MPC X & MPC Live Forum: Support and discussion for the MPC X & MPC Live, Akai's current generation of standalone MPCs.
By Manglepup Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:25 am
Hey,

Just wanted to see if anyone has felt their way around the Air Maximizer. I have been trying to use it on my master track; as a way of limiting anything that is clipping and / or bringing levels up a bit - but to be honest I am having a hard time with it. I haven't used a plugin like it before (I use hardware almost exclusively), so I've had cases where it really adds to a track, but then others where its undoubtedly distorting things and throwing the relative level of instruments/programs off.

I know that individually getting every pad, and every programs level right is probably the best way; but I've enjoyed the maximizer in some cases because it takes me 90% of the way to that goal without having to futz with all the levels and the relative mixing.

I was hoping someone might have some pointers for using it, or if you think another route to control clipping is best - feel free to mention it. Also, please feel free to throw advice for any of the other Air FX in here as well - I've had a pretty good results with the Filter Gate, Reverb, Non-Linear Reverb (situational), Ensemble, and Channel Strip.
By CharlesRandolph Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:17 am
Manglepup wrote:Hey,

Just wanted to see if anyone has felt their way around the Air Maximizer. I have been trying to use it on my master track; as a way of limiting anything that is clipping and / or bringing levels up a bit - but to be honest I am having a hard time with it. I haven't used a plugin like it before (I use hardware almost exclusively), so I've had cases where it really adds to a track, but then others where its undoubtedly distorting things and throwing the relative level of instruments/programs off.

I know that individually getting every pad, and every programs level right is probably the best way; but I've enjoyed the maximizer in some cases because it takes me 90% of the way to that goal without having to futz with all the levels and the relative mixing.

I was hoping someone might have some pointers for using it, or if you think another route to control clipping is best - feel free to mention it. Also, please feel free to throw advice for any of the other Air FX in here as well - I've had a pretty good results with the Filter Gate, Reverb, Non-Linear Reverb (situational), Ensemble, and Channel Strip.


There is no short cuts when it comes to mixing.
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By J.O.BEATS Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:31 am
Be careful of your levels going into the maximizer. And only slightly use it, meaning dont slam your mix into. Get maybe 1 to 3 dB reduction max and
By CharlesRandolph Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:32 am
If he's having inconsistent result, then the AIR Maximizer won't help. Get your mix and levels to feel, sound, and evoke the emotions he wants. Before adding anything to the master buss. That way you can really understand, what it's doing.
By Frisbi Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:30 am
I don't use it.
I use limiters only at the very end of the mixing, and I first export the outputs to a multitrack to make the final mixing.
Tips on Air fx:
The Reverb, with time at infinite, can work like a freeze.
The delay also freezes the repeats at feedback at 100.
Filter Gate can make very interesting rythms with attack at 0 and short decay. It can be a reverser and an autopanner also.
The reverb becomes interesting when chained to a phaser, flanger or multichorus.
By Eyalc Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:39 am
I don't use that particular plugin, but I agree with Charles. Nothing you can do to shortcut the work necessary before the maximizer.

I have a mixing plugin chain that I put on my master buss (that includes a maximizer), but I don't insert it until the mix sounds exactly like I want. My goal is to mix the track without the master buss chain first. Get it sounding good, to the point where someone would actually say "hey that sounds pretty decent". Then and only then, do I insert the mixing chain (which includes a maximizer). Then I polish the mix from there.

Reading what you're saying about not wanting to mess with the individual tracks and have a maximizer do the work, coupled with the fact that sometimes you're getting distortion and sometimes you're not, is a clear sign that your individual track levels aren't right to begin with, Don't look to the maximizer to correct that (because that's not what a maximizer on the master buss is going to do anyway), the source of your problem is your mixing of the individual channels. Start there, correct that, and the maximizer will always do what it's supposed to do. Because I focus on getting the right mix in the first place, a maximizer NEVER introduces clipping or distortion in my mix.

Hope those thoughts are helpful. Fanu has a crazy amount of knowledge of mixing and mastering. Maybe he will see this and chime in.
By Frisbi Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:45 pm
Eyalc wrote:I don't use that particular plugin, but I agree with Charles. Nothing you can do to shortcut the work necessary before the maximizer.

I have a mixing plugin chain that I put on my master buss (that includes a maximizer), but I don't insert it until the mix sounds exactly like I want. My goal is to mix the track without the master buss chain first. Get it sounding good, to the point where someone would actually say "hey that sounds pretty decent". Then and only then, do I insert the mixing chain (which includes a maximizer). Then I polish the mix from there.

Reading what you're saying about not wanting to mess with the individual tracks and have a maximizer do the work, coupled with the fact that sometimes you're getting distortion and sometimes you're not, is a clear sign that your individual track levels aren't right to begin with, Don't look to the maximizer to correct that (because that's not what a maximizer on the master buss is going to do anyway), the source of your problem is your mixing of the individual channels. Start there, correct that, and the maximizer will always do what it's supposed to do. Because I focus on getting the right mix in the first place, a maximizer NEVER introduces clipping or distortion in my mix.

Hope those thoughts are helpful. Fanu has a crazy amount of knowledge of mixing and mastering. Maybe he will see this and chime in.

Yeah I also mix without limiters and then when it sounds right I make the final mix and mastering chain, usually a multiband, an eq, stereo width and finally the maximizer.
The more the mix is balanced, the best maximizer works.
Using maximizer to fix the levels of the mix leads to a bad mastering.
By Yorgos Arabatzis Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:49 pm
My “Myth Busta“ thread will be onboard in a few days just finishing up the artwork...The myth that’s busted here is that you can’t master your tracks in standalone mode..Wrong!!!
I converted my Ableton Live Mastering Rack for the standalone MPC Live/X and has a big surprise inside that’s been requested from a lot of users :-) You won’t have to worry about your sound after mixing through it.Before enabling it just a basic balanced mixing on your behalf without hitting over 0dB on the master will do the job..
The patch will be available for purchase as a Template through my web store...Stay Tuned!

https://www.yorgosarabatzis.space/
By Frisbi Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:13 pm
Yorgos Arabatzis wrote:My “Myth Busta“ thread will be onboard in a few days just finishing up the artwork...The myth that’s busted here is that you can’t master your tracks in standalone mode..Wrong!!!
I converted my Ableton Live Mastering Rack for the standalone MPC Live/X and has a big surprise inside that’s been requested from a lot of users :-) You won’t have to worry about your sound after mixing through it.Before enabling it just a basic balanced mixing on your behalf without hitting over 0dB on the master will do the job..
The patch will be available for purchase as a Template through my web store...Stay Tuned!

https://www.yorgosarabatzis.space/

Yeah of course you can make all inside Mpc, even a mastering but I miss a multiband compression and a spectrum analyzer
By Manglepup Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey, I just wanted to say thank you all for each and every response. I will definitely be trying out a lot of the advice. I think perhaps a lot of my issues lie in my drum program(s). I typically build a custom kit for every track; taking samples from all over the place and I try to adjust the levels with my ears but looking at the meter on the Main Output can often reveal my ears aren't exactly picking up on peaks in some of the signals.

Perhaps what I need to explore is a different implementation of compression or limiting on my bus programs, (after I do a bit of individual pad level adjustment). I have been using the Air FX Compressor for this so far; but its usually quite tame.

If anyone has any thoughts on good FX (inside the MPC only) to use on drum programs - please chime in. I typically only use one or two proper drum kits (w/drum samples) in a project.
User avatar
By Danoc Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:11 am
@The OP

If you want a good mix where you can hear every instrument in the stereo field you have to apply mixing your individual sounds, correctly, is the rule. You can't just slam sounds together and expect great sonics and precision. You should have knowledge of those sounds, how to treat them, how to move them within the stereo field etc. The most important things is use your ears, train them. Use songs that you love how they are mixed as a reference. Looking at analyzers and meters etc help only compliment what you're hearing. LEARN YOUR GEAR AND TOOLS!
Also make sure your room is treated. I use to notch headphones to do my work.

Mathematics , balance and equality is my principle for mixing and everything in life.

Gain staging is the element to mixing your individual tracks. I made a video about it check it out.

My chain for mastering a track is :
1. EQ, the overall mix
2. Binaural stereo widener to give instruments space.
3. Limiter, to make sure my track will not peak over 0.0db while making it louder.


Peace

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LYDu4wdqqr4&t=1653s
By 40Beatz Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:12 pm
Personally...I use the Air Maximizer on my Master Track lightly. I start with the "Clip Catcher" Preset...then tweak the Threshold & other Parameters depending on the type of Song. Again...Just Lightly, to give me some more DB's without Clipping. But the Overall mix has to be under 0 db's, no Clipping, prior to adding the Maximizer, to get the best sound. Just my .02
By Manglepup Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:16 pm
Thanks - I appreciate the post and subbed to your YouTube.

When you say "2. Binaural stereo widener to give instruments space.", I assume you are applying that at the track/program level, not the master... right? Otherwise everything would be widened equally. Also, I'm curious if any of the FX that can do something similar in MPC are good. Any thoughts on whats available now would be appreciated.

Also, with regard to #3, for the FX built into MPC - would the Air Maximizer, Air Channel Strip, Air Compressor, or any of the other compressors be best to do limiting? I've heard before that running a compressor at a super high ratio is effectively turning it into a limiter.

Also, I'm having a really hard time hearing you in the video - but really want to hear what you are saying!

Danoc wrote:@The OP

If you want a good mix where you can hear every instrument in the stereo field you have to apply mixing your individual sounds, correctly, is the rule. You can't just slam sounds together and expect great sonics and precision. You should have knowledge of those sounds, how to treat them, how to move them within the stereo field etc. The most important things is use your ears, train them. Use songs that you love how they are mixed as a reference. Looking at analyzers and meters etc help only compliment what you're hearing. LEARN YOUR GEAR AND TOOLS!
Also make sure your room is treated. I use to notch headphones to do my work.

Mathematics , balance and equality is my principle for mixing and everything in life.

Gain staging is the element to mixing your individual tracks. I made a video about it check it out.

My chain for mastering a track is :
1. EQ, the overall mix
2. Binaural stereo widener to give instruments space.
3. Limiter, to make sure my track will not peak over 0.0db while making it louder.


Peace

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LYDu4wdqqr4&t=1653s
User avatar
By Danoc Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:56 pm
@the OP

Volume wise on my video is nice and clear and set at a volume where you can hear. I don't understand why you couldn't hear the video, plus I put where you can read exactly what I was saying in the beginning.

#2, the Binaural widener, can spread a stereo field, either a two track or individual track or sound. If I want to spread sounds I have something else. I use other things to spread or put sounds in specific places inside a stereo field. Let me explain, when I mix I place some sounds in different places in the stereo field, like my hihat, goes about 11 O'clock, Open Cymbal at 1 O'clock so it won't clash into the hihat. Anything else that is not stereo, but is mono I place in different empty sections within the stereo field. My job is to give the listener the best hearing experience possible. when I apply the Binaural in the Mastering session, It spreads out everything I have already spread even more, I go to 200% in Studio One, I love that mastering section there. so none of my instruments clash with vocals or each other. Also I understand the dimension in the stereo field, up and down, front and back, left and right, So I apply the Binaural to the master.

#3, You can use those Air products that you mentioned some what as a limiter, Maximizer would do the best job, but a compressor can also do that as well. I don't use the Air stuff being I have Waves products. For example If I want to control the bass in my track which frequencies jump to higher levels even if the velo is the same size, a higher bass note will always jump up in the levels because of it's higher frequencies, that's just the law of bass. So I use a L1 Maximizer to tame and keep that higher bass frequency tamed and not clash with my kick. I can use it on other sounds too and the sonics sound amazing. Waves do a pro job with their Algorithms.

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