Pro Audio Files

The Mix Academy Web Show Ep. 2 — Q&A (Limiters, EQ and Clients)

David: Hey, what’s up guys? David Glenn with and

I’m here with my man Joey Fernandez. This is The Mix Academy Web show Episode two. Today we’re going to be talking about the stereo buss. We’ve got questions on using a limiter. We’ve got questions on dealing with clients, and we’ve got answers.

So if you have questions you want us to answer, go to your e-mail and send us an e-mail to Please include the subject line “TMA Webshow,” and my assistant will file that in a folder and we’ll go pick the good questions and it may or may not get featured on the show.

We’re going to have a blast man. Joey, first, how the heck are you?

Joey: Good! How are you doing today?

David: Good. We actually just did a review wearing the same clothes, because the last video we uploaded was a review of the Sub Pac, so if you haven’t seen that, click on the link in description below and check that out, because we had a blast talking about one of our favorite new pieces of gear, the Sub Pac M2 and S2.

Crazy times, man. I’m still on a high from that review, but we’re going to jump right in.

So the first question comes from Jones. My man Jones. He writes in, “Hi, I have a general question. I’m a beat maker, and for some time, I’ve been making my beats with a limiter on my master buss by default.”

He’s working in FL Studio he said. Used to be called Fruity Loops, right?

Joey: Yeah, it’s still called Fruity Loops. [laughs]

David: Still called Fruity Loops in FL Studio. There you go.

So at first I thought it was no big deal until I gained some knowledge on mixing when I read online by some engineers that it was not a good idea to put a limiter when making beats, but when mixing the whole song.

I want your advice on this. Thanks in advance, have a nice day.

Well Jones, that’s a great question and first, thanks for submitting it and for trusting us to help you with your music, man.

So I, when I’m producing, doing production, making beats, whatever, I have a Master Fader, and I do have plug-ins there, but they’re inactive, and I like to pull in kick samples and snares and loops or whatever based on what I want to hear and what I’m trying to produce.

Before I go to the balance — my rough drum production, my rough beat, my rough whatever, I’ll go in and I’ll — as a mixing engineer — throw up that 2buss chain, and maybe add a little bit of bottom, a little bit of top, kind of treat it like I would if I were mixing it before I bounce it.

I know my mixing chain, and so I have similar plug-ins as that, so it’s similar to if I mix, I’m going to be listening to what I’m going to then be mixing.

So if you’re not — that’s a tough one. If you’re not mixing your own productions, then I’d maybe just throw on a limiter at the end, get it up to volume, maybe tweak it a little bit just so it sounds cool, and then don’t worry so much about it.

If you are going to be mixing it, feel free man. Throw plug-ins on, experiment, saturation, whatever. Then just keep that chain handy so that you know when you go to mix it, this is what you used, and you can throw that on, but I wouldn’t produce through the limiter. I would even encourage you to produce with headroom so you don’t get crazy when it comes to boosting kick volume, and then you take off a limiter and it’s distorting and clipping.

But Joey, he’s got a great mind, great ear. He’s a mastering engineer. What do you think, man? I know you’ve also been in the production world for a long time dealing with R Kelly and — I’m going to shout out some of the — do the name drop.

Joey: No, no, no. [laughs] You know, my thoughts on that are definitely in those phases, I’m with you. I would not engage the limiter and I’ll tell you why, because at the end, things need to be properly gain staged, and what you’re going to do with a limiter, it’s just going to throw things off in my opinion, so at the end, like David said, when you’re done with your production, just throw it on there, tweak it a little bit just so you can have something a little louder for your clients and for yourself it’s a good idea, but during the production processes, I wouldn’t do it.

It would be there on my master buss like David said, and if I want to use it, it’s there.

David: I used to mix a lot of stuff for guys who were doing demos — shout out to Ear Candy production in Indianapolis. Some of those guys would send me two-tracks and they’d get the production wherever, and then it was slammed with a limiter, so what I will say is, if you’re going to use a limiter, only a couple dB of reduction. Maybe three or four at the most.

Don’t go crazy if it’s your production, unless you are studying the David Glenn recording tutorials and you’re doing stages of saturation and compression, and knocking transients down in phases and getting things louder like that. A little bit more of an advanced method than just throwing a limiter on at the end. I would say if you just throw a limiter on and you haven’t thrown any other stages of compression, etcetera to that point, then just go for a couple dB of reduction. Just whatever it gives you and move on, but don’t squash it.

Joey: Also you have to be careful because if you start recording vocals and stuff like that, you’re going to notice a lot of — oh my goodness, I’m spacing here — latency.

David: True.

Joey: So be careful with that as well.

David: Oh, that should’ve been the first thing we talked about. I was recently producing a track. I’ve got this little Akai LPD-8. I go to tap in the transients.

Er, transients, I’m all over the place. Go to tap in the beat, kick and the snare, doing some fills, the hat, whatever, and if you have a limiter on, most limiters come with quite a bit of latency, like Joey just said, so then if you go to perform or play anything or record anything, it’s going to be a buzz kill to turn off the limiter to record something, so if you get it sounding big without the limiter, get it sounding loud without that, you’re going to be in better shape.

So we beat that one to death there. Joe Kime is next up. We’ve got a question on the 2buss. Joe Kime writes in, he says, “I see more and more mixing engineers say they use smiley EQ on the 2buss, because it sounds good for people recording to the FM curve and so on. I always thought the point for a producer was to make a neutral mix, because everyone has highs and lows boosted in their stereos — on their stereos. Is this because of people listening more on headphones and other devices or what?”

Joe Kime, great question. Very quickly, I’m going to touch on this. I’m not so sure about the neutral mix, if a producer or engineer is going to make a neutral mix, what I would say is we aim to have neutral monitoring. Flat response, flat curve from our headphones or our speakers, etcetera, which is why I’m a huge fan of the Sonarworks headphone calibration system, and then also the things like the ARC 2 and the Sonarworks they make for the speakers as well.

That kind of stuff does flatten the response so that we can then make the sonic and creative decisions of what we want it to sound like so that it translates. If we have a neutral starting point and we boost bass and top end and we create that smiley curve or we do what we want to do creatively in the mix, then we can trust that’s going to translate more evenly across listening devices. Your smaller speakers, your headphones, your buds, your car stereo, etcetera.

So as far as getting a mix to sound neutral, I would say it’s the opposite of that. It’s to reference neutral so that it translates better. Anything to add to that Joey? It’s kind of a short blast.

Joey: That pretty much sums it all. Great answer.

David: As far as the EQ curve — so I still, I mix the way I want it to sound, but I still boost bass and treble in the car. I just feel like it sounds better. Those speakers, the sound system — I’m not a sound designer of car stereos or whatever, I don’t know how they’re designing those or what the frequency response is, but I typically like to boost there, and sometimes I find depending upon the system, I’ll boost mid as well. Some systems you cut mids.

So it just depends. From a mixer or producer, mastering engineer’s perspective, I think we want to reference neutral, and then do what we want to do to the sound for it to sound good.

Joey: Exactly.
David: Next question is from our man Levi Brown. He responded to my e-mail of dealing with clients, mixing headaches and more.

“Hi David, I have a bit of a philosophical question if you have time. If you had to define the mixing process to a client, how would you define it? I found that a lot of potential clients don’t really understand what we do, and therefore don’t want to pay for mixing.”

Well this is probably a common problem for us mixing engineers. This is — [laughs] — a common frustration, I’ll put it. A stress. And I have a couple thoughts on this, I know Joey, we talked before we went live with the video, had some thoughts on this as well.

Joey, do you want to kick it off? Share some of your thoughts as far as —

Joey: Yeah. What I’ve done before is I’ll sit down and talk to people that had no idea what the mixing process consists of, and I’ll tell them, “You know what, I’ll explain it to them in layman’s terms.”

A stereo. You have high, mids, and lows. You know, you tweak it, you listen to it, and you get it balanced.

Same philosophy in mixing, but it’s on an individual basis. When you get people coming into mixing and production and they’re new, the power of the reference against a mix is huge. So if you’ve worked on a project before and you have a rough mix and you have a final, that’s definitely what I would show the client so they could hear it for themselves, and every time I do that they’re like, “Wow, that sounds incredible versus what it was before, etcetera.”

It’s no different in the mastering process as well. You have people that have their mixes and they’re like, “Okay, so what does mastering do? I don’t hear —,” I go, “Yeah, there’s another stage of this as well.”

David: Hopefully the mastering is more subtle if the mix is good, right? But a lot of times a lot of mastering jobs are not subtle, you’re right.

Joey: Exactly. You’ll get a mix that’s 15dBs below and you bring that up and tweak it a bit and compare it and they’re blown away. So the power of reference, the before and after, that’s normally what I’ll —

David: Yeah, man, you touched on something huge there. So to define it to them to say, “Hey look, this is similar to cooking.” Dave Pensado talks about all the time you’re taking all the peppers and the ingredients and the spices and you’re blending it together to come up with something that you can enjoy.

You’re not going to go and — probably not, you know, unless you have margaritas or something you know, drink salt or eat a pepper by itself, but when you talk about adding all the ingredients together so that they have a cohesive flavor, taste, experience, that is what I would use the analogy for mixing, and then to go a step further, like Joey just talked about, even in our training courses I do this all the time, a little plug, like the latest one,, we’ve got a course with Ulrich Wild, and to me, it was a — it’s a no brainer to take the before and then the after. To show them the dry, unprocessed mix for Ulrich’s course — the dry, unprocessed tracks pushed up in a rough mix format, and then take his final mix and show the difference.

We’re going to help you go from this to this. Client looking for mixing services. We’re going to help you take your rough mix — here’s some work that I’ve done in the past, ten, fifteen seconds rolled into from before to after, show casing different genres that you’ve mixed, etcetera so that you can get the wow factor of — now, be fair, don’t have the rough mix at like, -10 and then bam, you come in with yours. That’s deceitful, that’s lying.

Let them be similar volume — they don’t have to be perfect, but get them on similar volume levels, so you can show, hey, listen to this, hear the kick, it’s kind of “eh” and flabby, and the mids are kind of whatever, and it’s not very — top end isn’t fitting.

But then listen to this. Now you’ve got a cohesive mix where you’ve got a fat, punchy bottom end and a clear top end, and a mid-range that cuts, all of this stuff, etcetera.

So different ways you can do that, but I would definitely the two things, like Joey said, talk about the before and after, and then talk about the cooking example. You’re going to take all the ingredients and you’re going to blend them together in a way that’s cohesive and sounds good for them as a final thing.

Then last note about this before we wrap up this video, we are selfish individuals in life. Humans. We are selfish. We want to know us, us, us, me, me, me, me, me. So when you’re talking to people, you’re talking to potential customers, you want to serve them in a way that makes them think, “I’m going to benefit.”

What are the benefits? I’m going to take your dry tracks and I’m going to turn them into this so that you have a better sounding whatever to release and reach the masses. I’m going to help you with your art go from this that you’ve worked so hard on, catering to their emotions and their thoughts and their needs, and turn it into this.

Nothing about you, more about what you’re going to do for them to help them, benefit them, etcetera. A little bit of business advice there at the end.

Well dang it Joey, we’ve got a ton of these coming your way. If you liked this video, if this helped you, please like, subscribe to The Pro Audio Files here on YouTube. If you go to, we have the free VIP mix training bundle. You’re going to get to download free multi-tracks, a bunch of impulse responses, we’ve got exclusive Q&A, Facebook group, etcetera. All kinds of great stuff for going and signing up for the mailing list there.

Courses at I hope you guys enjoyed this. Episode three is right around the corner and we will see you guys there.

Dude, thanks again Joey for hanging out man.

Joey: Oh, you’re welcome. Bye!

David: See you guys!

David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at

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