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MuFever

Pan law and stereo to mono loudness

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Hello to everyone, 

I'd kindly like to ask some questions about pan laws. I have made a research through the web but I'd like to open this topic to discuss about pan law in Cakewalk and its effects to the final mix or mastering.

I use the -3 db center option and always check my mixes in mono for phasing issues and also to hear how would my mix sound in a mono device. When I "monoing" into Cakewalk I could hear a small attenuation of the overall signal comparing to the stereo. On the other hand when I export the same mixdown and listening to it through the pc (outside the DAW) and monoing my audio interface then I see that the audio is louder and sometimes clipping. Why is this happening? Let's assume that my audio interface do not compensate level when monoing, then what about an external mono audio device let's say in a car or a phone etc. How will the mono device "translate" the stereo input? Will it add loudness as my audio interface or the pan law will "follow" the audio clip always?

I have also noticed that when i use the built in mono-interleave button in a track it is ok but when I monoing the Master Bus and my individual tracks remain in stereo then the meters of the individual tracks exceed the 0 dBfs reference point but I can't hear any noticeable clipping distortion.

 

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5 hours ago, MuFever said:

monoing my audio interface then I see that the audio is louder and sometimes clipping. Why is this happening?

When you combine 2 channels into one channel, the volume will raise, because you are making 2 channels into one channel

 

5 hours ago, MuFever said:

When I "monoing" into Cakewalk I could hear a small attenuation of the overall signal comparing to the stereo.

Its because of your pan law setting . If you set to to  0 dB center, sin-cos taper - constant power, IIRC, it may behave like it does when you export it. Its one of those pan laws that behaves like that ans i think it is that one

Quote

I have also noticed that when i use the built in mono-interleave button in a track it is ok but when I monoing the Master Bus and my individual tracks remain in stereo then the meters of the individual tracks exceed the 0 dBfs reference point but I can't hear any noticeable clipping distortion.

If you are in 32bit floating for your project, it doesn't really matter, as long as your master bus and main outs are not clipping. But that doesn't mean you can slam the tracks and peak them to holy hell. Use common sense..

Edited by CJ Jacobson
added another quote

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16 minutes ago, CJ Jacobson said:

When you combine 2 channels into one channel, the volume will raise, because you are making 2 channels into one channel

 

Its because of your pan law setting . If you set to to  0 dB center, sin-cos taper - constant power, IIRC, it may behave like it does when you export it. Its one of those pan laws that behaves like that ans i think it is that one

If you are in 32bit floating for your project, it doesn't really matter, as long as your master bus and main outs are not clipping. But that doesn't mean you can slam the tracks and peak them to holy hell. Use common sense..

Here again lol.

So when I export a mastered track from Cakewalk (I use -3dB pan law) and see that my track is clipping when monoing my interface but it is not clipping when monoing in cakewalk then what decision should I take? Leave it trusting DAW or begin the mastering again? 

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So when I export a mastered track from Cakewalk (I use -3dB pan law) and see that my track is clipping when monoing my interface but it is not clipping when monoing in cakewalk then what decision should I take? Leave it trusting DAW or begin the mastering again? 

Never leave or trust anything.. If your target is mono and stereo, then you need to make decisions in your mixing and mastering stages for this. Not after its been exported.

If you change your pan laws, everything will change in ALL your projects signal chain. Its a global setting, so all projects will be effected, unless you change it back and forth, but is that feasible?

My pan laws are set at 0 center cor something... I prefer it that way and i like the way it behaves, but this is a personnel preference

 

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17 minutes ago, CJ Jacobson said:

Never leave or trust anything.. If your target is mono and stereo, then you need to make decisions in your mixing and mastering stages for this. Not after its been exported.

If you change your pan laws, everything will change in ALL your projects signal chain. Its a global setting, so all projects will be effected, unless you change it back and forth, but is that feasible?

My pan laws are set at 0 center cor something... I prefer it that way and i like the way it behaves, but this is a personnel preference

 

I totally agree with you about the personnel preference. In my ear the -3dB compensation is "sweeter" . Also I always make decision according to my ears for a track. But in this case I am very confused about when and why clipping occurs. Why when monoing in Cakewalk it is not clipping but the same export clips when monoing my audio interface. I have also noticed that many commercial songs I listen to clipping in my system when enabling the mono button on audio interface. 

But the most confusing thing for me is for the mastered tracks as I use limiters. In mastering I aim to -0.1 - -0.3 dBfs and this is working good inside the DAW (stereo and mono) But it is different when I export the very same track. In stereo mode it behaves the same but when monoing audio interface it adds more loudness.  

Edited by MuFever

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In my ear the -3dB compensation is "sweeter" 

The pan laws do no changes the sound, it just changes the sound levels and how it behaves when its panned.  In simple terms..

This is what is happening to your ears.. You mixed the project with the -3 pan laws, so changing the Pan law in a project to something else will change all its levels and make it sound different your ears.. You would need to mix it all over when changing the pan laws.

Edited by CJ Jacobson

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8 minutes ago, CJ Jacobson said:

The pan laws do no changes the sound, it just changes the sound levels and how it behaves when its panned.  In simple terms..

This is what is happening to your ears.. You mixed the project with the -3 pan laws, so changing the Pan law in a project to something else will change all its levels and make it sound different your ears.. You would need to mix it all over when changing the pan laws.

Yes I did not write it correctly. I am used to -3dB pan leveling that when I turn to 0dB it is like I need to do extra work with track faders.  

But what about the other thing? Why are there different approaches (another in DAW another in exported file outside the DAW) of the final track metering when in mono? This is what I cannot understand. I test mono compatibility in DAW to ensure I am ok but why the mono reacts different outside of the DAW?

Edited by MuFever

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1 minute ago, MuFever said:

Yes I did not write it correctly. I am used to -3dB pan leveling that when I turn to 0dB it is like I need to do extra work with track faders.  

I understood you and my response/answer  is still the same:

You mixed the project with the -3 pan laws, so changing the Pan law in a project to something else will change all its levels and make it sound different your ears.. You would need to mix it all over when changing the pan laws.

 

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2 minutes ago, CJ Jacobson said:

I understood you and my response/answer  is still the same:

You mixed the project with the -3 pan laws, so changing the Pan law in a project to something else will change all its levels and make it sound different your ears.. You would need to mix it all over when changing the pan laws.

 

So is there a solution that I mix in -3dB and Master at 0Db so it is calibrated with various audio mono devices out there? If I understand correctly you say that I mix in -3dB but my audio interface (and propably all the mono devices out there) is 0dB? Sorry for the questions but as a newbie I am in the beginning of my learning curve.

And thank you for your time , really

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4 minutes ago, MuFever said:

t I mix in -3dB but my audio interface (and propably all the mono devices out there) is 0dB?

No, i'm not saying that. You are confusing pan laws and actual dB levels

Quote
6 minutes ago, MuFever said:

So is there a solution that I mix in -3dB and Master at 0Db so it is calibrated with various audio mono devices out there?

No, no need. You are confusing pan laws and dB levels. They are 2 different things..

 

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It's clipping because you're using -3dB centre. This is a perceived volume. If you want the panned level to be the same level when you sum it to mono you should choose -6dB centre.

Edited by ien

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13 minutes ago, CJ Jacobson said:

No, i'm not saying that. You are confusing pan laws and actual dB levels

 

now I am more confused 😁 

Maybe I did not write in the right away my issue ( I am not a native English speaker)

Well, I master in the DAW in -3dB pan law option and finally testing my master in mono inside my DAW and everything sounds good to me. I export the stereo track using -3dB pan law option with no change. When listening the exported track with any media player and set to stereo then everything is the same as inside the DAW, but when press mono in my audio interface then it is clipping. The same mono audio is not clipping inside the DAW.  I hope I wrote it in the right way.... 

Edited by MuFever

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7 minutes ago, ien said:

It's clipping because you're using -3dB centre. This is a perceived volume. If you want the panned level to be the same level when you sum it to mono you should choose -6dB centre.

I will try this, thanks. But why is it not clipping inside the DAW?

Edited by MuFever

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On 2/22/2019 at 1:59 PM, MuFever said:

But why is it not clipping inside the DAW?

Not sure, but if you're hitting full scale at -3dB centre then you'll be over when summing to mono.

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