The rule of thumb when mastering music is that you should set your final output ceiling to roughly between the range of -1 dB or -0.5 dB.
This is done to prevent any unforeseen inter-sample peaks in the event that the music is transcoded to a different lossy format such as MP3 or AAC.
For example, if you bounce or render your project with the ceiling of the brickwall limiter set to 0 dBFS and upload your music online as an uncompressed wave file.
Chances are your music will be transcoded by the music streaming service to a bandwidth efficient format such as AAC or MP3. And the downside is that your music might gain 1 dB in overall output resulting in distortion.
Therefore it makes sense to leave enough headroom room by setting the brickwall limiter’s ceiling to -1 dB to account for any unwanted distortion artifacts cause by music conversion to different formats.
Dialing -1 dB Output Ceiling on Image-Line Maximus
To precisely dial a setting of -1 dB output ceiling for Image-Line’s Maximus in FL Studio follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Image-Line Maximus and click on the Master Compression target band.
Step 2: Hover your mouse to the “Post Gain knob” and hold CTRL on your computer keyboard while dragging the mouse down to a value of -1 dB.
NOTE: That’s it really; after you have done that this means Image-Line’s Maximus will brickwall any levels that reach -1 dBFS. In other words Image-Line’s Maximus ceiling is set at -1 dBFS to prevent peaks to go above that level.
Dialing -1 dB Output Ceiling on Image-Line Fruity Limiter
Step 1: Open Fruity Limiter and hover your mouse to the “Ceiling knob” and hold CTRL on your computer keyboard while dragging the mouse down to a value of -1 dB.
NOTE: After you set the limiting ceiling of Image-Line’s Fruity Limiter to -1 dB this means the brickwall limiter will not let any peak to go above -1 dBFS. Eventually this give an additional headroom of -1 dB in the event that you transcode your music to a lossy format like AAC or MP3.