Stereo out Clipping no matter what

Hi all.

I have an issue,
I have created a track and sent the channels to groups, then from there I summed all the groups to a mix group, the mix group then goes to the stereo out. the mix group and stereo out are clipping at 3db but all my gain staging is ok.

when I mute everything apart from 1 group the mix bus and stereo out stay exactly the same clipping at 3db, I have a VU plugin set at -14 in the post fader of the mix bus and that is hitting +2 which is about -12 db, how is the group bus and stereo out still clipping with only 1 Chanel on solo? do the stereo channel and the mix bus work differently and isn’t actually summing the parts? but taking what is the loudest channel and mimicking that?

I have checked all the channels and the go to the correct busses and none go to the stereo out apart from mix bus. even though the mix bus clips at 3db it doesn’t turn red only the stereo out does

Have you verified that Pre-Gain isn’t being used along the signal path.

This isn’t what you should expect. I don’t know what this indicates, but good chance if you figure out what is causing this it will fix everything.

Perhaps a few screen-shots would be useful…

What do you mean by “mix group”?

It should be:
tracks, assigned to groups (when necessary ), assigned to the master out.

The signal level is cumulative. Which is to say that even though your tracks may all stay below 0db the combination of those tracks could cause your group to exceed 0db.
In Cubase a group periodically exceeding 0db may not be the end of the world. There’s 6db of headroom in the tracks and buses in Cubase.

Then, your groups are assigned to the master buss.
Again, the gain is cumulative. Even if all your groups stay below 0db, the combination of those groups may cause the master buss to clip.

Obviously you don’t want your master buss to exceed 0db. So, if the master is exceeding 0db, the simplest solution is to insert a peak limiter. Setting the limiter output to -.3db (that’s negative point 3 db) is a good practice.

This all assumes that the levels are not significantly exceeding 0db on the master. If so, reducing levels of the groups (and tracks not assigned to groups) will be necessary.

I don’t think you need a “mix group” unless I’m missing something.

What I mean by mix group is I selected all tracks such as all drums and send the output to a drums group(buss) I then send all the groups such as bass, drums, keys, pads( that are grouped, to a group I called mix buss, I then sent the output of that to stereo out. There is nothing on the mix group except a vu meter, on the post fader, I have set the vu meter to -14 db it is hitting +2 which is -12 db but on the mix bus digital scale it says it is 3db and the same with the stereo output. My drums bus is -6db with the drums tops bus and the kicks but if I solo the drums tops buss, the mix bus and stereo out do not change, they stay at 3db peak after resetting the meter. It’s as though they are not summing the parts or the groups together but taking the loudest group as the level which is drums top group, I will add pictures as soon as I can

To me it’s like the stereo out is working like the vu meter in that it is set to -14db at 0db on the meter, so if it is hitting 3 db that is like -11 db. It’s frustrating because my vu is set to -14 and is hitting +2 so that makes it -12 unless I have that wrong? I’m using waves vu meter.

I do have some pre gain on one of the busses but I turned that down to 0 and dropped the fader to the same value it was and it was the same

If you are using Cubase Pro one of the included effects is a Test Signal Generator (not sure of exact name) you might find useful. I’d start by setting all Faders to 0 and send a test signal down the audio path. You’re adding gain somewhere and grunt work is likely the only way to find it.

Ok, yes Cubase pro 11, I will give that a go cheers

There is no need for a “mix buss”.
If I were troubleshooting this, the first thing I would do is eliminate that “mix buss” and just send all your groups to the stereo out.
Leave the VU meter plugin out of the equation. See what the built in Cubase meters tell you.