How do I put a Limiter across the Master 7.1.4 Out in ATMOS

I made a 7.1.4 master group channel and labeled it Master Feed. Then I sent the 7.1.2 Bed along with all of the Object group channels to it as well. I inserted a Brickwall Limiter to control the overall output to the Master 7.1.4 Out (with the Renderer inserted).

Result: I had the entire mix going through the Master Feed and the Limiter was showing healthy signal. But when I lowered the fader on the Master Feed, it had NO effect on the signal going to the master out! I pulled the fader all the way down to infinity and only the Master Feed signal showed it going to off. The Master Out channel was still at full out.

I can lower the playback volume by lowering the Master Out fader. But that’s AFTER the renderer. I want to limit the feed going into the renderer… How do I do that?

Another case where you have to abandon established habits.

That setup in Nuendo is a bit confusing, because you have the renderer on your main output bus, and thus think it’s part of the chain. In reality though the that main bus lives on an island. All the signal in that bus actually comes from the renderer plugin as a monitoring output. You can check that if you insert a different plugin (like stock frequency eq) which has a signal meter above the renderer, and you’ll see that there is no signal in the track above the renderer.

In fact the renderer picks up all the signals at the source tracks that are listed in the ADM window, they’re then routed internally to the renderer and the fully mixed monitoring output is re-inserted into your project through the renderer plugin.

As a result, there is not a single place where you can have a limiter on the entire Atmos content. You need to place the limiter at each of the Atmos input tracks. So on each object, and on each bed. You could link them via the ‘insert’ link feature in Nuendo if you want, though they would have independent side chains, unless you setup a purpose side-chain aux bus.

The external renderer from Dolby does have a limiter inside the renderer with limited controls. Doesn’t seem there is a similar feature inside the Nuendo renderer. Also, this may only apply to the renderer output, and not impact its rendered information. So this be misleading.

Having said all of this, there is an interesting discussion about how limiting in a 7.1.4 environment should actually work and if a stock limiter (or compressor) which sums all channels is really ideal. There’s a detailed discussion in this video (I put the start point at the right chapter, the whole thing is worth the watch too): Mastering Dolby Atmos Music with Justin Gray - Approaches To Immersive Object-Based Mastering - YouTube

The alternative is that you actually want to do your limiting at the various source tracks and/or that you drive a linked limiter with a custom side chain.

Which all goes back to your question from the other day - Atmos is a lot more complex and requires a new approach. It’s not a ‘lift and shift’. There are reasons/advantages that justify all of this effort. But it isn’t easy for certain.

3 Likes

The short answer:

HoRNet SAMP virtual master bus for Dolby Atmos - HoRNet Plugins

(… or you ditch the idea of multiple Objects moving in a proprietary format altogether and go “back” (or forward) to channel-based 3D mixing.)

2 Likes

Once again, THANK YOU SENSAI!! :sunglasses:

I watched the video. But I’m not entirely clear on how this work. Do I have to insert this plug on every channel? Also, I was wondering if you’ve used this plugin and how well you thought it worked.

HoRNet SAMP is an interesting plugin and a good quick solve.

If you listen to the highlighted section from the video I linked, he discusses it in detail and talks about the pros/cons which seem good considerations.

1 Like

So, I’m supposed to export the ADM and then limit after the fact?

Should I make a lower ceiling to start so that the limiter isn’t required in order to stay in certain deliverables parameters?

Re: The Binaural mix down, will it sound the same earbuds or does it only work on headphones?

Perfectly explained by allklier, as always!

I believe that all these considerations are mastered a posteriori by good mastering engineers (Dolby Atmos in this case). It’s very difficult to anticipate everything at the mixing stage. It’s better to keep the natural volumes lower and not limit them too much (just the right amount, just in case, but I prefer to reduce the volumes and balance them naturally). Mastering, then, will do the work. That’s what I’ve always done in stereo, and that’s what I’ll continue to do in Dolby Atmos. I spoke to my mastering engineer about this in advance. His response was: don’t worry about that stuff, it’ll be fine here, we’ll take care of it. So, I’m concentrating on creating and mixing. Of course, this means clean work, according to the rules of the art, but without anticipating mastering. At least that’s how I see it.

2 Likes