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Charles, about gain staging thru plugz
Old 24th November 2002
  #1
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Charles, about gain staging thru plugz

Red eyes, sore back, no sleep, coffee breath, ringing ears, and a pissed off wife, who's mixing their band's demo??? lol...
But, enough about me.
I have been spending just as much time in front of this machine reading all these great posts. Anyway, to the question. Charles, take one channel of your mix, a snare for example, being that there are quite a few plugs that control dynamics (or alter them significantly), not to mention the PT audio track itself, how do you stage the gain of the signal? Do you leave the fader at 0, and back down the signal at the first plugin if it's too hot? Or do you let it pass thru, as long as it's not clipping, until the comp and control the level there? Say the snare went: Dad valve-Gate-RenComp-EQ-Tape, such as your HDL snare chain. Do you keep as much signal as possible through the chain, and pull down the level (if needed) at the last plug, or at he the fader. I would think not at the fader as this would change the signal present at the comp, which you have adjusted so lovingly...
Another example, distorted guitar: your chain, valve-rencomp-reneq-tape. How hard do you hit the rencomp? I don't have the DUY plugs, ,but I do use the AC1 first on such a channel, so it would look like this: AC1-Rencomp-RenEQ (I do use the AC2, but on a bus to save processor power, hey I use LE)..If your guitars were recorded with peaks around -8, who are you gonna call to get the level down to -15 or so? Pull the fader fist? Hit the AC1 hard and turn it down there? Loud as hell until the RComp and compress the full signal a few db, then attenuate the gain with the RComps output? Pass all the way to the EQ and lower it there? Leave it obnoxiously loud because you're gonna get the inevitable 'vocal isn't loud enough' anyway....
Old 25th November 2002
  #2
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MorningStar,

The faders are post inserts, so adjusting the fader level is only going to change the level going to the main mix buss (or where ever it's routed to..).
The only way to stop individual fader levels clipping, is through the
use of the input and output levels of each pluggin (providing the original audio was not clipping during recording).
Remember Eq plugins will increase level if you are boosting frequencies aswell... i dunno about charles, but i would make sure at each stage of tweaking a plugin, that the output doesn't clip the fader level. If you want to "hit" compressors harder (etc.), lower the threshold/ turn up the plugin input/ or with AC1 and 2 turn up the drive aswell.
This can all be down to preference and taste though...
Basically what i mean is to keep the output of EACH plugin to a level that would not clip the fader level.
Then again, what do i know?
I just like all the pretty colors!
Old 25th November 2002
  #3
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Oops, GG, I just realized how I worded that, thanks for correcting me, and I was trying to sound so intelligent, oh well..I would assume, it's not best after an intitial 'setup' not to go adjusting the volume level at the first plug in a chain, because of the obvious affects on the others, so where then? The last plug, ,or the fader? And general thoughts on levels throughout...
Old 25th November 2002
  #4
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Re: Charles, about gain staging thru plugz

Quote:
Originally posted by Morningstar
Red eyes, sore back, no sleep, coffee breath, ringing ears, and a pissed off wife, who's mixing their band's demo??? lol...
DUDE ! YOU JUST DESCRIBED MY LIFE EXACTLY !!!
EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK !
Except that I don't drink coffee . . .
BUT THE REST IS EXACT !!!


Pete
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Old 26th November 2002
  #5
FX smörgåsbord user
 
Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Morningstar,

Sorry for taking so long to reply. I'm glad you're enjoying the forum. I agree, I think the posting has been really great. Everybody has been very giving with their time + techniques.

To answer your question: I use the faders in Pro Tools to control my levels to the mix bus, and as far as gain through the plugs, in general (keeping in mind the dynamic processing that is happening) I allow the signal to get relatively hot without letting it clip the outs of any of the individual plugs as they pass the signal from one to the next.

IOW, with the snare I don't let Valve clip on its way out into C1 Gate, and then I don't let the output of RenComp clip going into RenEQ, and I don't let the output of RenEQ clip going to the fader. I then adjust my level to the mix bus at the fader. This is my general approach for gain staging with most tracks.

But sometimes there is a reason to drive the output of a plug hotter than what might be considered a proper level. Some plugs have color variations that are affected by their output levels. For example, RenComp sounds very different depending on how hard you drive its out. It adds warming at medium levels and an L1 style limiter kicks in at higher levels that you can push signals into to get a more aggressive sound.

Another interesting plug is RenEQ, its output clipping is not the digital clipping you might expect. I believe it has some kind of warming or rounding on the output stage as protection. At slight levels of clipping on kick or snare it sometimes actually sounds good (not unlike with drums on analog consoles), and at heavily overdriven levels (shove its fader all the way to +12) it can create a very interesting hybrid digital/analog sounding distortion that I've used in place of distortion plugs. Kind of a NIN-ish aggressive gritty buzz.

When I'm going for a clean, distortion free sound I make sure there are no red clipping lights on any of my plugs' outs, but if you want to try something different try overdriving the outs of your plug-ins. Some will sound horrible, but others might be useful.
Old 26th November 2002
  #6
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Interesting info about the NIN-style distortion of RenEQ's output stage Charles. I'll check this out...
Old 26th November 2002
  #7
Jax
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Clipping RenEq or RenComp sounded good to me in certain situations but I always thought it looked wrong so I cut it back. Maybe there really are no rules, like it's oft said.

I bet a ME would freak out a little seeing those plugs OD'd.
Old 26th November 2002
  #8
FX smörgåsbord user
 
Charles Dye's Avatar
 

The clipping on the RenEQ would be in the rule-breaking category (though it can be a good thing), but what I was referring to with RenComp is actually fully intended by the design of the compressor. That was all stuff I learned about in the manual.
Old 26th November 2002
  #9
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Yeah, the manuals, and we ALL read those like we should..

Seriously, Waves makes the most ass-kickin manuals for their plugs. I tell folks all the time to go download and read those, even if they don't own the plugs, just if they need to learn about plugins in general.

Pete, gfy whaddya' mean ty7 you gfb don't drink ,.[ coffee, I'm seriously ngfe beginning to ,9u doubt y your level \p- of sleep deprivation. Mm Man, it ' s h983 hard to 48b type when f 9$ Im' shakin' 9g , woner what's jht9 goi ng oo on...

Hey Charles, thanks for the reply. No problem on the timeframe, there is plenty here for me to read for awhile.
Old 26th November 2002
  #10
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Absolutely. Those Waves manuals are brilliant! Everyone should read them. There are a lot of hidden commands in those plugs, and some incredible tips + technique info.

Craig (Hutch) Hutchison of Manley Labs was apart of the design team behind Ren EQ + Ren Comp and he has written a number of excellent essays about compression, EQ, etc. that Waves includes in their manuals.

At Waves website you can read Hutch's hints - Compressor & Limiters an excellent one filled with tons of practical application advice.

And while were at it, Sony's plug-in website also has a great read on EQ theory. Digital v Analog, etc... It's short + to the point, very dense with info. I really learned a lot from that one. Read all five sections. Start with the EQ Introduction (and click on the links to the left of the page to read the rest). Great stuff.
Old 26th November 2002
  #11
Jax
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I've read the waves manuals, just not for a long time. I'll take another look.

I do remember the RenComp manual stating how some presets emulate particular compressors.
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