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Thread: Low synth output

  1. #31
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    Continuing! So I am now using the ZED14 which now has 5 synths going in via both mono and stereo inputs with a balanced cable from the Aux 1/2 out to the interface. I'm gain staging from synth to mixer to interface to DAW as follows.

    - set synth to almost max volume
    - engage PFL switch
    - adjust channel gain to get mixer level bouncing around or just hitting 0 (about +10db)
    - disengage PFL
    - engage Aux 1/2 headphone switches (is that for headphones?)
    - set master Aux 1/2 to 3/4 position
    - set channel Aux 1/2 to 3/4 to get mixer levels same as with PFL
    - 0 gain on interface
    - meter levels in Reaper are around -18Dbfs

    So a question: is matching the Aux 1/2 meter levels to the PFL meter levels ok? Is this achieving unity gain? It's interesting that with the interface gain at 0 I got the exact DAW reading as in the attached pic.

    FYI

    1) all 5 of these synths in PFL mode with 0 mixer gain were giving levels at -20 to -20 db so it wasn't a matter of re initializing, though that was a good idea.

    2) only one synth, a Yamaha CSR6 is actually noisy so the comment about OCD'ing on a nonexistent noise issue was prob right

    gain-staging-studio-recording.png

  2. #32
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    It seems like you're closer to where you want to be.

    What that pic doesn't cover is line level. Most mixers will put out a +4dBu signal when the meter reads 0dBVU, and most converters will correlate that to -18dBFS. Mackie boards are weird in that 0dBVU produces 0dBu at the output.

    The 0dBVU/+4dBu/-18dBFS level is an "average" level. The signal should be crossing that fairly regularly, not spending most of its time above or below it. But it depends a lot on the instrument being played. A strong piano note would peak well above that level, drop rather quickly to something near it, then trail off below it. A strong drum hit might go to +12dBu (-6dBFS) then drop off rapidly. A strong violin note might go to +3dBu and stay there until the musician stops playing the note. A vocalist might be right around 0dBu on normal sustained notes and +6dBu on louder notes. This is all approximate, just as a guideline.

    With properly matched hardware you should be able to have the channel and master faders on or near the 0 mark. I suppose that could equate to 3/4 of the way up. What outputs of the mixer and what inputs of the interface are you using?

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    With properly matched hardware you should be able to have the channel and master faders on or near the 0 mark. I suppose that could equate to 3/4 of the way up. What outputs of the mixer and what inputs of the interface are you using?
    The ZED14 has 4 Aux outs. I have a balanced cable from the Aux 1/2 outs to inputs 1/2 of my Focusrite Saffire which only has 2 inputs. Aux 1/2 are pre-fader so as far as I know it's only the channel and master Aux 1/2 levels (after channel gain) that are controlling interface input level.

    The 3/4 position of channel and master Aux levels just happened to give me a level that matched the PFL. I could have maxed out the channel Aux levels and lowered the master.

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    On knobs marked 1-10 or the like, 7.5 (3/4 of the way up) or so is generally the default or "unity" position. I notice the master knobs have a 0 around that point and +6 at the top of the range. So that all seems to line up correctly.

    At this point you could probably make those channel aux and aux master settings your default and just tweak the gain to get your recording level if you ever change the signal going into the mixer.

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  7. #35
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    Yes I have that marking too. And that's the plan.

    Do I aim to get everything up to that 0 level to ensure strong signal, even quiet instruments, then lower it in the DAW?

    And at this point I am using my interface for both headphones and output to monitors, so recording via pre-fade leaves my faders kinda sitting there. I know some people listen to the interface outs via mixer while others only trust the interface.
    Last edited by arcticranger; 04-11-2019 at 05:07.

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