor and different types of those plugins and than I'll make subtle changes rather than having one EQ and one Comp and boost/cut tone of frequencies with EQ and compress life out of my track with one plugin used 100%. I will try to use T-Racks and add different things dialing small increments and packing thing up that way.


You guys rock. Thanks.

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