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Thread: Jumping In - First Questions

  1. #11
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    Just a point about recording levels. Yes, keep to an average of -20dBfs and a peak of -6dBfs but those numbers assume you are running at 24 bit 'word length' and just to be clear. Sample rate defines the upper frequency response since a digital system can only have an upper limit just under half the sample rate.

    World length defines the dynamic range. This is approximately 6dB 'per bit' so 16 bits as CD is gives us 96dB and that is more than enough to reproduce even the biggest orchestra. 24 bits gives a massive (and unattainable) of 144dB and so a 24bit recording path's dynamic range is wholly defined by the quaity of the ANALOGUE components. The very best A/D D/A converters achieve a smell over 120dB.

    Now, since 0dBfs is the defined maximum it follows that 24 bit operation just extends the noise floor (Anny permitting!) and so instead of increased headroom gives increased 'legroom'. Suffice it to say that the art has now progressed to the point that you could set a rough level for a band in a pub at about -30dBfs and then leave the kit and sit getting *****d with your mates and come back at the end of an evening to a perfectly usable recording!

    All the above is the distillation of facts learned by an old valve amp tech. Much learned debate swirls around matters digital that I do not pretend to understand but stuff seems to work for me.


    Dave.

  2. #12
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    Yes, whatever sample rate you use, definitely go with 24 bit rather than 16 bit. A 16 bit file is perfectly fine for a finished track for delivery, but when you're in production you really want the extra room to maneuver that 24 bit gives you.

  3. #13
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    Thank you very much.

    Since I am a total beginner (Im at the unconscious incompetent stage) I dont have gear. I have a Samson C01UPRO Microphone I plug into my MAC. I open Garageband (I today downloaded Reaper) I press 'record'. I play. I have some flutes. And I have wind I blow into my flutes. Thats the extent of my gear.

    my first step will be to figure out how to even see what the dBFS are of the tracks im recording in either Garageband or Reaper I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Late Gates View Post
    (Im at the unconscious incompetent stage)
    I'm impressed that you used that phrase.


    Quote Originally Posted by Late Gates View Post
    I have a Samson C01UPRO Microphone I plug into my MAC.
    This is the start down the path of conscious incompetent, conscious competent and finally to unconscious competence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Late Gates View Post
    I open Garageband (I today downloaded Reaper) I press 'record'. I play. I have some flutes. And I have wind I blow into my flutes. .
    Doing this is not much different in Reaper: load up Reaper, create and arm a track, hit record and go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Late Gates View Post
    my first step will be to figure out how to even see what the dBFS are of the tracks im recording in either Garageband or Reaper I guess.
    No, I don't think it's your first step. Your first step is to get a recording that shows a visible waveform that hasn't gone into the red. The second step is to get a recording that sounds nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    Your first step is to get a recording that shows a visible waveform that hasn't gone into the red. The second step is to get a recording that sounds nice.
    Heed the wisdom on display there. Think of the red as the dark side. Avoid the dark side at all costs.Think of the visible waveform that avoids the red and nets you a nice sound as the force.
    May the force be with you.

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  8. #16
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    thanks

    from a VERY conscious incompetent

    I realize you guys are like artists and you can get whatever sound, feel, groove you want out of your stuff. I feel like a 3 year old trying to draw a Picasso - I know how I want my recordings to sound - but I have no idea how to use the tools to get there. Its painstakingly slow. I have to google or search forums for every single thing I want to do, and then go through tutorials till I find what it is im looking for. Its like learning a language where you have to stop and look up every single word you hear or read. But its the only way to learn and there is no fast track. Much respect to you guys.

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    Something I forgot to mention in my comments on recording levels. They will be quite a bit lower than what you're used to on a finished song. During tracking and mixing you want to keep things more or less around that -18dBFS mark, but once mixing is done you'll need to master your song. Typically that's done as a separate step. Export the song from the project at full resolution (if your project is 48kHz and 24 bit, export a 48/24 file), then import that file to a new project and use a mastering limiter to bring the volume up to something comparable with other finished songs. Most streaming services have a standard of something like -14dB LUFS (yes, another kind of dB: loudness units, full scale).

    My bare minimum mastering chain is: mastering limiter* -> LUFS meter. Sometimes I'll have more on there, such as: EQ -> compressor -> mastering limiter -> LUFS meter.

    *A mastering limiter is a specialized tool optimized for this job. I wouldn't suggest using a generic limiter as it can be rather inconvenient to get desirable results.

    Here's the LUFS meter I've been using: Youlean Loudness Meter - Free VST, AU and AAX plugin

    Once the song sounds the way you want it to and has the desired level, export it to a file appropriate for the target release platform. When I post on Soundcloud or Bandcamp I upload a full resolution file, generally 48/24, and let them convert it to a compressed format for streaming. If you live in the Dark Ages and want to put it on a CD you'll need to export a final file at 44.1kHz and 16 bit. If you want to upload it directly on this forum to share it with us you'll need to export an MP3 file.

    If you want to post it here for help with the mix I would suggest an MP3 exported before any mastering.

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