Login / Register
 
How hard do you hit your converters?
New Reply
Subscribe
guittarzzan
Thread Starter
#1
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, Or
Posts: 1,049

Thread Starter
guittarzzan is offline
How hard do you hit your converters?

Hi, I've read some people saying that they don't hit their converters that hard as compared to how they approach recording to tape. Now I know I don't want digital distortion, but that's the end of my expertise. When recording guitars, especially distorted guitars, how hard to you hit em?
I use a digi hd 192 and have been recording guits with the greens lit all the time, the yellow some of the time and never hitting the red. Is this ok or is it better to leave more room?

thanks for the info in advance.

Steve
#2
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #2
Gearslutz.com admin
 
Jules's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2002
Location: A Yank in London, UK
Posts: 19,941
My Recordings/Credits

Jules is offline
Favorite is to work at optimum levels the outboard BEFORE the converters, is happy to work at..

Mic
pre
compressor

ALL happy

Then set DAW converters inputs to be "comfortable" with no constant 'overs terror'.

That will be cool!

#3
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #3
Gear addict
 
Etnier's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Cape Elizabeth ME USA
Posts: 317

Etnier is offline
Depending on how you work there is the possibilty that keeping peaks 3-6 dB below 0dBfs would be a good idea: if you're mixing digitally, eq and other processing applied in the mix could push signal levels up appreciably. It's nice to have the headroom. Assuming you're recording 24-bit it's not a problem.
__________________
John Etnier
#4
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #4
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: St Pete
Posts: 152

Send a message via AIM to Auxillary
Auxillary is offline
A lot depends on if it is working. If it starts to give me trouble in the middle of a session I can hit them pretty hard. If they're working nice I normally will buy ice cream after. A little tap on the head for a job well done.
__________________
the city has sex with itself i suppose as the concrete collides, the scenery grows
#5
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #5
Gear maniac
 
dtobocman's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2002
Location: los angeles
Posts: 259

dtobocman is offline
Quote:
Originally posted by Etnier
Depending on how you work there is the possibilty that keeping peaks 3-6 dB below 0dBfs would be a good idea: if you're mixing digitally, eq and other processing applied in the mix could push signal levels up appreciably. It's nice to have the headroom. Assuming you're recording 24-bit it's not a problem.
Mind you -- this means hitting your AD convertor at nothing higher than -23dBvu -- right?
#6
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
faeflora's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: washington dc
Posts: 2,022

faeflora is offline
-16 through -14
#7
30th November 2003
Old 30th November 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Calabasas, California
Posts: 1,142

doug_hti is offline
I agree with what Jules said....the optimum outboard level, which depends from piece to piece should take priority to a certain and reasonable extent.
With the Digi 192, remember you have two different gain settings, use them.
For tracking I use a lower gain setting. I believe calibrated at -17dbfs. And then my other gain setting is -14dbfs, which I use for processing over the mix bus, if I'm bringing levels up/mastering, etc., to take off some of the load of the output and/or input levels on the analog gear, even though most can sound fine, it may not be their optimum setting.

On tracking, I really find that tracking at lower levels where constant peaks are at 0dbvu or -16dbFS, etc. brings optimum results. I may track a little hotter on a lead vocal if I have comp over it.

I have no scientific theory or proof, but I don't think it hurts to leave some room for the undetected transients that are potentially and constantly slipping through.
__________________
doug
#8
1st December 2003
Old 1st December 2003
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Earth, NYC metro
Posts: 5,907
My Recordings/Credits

Send a message via AIM to Jay Kahrs Send a message via Skype™ to Jay Kahrs
Jay Kahrs is offline
Quote:
Originally posted by doug_hti
On tracking, I really find that tracking at lower levels where constant peaks are at 0dbvu or -16dbFS, etc. brings optimum results. I may track a little hotter on a lead vocal if I have comp over it.

I have no scientific theory or proof, but I don't think it hurts to leave some room for the undetected transients that are potentially and constantly slipping through.
Not only that but if you print higher then 0VU you'll be pushing the analog gear out of it's normal happy operating range. Here's a real world example. If the peak output (aka headroom) on something like an API pre or an 1176 is +24dB over 0VU and your ADC is calibrated to -18dBfs at 0VU then both pieces of gear have plenty of headroom for transients. Now, if your calibrated to 18dBfs = 0VU and you print something up around -4dBfs with the same piece of analog gear, that piece of gear is now 14dB over it's optimal operating range. If we had 24dB of headroom to start with and we're 14 dB over, we only have 10dB of headroom left on that piece of gear before it starts getting into really whacky THD and noise figures.

To date my only solid experience with the HD192 converters was at a Banjo Depot where I was listening to monitors the other day. It was the DAC that was feeding the switcher and even though only the green lights were lit something was running out of headroom and distorting. Turns out that the chuckleheads at the Depot had a graphic EQ plug-in on the CD player with the big V curve. So, it was clipping before it even left the box.

Headroom should always be taken into account. Most people don't stop to think about it until it's gone and you can't do much to fix it.
__________________
J. 'Moose' Kahrs
producer|mixer|recordist
MooseAudio.com
mooseaudio.bandcamp.com
Quote:
All you need to make a record is a mic, some tape and maybe some bad reverb...
#9
1st December 2003
Old 1st December 2003
  #9
Gear nut
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 82

kato is offline
Steve, do a test recording into the red and see how it sounds to you. It might be OK but chances are, you will want to stay away from digital overs.

As you've already noticed, going into the red with analogue is no big deal and often sounds like an improvement with guitar rock. But going into the red with digital in my experience produces a very unnatural distortion that can't be fixed later.
This was recording 2-track PCM to videocassette (1989). With early digital gear, red meant "ruined - start over." I've read that later digital gear shifted the scales to compensate for people who are used to analog - providing you a slight buffer even after you hit red. But on your gear, that safe zone might be the yellow you mention.
So give it a test and listen closely with headphones. This will be the only way you know for sure how hard you can push it. And don't worry, you will know

Kato
jon
#10
1st December 2003
Old 1st December 2003
  #10
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 1,304

jon is offline
0VU (read on a VU meter!) or transient peaks not clipping too often into 0dBFS, whichever is lower, is a good starting point IMO for tracking to digital.

With 2" tape, I set the levels by ear listening off the PB head or by experience knowing where they need to be on the VU and the Peak bargraphs on the Studer or the SSL.

FWIW I frequently like the sound of a pre set just below the point where audible distortion sets in...sounds bigger, tougher on things like vocals, snare, whatever needs it. Or going purposefully into pre distortion, like for livening/nastying/exciting up keyboard sounds. There are no rules.

YMMV as usual.
__________________
Jon Atack
Capitol Studios - Paris, France
#11
1st December 2003
Old 1st December 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
juniorhifikit's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: Paris/SanFrancisco
Posts: 1,461

Send a message via AIM to juniorhifikit Send a message via Skype™ to juniorhifikit
juniorhifikit is offline
Hey Jon!

Thanks for the engaging lunch.

My 888's sound like crap when driven "hard". I recently did a session on a 192 system and accidentally tracked a lead vocal REALLY HOT. It sounded great! The built in limiter was doin' it's thing, 'cause the waveform had a flat top, but it sounded good. The EAR compressor on the front end probably didn't hurt, but I think the analog side of the 192 converters sounds really good.

Oh by the way, as you stated, the Koyo CD doesn't really hold up sonically the way it did at the FNAC
#12
2nd December 2003
Old 2nd December 2003
  #12
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: New York City
Posts: 14,175

thethrillfactor is offline
When mastering, sometimes I over drive the input(A/D) to get more level without having to limit too much after(even when it hits red). The analog sections on a lot of the A/D sections are built to withstand a lot of level.

I prefer that sound over the "too much L2" sound.
#13
2nd December 2003
Old 2nd December 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Calabasas, California
Posts: 1,142

doug_hti is offline
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
When mastering, sometimes I over drive the input(A/D) to get more level without having to limit too much after(even when it hits red). The analog sections on a lot of the A/D sections are built to withstand a lot of level.

I prefer that sound over the "too much L2" sound.
EXACTLY!!!
I've talked about my experience on this board after I heard that mastering engineers do it at times and quite often now days.

I've done it on my Digi 192 converters and you really can slam em hard and pin them into the red before they start to break down...I think it's a more natual way to retain clarity and dynamics (yes, dynamics) while mixing/mastering in the box then getting that last bit of make up gain with a plug in, where it can easily clip internally (immediate audible distortion)...

That's why I have one set calibrated up at -14dbfs, so I don't drive the vari-mu or SmartC2 so hard....

I've tried comparing that to a L2. I can get more natural sounding level by hitting the A/D than by using L2 on the master fader at all.
This has made the biggest difference in level, clarity, and punch on tracks that won't see a mastering engineer.

And by the way, I'm pretty sure that the digi 192 converter will show red on the ouput (and possibly input) at about -.1 or higher, rather than at 0dbfs. So don't get too nervous
#14
2nd December 2003
Old 2nd December 2003
  #14
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Earth, NYC metro
Posts: 5,907
My Recordings/Credits

Send a message via AIM to Jay Kahrs Send a message via Skype™ to Jay Kahrs
Jay Kahrs is offline
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
The analog sections on a lot of the A/D sections are built to withstand a lot of level.

I prefer that sound over the "too much L2" sound.
Yeah, but the real key to not screwing that up is to know how hard the A/D can be pushed before you get mush. Personally I wouldn't really try it with any of the cheaper stuff.
#15
2nd December 2003
Old 2nd December 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
faeflora's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: washington dc
Posts: 2,022

faeflora is offline
It may be of interest for you to pass a sine wave through your A/D converter and see on an analyzer and hear how it distorts at what levels above 0. I've done it before and different converters distort the wave differently.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
rogerbrain / High end
2
matskull / So much gear, so little time!
33
o_c_d / So much gear, so little time!
16
lowswing / So much gear, so little time!
15

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.