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+6 db clipping when importing file ?!
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rat010104
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21st December 2012
Old 21st December 2012
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+6 db clipping when importing file ?!

Hi guys,

when i load a commercial Track in my DAW and play it back the vu meter shows +6db. Hows that possible?

I thought 0 db is the limit.

Thanks for all replies

x
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You're probably seeing intersample peaks in a floating-point domain, etc., etc., yada, yada.
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If it's a real VU meter set to 0dBVU and you try and play a modern/crushed track, it will nail to the right and not move. You'll need an attenuator to get a decent looking readout.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
Hi guys,

when i load a commercial Track in my DAW and play it back the vu meter shows +6db. Hows that possible?

I thought 0 db is the limit.
0dBFS is the limit in ye olde regular digital peak meter, which is what most DAWs use.

A VU meter is something else and that would easily show +6dB.

I doubt you'll see an inter-sample peak +6 dB above 0 dBFS, since those extreme ISPs aren't naturally occuring events. Just above +2dB in the most heavily clipped masters, but that would require you to have inter-sample peak meters activated in your DAW.
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rat010104
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22nd December 2012
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Hey thanks for all the replies

Im talking about the standard gainmeter in ableton live 8. Im loading a song onto an audio track and the channelmeter shows +6db peak :(

I found out its the 40 Hz region, but I still dont understand how the soundengineer of the track did it ...

i wanna do it as well, because big kicks in dancemusic are essential.

Does anyone know how to achiev it ?

xxx
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22nd December 2012
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You could theoretically get ISPs that high if you really pushed it. I don't think it would sound very good though... Can you post details of the track?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
0dBFS is the limit in ye olde regular digital peak meter, which is what most DAWs use.

A VU meter is something else and that would easily show +6dB.

I doubt you'll see an inter-sample peak +6 dB above 0 dBFS, since those extreme ISPs aren't naturally occuring events. Just above +2dB in the most heavily clipped masters, but that would require you to have inter-sample peak meters activated in your DAW.
hit the nail on the head....
(saw the pic...and I've got Ableton on my laptop)

that looks pretty standard for a Hip-Hop Mastering job these days...
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23rd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
Yes i can Now its getting interesting ^^

David Guetta feat_ Taio Cruz Ludacris-L.mp3 - DivShare

Also i attached a picture of Ableton, just to say it again i import "Little bad girl" in an empty track and it shows me almost +7dbs

imm.io - 7.png

grets Alex
An imported file, like your example here, can not overload in that way all by itself. It is not technically possible.

Why imported CD tracks Clipping in Pro tools

The meters in Ableton Live are more or less without meaningful legend which makes it hard for me to say what the actual peak reading and level setting is. But the answer is in the above link, where I explain under what circumstances this type of reading can occur. 6-7 dB would be extreme (=unlikely) for an ISP in a master, and remember this can only happen if you are doing some kind of processing in your DAW, i.e. if the Warp Engine is on or if the meters are oversampled.

If you import this particular (or any other) track into a sample rate matched empty session in Logic Pro or Cubase for instance, you will get a correct reading. This indicates that something is not set up correctly in your DAW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
Im talking about the standard gainmeter in ableton live 8. Im loading a song onto an audio track and the channelmeter shows +6db peak :(

I found out its the 40 Hz region, but I still dont understand how the soundengineer of the track did it ...

i wanna do it as well, because big kicks in dancemusic are essential.

Does anyone know how to achiev it ?

xxx
It seems you misunderstand some basic principles. The sound engineer did not "do" anything to cause your track meter to show an overload. The peak is not happening in the 40 Hz region as such. If you look at a frequency analyzer you may see a bump around 40 Hz because there is a lot of sub energy in that particular track, probably from the kick drum.
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23rd December 2012
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Hi again,

thank you so much for your help. I really start to understand what ur saying.

I found out it was because of the warp function activated.

So thanks again Well ....

Do you know a DAW with a more neutral warpfunction ? Im doing lots of remixes and ableton meeses up my sound :(
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23rd December 2012
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This can happen when a stereo file has inadvertently been converted to mono.
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23rd December 2012
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Well .. i didnt press anything ^^ .

Beeing serious .. its all over the internet that the ableton warp function messes up the sound. It kills highs and ads lows and also there is some other weired effect to it. So i really wanna work with an up to date timestretching mechanism. Whats the best to your ears? There are many threads about this topic but whats your opinion ?
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23rd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
Hi guys,

when i load a commercial Track in my DAW and play it back the vu meter shows +6db. Hows that possible?

I thought 0 db is the limit.

Thanks for all replies

x
Hi rat010104,

First of all, you need to realize that dB is not an absolute value. It is relative value to a reference (a known value). It will be written with a minus (-6dBX) if it is smaller than X and plus (+6dBX) if it is bigger than the X. There are many posts in here that will tell you that saying something is +6dB is like saying ‘I am 6 miles from there’… Where is there? What is your reference? That is why it is important to include the one/two characters after dB so we know what the reference is. From your post, I can only deduct that you are maybe talking +6dBVU (6 db over VU reference). Most VU meters are calibrated to indicate 0VU at +4dBu voltage into 600 ohm load. When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS. So when you say that you are reading it at +6dBVU, it is still within the legal range (-18 + 6 = -12). You are 6 dB over the 0VU reference and 12 dB below the absolute Full Scale (-12dBFS) value. You need to realize which units you are looking at: For example a 16 bit sample maybe expressed in absolute value (-32767 to 32768), in reference to Full Scale (-90.3dBFS to 0 dBFS) or in reference to 0VU (-72dBVU to +18dBVU).

Rob
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6hbg View Post
Hi rat010104,

First of all, you need to realize that dB is not an absolute value. It is relative value to a reference (a known value). It will be written with a minus (-6dBX) if it is smaller than X and plus (+6dBX) if it is bigger than the X. There are many posts in here that will tell you that saying something is +6dB is like saying ‘I am 6 miles from there’… Where is there? What is your reference? That is why it is important to include the one/two characters after dB so we know what the reference is. From your post, I can only deduct that you are maybe talking +6dBVU (6 db over VU reference). Most VU meters are calibrated to indicate 0VU at +4dBu voltage into 600 ohm load. When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS. So when you say that you are reading it at +6dBVU, it is still within the legal range (-18 + 6 = -12). You are 6 dB over the 0VU reference and 12 dB below the absolute Full Scale (-12dBFS) value. You need to realize which units you are looking at: For example a 16 bit sample maybe expressed in absolute value (-32767 to 32768), in reference to Full Scale (-90.3dBFS to 0 dBFS) or in reference to 0VU (-72dBVU to +18dBVU).

Rob
And I quote: " When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS."

Would you mind if I quoted this over on rec.audio.pro??? The clowns on there told me emphatically that no such correlation exists and to stop wasting their effing time with my troll-bait. What you stated jibes instinctively with what I figured all along.

Now I'm thoroughly confused.
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
And I quote: " When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS."

Would you mind if I quoted this over on rec.audio.pro??? The clowns on there told me emphatically that no such correlation exists and to stop wasting their effing time with my troll-bait. What you stated jibes instinctively with what I figured all along.

Now I'm thoroughly confused.
Hi K Man,
Sure, you can quote me…
I thought to show you an example in Pro Tools 10, but I can’t find how or even if you can switch between Full Scale Metering (Peak Meter) and VU meter. I also looked into my old and trusted Audition and it only displays volume in Full Scale mode. So I am going to show it to you using Grass Valley’s EDIUS video editing software screen shots, since it is geared towards broadcasters and it has both Peak and VU metering. Here is what I have done: In Audition I created a file, 1KHz tone at 48KHz, with volume set to -18dBFS. I then opened it in EDIUS and set the meter to Peak Mode. See PeakMeterMode.jpg, note that the mixer shows -18dBFS program level. I then switched the mixer to VU mode and played the same file again, see VUMeterMode.jpg and note that the program level now shows 0VU. Some professional cameras I have worked with have 0VU either at -18dBFS or -20dBFS depending on the standard you work in or headroom you require. In the audio world, the best example I could find is in the ‘HD IO Guide’ from AVID, in appendix c they are talking about calibrating the HD interface i/o’s. And despite of the statement in ‘About Calibration’ that there is no standard for 0VU level in digital devices, later on in ‘Calibrating the HD IO’ they mention -18dBFS as typical (pages 37..38 of http://akmedia.digidesign.com/suppor..._v81_67823.pdf).

Rob
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+6 db clipping when importing file ?!-peakmetermode.jpg   +6 db clipping when importing file ?!-vumetermode.jpg  
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
thank you so much for your help. I really start to understand what ur saying.

I found out it was because of the warp function activated.

So thanks again
You're welcome.
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
And I quote: " When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS."

Would you mind if I quoted this over on rec.audio.pro??? The clowns on there told me emphatically that no such correlation exists and to stop wasting their effing time with my troll-bait. What you stated jibes instinctively with what I figured all along.

Now I'm thoroughly confused.
Believe the "clowns". There is no such correlation, though I suppose it could be semantics.

A sequencer cannot be calibrated for that. A sequencer simply outputs data to the sound card which passes it on to the D/A, or vice versa. You can change the meter mode in some sequencers, but the software cannot sense what is actually going on at the analog stage.

The converter, however, can be calibrated. There is no definite calibration standard, but by using a test tone, a multimeter, a regular SPPM in the sequencer, and switching jumper settings/using a control panel/manually turning trimpots you can change and verify the reference level for both the A/D and D/A.

Though a DAW can be considered to be a combination of the sequencer and sound card/converter, it is best to be very precise when discussing these matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6hbg View Post
From your post, I can only deduct that you are maybe talking +6dBVU (6 db over VU reference). [...] So when you say that you are reading it at +6dBVU, it is still within the legal range (-18 + 6 = -12). You are 6 dB over the 0VU reference and 12 dB below the absolute Full Scale (-12dBFS) value.
To me it was quite clear from the context that he was talking +6 dB over 0 dBFS, which is not within the legal range when uncompensated. Also, take a look at the supplied screenshot.

Since the problem went away when turning off the Warp Engine, it was indeed a problem caused by hidden processing. The processing of a heavily clipped master caused a combination of inter-sample peaks, phase shifts and perhaps filter ringing. I do not believe this to be inter-sample peaks alone due to the severity of the change.

Now, enough nerding for today - Merry Xmas! :-)
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat010104 View Post
...when i load a commercial Track in my DAW and play it back the vu meter shows +6db. Hows that possible?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
...to me it was quite clear from the context that he was talking +6 dB over 0 dBFS, which is not within the legal range when uncompensated....
Where did you get +6 dB over 0 dBFS from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
...The converter, however, can be calibrated...
Yes, I used the wrong term ‘…the DAW…’. It is only the AD/DA converters that can be calibrated. I was thinking of a DAW as a package: AD > DAW > DA – all calibrated to some standard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
...There is no definite calibration standard, but by using a test tone, a multimeter, a regular SPPM in the sequencer, and switching jumper settings/using a control panel/manually turning trimpots you can change and verify the reference level for both the A/D and D/A...
True, there are no defined standards but there are Recommended Practices published by the same people that define standards. Since you are in Europe, take a look at EBU_R-68 and if you are still interested maybe examine SMPTE-RP155 (USA version). I admit, the recommendations are for broadcasters only so if someone is working on a CD then 0dBFS is the limit/reference, but since the manufactures of professional TV, radio and recording equipment use the same standards it is somewhat logical to follow the recommendation if you plan to interconnect with anything outside of your computer.

MX
Rob
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24th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6hbg View Post
Where did you get +6 dB over 0 dBFS from?
The OP wrote +6 dB, but used the wrong reference (VU). The context as well as the screenshot reveals we were dealing with a signal inside Ableton Live and a +6 dB reading on the SPPM, not a VU meter.

Quote:
True, there are no defined standards but there are Recommended Practices published by the same people that define standards. Since you are in Europe, take a look at EBU_R-68 and if you are still interested maybe examine SMPTE-RP155 (USA version). I admit, the recommendations are for broadcasters only so if someone is working on a CD then 0dBFS is the limit/reference, but since the manufactures of professional TV, radio and recording equipment use the same standards it is somewhat logical to follow the recommendation if you plan to interconnect with anything outside of your computer.
I'm fully aware of the various standards in broadcasting, but since we are dealing with the subject of mastering in this forum, it is more relevant to look at the particular converter and outboard you are using in your mastering chain, as well as your workflow. Therefore I have calibrated my converters to match my analog chain and my workflow rather than a (slightly) arbitrary US or EU broadcast standard.

When I deliver to broadcast, particularly TV, it is not relevant for me to have calibrated to this standard since I simply follow the EBU R128 guidelines.
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Pro Tools 10 will load floating point files that could easily be way over-peaking but won't clip after you turn them down. Assuming your metering has been working properly, that could easily be the case if it isn't a stereo file being combined to mono which would give you exactly a 6 dB. boost if both channels were mono.
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Perhaps we should make a FAQ on this subject since it seems to pop up quite often. The sequencer in question here was Ableton Live, though.
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I also noticed that the input file they linked to is an mp3, and scale factor could be set to have the decoder create PCM that's nearly without limits. Given that it's decoded into floating point or a sample format with headroom otherwise of course.

OP said that's not the cause of the problem in this case, but just thought I would throw another pan into the fire.
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Does any DAW come with a "digital" vu meter? That doesn't make any sense to me that it's anything but +6 dBFS.

I think lager nailed it. Hidden processing.
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29th December 2012
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Best digital VU meter I've used is the Klanghelm VUMT one. Gets extremely close to the real thing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
And I quote: " When you digitize it, most DAWs are calibrated to indicate 0VU at -18dBFS."

Would you mind if I quoted this over on rec.audio.pro??? The clowns on there told me emphatically that no such correlation exists and to stop wasting their effing time with my troll-bait. What you stated jibes instinctively with what I figured all along.

Now I'm thoroughly confused.
They said what? Have they not heard of the AES calibration? Or any of the the others? Damn fools!!
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Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
They said what? Have they not heard of the AES calibration? Or any of the the others? Damn fools!!
They already have me on their ignore list and think I'm a troll, so do you think they'll listen to anything about the AES??

Their contention is that dBu measures voltage, dBfs measures audio level, and hence a correlation cannot be made.

I'm not saying I agree with that, I'm just passing it along.
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then those arguing with you are idiots and have no experience in the professional audio world. 0dBVU calibrated to -18dBFS is a very very common system. A couple of others are too. Not dBU mind....
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then those arguing with you are idiots and have no experience in the professional audio world. 0dBVU calibrated to -18dBFS is a very very common system. A couple of others are too. Not dBU mind....
dBvu, sorry. It doesn't help matters when I can't recite the meter alphabet soup correctly. LOL!

The new European std EBU R128 is even stricter: -23!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaluma View Post
Best digital VU meter I've used is the Klanghelm VUMT one. Gets extremely close to the real thing.
+1 for the VUMT. And anything else Klanghelm.
Can't wait to see what they come up with next.
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@ lagerfeldt

good idea

FAQ would definitly sort out some stuff
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