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Your digital reference level ...( -20, -18, -16, -14 or -12 dBFS ). Audio Interfaces
Old 24th August 2014
  #151
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Does anyone know if it makes a difference to hit hard on my ULN8's pre-amps, sound-wise?
Could be either pre-amp or conversion related.
Old 25th August 2014
  #152
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
Analog reference level is quite irrelevant unless you work in a broadcast environment where all equipment has the same reference level.
(And even here it's becoming less relevant since almost all interfacing is digital)
Non broadcast pro and consumer audio equipment has reference level that goes all over the place so it's not very helpful to think in terms of dBu and decide on a fixed analog reference level.
The only thing that matters is that you have healthy gain staging in all of your equipment.
I don't get it. How can an analog ref lev be irrelevant and at the same time you state you should have a healthy gain staging?
Old 25th August 2014
  #153
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huub's Avatar
People were talking about dBu levels in this thread, I'm trying to say that talking about a fixed reference level (0dBu is 0VU is -24 dBFs for example) is irrelevant for almost everyone, especially at home.
Because Non broadcast pro and consumer audio equipment has reference level that goes all over the place.


What I'm really trying to say is: don't worry about exact numbers, they don't really matter.
Old 26th August 2014
  #154
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
People were talking about dBu levels in this thread, I'm trying to say that talking about a fixed reference level (0dBu is 0VU is -24 dBFs for example) is irrelevant for almost everyone, especially at home.
Because Non broadcast pro and consumer audio equipment has reference level that goes all over the place.


What I'm really trying to say is: don't worry about exact numbers, they don't really matter.
Ok, I get it. Just a little corrections 0dBVU = 4dBu
Old 26th August 2014
  #155
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huub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Ok, I get it. Just a little corrections 0dBVU = 4dBu
Right 0VU is +4dBu is -20 dBFs..
Old 26th August 2014
  #156
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
Right 0VU is +4dBu is -20 dBFs..
Depending on the calibration. I've got now -18dBFS. In the beginning I had -12, but then realized that this way I can't run my analog gear very hot (if needed) before I distort at 0 dBFS. So I lowered it to gain 6 dB in the outside realm :D
Old 27th August 2014
  #157
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

You basically want to keep peaks out of the top 10 dB.
Old 27th August 2014
  #158
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AlexK's Avatar
 

The VU meters in most DAWs & other digital gear seems to have an orange/yellow indicator around the -18 or -16 mark. I normally aim to peak around -12 at the most in the digital domain.

One of the things I hate about most DAWs is how the VU meters seem to bottom out around -50dB or so. I've configured reaper to show me down to -96 and find it FAR easier to get the right level at a quick glance. As long as I'm peaking in the top 1/3rd I'm fine. When you've got a rough level for everything you can then go through and make sure it's peaking at the optimum level.

For example I'm currently transferring a mix off the quarter inch and I'm seeing this. Dread to think what I'd be having to go by in Logic!
Attached Thumbnails
Your digital reference level ...( -20, -18, -16, -14 or -12 dBFS ).-screen-shot-2014-08-27-12.57.41.jpg  
Old 27th August 2014
  #159
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Pro Tools HD 11 also has extended range metering available. It helps with some things and is a huge improvement over the original but I think the main problem is the red zone starting way too high.


Bad metering has been a result of greedy audio manufacturers beginning with Sony who were unwilling to pay for the quality of peak metering that had been developed and used by broadcasters around the world for decades. (The U.S. standard was a VU meter combined with overload lights but we never saw the overload indicators outside a broadcast station because manufacturers were unwilling to spend the money.)

Digital was just used as an excuse for manufacturing crap by calling it "new." Then computer programmers failed to do their homework and just copied Sony's crappy metering or reinvented the wheel.

My point is that it didn't need to be this way.
Old 29th August 2014
  #160
mpr
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This is a twofold process:

1) determine what analog gain setting produces the most pleasing sound off your pre (find the preamp's sweetspot)

then

2) calibrate your AD converter to have that level (from step 1) peak at -10dBfs

There is no single calibration that works ideally for every preamp. You must listen and then setup a custom calibration for each device.

This is one reason I miss my old Wunderbar where 24 channels were calibrated the same (-20dBfs). Remixing those old sessions is a joy.

Since all my pres today demand differing output levels, I calibrate converter channels for each pre according to their specific gain sweet spot.

This is a pain, yes, but once dialed in you are good to go as long as you don't swap pres from their corresponding AD converter channels.
Old 29th August 2014
  #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
Analog reference level is quite irrelevant unless you work in a broadcast environment where all equipment has the same reference level.
(And even here it's becoming less relevant since almost all interfacing is digital)
Non broadcast pro and consumer audio equipment has reference level that goes all over the place so it's not very helpful to think in terms of dBu and decide on a fixed analog reference level.
The only thing that matters is that you have healthy gain staging in all of your equipment.
which is cool and totally understandable. I still scratch my head sometimes as I just play the _18dbfs rule. But are my convertes set to the optimum level? Duno I cant find any referance (metric Halo 2882). It annoys me that I havent been able to find out what to set my converters to. So even a company like Metric Halo, who in all things have been fantastic, cant tell me this.
Old 29th August 2014
  #162
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

According to the manual, Metric Halo 2882 output clips at +26 which is pretty good. I'd run it at -20=0.0 VU.
Old 29th August 2014
  #163
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temp Love View Post




I love these! It's like training wheels for digital metering! Genius.

PSP 2Meters two audio level measurement plug-ins: PSP VU2 and PSP PPM2.

Old 29th August 2014
  #164
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owensands's Avatar
BAD4 burl mothership card:
2 set to -18 for tracking
2 set to -16 for mastering
Old 30th August 2014
  #165
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lectric's Avatar
The important thing not is 0vu=-18,-20 or -15. The important thing is 0vu=1,228 volts in the in/out from your hardware. If you want -12, -15, -18 or -24 in your converter is your option regarding the desired headroom.
Sorry for my english.
Old 30th August 2014
  #166
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The important thing is trying as much as possible to keep peaks out of the 10 dB. prior to any analog stage clipping.
Old 13th February 2015
  #167
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Areft's Avatar
 

Just a question,
Do you recommend stronger signal for older analog mixers considering the noise floor.
I use a Studer 089 with a metric halo 2882.
When I send a -23dbfs 1k sine wave (DA) to the mixer, the Vu reads 0db.
Some slutz recommended -10dbfs...
Any idea?
Old 13th February 2015
  #168
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cinealta's Avatar
 

-20
Old 17th February 2015
  #169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Areft View Post
Just a question,
Do you recommend stronger signal for older analog mixers considering the noise floor.
I use a Studer 089 with a metric halo 2882.
When I send a -23dbfs 1k sine wave (DA) to the mixer, the Vu reads 0db.
Some slutz recommended -10dbfs...
Any idea?
I would't go for -10 dBFS. Doesn't leave much headroom, and you cannot go hot in the analog domain then, before clipping digitally

-23 dBFS? Whether your converter is calibrated this way, or the mixer has a different calibration. First make sure the Studer is calibrated well, you can work with its VU-meter to get the best signal to noise ratio. Then you can try different converter calibrations. Start with -20, then -18 and finally -16. Maybe -14. And see how it affects your workflow.
Old 9th November 2015
  #170
Gear Maniac
Hi

I wonder if someone here is using Orion with Dangerous music summing units (d-box & 2-bus+).

I have a feeling that I need to manage the DA signal from orion to summing units, as it's like it is too hot. 2-bus+ with its color options it´s like it is distorsioning the sound (as when you have a bad signal on it).

Have you deal with similar situation ? Do I need to apply some adjustments to calibrate this? I've read that trim options are made digitally so I don´t know it that will help or get it worse..

Thanks in advanced for you help.
Old 9th November 2015
  #171
I think I understand the input side and the justification for ensuring that the input peaks or RMS are at about -18 dbxxxx on the digital scale, to leave headroom.

I have not heard much about the output side of things, cos it seems most commentators focus on the input.

A lot of what I do is listen to commercial tracks via my active monitors.

These commercial tracks go all the way to -0.1 on the digital scale, when I view them in the digital meter.

My objective is to hear these well mastered commercial tracks at the best possible quality, with the least distortion on the analog components of my Digital/Analog (D/A) converter.

Does it mean I also need to lower the digital output by to -18Db, or maybe -12 to achieve this? Or does the output side of things operate differently.....from the input..?

If I need to lower the output in my playback tool, by -18DB.....will this digital change compromise the quality of my audio.......?
Old 9th November 2015
  #172
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steveschizoid's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by esencia View Post
Hi

I wonder if someone here is using Orion with Dangerous music summing units (d-box & 2-bus+).

I have a feeling that I need to manage the DA signal from orion to summing units, as it's like it is too hot. 2-bus+ with its color options it´s like it is distorsioning the sound (as when you have a bad signal on it).

Have you deal with similar situation ? Do I need to apply some adjustments to calibrate this? I've read that trim options are made digitally so I don´t know it that will help or get it worse..

Thanks in advanced for you help.
Analog gear (in general) functions best at nominal level = +4 dBu = 0dBvu
You're signal should average 0 dB vu which corresponds to -16 to -18 dbfs (depending on your converter, and your digital meter measures this)

If you are hearing distortion, it's probably way too hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kodebode View Post
I think I understand the input side and the justification for ensuring that the input peaks or RMS are at about -18 dbxxxx on the digital scale, to leave headroom.

I have not heard much about the output side of things, cos it seems most commentators focus on the input.

A lot of what I do is listen to commercial tracks via my active monitors.

These commercial tracks go all the way to -0.1 on the digital scale, when I view them in the digital meter.

My objective is to hear these well mastered commercial tracks at the best possible quality, with the least distortion on the analog components of my Digital/Analog (D/A) converter.

Does it mean I also need to lower the digital output by to -18Db, or maybe -12 to achieve this? Or does the output side of things operate differently.....from the input..?

If I need to lower the output in my playback tool, by -18DB.....will this digital change compromise the quality of my audio.......?
Peaks and rms are not the same. Don''t worry about mastered tracks, the reasoning for outputting 0dB vu is to keep the signal within nominal range for analog processing. Unless you are trying to compare to your mixes, in which case you obviously need to turn mastered tracks down, it really doesn't matter one way or the other. It won't hurt anything to turn them down.
Old 9th November 2015
  #173
I switch it depending on source
Old 10th November 2015
  #174
If you use K-14 system for monitoring, do you also gainstage with K-14, e.g. peaks at 0 dB K14?
Old 10th November 2015
  #175
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I use -18dBFS as my virtual analog 0dB when tracking and mixing.

I use calibrated monitoring at K14 so everything roughly ties up nicely.

Plus I find my outboard processing and A/D/A (HEDD 192) sounds much better when using these levels into and out of them from my DAW.
Old 10th November 2015
  #176
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
FWIW, we use 0VU = +4dBU = -20dBFS throughout, and aim to have all overs/peaks at -10dBFS or lower on all tracks.

If there's a desire to drive preamps or other analogue gear harder for a given track, we use a pad (on the desk or outboard) at the end of the analog/outboard chain to return to reference level before hitting the converters.



.
Old 10th November 2015
  #177
mpr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky Media View Post
FWIW, we use 0VU = +4dBU = -20dBFS throughout, and aim to have all overs/peaks at -10dBFS or lower on all tracks.
That's exactly what I do. I find that using VUMT set to -20dBFS=0vu with peaks hitting below -10dBFS, makes gain staging into both digital and analog more consistent. Using slightly less than 2bits of a 24 bit container is 100% healthy practice as you will still be recording at least 20dB of noise floor at the other end. Find me a preamp that has true 120 dB of dynamic range.

As a general rule, I like to be able to slightly trim up into the plugin/DAC and then (if required) trim down back into the ADC. Analog gain staging often requires different levels between gear to find optimal tone, so all the rules go out the window until its time to AD convert back into the DAW, which then comes back into at -20=0VU.

For mastering, where the levels are usually much hotter that mixing, I am loving this new Dangerous Convert2 DAC because it has 3 automatic trim levels on the front panel: -14,-16,-18. Plus it sounds incredible.
Old 12th November 2015
  #178
-10 dbfs here. I use quality converters to a HDR. All analog mixing and processing here. I don't have any DAW issues as there is no DAW used. -10db gives me 10 db headroom, always enough if levels are carefully set. That means my analog circuits are running at + 10 dbu. That makes them happy and increases my S/N ratios.

The console noise is -105 dbu. Stereo crosstalk is -90 db at 10k hz. Hotter signal levels show up as reduced THD+noise on my AP analyzer. An added benefit is the increased stereo imaging and lack of DAW digital errors. The console clips at +27 dbu so it never runs out of headroom.
Old 12th November 2015
  #179
mpr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
-10 dbfs here.
Peaks hitting -10 or -10=0VU?
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