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Thread: Recording level????

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    AlterGino is offline Newbie
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    Recording level????

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    ive been doin some home recording. i only have a one channel interface and one mic. when you guys record how loud do you set your amps to. i have a marshall solid state and i noticed that when i crank it up, it ussaly sound better. but is recording at that level tha right way to go? does it need to be that loud?

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    ido1957's Avatar
    ido1957 is offline 7K Gold Member
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    Set your amp up at the volume you want.
    Put the mic in front/edge of the speaker.
    Adjust the volume control in your recording software so it does not clip (go into the red).
    You should be good to go....

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    Massive Master's Avatar
    Massive Master is offline MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
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    The actual TRACKING level (which, IMO/E should be peaking at maybe -15dBFS or so digitally after the preamp) has little to do with the SOURCE level (which should be wherever it needs to be to get the sound the way you want it).
    John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering


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    AlterGino is offline Newbie
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    okay, thanks guys

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    PDP's Avatar
    PDP
    PDP is offline There once was a note
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    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    The actual TRACKING level (which, IMO/E should be peaking at maybe -15dBFS or so digitally after the preamp) has little to do with the SOURCE level (which should be wherever it needs to be to get the sound the way you want it).
    Interesting, I've noticed some of my files have peaks at -10 or 11. I've noticed a slight static sound on some of them, and was wondering if I'm going to high? Also I read if you record to low your somehow not using the full 24bits, is that B.S.?

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    miroslav's Avatar
    miroslav is offline Cosmic Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlterGino View Post
    when you guys record how loud do you set your amps to.
    Until it sounds good to you...then set the mic/preamp for a good recording level. Like MM said...they are two different levels.


    Quote Originally Posted by PDP View Post
    Interesting, I've noticed some of my files have peaks at -10 or 11. I've noticed a slight static sound on some of them, and was wondering if I'm going to high? Also I read if you record to low your somehow not using the full 24bits, is that B.S.?
    You should be able to record right up to "0" dBFS without any issues on the digital end. However, chances are most of your front end will be pushing at its outer limits, so that's why it's often suggested to record between -18dBFS and -10dBFS...not so much for the digital side, but for your analog side.

    The 24 bit thing comes into play if you record WAY low...but at the above levels you don't need to worry about loosing bits.

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    itaughttremonti's Avatar
    itaughttremonti is offline Paul McCartney died?
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    Massive has a great blog post about this...I believe it was him...

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    PRHunt's Avatar
    PRHunt is offline I void warranties
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    At bit depth of 24 bits, you have a theoretical dynamic range of 144dB. The actual dynamic range is less than that, though, due to electronic limitations. If you assume a real-world 24 bit dynamic range of 110dB (as specified for my Echo Audiofire 8), then tracking at, for example, -14dBFS peak still leaves you 96dB dynamic range - the full theoretical dynamic range of a CD. Tracking at such levels is about leaving headroom for processing, mixing, etc and keeping stuff away from digital clipping.

    As I understand things, setting levels for tracking should be done in the analogue realm, ahead of the AD converter. If you use the levels controls in the software, you could simply be attenuating an already digitally clipped signal. Someone correct me please, if that is incorrect.

    The signal does not have to be clipping in analogue to be digitally clipping. A perfectly clean analogue signal can simply be too hot for the AD converters analogue inputs which will cause digital clipping.

    +1 for the Massive Mastering article.

    Paul

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    Massive Master's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDP View Post
    Interesting, I've noticed some of my files have peaks at -10 or 11. I've noticed a slight static sound on some of them, and was wondering if I'm going to high? Also I read if you record to low your somehow not using the full 24bits, is that B.S.?
    Of course you wouldn't be "using all the bits" -- But that's the point of all those bits and all that resolution.

    Just like trying to capture an intimate photographic portrait while lighting the room with a 1.5MCP arc spotlight. Just because the camera might be able to handle that much light, it doesn't mean it's going to be a good photograph. Or driving a car with your foot to the floor the whole time. It's the least efficient way to run the motor.

    Those sixteen point seven million possible points of resolution and theoretical 144dB dynamic range are there so you don't have to use them. Higher resolution at *normal* levels.

    Or, you can floor it and overdrive the circuitry in your preamp, spectrally skewing and dynamically compromising the signal, throwing the SNR out the window, lose clarity, lose focus - But "use all the bits" --
    John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering


    Spoon-feed a newbie the answer and he'll mix for a day --
    Spark his curiosity to find the answer himself and he'll mix for a lifetime...

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    Bristol Posse's Avatar
    Bristol Posse is offline Okey Dokey
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    I run my amps at the level that gets me the sound I want and then use mic choice, placement and gain staging to get appropriate levels throughout my recording chain and into my DAW

    In the recording chain I aim for roughly line level RMS based on +4dBu and where that comes out on my DAW meters will depend on which converters I'm using and how they're calibrated
    If I run through my Profire 610 that comes out to -12dBFS = Line level
    If I run through my BLA Spparrow that comes out to -10dBFS = line level

    This to me means I'm running my recording gear at the levels it was designed to run most optimally and keeps me way above my gear, tracking space or guitar amp noise floor and still leaves me plenty of room for transients and spikes to come through without clipping my converters

    As always YMMV

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