Cubase 10.5 Help Needed in Differing Loudness Meter Readings

Hello all again. I am reaching out to any who would be so kind as to help me determine why my Track’s Brickwall/True Peak Limiter is giving a reading exactly 3dB louder than my Master Bus’s Brickwall Limiter. I am familiar with plugins/fx coming after the chain and affecting such readings. I can confirm this a well controlled test and there are no other plugins but the limiters and the audio file I am using is a consistent static tone.

I can include screenshots as well. Thank you very much in advance and I appreciate any input at all. Thanks so much.

Edit: I am currently recording a screen recording to show my issue as well!
Video file was too big. So I uploaded a screenshot.

The weirder thing is the track’s true peak reading (visible next to the volume fader) seems to show what I assume to be the correct reading because it matches the master and Cubase’s in-house meter reading. I wonder why the Brickwall plugin shows a louder volume?

I should note that I feel like this is a recent issue but I could have missed it all this time. Though I doubt that as I master a lot of audio. This mix-match of readings has me flustered and I have recently noticed a difference upon export.

I have tried Googling this occurrence but could not find an exact posting about this. Again, any insight is greatly appreciated (^ ^)

Mono vs stereo.

Hello, thank you for your response. Could you elaborate? The track I have created here is a mono track. If you are referring to the mono > stereo on the window above I was wondering that myself and wondered why it still shows that despite me creating a mono track?

My process: Add/Create Audio track. Choose mono configuration. Drag Audio to the track. Any insight would be greatly appreciated (^ ^)

I’ve investigated further and forgot to add that the little icon (next to the track name that looks like a circle) that should (I believe) change the channel configurations doesn’t respond when I click it. I suppose that would be how to change the channel from mono>stereo to just mono? Or maybe it’s the other way around and already configured to mono?

Actually, never mind about that earlier part regarding the icon. The channel is configured to mono. Creating a stereo track configures it to stereo. So that’s working as intended.

I feel as though it is something so simple that I am doing wrong. Sorry about this.

Oh I am so dumb I never refreshed the page until now to see your response! Thank you I am investigating your answer now.

You’re measuring at two different points and at those points you have a different amount of channels, 1 vs 2. When you go from a mono track into a stereo path the DAW will have to decide how that should work. If it just copies the mono channel into both the left and right channels in the stereo path then the resulting signal in total would be much louder. This is why you have the option in the project setup dialog to adjust that.

So if you open the setup dialog for the project you’ll see “Pan Law” with a drop-down box with options for how to adjust this. It is basically how much a signal is attenuated to compensate for what I described.

There’s a section in the manual about “Pan Law” so I suggest you pull that up and then just switch that parameter back and forth between different options while you look at the meters. I think that’s easier than me trying to explain it ('cause I’m not good at explaining this).

But that is what you’re looking at I think.

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Thank you so much for that explanation! You explained it quite well. I will research Pan Law more thoroughly then! Changing that setting indeed got me the expected readings. I am not exactly sure how that will affect mixing yet but at least now I know where to start. If you have any suggestions/advice/tips/resources you like/know about please feel free to let me know.

If not understandable. I’m sure you are very busy. Thank you very much, I greatly appreciated your help.

Pan law is really just a tool to deal with the problem that as you pan a mono track into the phantom center in a stereo path the level changes and you can perceive that. Some people like it, some people don’t. And there’s also the difference between what it looks like on a meter and what it sounds like in an actual room… and what type of signals you’re listening to (meaning there’s a difference between a sinewave in a perfect room and on the other hand the sound of a street corner in a busy city).

If you’re creating and mixing music you don’t really need to worry about this at all because you’re just going to create your sound and pan it, and then adjust volume. So if the level is “off” then you just adjust the level. It’s that simple. Just set pan law to whatever is useful, probably the way you already had it if you never thought about this before, and just create and mix. No need to change it really.

If you end up automating panning so that a sound sweeps left/right and back again you might feel like the pan law makes a difference and in that case it may make sense to change it. Just know that if you change it in the middle of working on a project it will of course probably affect more than just the one thing.

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Thank you very much for that extra tidbit!
I just read up on that and read the manual regarding Pan Law and watched good Youtube video on it and you said pretty much the exact same thing! You also brought up other information I did not think about regarding different source sounds and their perceived loudness. Thank you!

I’ll be sure to not change it in the middle of project as I can see now how that might affect things.

I still have much to learn regarding mono and stereo it seems though. I have recently gotten a lot of work with mono sound effects and voice lines so I am mostly interested in how this affects mono mixdowns. Mixing a stereo music seems straightforward enough.

A mono file reading exactly as the master would seem beneficial in these cases (of sound effects) because if I want those peaks to hit -1dB I would essentially have to forego using a Brickwall Limiter or any other limiter on them if the Pan Law is not set to zero (to get equal readings) and rely solely on the master Limiter then?

Would a mono mixdown (of a stereo file) then be affected and perceived louder than the mix in the DAW unless the Pan Law was set to zero?

Please feel free to direct me any sources/materials I can research, I feel I have truly taken up your valuable time. Your insight has already been very invaluable to me and I appreciate what you’ve contributed regardless. I have Googled “mono mixdown sounds louder” but haven’t really gotten the information I need because most responses are in regards to stereo mixes regarding music. But I’m still researching and could probably further research and find the answers.

Oh ya know that didn’t make sense because a stereo file wouldn’t be subject to stereo Pan Law and would of course sound louder upon mono mixdown. Unless I imported it to a mono track?

Ok I’m confusing myself now. Sorry, all night (so brain fog isn’t helping) I’ve been trying to wrap my head around some differences in exported mono files regarding some stereo voice lines being mixdown in mono sounding different than what I perceive in my DAW despite using stereo to mono plugin. I think I need to understand mono and stereo conversion better, and just mono in general. I thought the difference in Limiter readings might have something to do with it. But that may not be the case.

I will research the result of importing a stereo file onto a stereo track and using a stereo to mono plugin and changing the Pan Law. I will also do that with importing a stereo file onto a mono track and changing the Pan Law. I think Pan Law actually might be the answer to all of this. It makes sense in my head the more I think of it now.

Still, I think I’m too confused on the subject to ask for your insight/help. I still very much appreciated your help and information! (^ ^) I have more than enough information to research more on the subject now. Thank you!

Well, you can use multiple outputs instead - one path for stereo and one for mono. You set the main output to stereo and then using the Direct Outputs (with “summing mode” enabled via right-clicking on them) you also select a mono output bus. You can then place a limiter on both output buses and adjust the buses to taste. If you want to compensate on the source track instead you could use the same one output to your stereo output bus and use a send to the mono output and adjust the send level (instead of using multiple “Direct outs”). But in both cases you can have your limiters on the buses.

I think it’s definitely worth looking into having a couple of different output bus paths so you can export through both at the same time when you export. If you get it right when you set up your template(s) then you won’t really have to worry about it every single time you work on something. Just measure to verify after export.

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Thank you so much for that extra tidbit! You have really just gave me an excellent idea especially for the templates. I researched and investigated a little bit more about this “Direct Routing” (I did not even have that viewable at that point) and summing mode (I never activated that before) on Youtube as well and was able to export out through multiple buses one being a stereo and the other a mono. My limiter gave me the separate readings and I was able to adjust them separately and export through these at the same time through the export stage! Using a send was for some reason a bit trickier to understand but it seemed pretty straightforward in the end. This will save so much time in my mono work/sound effect work. Understanding mono and stereo routing will require a bit more practice to be 100% comfortable but actually know what to learn more about now and I definitely have to set this up as a template. You really taught me a lot Mattias, thanks so much (^ ^) I wish I could pay you back somehow. But I really really appreciate all the knowledge you just imparted. I would’ve had no way to learn about this without blind experimentation.

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