Finding the right level, DBX286 gain staging

HomeRecordist

New member
I have the following setup:
Audio Technica BP40 --> DBX 286A --> Audient ID4 mk II
Due to various reasons, processing signal via software means is not feasible.

Plugging microphone directly into the interface, gain has to be set at maximum and even then I need to be within ~15-25cm from the mic to reliably hit -10db LED.
Currently I max-out DBX preamp (+60 gain) to saturate the compressor and have the last, "output" knob set to zero.

Afterwards, I amplify the signal in ID4 by having the gain knob set to approximately 11. Having it at 0 (line-in) results in clearly insufficient volume, so this step is not optional.

Questions:
  1. How do I reliably detect when signal coming from DBX into ID4 is too hot for the latter? I can hear the distortion well before Audient LEDs reach 0 level.
  2. Would the whole setup benefit from a preamp ("cloudlifter", etc.) before DBX so that it's not always at max gain?
  3. Anything else I might be missing?
Thank you.
 

Farview

Well-known member
How much reduction are you getting from the compressor? My guess is that you are overdriving the compressor, causing distortion and the gain staging goofiness later in the chain.
Also make sure your gate is wide open.

Bypass the processing and see what the gain situation is. 60db of gain should be plenty, especially when you are running it into another preamp.
 

HomeRecordist

New member
Bypass the processing and see what the gain situation is. 60db of gain should be plenty, especially when you are running it into another preamp.

Out of sheer interest done the sweeps. 20-20K, linear:

lin_sweep_src.png

DBX with gain knob at minimum (+10Db) and bypass ON:

lin_sweep_rerecorded_0knobs_dbx+10_bypass.png
 
Top