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Positive Mixing vs. Negative Mixing
Old 29th July 2017
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Positive Mixing vs. Negative Mixing

Something that I've been thinking about and have started trying out: With a physical mixing board, all the ins start out at volume 0 and the mixing engineer increases the level to make the mix and get proper gain staging.
With a modern DAW, all the levels start out a 0dbfs, and then you have to DECREASE the level to get proper gain staging.
The former really makes a lot more sense, now that I've been trying it.
Old 29th July 2017
  #2
0 dbfs is the top of the scale in digital world. Anything exceed that is is clipping the converters on your sound card, which result in bad(nasty sounding) distortion. So 0 dbfs is pure for protection. In a physical mix console, "0" is 0 vu, which translate in digital, in most cases as -18 dbfs, and is at the middle of the scale. So if you stay at the middle of scale in digi world, is the safest, best sounding level, and it will translate well in the analog world too.
If you wanna read more extensively about this topic(and i advise you to do that because is a game changer for a mix engineer in the digi world) you can find it here on GS... "0VU vs 0dbFS" or something like that. Peace
Old 29th July 2017
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by argentobob View Post
Awesome thread, definitely worth a read!
Old 29th July 2017
  #5
Yes indeed! It was the best mixing lesson for me!
Old 29th July 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 
BM Grabber's Avatar
 

If you by levels within the DAW you meen the fader position, you can of corse lower all you faders to 0 before mixing (then push up the faders like on any mixer)............ That's how I do it anyway, and really no difference than pushing faders up on an analog console.

But you still have to consider proper gain staging, all the way from your analog front end, to the final output of your D/A converter (0dBVU = +4dBu = 1.23 V (all rms) - usually calibrated to -18dBFS).....

..... Especially important if you use the newer analog emulation plugins, those that have the proper behaviour/curves according to level fed into them (again for the most part calibrated to have their best S/N ratio (and distortion level) at -18dBFS ).
Old 29th July 2017
  #7
That's indeed good advice from BM Grabber. Gain staging needs to be addressed on all stages.
Old 30th July 2017
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Thanks all.
Yeah. Within the last year I've learned a lot about proper gain staging. This is what ended up leading to me doing things this way.
I've also started putting SleepyTime Record's StereoChannel on every track to make sure my levels fall around -18dbVU, and then also on my master channel to make sure levels stay under -6dbVU, which for me allows plenty of headroom for final EQing and such.
Doing things this way has REALLY helped my mixes sound better.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #9
Gear Addict
 
veks's Avatar
With vsti's, at least in Reaper, is allmost impossible to clip, as Reaper has it's own giant headroom (it can show red on some channels but it doesnt mean it is clipping). You can also move master fader iff you don't have limitter in project. So gain staging is not nessesery iff you work with vsti's. I just want to emphasize how different is to working with recordings and vsti's. Many tutorials that are for recordings are useless iff you work with vsti's. In my last project one sample was clipping in one place but that is probably something to do with wrong order of effects or something simmilar which i am guessing, but i can fix with 0.3 db on limitter in new project.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veks View Post
With vsti's, at least in Reaper, is allmost impossible to clip, as Reaper has it's own giant headroom (it can show red on some channels but it doesnt mean it is clipping). You can also move master fader iff you don't have limitter in project. So gain staging is not nessesery iff you work with vsti's.
This is only true if you have no effects which attempt to mimic real world equipment or phenomena, and if you are willing to basically ignore all your metering and just pull down the final master fader/input gain sufficiently so that the output is back out of the red.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #11
Gear Addict
 
veks's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedarkproject View Post
This is only true if you have no effects which attempt to mimic real world equipment or phenomena, and if you are willing to basically ignore all your metering and just pull down the final master fader/input gain sufficiently so that the output is back out of the red.
What plugins would that be? Ssl console?
Yes
, i have pre-volume also. I did insert Trim plugins for -18 db and i only got mess as many plugins got too quiet. So i had to insert new Trim to compensate for volume (I did use also native volume of vsti's but for most of them that was not enough). I saw the clipping on exported wave file as Landr was queted that part (i didn't care for clipping in project).
Old 4th August 2017
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Well, the most obvious examples are compressors or limiters - they are entirely about dynamics so they will respond very differently to different signal levels. But more subtly, there are lots of plugins which attempt to do some sort of saturation or distortion, and those will typically respond differently to different input levels, like real-world counterparts would. Generally modulation, reverb, and delay will not, however.
Old 5th August 2017
  #13
Gear Addict
 
veks's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedarkproject View Post
Well, the most obvious examples are compressors or limiters - they are entirely about dynamics so they will respond very differently to different signal levels. But more subtly, there are lots of plugins which attempt to do some sort of saturation or distortion, and those will typically respond differently to different input levels, like real-world counterparts would. Generally modulation, reverb, and delay will not, however.
Ah yes, thats why some vst's didnt have effect, like elysium filter and Urs saturator. Ok, thanks for the input. I will have that in mind. But Reaper have pre-fx option for routing, so compressor have no changes when volume changes. That would work for other effects i suppose.
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