The 3db rule

The Articles, Tutorials / Tips / Tricks - teach or learn.
The Learning Curve__
Post Reply
User avatar Belgium
Respoda
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:38 pm
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 1 time

The 3db rule

Post by Respoda » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:17 pm

Here's a cool trick to have a very good balance when starting a mixdown:

Use the 3db rule to balance kick and bass 'first'.
With those two balanced, starting from there the mixdown will be more balanced since all other
sounds and instruments will be balanced around kick+bass...

The 3db rule is a basic rule that says when you duplicate say a kick sound, that sound
combined will add 3db to the overall loudness. Even when two sounds are not the same though, the same rule
seems to apply in general, where if you have a kick and 'add' another sound that is about the same loudness, the RMS value will increase by about 3db...since you've already been gain-staging your faders long before this mixing stage (I hope..), they're already 'about' at a similar loudness...

Beware though that this addition of 3db is an 'RMS' value,
so we need to use a VU meter for this trick, not a peak meter...

mvMeter II is still free and imo one of the best 'free' VU meter available:

https://www.tb-software.com/TBProAudio/mvmeter2.html


To start, download and install it, or use another VU meter, and place it at the beginning of the chain.
Then solo the kickdrum and enable the VU-meter so you see at what level the kick is peaking.

Then change the pre-gain knob on the VU meter until the kickdrum hits at exactly -3db.
Do not change its mixer-fader in your daw though...

Now solo the bass too (add it to the kickdrum) and both now need to be hitting exactly 0db on the VU meter.
So you play with the mixer-fader of the bass in your daw until the VU meter peaks at 0db.

When done, just remove the VU meter from the chain, and your kick and bass are now balanced in such a way that
they form a solid basis for a mixdown.

This works with any kind of music, as long as it has a kick and a bass sound...



For reference, here's a video explaining the same thing :



:love it:
####### Music is expression. Expression spurs creation. Creation equals life. ######## #########################################################################################
## Your life is a musical expression of creation, life's exposé of matching sounds, ##
############################### all rushing to be heard ################################

User avatar Norway
Paralytik
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 04, 2019 6:13 pm
Location: Oslo
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: The 3db rule

Post by Paralytik » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:55 pm

Interesting. Will definitely try this out.

User avatar Belgium
Respoda
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:38 pm
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: The 3db rule

Post by Respoda » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:49 am

I do everything with headphones exclusively, and this has helped me greatly in obtaining a balanced mix. Even with electronic genres it really helps...
####### Music is expression. Expression spurs creation. Creation equals life. ######## #########################################################################################
## Your life is a musical expression of creation, life's exposé of matching sounds, ##
############################### all rushing to be heard ################################

User avatar Norway
Paralytik
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 04, 2019 6:13 pm
Location: Oslo
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: The 3db rule

Post by Paralytik » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:38 pm

You don't do any other monitoring than headphones? Like try it on a mono speaker, or, if you have the opportunity, on a PA? I always send my mixes to 2 friends to check if I'm off with something.

Post Reply