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Does it matter where I turn down the volume?
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
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foamboy's Avatar
Does it matter where I turn down the volume?

Hello. I have recently been reading as much as I can about all of the gain staging and DAW calibrating and 83 db listening levels and......AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! I think I have made myself a little crazy and I would really like to know the answer to this question.....

First off, I just recently started using a mixer and subbing groups from my daw to stereo channels on my mixer. I guess that's called summing.

I have calibrated my mixer channels (both in my daw and on my mixer)using -20 pink noise and I have all of my channels at unity even my master.

I also have all of my daw faders at unity and I use trim plugs to set input levels.

Now if I mix with all of this unity gain business happening, my face melts off from the sheer volume....so...here is the question......

Where would be the best place to lower the over all volume?

Is it the Master on my mixer?
Is it the Sub group Outs on my DAW?
Is it at the individual channel levels on my mixer?
Is it at the individual channel levels in my DAW?

FWIW, I am summing a mix and then printing it back into my daw through my mixer.

Whooo, I think that's it.

I am sorry, because I know this topic has been discussed a lot and after a while I get really confused by all of the technical speak that starts to take place. I am a humble musiician who is NOT an engineer, but who is hoping to get the most consistenly good sounding mixes as possible...so sorry if I am a dumba$$.

Thanks,

fb
Old 15th December 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Pliplo's Avatar
 

dude, your not a dumba$$, these things are hard to pick off, i have been reading a lot lately and wondered too about this things, lets hope some wisdom comes...

i cant light the dark of your doubts, but i can tell you two things

1) try the variables and listen to the results, its not science, what sounds more like what you want is the right way to go

2) Noobs at recording (i am one, so i know) tend to focus oddest things, sometimes overlooking the simplest and critical aspects.
Old 15th December 2010
  #3
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5down1up's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy View Post
Where would be the best place to lower the over all volume?
Your Volume Knob is your friend heh
Old 15th December 2010
  #4
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Well, it's fairly obvious that you've got something whacked out somewhere. Unfortunately there's not an easy answer. Gain staging is an art that seems to be tossed out the window with Digital. Turning down the CRM volume is NOT the right answer. Without careful attention to Gain Staging, you obviously end up with distortion, noise or both.

Old Skool answer that won't mean much : As a STARTING PLACE (there are so MANY variables here) PFL your input channel with a 1k tone or you can use pinknoise, adjust your input trim to 0VU. But again, that depends on how hot you cut on your multitrack - or in your case, your DAW. If you were running elevated levels +6 or higher on your 2", you'd need to make adjustments on the input of the console. If you are printing on your DAW all the way right up to clipping, you'll need to back off 0VU significantly. Probably 12-18dB depending on where your converters are calibrated.

My best advice is that now that you are AWARE than levels can be adjusted in multiple places, LISTEN. Find the sweet spot of your own gear. No one on the internet can answer that question as well as you can in your own room.
Old 15th December 2010
  #5
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5down1up's Avatar
 

well 83 db spl on 0vu being -20fs. is gonna end up real loud.
thats got not a lot in common with gainstaging to drive your gear the way it works best, right ? heh
Old 15th December 2010
  #6
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foamboy's Avatar
WOW!!!! Thanks for the quick replies!


I guess I should go back and review all of my tracks again.

Thanks for the suggetions.

Actually, out of curiosity what kind of rms vs peak levels is everybody getting around here?

I have seen different users suggest that they are getting rms levels as high as -14 with peaks at about -8 to -6!!!!

How the heck is this being achieved? I am getting -24rms with peaks at abot -4!!!!

Comments or tips are greatly appreciated.

fb
Old 15th December 2010
  #7
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kennybro's Avatar
Look at the levels at every stage. Is your input chain OK/are waveforms clipped? Use the faders on the DAW channels to control channel out levels. Put up a master channel in your DAW, and see what that's reading, even if it's just to monitor the sum of your channels ITB. If it's driving into the red, back off individual channel faders. Are you hitting the OTB mixer OK. Too hard/soft? What's the mixer output level reading? Then, you're printing back to the box, right? If the level coming off your mixer is OK, how is it being received by the DAW? Too hot/soft? You need to be able to monitor your signal through he chain at every level. If it's OK everywhere, turn your monitor system down.

If I'm reading right, your RMS vs. peak thing seems to be a dynamic range issue. This could be affected/controlled with compression, limiting, playing style... anything that affects dynamic range.
Old 15th December 2010
  #8
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy View Post
WI have seen different users suggest that they are getting rms levels as high as -14 with peaks at about -8 to -6!!!!

How the heck is this being achieved? I am getting -24rms with peaks at abot -4!!!!
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is WHY? WHY do you want to do that to your music?

But, to answer your question directly - compression/limiting. Slam it baby......
Old 15th December 2010
  #9
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foamboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is WHY? WHY do you want to do that to your music?

But, to answer your question directly - compression/limiting. Slam it baby......
Well,it's not hat I WANT to do this,but it seems that the perceived lack of fullnes in some of my mixes might be due to this. Yes I have been messing with compression,but I have not quite figured out the best settings to achieve better rms to peak ratios...but I will continue to try.

Kennybro,you are correct. I have been revisiting ALL of my paths,including any calibrating suggestions,just to be sure. Yes I do think that I have been overloading some of my grp channels and busses.

Once again,thanks to everyone who has participated.

Okay.Back to the drawing board.

fb
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