Brickwall or Adaptive limiter on master, or neither?

Basically I've read a lot about different ways to make your sound "BIG" in the mix.

I have also seen a lot of arguments as to why you should or should not do certain things to your mix from the get go.

What i want to know is the benefits of either, adaptive limiting your master channel from the start of writing your track, brickwalling the master from the start, or trying to mix everything without peaking first, then bouncing to wav and making a new project where you throw ozone or something on the whole original bounce.

What i have been doing, is the latter (sort of)... I've been writing a track with a dry master channel and trying to push the most out of it without anything peaking, then putting an adaptive limiter on the master and bouncing the track.

Then in a new project, drop the audio file in, using a minimal amount of distortion in camelphat, which also brickwalls the signal (something audio explains in his tutorial) and throwing ozone after that and limiting the hell out of it. This doesn't seem to be causing me much distortion and my tracks are loud when compared with others, I'm simply asking if I'm going the complete wrong way about it and there is a much easier way to go.

Thanks in advance for any responses! :rslayer:


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I would avoid an adaptive limiter on your master out while mixing, not necessarily because of sound but because it introduces quite a bit of latency which will affect your CPU performance and MIDI input.

As far as the practice of mixing into compressors, limiters, etc., I've come to believe that it really boils down to your personal preference. I've seen producers work with a dry master and others with a very hot master. Some even bounce their final tune with the hot signal and processing plugins, but drop the volume fader down a couple of dBs prior to sending it off for mastering.

The thing is, we could all have a lengthy debate about the pros and/or cons of mixing into a limiter, compressor, saturator, etc. (which has been done ad nauseam here) as there are valid points to all sides whether it be headroom, a producer having an audible "draft" of the mastered mix, etc. What it boils down to is what will work best to create your signature sound.

For example, Mind Vortex did an online course where they mixed the tune directly into Ozone resulting in some very hot signals...and that's it. They'll bounce it down and send it off to be mastered. An audio purist would object to such practice because of the lack of headroom and the potential loss of true dynamic range. On the other hand, Mind Vortex would argue that this hot signal/in-your-face loudness is a part of what their tunes have their sound.

Try it a couple ways and let your ears make the final decision. I know it's not the concrete/definitive answer you're looking for, but such is the rabbit hole that is music production. :)

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I guess it's about testing what works for you then. I want loudness but still want to have headroom and dynamic range and i hope that comes across in my tracks. I'll test some other techniques and see what works best for ME.

Thanks for the response, lostnthesound :)