Best way to adjust a hot Main Out level

Hi folks,

I’m getting myself in a tizz because I can’t work out the best practice to lower a mix that has ended up too hot to print/master.

For the sake of simplicity, I have a finished mix which I like the sound of but is too hot to print. Now I guess I could just turn down the Main Out but for some reason I have always convinced myself this was a bad idea (not making use of bit depth or something? who knows). Either way I have always mixed with Main Out at 0… So, while I could just turn all the faders down this would change the balance and “ruin” the mix, especially as I have some (lots) of parallel compression going on so any reduction in level is going to prevent the audio hitting those compressors, so I don’t want to turn down the channel faders (or it seems the main fader).

I guess I could add a Gain VST of some sort to the first slot on the Main Out to trim it down (probably need about 6dB - I know… I’m bad) but not sure of a clean sounding gain unit to use. Would this be the best option? I guess another option could be to add another group channel and route everything that was going to Main Out to this new Group Bus (Sub-Mix Bus?), turn this down and send THAT to the Main Out? Or is it ok to just bring the Main Out down by 6dB? Do I lose any quality by doing that?

I’m probably getting myself confused for no reason but I seem to have convinced myself that my bringing the Main Out fader down, I’m somehow reducing the quality of output?

Could someone please just punch me in the face and say… FFS, man, just “do this”! Although, I’d rather forego the punch, and the “do this” actually describing whether any of the options I mentioned as feasible or which is the best practice for coping with a mix that’s ended up too hot!

Sorry… Panic over… WAIT!.. oh… it’s not over… Aaaarggh! :confused:

Just move the master fader down, that’s what it’s there for :wink:

Doh! Thanks for that. I guess I just wanted someone sensible to confirm it wouldn’t degrade the quality of the print. What a plonker I am!

No loss in quality as far as I know.

Its worth a look at some of this stuff… Loudness war - Wikipedia

I’m curious if you tried trimming the Pre-Gains of the Groups? If you only want to get back 6dB or so, if you shave off the groups a bit here and there, it shouldn’t take too much away from the mix’s energy. Are you mixing to a particular Dynamic Range Target? I struggle with this and similar issues myself. Good luck.