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Monitoring levels Headphone Amps
Old 19th February 2017
  #1
Monitoring levels

Hey all. I've recently calibrated my JBL 305's. I have also recently adopted recording at -18. My question is this. Recording at -18 has left me with monitoring levels that are just too low. While tracking last night, I decided to throw a limiter on my main out to increase my monitor output levels. This worked well. What are others doing, and are there any drawbacks to doing this? Thanks in advance for your input.. One other note, I'm now hitting my plugs at much lower levels also. -12 to -18..
Old 19th February 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Go to Bob Katz website on full instructions for setting up a 'calibrated' monitor system.

You've only done part A.

Next you have to set your total monitor volume, ref to -18 PINK [Bob uses -20].

He calls for ~83dB SPL .... but that is for a larger room. Smaller rooms might only handle 76-79 dB SPL.

Read the info on the site for full understanding. Important.
Old 19th February 2017
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
mworkman's Avatar
I haven't gone through a full, formal calibration for my particular setup but I use the Grace m905 Analog that has an SPL meter built in and I adjusted things to be around 80db.

My (initial) impression was that the volume was too low. What I think was happening was that I was listen at too high a volume for too long that the difference seemed striking. After living with things at the lower volume for a while now I am much more used to it. And I have much less ringing in my ears at night when I go to sleep.

Go through the calibration and give yourself some time to live with whatever level you calibrate to and then re-evaluate.
Old 19th February 2017
  #4
If your goal is to listen at 83dB(z) for instance you can get there two ways. (arbitrarily making up numbers here)

1) -18dBFSD from DAW and 12dB gain from your preamp/monitor gain control.
20 -6 dBFSD from DAW and 0.0dB gain from your preamp/monitor gain control.

What you hear from your monitors will be the same SPL but your final mixdown will be 12dB hotter from the second configuration.
Old 19th February 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
 
dougb415's Avatar
80dB is pretty loud for my room, especially for long periods.
Old 19th February 2017
  #6
Thanks guys..
Old 20th February 2017
  #7
Gear Maniac
I also use a limiter to bring levels up to listening volume. When I first adopted lower recording levels I just turned up the monitors, but when a minor mishap sent 0db levels to them at that volume I decided not to do that anymore. I am careful to not engage the limiter when mixing, only using it to boost levels and protect the monitors (unless I specifically wish to limit).
Old 21st February 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Booth View Post
I also use a limiter to bring levels up to listening volume. When I first adopted lower recording levels I just turned up the monitors, but when a minor mishap sent 0db levels to them at that volume I decided not to do that anymore. I am careful to not engage the limiter when mixing, only using it to boost levels and protect the monitors (unless I specifically wish to limit).
What you risk with this configuration is mixing what you are hearing going through that limiter (even though gingerly adjusted) but what is coming out of your DAW not being heard because it has gone through that limiter.

So when you take that DAW file and play it on another system without that limiter it is not only different because the other system is different, it is different because it is now; not affected by the limiter and the audio is different too.

You need "straight wire" gain not gain affected by an effect (limiter).



The key to translation is to listen to the same thing you are distributing when you are mixing. You could do this by printing back what you are listening to in the monitors (post limiter) that way what you got is what you were listening too when you mixed it.

If you do this avoid listening to the mixed and reprinted with limiter on .......being sent back through the limiter again. A slippery slope.
Old 21st February 2017
  #9
Lives for gear
i listen at extremely low levels now. The lower i can stand it, the better the mix comes out.
That combined with doing alot of reference listening for a half hour before i start mixing to
calibrate my ears. I am definitely getting my best mixes ever.
These two variables HEAVILY affect every decision you make.

Mixing loud and with no reference is death..
Old 22nd February 2017
  #10
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
What you risk with this configuration is mixing what you are hearing going through that limiter (even though gingerly adjusted) but what is coming out of your DAW not being heard because it has gone through that limiter.

So when you take that DAW file and play it on another system without that limiter it is not only different because the other system is different, it is different because it is now; not affected by the limiter and the audio is different too.

You need "straight wire" gain not gain affected by an effect (limiter).
I avoid the limiter actually limiting at all, and stay several db below it's active threshold. As far as I can tell there's no tonal change, only gain, plus I have protection if it's needed. I check the limiter frequently to make sure I haven't pushed into the active zone. It works well for me at least!
Old 22nd February 2017
  #11
Great points. However, my thought was to only use the limiter doing recording playback, not mixing.. What I really need to do, is get used to mixing at much lower levels..
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