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A friendly reminder: Leave those DAW faders alone!
Old 14th November 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

A friendly reminder: Leave those DAW faders alone!

Though hardly revolutionary, it bears repeating.

Leave all your DAW faders, including returns and master at 0. Never touch them again. Ever.

If your sound source is an audio clip, adjust the clip gain so its peaking at -18dbfs pre FX. If your sound source is a VST synth, adjust its output gain to achieve the same.

Keep an eye on your gain between plugins. If the gain leaps up post FX use the plugins output gain to keep the meters bouncing around -18dbfs.

You will find yourself fighting your meters less and with headroom a plenty. Use utility plugs at the end of your FX chain to make any final adjustments.

This tip alone will transform your digital mixes.
Old 14th November 2019
  #2
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ.Makosi View Post
Though hardly revolutionary, it bears repeating.

Leave all your DAW faders, including returns and master at 0. Never touch them again. Ever.

If your sound source is an audio clip, adjust the clip gain so its peaking at -18dbfs pre FX. If your sound source is a VST synth, adjust its output gain to achieve the same.

Keep an eye on your gain between plugins. If the gain leaps up post FX use the plugins output gain to keep the meters bouncing around -18dbfs.

You will find yourself fighting your meters less and with headroom a plenty. Use utility plugs at the end of your FX chain to make any final adjustments.

This tip alone will transform your digital mixes.
and the reason you are stating this so emphatically is ?? and please do not take this the wrong way .... plenty of people work differently .... and use the faders all the time !!! big names, big songs, big mixes ... just curious ...

1) proof Positive via testing and experimentation with more than one person saying, yes i hear that !!!
2) personal experience form do #1
3) hear say from someone that did #1

cheers john
Old 14th November 2019
  #3
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tedtan's Avatar
 

So every track stays at exactly -18dB throughout the entire song?

No.
Old 14th November 2019
  #4
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ.Makosi View Post
Though hardly revolutionary, it bears repeating.

Leave all your DAW faders, including returns and master at 0. Never touch them again. Ever.

If your sound source is an audio clip, adjust the clip gain so its peaking at -18dbfs pre FX. If your sound source is a VST synth, adjust its output gain to achieve the same.

Keep an eye on your gain between plugins. If the gain leaps up post FX use the plugins output gain to keep the meters bouncing around -18dbfs.

You will find yourself fighting your meters less and with headroom a plenty. Use utility plugs at the end of your FX chain to make any final adjustments.

This tip alone will transform your digital mixes.
Yes! Agreed! Never touch your DAW faders!!!

And if you are using a LFAC, never touch those faders either! If you are mixing and you find you need to raise the vocal track fader, don't! Get the the vocalist back to the studio and tell them to sing louder. If your drum tracks are too hot - don't touch those faders! If you hear/see any clipping, get the drummer back to the studio and tell the drummer to play lighter.
Old 14th November 2019
  #5
Quote:
If your sound source is an audio clip, adjust the clip gain so its peaking at -18dbfs pre FX. If your sound source is a VST synth, adjust its output gain to achieve the same.
?? This makes no sense at ALL!

There are no set gain settings for audio. It depends on how many tracks are in your project and what sound level you want it to sound in the mix. Why you ask, Because the sum of 10 tracks at equal volume is greater than the sum of 5 tracks at that same equal volume. Its simple math!

Also, Its the track faders, not gain knobs you really adjust
Quote:
If the gain leaps up post FX use the plugins output gain to keep the meters bouncing around -18dbfs.
Still makes no scene as it depends on the context text of what you do and what levels you do it to.

Also, what if the audio is very dynamic and the peak is -18dBfs but the null is -50dBfs? Then the signal is too low. This is why there are n o set dB's for audio.
Just do not clip. Its pretty much that simple. There are no set levels because each audio file that you mix and record will be different dynamically and in sound and each mix will have a different track count and different track counts mean different levels.
Quote:
Use utility plugs at the end of your FX chain to make any final adjustments.
I call B.S. Why say to use something if there might be no need to use something? Can you hear everyone mixes?

Also, why at the end of the chain? What is the sound you want calls for a plugin to be 2nd in the chain? Or 1st in the chain?
Old 14th November 2019
  #6
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

My method is to use a VU meter inserted 1st on each track, to get the track to optimum level i use gain to have the VU averaging at -7 on the loudest part of the track.
Then, if i bus, all the kiks for example to a kik bus, i then use the faders to mix the kiks to hit the bus at -7 VU.
This allows all modelled plugs to see the appropriate level.
Old 14th November 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
well, i see i am not alone in this curiosity !!!!
Old 14th November 2019
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Lol. Don’t mix anything.

From looking at his post history he’s a DJ who makes club music. I’m sure he’s never recorded/mixed with microphones.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #9
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendocino beano View Post
Lol. Don’t mix anything.

From looking at his post history he’s a DJ who makes club music. I’m sure he’s never recorded/mixed with microphones.
he has One Fader that fades between two sources ... BUT DON'T TOUCH IT !!! hahahahah .... so he only plays the same somg over and over ...

just being funny not rude !!!
Old 14th November 2019
  #10
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Fella's got 5 posts. The kind of thing that makes you want to look at the other 4.
Old 14th November 2019
  #11
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

TLA actually uses the OP’s method to some degree. Might be worth asking for clarification before the flogging(which isn’t particularly constructive).
Old 14th November 2019
  #12
Vance Powell also had this advice in a "Recording Studio Rockstars" podcast with Lij Shaw (#171, December 14, 2018, around 1hr 29min). His direct quote: "If you're mixing in the box, when recording, never ever ever move the fader... If you turn the fader down, you're taking away bit depth. That's how the digital world works, that's how the math works. If you turn the fader down, you're going from a 24-bit signal to a 20-bit signal, or 22 or 23... If you turn that fader down, you're losing resolution."

I had never heard this before and it was a bit surprising. It was also frustrating because I use faders and fader automation as the primary facet of a mix. So if anybody has further information about this (or could confirm this), it'd be much appreciated.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #13
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limbs View Post
Vance Powell also had this advice in a "Recording Studio Rockstars" podcast with Lij Shaw (#171, December 14, 2018, around 1hr 29min). His direct quote: "If you're mixing in the box, when recording, never ever ever move the fader... If you turn the fader down, you're taking away bit depth. That's how the digital world works, that's how the math works. If you turn the fader down, you're going from a 24-bit signal to a 20-bit signal, or 22 or 23... If you turn that fader down, you're losing resolution."

I had never heard this before and it was a bit surprising. It was also frustrating because I use faders and fader automation as the primary facet of a mix. So if anybody has further information about this (or could confirm this), it'd be much appreciated.
Does he send all the tracks out to the console though?
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by limbs View Post
Vance Powell also had this advice in a "Recording Studio Rockstars" podcast with Lij Shaw (#171, December 14, 2018, around 1hr 29min). His direct quote: "If you're mixing in the box, when recording, never ever ever move the fader... If you turn the fader down, you're taking away bit depth. That's how the digital world works, that's how the math works. If you turn the fader down, you're going from a 24-bit signal to a 20-bit signal, or 22 or 23... If you turn that fader down, you're losing resolution."
Yeah, well. Talent counts for a lot.
Old 14th November 2019
  #15
Heard it all now!
Old 14th November 2019
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Didn't Skip Burrows discuss this type of stuff in a long, long ITB thread-


'The reason most ITB mixes don't sound as good as analogue....'

Not sure where it is now.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
Does he send all the tracks out to the console though?
he does, but he was discussing ITB mixing.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #18
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limbs View Post
he does, but he was discussing ITB mixing.
So how does he change the level of sounds then? A gain change is a gain change.
Old 14th November 2019
  #19
Quote:
. If you turn the fader down, you're going from a 24-bit signal to a 20-bit signal, or 22 or 23...
Scratching my head!! So a 24bit mix in a DAW will Magically go to a 20bit mix if i adjust one single Fader down a few dB.

I guess it will automatically dither itself also, huh??
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Scratching my head!! So a 24bit mix in a DAW will Magically go to a 20bit mix if i adjust one single Fader down a few dB.

I guess it will automatically dither itself also, huh??
He said "while recording," though, which is a different kind of wrong.
Old 14th November 2019
  #21
Quote:
He said "while recording," though, which is a different kind of wrong.
Uhuhhhh! That makes it even more wrong because your DAW has no control over the recording signal levels..
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Uhuhhhh! That makes it even more wrong because your DAW has no control over the recording signal levels..
There is always the chance that the ‘teacher’ is wrong.
Happens all the time.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #23
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limbs View Post
Vance Powell also had this advice in a "Recording Studio Rockstars" ... If you turn the fader down, you're taking away bit depth. That's how the digital world works, that's how the math works. If you turn the fader down, you're going from a 24-bit signal to a 20-bit signal, or 22 or 23... If you turn that fader down, you're losing resolution.
False.

That is not the way math works; it is not the way digital works. He is wrong about that; I am not sure why he would say such a thing. A simple null test will prove him wrong; those of you who are not sure about all of this should try it.

Cheers.
Old 14th November 2019
  #24
Very old info. Can be ignored for the past 20 years.

This guy might have heard someone say this a very long time ago, who learned it himself a very long time before that. I remember working on a classical project (a looong time ago) where we recorded an orchestra at to a DAT machine stereo at 16bit. Classical recordings are always recorded far lower than pop because of the extreme dynamic range. Anyway, when editing and adjusting levels later in a program called Sound Forge, the producer said it sounded grainier. He demanded we leave the levels untouched because he could hear the loss in clarity.

So, if you're using a 20 year old program with 16 bit audio, or even if it records 24 bit audio and has a 24 bit mixer, lowering the gain will reduce your bit resolution a potentially noticeable amount.

The thing is, at this point, most modern DAW mix engines use either a 64 bit mix engine (like Pro Tools) or 32 bit floating point, which effectively gives 32 bit resolution no matter the gain settings in the mixer.

Bottom line: Since 1995-ish, it's totally fine to mix with your faders in a DAW. That's what they're made for.
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #25
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tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Harmon View Post
This guy might have heard someone say this a very long time ago, who learned it himself a very long time before that. I remember working on a classical project (a looong time ago) where we recorded an orchestra at to a DAT machine stereo at 16bit. Classical recordings are always recorded far lower than pop because of the extreme dynamic range. Anyway, when editing and adjusting levels later in a program called Sound Forge, the producer said it sounded grainier. He demanded we leave the levels untouched because he could hear the loss in clarity.

So, if you're using a 20 year old program with 16 bit audio, or even if it records 24 bit audio and has a 24 bit mixer, lowering the gain will reduce your bit resolution a potentially noticeable amount.

The thing is, at this point, most modern DAW mix engines use either a 64 bit mix engine (like Pro Tools) or 32 bit floating point, which effectively gives 32 bit resolution no matter the gain settings in the mixer.

Bottom line: Since 1995-ish, it's totally fine to mix with your faders in a DAW. That's what they're made for.
That was not a long time ago.. was it? Let me pull out my DAT masters and minidisc rehearsal recordings and check. They're somewhere around that Discwasher kit.
Old 14th November 2019
  #26
Quote:
The thing is, at this point, most modern DAW mix engines use either a 64 bit mix engine (like Pro Tools) or 32 bit floating point, which effectively gives 32 bit resolution no matter the gain settings in the mixer.
Who ever is using a DAW, is using a modern DAW that has the 64bit engine and/or floating point. The antiquated programs do not support the windows and OS architecture that have been out for years.

This is like me saying, "ATTENTION: For everyone who needs to start your car, you need to manually crank the engine with your hands, if you want your car to run smooth"
Old 14th November 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
 

I'm not smart enough to add to this convo, but I'm so confused by the thought process behind the OPs method. If you shouldn't touch the faders (which even my dumbass knows is a dumb idea), then how would you mix the song? By putting a utility plugin on EVERY track and adjust the level that way? That sounds like a damn nightmare. Also, if this were true, then why do all modern DAWs have faders?

I follow a simple rule that's already been stated above. Make sure nothing is clipping at the track level and between each plugin.
Old 14th November 2019
  #28
I have been hearing variations on this idea for years, including from many tutorials and pros who should know better. The average DAW mix engine actually has pretty incredible dynamic resolution, I forget the exact math but it far exceeds that of a 24-bit audio file. You are not "losing bits" or anything else when you pull a fader down. Also with all faders at unity you sort of lose that "at a glance" ability to size up what's being highlighted in the mix - sort of the whole point of having the faders on a vertical axis as opposed to just knobs...

That said, it's not unwise to put some kind of trim plugin at the top of the chain simply because the faders have the finest resolution around the unity mark.
Old 14th November 2019
  #29
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ.Makosi View Post
This tip alone will transform your digital mixes.
I think we can all agree that the above is true though..
Old 14th November 2019 | Show parent
  #30
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by locust_tree View Post

That said, it's not unwise to put some kind of trim plugin at the top of the chain simply because the faders have the finest resolution around the unity mark.
No to mention so you can use your template effectively and hit plugs at “line level”. Its extremely important in my world to work quickly and effectively that tracks are at the right level, before starting any mixing.
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