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IS RECORDING TO TAPE LOUDER
Old 18th May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 

IS RECORDING TO TAPE LOUDER

Im a hip hop producer and everyone knows hip hop has to be loud. im havin trouble matchin the loudness to many of the producers i hear like dilla and neptunes. i compress the tracks and boost them as close to peak as i can without peaking. and in the end it still is noticably quieter.i was thinkin maybe recording to tape has a louder range. need some pointers exactly how to get them loud. thanks guys
Old 18th May 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

four words....

Analog mix! then Mastering!
Old 18th May 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
illacov's Avatar
 

So far...heres where Im at

ITB mix is decent, but passing thru some analog outboard never hurt anyone and then some clipping at the converter makes up for it immensely.

So far I have a dbx DDP which Im using for outboard mixing/mastering. But I also plan on grabbing a JoeMeek Compressor for some extra grab or flavor, however, I have peeped that multiple passes thru the DDP with different settings/presets, does still increase the volume even more WITHOUT distortion, if you pimp your mixes right.

Plus the sidechain eq is able to do ******** stuff like 800 hz hipass if you so please, which gives some really nice funky chunky bass with punchy mids, plus the TSE (Tape Saturation Emulation) is a nice added touch, however I may eventually stop using TSE, if I find that another compressor or Fatso type compressor/warmer replaces its warming smearing purpose.

Peep my post about the Tissue on the mic to hear some examples with the ddp on the mixdown! Not perfect, but for a 200 dollar piece of gear its damn good!

Definately LOUDER FULLER BUMPIN! A good mix helps ALOT though and knowing your **** about pimping your kicks and your bassline so they work well and also knowing about possibly cutting some 3500khz on your instruments gives your vocals alot more room to be present etc....I learned alot just by looking over engineers shoulders and reading up on this board etc...most of the **** these guys say WORKS. However you HAVE to know your gear.

Peace
Illumination

PS
If you get the right Analog to Digital converters you can clip them and get a good degree of soft clipping without distortion or losing your drums versus limiting them.

I've tried clipping my EMU 0404 and its a bit finicky, if you push it too hard it will start clipping the mids or distorting them..BUT my DDP has a +6db soft clip built in that allows you to drive the **** out of it without distortion unless you really jack up the outputs of whatever is feeding it. So I usually do my softclipping in the dbx and let the emu work in optimum. However I may eventually get a RME ADI2 which is supposed to be similar to the ADI8 DS and I heard you can clip the ADI8 pretty good without problems so I may grab and ADI2 and try it out for speed, if it stinks Ill return it.

There's always the premise of putting your stuff thru a preamp which has a soft clip or getting something like a Manley Slam! which has a soft clip built in and then feeding that back into your computer.

I may eventually spring for a really nice console and a good AD converter, but thats in the near future.

Old 18th May 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 

cool

good lookin out guys. thanks
Old 18th May 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov
If you get the right Analog to Digital converters you can clip them and get a good degree of soft clipping without distortion or losing your drums versus limiting them.

I've tried clipping my EMU 0404 and its a bit finicky,
SNIP ALREADY...
Sorry to call you on this- nothing personal, but this is complete rubbish.
There is not a analog to digital converter on the planet that will sound good if you go into clip.
You can push tape hard- it sounds great when you do, but digital is different.
If you have an analog circuit that does soft limiting then that is a different thing.
Back in the 16 bit days, with a reduced dynamic range we would try to get the signal fairly hot- with 24 bit converters it isn't so much of an issue.
Depending on the noise in the chain, you will find that more moderate recording levels will be better in the long run.
Aren't you the same guy that was talking about mixing OTB with an EMU box a few months ago???

To the original poster- don't worry about how loud your mixes are- worry about how balanced they sound.
That is mixing- anyone can push the levels into clip- concentrate on, balance.

I say it again... balance.

If you really want to play the loudness game then let the mastering engineer do it for you.
Hope this helps.

James
Old 19th May 2006
  #6
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illacov's Avatar
 

Mr. James

Ok so what are you talking about then? A high end converter with an analog circuit that soft clips is STILL an analog converter that sounds good when you clip it.

Thanks for coming into the thread and explaining my claims away with a false dichotomy.

Obviously the EMU does not have a soft clip circuit, but there are analog to digital converters that do, which means what I said in the first place is CORRECT.

BTW Im the GUY that posted that..However I am not the only person who apparently is not the only one who discovered that running your stems into patchmix sounds BETTER than a rendering from the master buss.

RME users do the same thing and at least one other gearslutz member blayz2002 uses this method with his EMU 1820 and it sounds better to him as well. Therefore my claims can't be all that unfounded, plus those that reviewed his mixdown seem to agree his results sound pretty damn good.

Me I moved on to outboard sluttery and seeing as how the DDP has a soft clip circuit in it AND since it has a AD/DA converter built (I have the digital I/O option!!) into I think that would qualify it as a converter that sounds good when you CLIP it.
Also there are converters that
If you would like to continue, I believe other revered members such as Bang see thread

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...highlight=bang

also use this method to boost their mixes this way and would look at such comments as ham handed attempts at discrediting people, instead of stating the FACTS.

Yes he uses some nice outboard, but he did state that he does not use peak limiters and uses the soft clip instead after the nice outboard.

This would definately be a method for the poster to explore instead of trying out tape by default to achieving satisfying results, especially since some of the converters out there are less expensive than tape machines maintenance fees et al.

Disclaimer: I am not starting an analog versus digital flamewar, Im simply saying that he might want to try the converters route before taking the plunge on tape, please note that if I had access to tape, I would definately use it money allowing, however people begin the obligatory licking of chops when you mention that you want to mix down to tape so no thank for me.

Just for prosperity, the Lynx Aurora is quoted for 2000 bucks USD at Atlas Pro Audio, which is WAAAAAAAY less than the trappings a tape machine would bring.

Do I own one no. My thing is trying to find one that would give me the same results for WAAAAY less, so far Im set on a RME ADI-2, which retails for around 700 dollars.

What if you could have a nice full loud balanced mix? Take a listen to Aftermath stuff and cry over how they dont use tape anymore....thats the holy grail right now is discovering how they do it. Some would say tape, but others know there's more than one way to skin a cat at least with everyone going clip the converters crazy.

thumbsup
Peace
Illumination
Old 19th May 2006
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I highly recommend you buy a book called 'mixing with your mind' by Michael Stavrou.

It's a great investment in your studio that will give you a real understanding and overview of working with sound.

I can honestly say that it completely de-mystified this and many other questions for me. If you think about how much a new piece of rack equipment costs you, then books like this are the sale of the [email protected]*king century in terms of dollar-to-outcome value.

Cheers - Rez
Old 19th May 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov
Ok so what are you talking about then? A high end converter with an analog circuit that soft clips is STILL an analog converter that sounds good when you clip it.

Thanks for coming into the thread and explaining my claims away with a false dichotomy.

Obviously the EMU does not have a soft clip circuit, but there are analog to digital converters that do, which means what I said in the first place is CORRECT.

BTW Im the GUY that posted that..However I am not the only person who apparently is not the only one who discovered that running your stems into patchmix sounds BETTER than a rendering from the master buss.

RME users do the same thing and at least one other gearslutz member blayz2002 uses this method with his EMU 1820 and it sounds better to him as well. Therefore my claims can't be all that unfounded, plus those that reviewed his mixdown seem to agree his results sound pretty damn good.

Me I moved on to outboard sluttery and seeing as how the DDP has a soft clip circuit in it AND since it has a AD/DA converter built (I have the digital I/O option!!) into I think that would qualify it as a converter that sounds good when you CLIP it.
Also there are converters that
If you would like to continue, I believe other revered members such as Bang see thread

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...highlight=bang

also use this method to boost their mixes this way and would look at such comments as ham handed attempts at discrediting people, instead of stating the FACTS.

Yes he uses some nice outboard, but he did state that he does not use peak limiters and uses the soft clip instead after the nice outboard.

This would definately be a method for the poster to explore instead of trying out tape by default to achieving satisfying results, especially since some of the converters out there are less expensive than tape machines maintenance fees et al.

Disclaimer: I am not starting an analog versus digital flamewar, Im simply saying that he might want to try the converters route before taking the plunge on tape, please note that if I had access to tape, I would definately use it money allowing, however people begin the obligatory licking of chops when you mention that you want to mix down to tape so no thank for me.

Just for prosperity, the Lynx Aurora is quoted for 2000 bucks USD at Atlas Pro Audio, which is WAAAAAAAY less than the trappings a tape machine would bring.

Do I own one no. My thing is trying to find one that would give me the same results for WAAAAY less, so far Im set on a RME ADI-2, which retails for around 700 dollars.

What if you could have a nice full loud balanced mix? Take a listen to Aftermath stuff and cry over how they dont use tape anymore....thats the holy grail right now is discovering how they do it. Some would say tape, but others know there's more than one way to skin a cat at least with everyone going clip the converters crazy.

thumbsup
Peace
Illumination
For crying out loud....
Listen mate, believe what you want- but you're wrong on so many levels.

Ok- this is how it works.
If you 'clip' a converter you get digital distortion which sounds ****ing awful.
It square waves.
If you have a limiter before the converter then it will stop the converter from clipping.
That does not mean you are clipping the converter.
It is a totally different thing.
It means you are limiting to stop clipping the converter.

A limiter is simply input attenuation with a very high ratio- you aren't 'pushing levels for warmth' or anything like that- the transients ARE changing slightly but that isn't going to be anything like putting an 1176/LA2a in the chain.
You are NOT clipping the converter- you are pushing levels to the point just before the converter clips.
If the converter clipped then you would totally know it- it would sound terrible.

A 'soft limiter' is simply a limiter with a soft knee- yes you can get the levels a bit hotter, yes it does sound better- you have an element of truth in what you say, which makes what you say kinda dangerous because that bit of truth is spoil by the rest of it.
You are NOT clipping the converter.

Now, please stop filling peoples heads full of this nonsense.

You want outboard? This is what we use here:





Death to the loudness wars.

James
Old 19th May 2006
  #9
Here for the gear
 
DrunkenDrums's Avatar
 

So the phenomenom illacov is referring to must come from something like build-in limiters "inside"(straight before) the converters.

For instance, I remember the old Tascam DA 30 DAT recorder,
you can push it way into the red above 0 db on the level display without digital clipping, cause like richmondjames clearly explained you would hear it immediately.

Similar thing with the build in A/D converter inside my TL Audio 5051 Channelstrip.

So I'm just wondering whether it is common to build a limiter before the converter to prevent the user from digital clipping.

So you just should be aware of this, 'cause with doing so, you process your signal before going into the box, and it's the question if you want this to happen or not.

And when you don't want it, then you shouldn't vritually trying to come over the 0 db.
Old 19th May 2006
  #10
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

I've been clipping my converters for a long time now, long before discussions about it appeared on this board. I started doing this inadvertantly when I went thru a "don't look with your eyes, only look with your ears" phase, which I'm still at for the most part. However, there are things I must address here:

I only ever clip my converters 1-2db MAX. Anything above that, and the sound turns to utter ass like James is saying.

I would NEVER clip my converters on, say, a vocal track, or acoustic guitar. In fact, the only time I ever really clip them is on a tom bus or a drum bus. I like what it does to high peak transients like toms, snare, and bass drum sometimes. SOMETIMES.

I would not reccomend clipping your converters for the purpose of making your tracks louder. There are plenty of better ways to do that. Like handing your mix off to a mastering engineer! Or turning the other tracks in your mix down. Like James said, "balance" is what mixing is all about, not "making ears bleed."

Things might be a different story if I had some Lavrys. I have RME ADI-8DSs. There's no "soft limit" function that I know of, but sometimes pushing 1-2db of extra gain thru them gives me a desireable sound on percussion. That's just me, tho. I'D SUGGEST YOU TRY IT BEFORE YOU ADVOCATE OR SLANDER IT. THIS GOES FOR ANY IDEA. Hell, maybe the lights in my RME are off by 2 db, who knows, ya know?

If you wanna push as much gain as you can out of your mixes, go analog. Period.
Old 19th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkenDrums
So the phenomenom illacov is referring to must come from something like build-in limiters "inside"(straight before) the converters.
For instance, I remember the old Tascam DA 30 DAT recorder,
you can push it way into the red above 0 db on the level display without digital clipping, cause like richmondjames clearly explained you would hear it immediately.
Similar thing with the build in A/D converter inside my TL Audio 5051 Channelstrip.
So I'm just wondering whether it is common to build a limiter before the converter to prevent the user from digital clipping.
So you just should be aware of this, 'cause with doing so, you process your signal before going into the box, and it's the question if you want this to happen or not.
And when you don't want it, then you shouldn't vritually trying to come over the 0 db.
Yes this is essentially correct- the clipping occurs in the analog stage.
If you clip a digital converter you are essentially squarewaving the signal- this is extremely unpleasant sounding.

A real world example.
The Digi 192 interface has soft limiting - when I am really winding up the Groove Tubes Vipre the output levels are pretty hot- like +3 or +4
I can either put a pad after the Vipre and the go into the 192 OR I can use soft limiting.
The pad drops everything by -20.
The soft limiter just brings the peaks down a tad.

By definition if you are 'clipping the converter' then you are exceeding 0 dBFS which squarewaves the signal and sounds crap.

What people are doing when they think they are clipping the converter is actually getting it close to zero.
Digital converters ARE more accurate closer to zero, but once you exceed this you, by definition, you are clipping/square waving the signal.
It will sound better if you APPROACH zero, but it wont if you exceed this.
This is how the science/physics of digital works and is not in dispute.

Any device that does not do this when it says it has exceeded 0dBFS either has incorrect metering or is gain reducing in the analog world.
'Clipping the converter' is a misnomer, people.

JR
Old 19th May 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
illacov's Avatar
 

Sooooo.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by richmondjames
Yes this is essentially correct- the clipping occurs in the analog stage.
If you clip a digital converter you are essentially squarewaving the signal- this is extremely unpleasant sounding.

A real world example.
The Digi 192 interface has soft limiting - when I am really winding up the Groove Tubes Vipre the output levels are pretty hot- like +3 or +4
I can either put a pad after the Vipre and the go into the 192 OR I can use soft limiting.
The pad drops everything by -20.
The soft limiter just brings the peaks down a tad.

By definition if you are 'clipping the converter' then you are exceeding 0 dBFS which squarewaves the signal and sounds crap.

What people are doing when they think they are clipping the converter is actually getting it close to zero.
Digital converters ARE more accurate closer to zero, but once you exceed this you, by definition, you are clipping/square waving the signal.
It will sound better if you APPROACH zero, but it wont if you exceed this.
This is how the science/physics of digital works and is not in dispute.

Any device that does not do this when it says it has exceeded 0dBFS either has incorrect metering or is gain reducing in the analog world.
'Clipping the converter' is a misnomer, people.

JR

After the all and all RichmondJames, what do you think Im implying, that you buy any old analog to digital converter and you can clip it and it will sound fine?

It almost seems like you ignore the crucial parts of my statements only to begin this nice waste of time...

Notice the quotation from the statement I made

"PS
If you get the right Analog to Digital converters you can clip them and get a good degree of soft clipping without distortion or losing your drums versus limiting them.

I've tried clipping my EMU 0404 and its a bit finicky, if you push it too hard it will start clipping the mids or distorting them"


Oooh I even admitted that my converter doesnt react well to being pushed too hard. What part of the THE RIGHT CONVERTERS have you failed to notice? Another poster even mentioned the Lavrys and converters that have an analog soft clip circuit in them. Why are you so hung up on saying that its not the converter? Fine its the soft clip circuit IN the converter that makes this possible.

So does this mean that if a person who's looking at how to get the favorable louder results should only be told to just get analog gear? Thats preposterous!
IF you can get the RIGHT converter then you can actually get some good results from driving it. Since the original poster mentioned driving tape to get a louder signal...I immediately thought about the soft clipping thing that we are all hearing about.

You just trolled your way into this and side swiped me with a nice pointless observation about how you dont like my methods of experimenting with audio.

Its nice those pictures you have and yet you still failed to mention anything that he couldnt find in a search query in Google, meanwhile I actually tried to help the guy rather than introduce personal bull**** into the discussion. I never even addressed or mentioned your name in my post and so far based on your own admissions which are still attempts at trying to make me look like some kind of halfwit, Im actually RIGHT!

Oh its not the Nissan 350z thats fast no its the engine that makes it fast.

Well I dont know about Europe or Asia, but unless you plan on driving an engine how else can you experience those results, but in a format or a unit?

Some converters have soft clip and some dont, some sound good when driven and others dont. Either way you put it, Im just trying to give him some perspective and you're being a grumpy snob about this which in itself is hilarious since the poor guy wants better results on his audio, not posts about what you think of me.

You think you're more qualified than I am? Pictures dont prove it. Put some actually audio on your website instead of INSERT AUDIO HERE so we at least know why we should fly all the way to the land of watches to record in your studio.

BTW I have one fifth the gear you do and somehow I gave the guy a better answer than you. Care to actually give him some advice?

Also the whole thing about loudness that's hilarious is that even though its harmful for you to master your stuff too loud, its everyone's natural instinct to get their music to be full sounding and PRESENT!

I dont compete with the radio, I think my mixes are way louder and actually clearer than most of the stuff on the local stations and also some of the satellite radio stuff. But that doesnt mean I want even louder! I want to get clearer better mixes out of my converters. Right now I havent even truly broken in my DDP oh yes I mean my converter with analog circuits that soft clip, but Im going to start messing with multiple pass thrus to see what I can accomplish without distortion.

Affinitysound, why dont you think about getting a dbx DDP or a dbx Quantum? The DDP is doin the damn thing for me and I dont even put any vst compressors on the 2 buss in my DAW anymore, the DDP takes over for that and man does it sound better! I got my DDP for 200 US Dollars from right here on Gearslutz, I truly think its a slept on piece of gear, I may in the near future cop a Pro VLA to see how it sounds on the 2 buss. Their around $270 new. Heard some good things about them.

Peace
Illumination heh stike
Old 19th May 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Certainly not trolling- you are filling the forum full of half truths and misconceptions.
Your methods are not based on physics or even good engineering.

Last time I was one of several people to point this out to you- you seemed to jump all over me, no idea why.
I'm finished explaining things to you though- peace and all that, but you aren't interested in going forward.

If you want music- we charted in Switzerland and France last year- got to number 2 in the album charts.
The album is called "Reber Rock".

Also all over DJ Antoine Live in Dubai.
That charted in Switzerland, France and Germany, I think.
Just finished working on Clockworks album- Zurich band- that will chart in the indies for certain.
We have bands come from all over France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands and the UK to record with us.
I'm really not the sort of person to dwell on this sort of thing, but you seem to what proof of my methods. There you go.

I've been too busy working to update my site- but because you asked so nicely I will try to get it done in the next week or so.

James
Old 31st December 2006
  #14
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
I've been clipping my converters for a long time now, long before discussions about it appeared on this board. I started doing this inadvertantly when I went thru a "don't look with your eyes, only look with your ears" phase, which I'm still at for the most part. However, there are things I must address here:

I only ever clip my converters 1-2db MAX. Anything above that, and the sound turns to utter ass like James is saying.
Believe it or not, there was a time when running a guitar amplifier into distortion would have been considered "awful".

It's kind of dangerous to say that such a thing sounds "good" or "bad". And I totally agree, you gotta listen with your ears, not with your eyes. And trust your instinct.

running converters past zero will result in "clipping" and you'll hear more, not less of this in the future.

Don't worry about pissing anyone off. Remember, the Beatles were considered "electronic noise" by many outside their demographic.

Many great sounds have been created by ignoring the manual.
Old 31st December 2006
  #15
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t.dizzle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper View Post
Many great sounds have been created by ignoring the manual.
Yeah... But you don't need to do that ****. If you really know how to record and mix, and I mean really, then none of this crazyness is necessary. When you get good at mixing, you'll realize that the "tricks" aren't that important.
Old 31st December 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Looks like this whole thread with just a semantics issue... On one side "soft clipping", on the other "limiting"... Most brickwall limiters are designed to be able to "soft clip" anyway so that they flatten peaks without turning your mix into square waves, so really it seems like everybody is correct
Old 31st December 2006
  #17
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doubledecker's Avatar
Loudness is mostly achieved by correct balance and choice of sounds.
If you get those two together any mastering engineer will make your mix as loud as you want.
Old 1st January 2007
  #18
Wow, looks like this thread got dug up from may.

I think the two schools of thought going on here are:

A: Converters are a tool to convert analog signals to digital streams, analog soft clipping is a "fail-safe" put in because **** happens.

B: The "fail-safe" limiter is part of my sonic toolbox, and I'll use it to get XYZ because it happens to do XYZ very nicely!

---

I agree with A, but only because I have (as do many people here) many tools and methods to achieve my desired loudness (both in terms of transients and envelopes and in terms of perceived loudness on a medium). Thus, I reach for a dynamics tool when I need it, and use my converters for only that.

I agree with B because everyone should experiment with tools and use them ways they weren't inteded to be used, it's often very rewarding.

There are a couple of falacies that should be known about both approaches:

A: implies that tools only do what they do, and can potentially limit creativity.

B: Promotes the "magic" of studio recording, that there are tricks that you can discover that allow you to "sound like a pro". They are situational applications that exploit a specific circuit or algorithm, and don't help the user towards a genuine mastery of the science of audio.

I think the best engineers are aware of both models of thinking, and use both daily!

Use your ears, and if you have good ones you can make great records, but if you wish to dicuss how you did it, you need to understand the details of the process, if you don't you'll risk sounding like an ASS.
Old 1st January 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 

0dBFS is the limit for digital. There is a lot you can do to that signal before it gets to 0dBFS, but driving it over that line should not be one of them. richmondjames is simply stating a few well known facts regarding the science of audio engineering.

If you think that you are clipping your digital signal, but it still sounds good at a reasonably high monitor level (83dB+), then I have to believe that you are not actually clipping that signal. But don't take my word for it, or richmondjames for that matter. Get a couple books by a few industry pros (some of whom post here regularly) who have pioneered in the science of audio engineering. Guys like Bob Katz (Mastering Audio), and Michael Stavrou (Mixing With Your Mind). Search for threads in the mastering forum, where there is lots of talk about the loudness wars, and the techniques which contribute to poor mastering results that are prevalent in the industry today. There is simply tons of factual information, which back up the things that richmondjames said.

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