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Thread: Record Level not working in GarageBand

  1. #1
    gvdv is offline Dedicated Member
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    Record Level not working in GarageBand

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    Hi,
    I would like some help with a problem in GarageBand that has only recently become relevant to me as a problem (i.e., I was able to get around it / deal with it up to now, so I did not matter to me previously).

    Stated briefly, I cannot set the the Record Level and Track Volume level in GarageBand independently of one another. For some reason, the ‘Recording Level’ slider (under the ‘Browse’ tab in the ‘Track Info.’ Pane on the right of the screen) is greyed-out.

    Now, maybe that is as it should be, given my set up (I don’t know, hence this question), so here is how my system is configured/set-up, with some information about a curious anomaly that even an audio professional could not sort out, and which might have a bearing on this problem.

    DAW Set-up
    - Mac Pro Dual Core Intel Xeon processors (i.e. 2 x 2.66 GHz / 4 cores)
    - 5 GB RAM
    - 1 TB HD space (total of 4 Seagate Barracuda hard drives)
    - Presonus Firestudio 26x26 firewire audio interface
    - OS X 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard)
    - GarageBand ’09 Version 5.1 (398)

    I used to run the previous OS (Tiger?) with a previous version of GarageBand (3, I think), and had the same set-up and same problem (with the ‘Record Level’ being disabled / greyed-out).

    When I upgraded to Snow Leopard, I installed it on a virgin hard drive.

    Apart from 4 or 5 occasions over the last few years when I have edited a very small amount of video in iMovie, I have used my Mac Pro exclusively for tracking in GarageBand. I have only connected the computer to the net on a handful of occasions. There are only 2 non-system apps. on the computer (all related to tracking/recording audio).

    Problem
    Up to now, I have been able to work with the fact that the ‘Record Level’ slider was greyed-out; I used the ‘Volume Level’ slider on each track to set the recording level. (The ‘Recording Level’ was greyed-out when I was using my previous version of GarageBand, in the previous OS).

    However, recently while testing some microphones, I really wanted to be able to set the volume level (in the headphones) of the track that I was recording much louder than the recording level would allow without clipping.

    This has me wondering if there is any way of enabling the ‘Recording Level’ slider.

    Potential Problem Connected with This?
    After re-installing the software for my Presonus Firestudio after I had installed Snow Leopard about a year ago, TWO sets of choices for the Presonus appeared in the ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ windows under ‘Preferences – Audio/MIDI’.

    One of the choices reads ‘PreSonus Firestudio’ (with that punctuation), and the other reads ‘Presonus 1394’. (The Firestudio is a firewire audio interface).

    Now, this wasn’t the case previously, under the Tiger OS, and the ‘Recording Level’ slider is still greyed-out, but I thought that this might be relevant in some way. Also, the software mixer/router for the Firestudio has never worked properly (I am not able to create discreet mixes).

    So, my main questions are:
    1. Given my set-up, should the ‘Recording Level’ slider be disabled/greyed-out, or should I be able to use it?
    2. If it should be capable of being enabled, how would I do that?

    Thanks,
    GVDV.
    www.CollaborativeTherapy.com
    "If the The Beatles or the '60s had a message it was 'Learn to Swim'. And once you've learned - Swim".
    John Lennon

  2. #2
    bouldersoundguy is online now Modulator
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    Why would you monitor through GarageBand? Doesn't the FireStudio come with FireControl monitor mixing DSP software?

  3. #3
    gvdv is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    Why would you monitor through GarageBand? Doesn't the FireStudio come with FireControl monitor mixing DSP software?
    Hi bouldersoundguy,
    Thanks, but please note my last proper paragraph in my message:
    "Now, this wasn’t the case previously, under the Tiger OS, and the ‘Recording Level’ slider is still greyed-out, but I thought that this might be relevant in some way. Also, the software mixer/router for the Firestudio has never worked properly (I am not able to create discreet mixes)".

    GVDV.
    www.CollaborativeTherapy.com
    "If the The Beatles or the '60s had a message it was 'Learn to Swim'. And once you've learned - Swim".
    John Lennon

  4. #4
    bouldersoundguy is online now Modulator
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    I missed that sentence, but I wonder if you understand how to use the DSP. It won't mix the existing tracks. You use GB to mix what's already recorded and use FireControl to mix the live inputs with that while you track. But without being there it's hard to be sure why it doesn't work for you.

    Could you just crank the headphones up to hear your mic better and turn down the other tracks?

  5. #5
    gvdv is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    I missed that sentence, but I wonder if you understand how to use the DSP. It won't mix the existing tracks. You use GB to mix what's already recorded and use FireControl to mix the live inputs with that while you track. But without being there it's hard to be sure why it doesn't work for you.

    Could you just crank the headphones up to hear your mic better and turn down the other tracks?
    Hi again bouldersoundguy,
    Thanks for asking - it's a good question - but I do have quite a bit of experience with GB, so I know what you're getting at.

    And I have got by up to now by doing what you suggested (cranking the overall headphone level/volume and turning various tracks down).

    However, in testing these mics. recently, I have been faced with a couple of situations that I had never encountered before in which some of the polar patterns I was using would make the mic. (without any reverb or EQ on it - i.e. 'flat') sound 'murky'; and that would distract me and prevent me from hearing myself well enough to concentrate on tracking.

    So, I wanted to be able to crank the volume/monitoring level for the individual track that I was recording without distorting it. I'm pretty sure that I would have that amount of control if the FS's FireControl mixer/router was working, but it isn't.(I have tried talking to Presonus about this over the years, and have hired an audio professional who sells and uses Mac equipment and the Presonus, but neither of those routes has solved the problem, although the latter fellow did help me to understand what was going on with the Presonus a bit).

    On the subject of whether the GB 'Record Level' slider should be greyed-out in the way that it is, do you think that it might be greyed-out because choosing the FS for the audio input and output causes GarageBand to 'assume' that that recording level is being set on the Firestudio, and therefore GB disables the Record Level slider in the Track Info. pane?

    Thanks, once again, for your reply.
    www.CollaborativeTherapy.com
    "If the The Beatles or the '60s had a message it was 'Learn to Swim'. And once you've learned - Swim".
    John Lennon

  6. #6
    bouldersoundguy is online now Modulator
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    I won't be much help on Mac and GB issues as I only use Pro Tools on a Mac and don't get into the OS much.

    But when it comes to the basics of gain structure it doesn't matter what the computer is. I get the sense that your overall monitoring level needs to be turned up in the analog realm and everything but your input needs to be turned down in the digital realm.

    If that doesn't work for you I'll just leave it to the GarageBand and Mac OS people to try to help.

  7. #7
    Steve Henningsgard's Avatar
    Steve Henningsgard is offline Engineer at Signaturetone
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    A simple answer to your original question: the "Record Level" slider controls the internal sound card only. Third-party interfaces (like yours) have their own controls.

  8. #8
    gvdv is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Henningsgard View Post
    A simple answer to your original question: the "Record Level" slider controls the internal sound card only. Third-party interfaces (like yours) have their own controls.
    Hi Steve and bouldersoundguy,
    Thanks for your replies.

    Steve, yes, it began to dawn on me that this was probably the case, but it is very helpful that you and one other kind person have confirmed this for me.

    Interestingly, though, I am still left with the problem of not having enough gain to hear myself properly without boosting the monitor/recording level to distortion when using some polar settings/configurations on some mics., so bouldersoundguy, I think that you're right on in your suggestion, I just don't know how I would go about implementing it given the limitations that I just described of the combination of the Presonus and my Mac/GB.

    And I am now having some other real pain-in-the-ass problems with GB, which I think may be a reflection of corrupted files.

    Thanks, once again, for your replies,
    www.CollaborativeTherapy.com
    "If the The Beatles or the '60s had a message it was 'Learn to Swim'. And once you've learned - Swim".
    John Lennon

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