Limiters can control dynamics on any stem output. Scott demonstrates how these can be transparently used to protect peak levels, as well as how to manage different level delivery mixes.
- [Instructor] 95% of commercial audio mixes I'm doing these days ask for two different mixes: a broadcast-safe mix and a web mix. This means they need a version that passes the loudness specs for legal broadcast, but also, because a legal broadcast mix might sound a little wimpy coming off a website on a phone or a laptop, they also want a web levels mix. Now, if you don't know what I mean by loudness specs, please go watch my previous movie on levels management in this course's archive. This week, I'm going to show you how to use a special technique to move quickly between your broadcast mix and your web levels mix with the simple use of a transparent brick wall-type limiter, like this L1 limiter, on all of your output stems.
First, I always mix the broadcast mix first. While working on this, I set my transparent limiter, like this L1, to these parameters. I set the threshold and the output ceiling to about minus 10, and I do this on all of the stems, the VO stem, the music stem, the sound effects stem, and I have that on all three of my stems at those values. Then I mix the piece into that compressor, and I try not to hit it too hard.
But by having the output ceiling at minus 10, it gets me right in the ballpark to meet our broadcast specs, which are minus 24. I've got the loudness meter over here on the right, so where I can monitor the long-term setting. We want to ideally be at the target range of minus 24. So I've already gone ahead and mixed this into these limiters, and you can see where it's hitting. Now I wanted you to pay attention. I'm going to have the VO limiter up, and just notice how it's hitting the limiter. It's not being overly compressed or overly crushed, but notice that it's capping the output ceiling and we're able to hit our target value of minus 24.
I'll go ahead and play this mix, and you can hear what that sounds like. (funky digital music) - [Narrator] When pedaling, all of your leg muscles work during a revolution, but there are two phases where muscle groups tend to dominate the movement. The downstroke-- - [Instructor] All right, so the limiter is just sitting in there and it's creating a perfect environment to hit that value of minus 24. So that is our broadcast level mix, and we're good with that. What we do now is print our stems and print our full mix, send that off, and now we're set up to do our web level mix.
So what I would do is do a File, Save As, and I would name this web. And this is cool because I don't have to change any of the volume or any of my mix, that it's already been done for the broadcast mix. All I want to do now is take a look at this special setting, which is the output ceiling on all three of these limiters, and then I can get my mix right up to web level. So what I would do is I would go through to the output ceiling on each of the stems, and I'd raise it right up to about minus four.
And what that'll do is it'll preserve your mix, but because these limiters are loudness maximizers as well as transparent limiters, it'll make up that lost gain and bring it right up to the web level. I'm going to do this on the music, and the sound effects as well. So I'll just raise your output ceiling to minus four. And we're going to let it rip, and you'll notice it'll be quite a bit louder. But watch where it's hitting on the level meter over here.
Ideally, it should be somewhere between minus 18 and minus 16 to hit the web levels to make it really pop off of a laptop or a phone, here we go. (funky digital music) - [Narrator] When pedaling, all of your leg muscles work during a revolution, but there are two phases where muscle groups tend to dominate the movement. The downstroke is dominated by the gluteus max-- - [Instructor] So there we go, we're hitting right at the bottom of our web level, right around minus 18. We could go even higher on these output ceilings. But what you really want to do at this point is, make your web level mix, and then play it out of a laptop or a phone, and make sure it pops next to, maybe, some other content that was created for the web.
But that's the way to do it, and this way, you don't have to change your mix at all. You get to preserve the mix you worked hard on already, and you just do a couple settings and you're right back to web levels. So this quick little technique of using a limiter can save a lot of time in your workflow, and this way, you don't have to do two completely separate mixes to satisfy the typical request for a broadcast and web mix.