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-6dB record peak before or after pan law?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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-6dB record peak before or after pan law?

Hello, if your daw reduces gain at center, say -3db, do you set your preamp to such a level that the interface input peaks at -6dB and and the DAW level would peak at -9dB, or would you let the hardware input peak at -3dB so the DAW level would peak at -6db?

Thank you!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
And most of the pro engineers I know seem to favor a level between -12 and -15 dBfs.

It's not like there's any noise floor to worry about with digital, and you do need to avoid digital clipping and leave the mastering engineer a reasonable amount of headroom to work with.
Old 1 week ago
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Old 1 week ago
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Old 1 week ago
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To be honest I agree with audioforce.

The level of the track going to the ME is irrelevant in digital. As long as it isn't clipping and has a nice dynamic range then it can peak at -0.1 db.

If that's too loud for the ME's processing.... they can just turn it down. The idea that an ME needs a digital file peaking at -6 or -12 or -0.1 db is misleading. They can just turn it up or down.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
Hello, if your daw reduces gain at center, say -3db, do you set your preamp to such a level that the interface input peaks at -6dB and and the DAW level would peak at -9dB, or would you let the hardware input peak at -3dB so the DAW level would peak at -6db?

Thank you!
Hi, just thought I’d check to see if the response I gave back at the beginning was what you needed to know. If not, feel free to ask more and I can try to help with it.

Best,

audioforce
Old 6 days ago
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Thanks audioforce.

My DAW (Zynewave Podium) reduces the gain by 3dB when panned center. I don't fully understand pan law, but I gather that this makes it sound equal in loudness to when it is panned.

I've read that -6dB peak is a good target for recording levels. Regardless of the level chosen, should this be the level hitting the converters, or the level after the DAW's built in reduction?

So assuming with a DAW reducing the center -3dB and aiming for -6dB peak recording level, should the hardware input see -6dB, which will be reduced further by the DAW so the channel measures -9dB? Or should you record at -3dB so the DAW channel measures -6dB?

Even if you were aiming for -15dB, would you record at the level and let the DAW further reduce to -18dB, or would you record at -12dB and let the DAW reduce to -15dB?

I am assuming you would record 3 dB higher than what you're aiming for so that the actual channel/track after the DAW's built-in reduction gives you the amount of headroom wanted (6 decibels in my case), unless you're aiming for 0dB, you probably wouldn't want to record at +3dB!
Old 6 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
..I've read that -6dB peak is a good target for recording levels. Regardless of the level chosen, should this be the level hitting the converters, or the level after the DAW's built in reduction?

So assuming with a DAW reducing the center -3dB and aiming for -6dB peak recording level, should the hardware input see -6dB, which will be reduced further by the DAW so the channel measures -9dB? Or should you record at -3dB so the DAW channel measures -6dB? ..
There's no reason to worry about being anywhere near so precise shooting for what are general target tracking guidelines! RMS -24 -- -18 or so, peaks with some healthy margin below full scale.
We are given a huge latitude in clean dynamic range to work in.

Here's a question. Which peak would you fix on to fit into this 3dB window of decision?

Or, what then if the snare whacks +9 above the rest half way through the song?

If I'm tracking him or her I'd hopefully still not have clipped. Or worst case.. maybe reach up and back it off a bit in case he does it some more.

Last edited by Wayne; 6 days ago at 09:16 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
I've read that -6dB peak is a good target for recording levels. Regardless of the level chosen, should this be the level hitting the converters, or the level after the DAW's built in reduction?
If it's recording then it's often about the input level at conversion, not after.

Of course, if you use plugins after conversion but before the signal is recorded then you may want to adjust where you are checking levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
So assuming with a DAW reducing the center -3dB and aiming for -6dB peak recording level, should the hardware input see -6dB, which will be reduced further by the DAW so the channel measures -9dB? Or should you record at -3dB so the DAW channel measures -6dB?
The most reasonable way to look at it is at the audio track/channel you're recording onto. So set that meter to measure the input, not post-fader.

I'm of course not commenting on specific levels, just where you would measure them.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
Hello, if your daw reduces gain at center, say -3db, do you set your preamp to such a level that the interface input peaks at -6dB and and the DAW level would peak at -9dB, or would you let the hardware input peak at -3dB so the DAW level would peak at -6db?

Thank you!
First of all, what are you doing? Part of your question implies mixing (using pans) and part implies tracking (preamp).
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
There's no reason to worry about being anywhere near so precise shooting for what are general target tracking guidelines! RMS -24 -- -18 or so, peaks with some healthy margin below full scale.
We are given a huge latitude in clean dynamic range to work in.

Here's a question. Which peak would you fix on to fit into this 3dB window of decision?

Or, what then if the snare whacks +9 above the rest half way through the song?

If I'm tracking him or her I'd hopefully still not have clipped. Or worst case.. maybe reach up and back it off a bit in case he does it some more.
Exactly. OP - you're overthinking things massively.

Record. Leave headroom, don't clip. That's about all you need to worry about - it can always be turned up and turned down afterwards.

A steady level of around -20 to -14dBFS is ideal for those signals that are consistent - but it's really not something to measure to the nearest dB. Just don't hit the read
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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äpple

Last edited by mattiasnyc; 5 days ago at 10:47 PM.. Reason: Needlessly confusing
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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Goodness, some threads have a hard time finding a forum, I guess. : )

And there's been a lot of post deleting, too! Even a completely non-controversial post that Mr. Eppstein actually "liked", and we agreed for once was somehow misinterpreted as "bickering". My theory is that the mods sometimes have a lot to do and they just delete non-controversial stuff by mistake along with the contentious stuff.

Anyhow, I am not sure why the thread went to this "Music computers" forum, but I guess that's where it is for now.

For the OP, I'll reiterate:

1. I am not exactly sure what you are asking, but you do not normally try to accommodate pan law while recording tracks.

and

2. Just avoid clipping (and inter sample peaks that exceed 0dBfs), unless that’s what you want. : )

We don’t really need “room” for mastering. Your tracks are going to be level-adjusted anyway. -3 will keep you out of isp-land. Generally avoid limiting on the 2-bus. Actually, Mastering Engineers often use -.3 to -1 dBfs to avoid inter-sample peak overs.

There is a noise floor with digital but its low. Still no reason not to use best resolution. -6 for tracking is alright.



I'll try to shed some more light on what appears to me to be the actual question in another post.





Best,

audioforce
Old 5 days ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ds11 View Post
Thanks audioforce.

My DAW (Zynewave Podium) reduces the gain by 3dB when panned center. I don't fully understand pan law, but I gather that this makes it sound equal in loudness to when it is panned.

I've read that -6dB peak is a good target for recording levels. Regardless of the level chosen, should this be the level hitting the converters, or the level after the DAW's built in reduction?
The level hitting the converters.

Quote:
So assuming with a DAW reducing the center -3dB and aiming for -6dB peak recording level, should the hardware input see -6dB, which will be reduced further by the DAW so the channel measures -9dB? Or should you record at -3dB so the DAW channel measures -6dB?
We are talking about tracking here, right? And the levels you are referring to are peaks, right? Let's be clear about all that. I am also assuming you are using good gear. Most current converters are at least pretty good.

So your question is tricky, because you could actually record with input peaks at either -3dB or -6dB and still not be clipping or running into intersample peak overs. So either is technically permissible. But, to try to address what your question is trying to get at, I will say that if you are aiming for a -6dBfs peak input level, then your hardware input meters should see the -6dBfs on peaks.

Again, you do not consider pan law when establishing levels for initial audio capture.

But you can record tracks that peak at -3dBfs if you want to, assuming you have good gear.

Quote:
Even if you were aiming for -15dB, would you record at the level and let the DAW further reduce to -18dB, or would you record at -12dB and let the DAW reduce to -15dB?
-15dBfs for peaks is unnecessarily low for initial capture of audio, imo, but the same rationale would apply as with the previous example where you proposed -6dBfs peaks.

Quote:
I am assuming you would record 3 dB higher than what you're aiming for so that the actual channel/track after the DAW's built-in reduction gives you the amount of headroom wanted (6 decibels in my case), unless you're aiming for 0dB, you probably wouldn't want to record at +3dB!
No, obviously. And you don't want to aim for 0dBfs peaks in tracking. While it seems technically valid at first glance, there are intersample peaks to consider, and sampling that hot would almost certainly be problematic in that regard.

___________

Doing what I can to try to answer some questions without much idea what kind of set-up you are using, so YMMV.

It would be helpful if you post whether you are totally in the box, using a console, what kind of conversion, studio or live, and so forth.



Best,

audioforce
Old 5 days ago
  #15
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banan

Last edited by mattiasnyc; 5 days ago at 10:47 PM.. Reason: Needlessly confusing
Old 5 days ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Again, op seems to essentially need to know where to check the level, and of course post-fader metering changes things. That seems to be the crux of the matter. OP should be looking at input levels, levels that are pre-fader and pre-panning. That could be achieved in the DAW and it could be achieved by looking at the converter's meters.

What actual levels to hit is a separate issue.
You appear to be confusing the issue. He is simply asking what the level should be at the converters, and whether or not that should be adjusted to compensate for pan law variables.

You measure the converters' input level at the converters, if possible [obviously.] Otherwise, at the track on input [also obviously].

It seems to me that the OP knows there is a difference between pre-fader and post-fader monitoring. A discrepancy there could arise from a number of things. But that is not what he is asking about. He doesn't ask if he should compensate at input for, e.g., every plugin he uses. Rather, he specifically wants to know if he should compensate at input for pan law.

He should not compensate at input for pan law.


Best regards,


audioforce
Old 5 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
You appear to be confusing the issue. He is simply asking what the level should be at the converters, and whether or not that should be adjusted to compensate for pan law variables.

You measure the converters' input level at the converters, if possible [obviously.] Otherwise, at the track on input [also obviously].

It seems to me that the OP knows there is a difference between pre-fader and post-fader monitoring. A discrepancy there could arise from a number of things. But that is not what he is asking about. He doesn't ask if he should compensate at input for, e.g., every plugin he uses. Rather, he specifically wants to know if he should compensate at input for pan law.

He should not compensate at input for pan law.


Best regards,


audioforce
I agree with everything you wrote. I need coffee.... LOTS of coffee....
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I agree with everything you wrote. I need coffee.... LOTS of coffee....
Ha, ha. Don't overdo it on the coffee input. : )


Take care,

audioforce
Old 5 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Ha, ha. Don't overdo it on the coffee input. : )
I'm Swedish. The above does not compute.
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