If I use a limiter on the master it will make the track much quieter. If I use a clipper, the track will become louder, but the wave will be approximately as I need. Advise how to be. I know there should be a limiter at the end of the chain. But I don't know how to apply it exactly
0dB treshold. 200ms release
What is certain is that you don't want to exceed 0dB at the end, but there are various ways to achieve it.
Limiter lowers amplification whenever signal exceeds the threshold. Then the amplification comes back gradually to the original level during the release time, unless meanwhile the signal exceeds the threshold again.
I would say 200 ms release is quite long time for a mastering limiter. It may result in audible fluctuations of the volume. I would suggest experimenting with shorter release times.
The goal of limiter is to minimize distortion of the sound waveforms (typical rising time order of ms), by applying relatively slower amplification changes. In turn clipper does intentionally distort the signal, by cutting the tops of the waveforms. Clippers often employ some techniques, e.g. rounding of the edges of the clipped waveform, to make the distortion less audible as in case of digital clipping. Clippers are quite extreme tools to process the dynamics. Clipping is typically less audible on short, percussive sounds.
What effects to apply depends on you and what sounds good the best to your ears, and in the context of the music style. I suggest to :
- learn about various other dynamic processing techniques, including compression, multiband compression, sidechain compression,
- examine your individual tracks. Maybe there is a single track responsible for excessive peaks in the master, and maybe you can improve the situation by working on this specific track, using compression, multiband compression, or just equalisation in particular at the low frequencies?
- rather than letting a single effect to do all the job, experiment with using several dynamic processing effects with less extreme settings each,
- learn about volume levels used by streaming services. Maybe you're just trying to mix too loud? If your track is too loud, they will just lower the volume, but the loss of dynamics, and the distortion resulting from the dynamic processing you apply is irrecoverable.