Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: gain staging

  1. #1
    davecg321 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    61
    Rep Power
    2

    gain staging

    Sign in to disable this ad
    just read this!

    Recording Levels And Gain Staging - Audiofanzine

    i kind of get the impression that i should lower my gain input on my interface so i get -15 -20db of in put in my DAW. If i do this my actual peak reading on my interface (firestudio project) will be considerably low, as in the manual it states to hit around -6db (yellow led reading). Will i not be effectively raising the noise floor later on when using compressors/limiters if i follow this procedure. so far i have been recording signals in my DAW at around -5 db and normally bringing faders down rather than up... all this aside i have always avoided clipping

    any suggestions

    dave

  2. #2
    RAMI's Avatar
    RAMI is offline Seen Your member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    montreal
    Posts
    14,902
    Rep Power
    21474861
    If you've always avoided clipping, then you're doing the right thing. Honestly, it almost doesn't matter what level you record at as long as you don't clip. Sometimes my tracks PEAK at -15db, sometimes they peak at -6db. You have a long way to go before having to worry about the noise floor, like about 50db or more.

    Put it this way, it's almost impossible to record too low. Headroom is a good thing.

  3. #3
    Steenamaroo's Avatar
    Steenamaroo is offline Honorary Old Fart.
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    U.K.
    Age
    28
    Posts
    11,646
    Rep Power
    21474857
    Since I upgraded my preamps I've had the luxury of hiss not really being an issue.
    As such I have (blindly) tracked at lower levels and I'm convinced I've seen the benefit of this when it comes time to mix.

    I've no idea if that's real, imagined, or coincidence, but I heard Massive talking about mixes with higher headroom almost exclusively working better than those with less. (I hope I haven't paraphrased him incorrectly).

    I'd love to know more about this if anyone can shed light.

    I used to think room was room. As long as you don't clip and you don't track so quiet as to hear ambient or gear noise, what's the difference?
    Now I'm not so sure it's that black and white.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?

  4. #4
    Farview's Avatar
    Farview is offline www.farviewrecording.com
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Age
    48
    Posts
    12,244
    Rep Power
    11835077
    Here is what happens: when you work the Mic preamp, or even the line input, above its sweet spot level, it starts changing the signal subtly. Usually adding harshness or a 'pinched' sound. Not a real big deal on one or two tracks, but when you have dozens of tracks with this going on, it affects the quality of the mix.

    The problem that you run into is that you are give peak meters in the daw and the peak level is irrelevant (as long as you don't clip). The thing that messes you up is the sustained level, not the peak level.

    Now, obviously, if you have a snare drum and a violin both recorded at the same peak level, the violin will be a lot louder and have a much higher sustained level. This is because the snare drum has a huge, short peak and almost no sustain. The violin has no peak and is all sustain. The preamp will easily handle the short peaks of the snare drum recorded at -1dbfs, but will be really straining to deal with the violins sustained volume at -1dbfs.

    Its the preamp and the rest of the analog circuitry that can't handle those high levels gracefully, not the digital side. The only reason this is a problem for digital recording is because with analog recording, the meters have the zero point at the target level. The analog meters read the sustained level and the zero point is where the sweet spot level on the equipment is.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording and HERE!!!!

  5. #5
    Tom Hicks's Avatar
    Tom Hicks is offline 1K Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Cowtown TX
    Posts
    1,543
    Rep Power
    2656176
    The same signal strength that reads as 0 on an analog meter reads as ~ -12 or -14 on the digital scale. In other words still plenty hot.

    In analog days, running as hot as possible was actually desirable, as a lot of analog gear gave a pleasing sound when pushed past analog 0. But try hitting 0 with digital gear and you get unpleasant crackles and pops. So a different way of looking at it is required.

    Advancements in available dynamic range with modern gear means you can safely back off the input level and still have a good signal to noise ratio. So record at whatever ever level you wish, but do beware not to hit zero.

    This is particularly important with percussion sources, as the transients can be way hotter then the average level. Better safe than sorry in risking that killer take you just recorded.

  6. #6
    Farview's Avatar
    Farview is offline www.farviewrecording.com
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Age
    48
    Posts
    12,244
    Rep Power
    11835077
    Another thing to remember is that the digital noise floor is WAY below the analog noise floor of the equipment you are using to get the signal to the converters. 16 bit has a noise floor below most analog equipment, 24 bit audio has a (theoretical) noise floor lower than it is possible to get with any electronics.

    So worrying about the noise floor of digital audio is a waste of time. in fact, if you recorded something that peaked at -48dbfs in 24 bit, you would still have a higher signal to noise ratio than a 16 bit CD would have peaking at 0dbfs
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording and HERE!!!!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Gain Staging / Gain Structure
    By jaynm26 in forum Mixing Techniques
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 09-17-2012, 22:27
  2. Gain Staging
    By Br3n in forum Recording Techniques
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 12-05-2011, 04:43
  3. gain staging
    By connor413 in forum Newbies
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-27-2010, 00:26
  4. Gain Staging
    By Scooter B in forum Recording Techniques
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-12-2005, 21:59
  5. Preamp gain staging: gain vs. output
    By flanneljammies in forum The Rack
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-09-2003, 02:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Special 93% Offer

Got beats? Samples? Mixing and mastering services? Get a head start with this 93% OFF special offer!