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Thread: Please Help Me!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Please Help Me!

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    Hello all,

    I'm Tony,

    I have a seriously frustrating problem and I'm hoping you guys can help me figure it out.

    I'm using Ableton 10, on a MacBook Pro, with a UA apollo twin interface.

    So, let me set up a scenario for you(this is just an example of a problem I have all the time with many different sources).

    I have a kick sample and I've set the kick sample so that its highest peak is -9.71db. All of my meters are reading the same thing and they're all well in the green. The RMS is around -17 dB. I've confirmed this with both the Ableton meters and with the youlean loudness meter. Also, the youlean is telling me the kick is at -22.5 lufs (short-term max).

    Now let's say I add an EQ 8 to the kick, to roll off some super low end (30hz cutoff hpf with a .71 q) The kick's peak immediately jumps to -6.38 and the lufs are reduced to -23.5. The kick is also noticeably quieter and weaker sounding.

    This is where I'm starting to get confused. I can understand how cutting bottom and would make the kick SOUND weaker but isn't the whole point of cutting bottom end to increase headroom? This appears to be doing the opposite. While also making the kick sound worse...

    My first thought was that I'm increasing a resonant peak by having the Q set too high. But even if I reduce the Q to .10(the lowest it will go) I still get an increase in peak dB.

    I have the same issue eqing in the other direction as well. Cutting the highs increases the peak DB(or at the very least doesn't decrease it) and reduces overall headroom. Again shouldn't reducing the amount of frequencies in a sound increase the headroom, thereby allowing me to turn it up? Or am I totally wrong and missing something?

    I'm also having a similar problem with saturation. For this, I'm using the Soundtoys Decapitator (though I have the same issue with the stock saturator in Ableton). First off by simply adding the plugin to the chain, it is increasing peak db to -8.19. And, once I begin to actually engage The drive section of the saturator the peak volume increases drastically, again with a decrease in perceived volume (and yes I'm reducing the output on the saturator accordingly).

    This is confusing the heck out of me because isn't a point of saturation that you can tame your peaks and thereby increase the perceived loudness of a sound while actually decreasing peak dB and gaining some headroom.

    This whole thing is just driving me crazy. I've looked for answers online and watched all sorts of videos and nobody in those videos seems to be having the same problems I'm having when they eq or saturate or anything else for that matter. I just don't understand how I'm supposed to mix if everything I've been told to do is making things sound worse and destroying my headroom. It literally feels like every plugin I use is making things worse, not better.

    I figure I'm an idiot and I gotta be missing something or misunderstanding something. Because everything I do sounds weak, flat, and bad compared to other's mixes I like.

    So, I hope you guys can help me get on the right path before I walk away for good because this is seriously sucking all the fun out of making music.

    Seriously Thank you for any and all help! And sorry for such a long post.
    Last edited by tpaone93; 4 Days Ago at 06:50 PM. Reason: meant hpf not lpf

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Jacksonville, FL
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    Hey! I had a problem with this as well up until about 3 years ago but, I can confidently say that I don't think it's the DAW or any of your plugins. By the way, I also use Ableton 10. Your solution might be in proper compression after the EQ. Any HPF on the lower register instruments and sounds is going to make it sound a bit weaker. About 70% of all that sonic space in genres such as Hip Hop, EDM and Trap is going to be occupied by low end frequencies, so cutting any amount of that will result is less body. I've found that compressing a kick after a 30 - 45 hz HPF roll off at a 5:1 ratio, 25 ms attack, and about 400 - 500 ms release with 2 or 3 db of make up gain is a good starting point for most beefy kicks. Also, parallel compression is a great technique for compensating the loss of power in the sample.

    I hope I understood your question correctly and that this helps!

    -Charlie Hayz Music

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Do you have an overall compression or limiter? If yes, which are the parameters of this thing?
    Last edited by cristian2cu; 3 Days Ago at 11:23 AM.

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