Hey guys, I remember reading that someone was saying ideally you don't want the tracks "clip" when mixing tracks. However i feel like in some situations a louder mix is better than a super quiet one. Is it common to go over 0.0 db ? I don't know much about mixing obviously

While 0.0dB is a measurement of sound it doesn't take in the account of the perception of sound. Most tracks you find are right at 0dB and are very loud. Once you get rid of frequencies you don't need your mix will sound louder and more clear. Compression and limiting can also help by keeping you at peaks and not dropping back down.

You are introducing distortion over 0.0db which is a problem. Also, RMS is where your sound is usually at and what you should be judging your loudness on. You also need to take into account how dynamic you want your music, as the compression and limiting is going to limit the dynamics.

In Conclusion: Learn to mix and use compression and raise your RMS, but keep it below 0.0dB without compromising your dynamics too much.
Last edited by FireHawk at Dec 5, 2011,
We're talking 0.0 dBfs here since it's in the digital domain. You don't want to ever go above 0.0dBfs, most of the time you'll want to stay just below that threshold when mastering (brickwall limiter is your friend). It's common to limit around -0.3dBfs to avoid intersample clipping from lossy formats such as MP3.

Now, about your mix, your peaks should never even reach 0.0dBfs before mastering, it's good practice to keep your mix peaking around -9 to -6 dBfs. You have a volume knob for a reason, let mastering handle loudness and focus on mix balance while mixing.

Also just because you're putting a limiter in your mastering chain doesn't mean you actually have to make the mix pump with it. If I just want to avoid the clipping I set the threshold and output the same (-0.3dBfs).
Last edited by Ascendant at Dec 5, 2011,
awesome, thanks guys. any of you know how to use the limiter and compressors well in garageband? I'm honestly pretty happy with my mixes without compression or the use of a limiter but i feel like adding in those 2 components would definitely be a good idea, i just don't know how to use them and what to look to achieve when using them haha.
Thanks a bunch guys. Another question, should I be recording the drums, bass, guitar, and vocal tracks all in one project? That's what I have done now. should I export the guitars, bass, vox, and drums separately and then bring the exported tracks back into a new project? Not sure if this would help out with clarity or anything but just wanted to know if this was the common way to do things
All in same project.

There's something called stem mixing/mastering where you would bounce all the guitars to a single stereo track, the bass to a single track, the drums to a single stereo track, etc and then mix/master those stems, but I'd stick to tracking and mixing everything in the same project.
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