Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Master Bus - Limiter or comp first? Reply To: Master Bus - Limiter or comp first?

Patrick Schindler

    The usual way would be to have things like console emulation, EQ, compression, widening and tape emulation first and if at all (especially brick wall) limiting at the very end of the chain.

    If anybody runs a separate mastering session to get the mix to compete with what's out there, it may be best to leave the brick wall limiter off, leave at least a couple dB headroom and export / print as 32 bit FP file, to avoid clipping the master at all. Reason being that limiters may cause pumping, distortion, suck the life out of a mix and what not, making the mastering session harder.

    Some people suggest using a limiter right before master bus compressors, trying to catch peaks more transparently and keeping the compressor from pumping here and there. The idea makes some sense to me, but this would still affect the whole stereo mix somehow. Having limiters on very dynamic instruments to catch the odd peak, usually sounds a lot more transparent, because it only affects that track.

    So, on the master bus I would put the limiter as the last processor, if at all, but make sure stray peaks have already been taking care of by limiting on the track and / or group track (instrument bus) level.