Main Forums >> Production - Mixing, Mastering, Gear & Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
peak level and fader question new
      #994256 - 22/06/12 06:02 PM
Hey peeps,

(i'm currently working on some drum n bass tracks in cubase 6 on a PC)

when mixing drums for example, I tend to leave the channel fader at -10db and make sure that the signal does not go over this level thus giving myself plenty of headroom to work with.
Recently, I've been experimenting with different methods of getting my drums to sound even fatter using a variety of different plugins. In no particular order, vintage warmer, sausage fattner, eq and limiting are the regular contenders..

The issue that I've been wondering about for a while is that is that I'll get my drums sounding great but my peak level is a few db above the fader level but there's no clipping or distortion. Should I reducing the gain knob at the top of the channel to bring the peak level back down under the fader level? Or do I simply need to match the re-match output levels on the plugins I'm using to get the gain structure correct.

Hope that makes sense....

thanks

Charlie


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Wiseau



Joined: 25/08/04
Posts: 251
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994268 - 22/06/12 07:19 PM
not really to be honest, at least to me.

--------------------
'You know it's a bad role when Nic Cage passes on it.'


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22282
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994272 - 22/06/12 07:30 PM
There is no specific relationship between the fader setting and the peak level.

Ideally the fader should sit at or close to unity gain (0dB) when the mix is roughly right, because that provides the best fader resolution and controllability.

With the fader in that position, the audio should be peaking somewhere around -10dBFS so that you have some channel headroom, and when all the tracks are combined you will hopefully still have some mix bus headroom.

If the channel level is a bit hot with the fader at unity, then put an attenuator plug-in at the top of the chanel strip and wind the level down there.

A lot of samples are recorded with the levels banging the end stops, which isn't very helpful when it coems to mixing, so it's not unusual to have to wind the gain down at the top o the channel strip.

Hope that helps

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #994275 - 22/06/12 07:53 PM
HI Hugh,

thanks for your amazing explanations as always

so the situation I'm in at the moment is ok? thats what I'm trying to work out really...

I've also tried turning the gain knob down so that the signal is peaking to the same level as the fader position, but the drums just sound just loses all they're power.

thanks again

charlie


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1618
Loc: UK
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994277 - 22/06/12 08:11 PM
Quote charlie chalk:

I've also tried turning the gain knob down so that the signal is peaking to the same level as the fader position, but the drums just sound just loses all they're power.




If one of your plugins is level dependant, like a compressor, then adjusting the gain knob will affect the level going into the plugin and thats why it sounds different.

you should start off, with your fader at 0dB, with no plugins yet, and set your gain at the top of the channel so that the level is peaking around -10dBFS. Then don't touch the gain after that (after you've started to apply plugins).

When you apply a plugin effect, use the output gain in the plugin to level match it so that it doesn't get louder when you bypass the plugin.. use your ears to judge this, not the level meters.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: Bossman]
      #994278 - 22/06/12 08:29 PM
Hey Bossman,

thankyou! I'll try that....

thanks again

charlie


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
Re: peak level and fader question [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994282 - 22/06/12 09:25 PM
WOW

drums sound instantly better

thanks all!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Wiseau



Joined: 25/08/04
Posts: 251
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994304 - 23/06/12 09:26 AM
Oh,gotcha now. The way you worded it made my brain do a backflip, although it seems no one else had a problem with it.

I record one drum track at a time from the mpc, rather than using the 8 outs, pushing some even up to between -2 -1db.
So sometimes sqeezing some energy out of your drums before you get to plugins, eq can work.

Ask that question on gearslutz for giggles. Although be prepared to buy an ampex recorder, and book studio time at Record One.

--------------------
'You know it's a bad role when Nic Cage passes on it.'


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994337 - 23/06/12 02:32 PM
Could you explain why gain should be adjusted to manage the audio level. Isn't the maths behind it the same, and does the same thing happen in floating and fixed point?

I thought that it's only when the master output is distorted that things matter.

Thanks


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1618
Loc: UK
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: ]
      #994346 - 23/06/12 03:16 PM
Quote Music Manic:

Could you explain why gain should be adjusted to manage the audio level.




how else would you manage the audio level?

Quote Music Manic:

Isn't the maths behind it the same




the same as what?

Quote Music Manic:

and does the same thing happen in floating and fixed point?




pretty much.. floating point and fixed point numbers are just different ways of expressing a number. If you add 2dB to a signal, the result is the same signal 2dB louder than the original - it doesn't matter if you use floating point or fixed point maths (as long as you don't exceed the maximum value of a fixed point system).

Quote Music Manic:

I thought that it's only when the master output is distorted that things matter.




Its about good gain structure. Unintended distortion anywhere on any channel is something that matters.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994359 - 23/06/12 04:27 PM
Quote:

how else would you manage the audio level?




With the Fader! There's a gain knob and a fader??

Quote:

the same as what?



What I meant is, if I adjust the gain or the move the fader on my channel strip.


Quote:

Its about good gain structure. Unintended distortion anywhere on any channel is something that matters.





Well in Roey Izhaki's Book - Mixing Audio he states, that it doesn't matter if your channel strips distort in your DAW, as long as your master doesn't. This is because processing is still 64 Bit.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22282
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: ]
      #994363 - 23/06/12 04:38 PM
Clearly if the output is overloading then the d-a is overloaded and it's going to sound grim. So in most digital desks you can pull the master fader back to reduce the output level and it gets better... Even though the mix bus itself is handling a huge amount of level. You can't do that in an analogue desk because it won't have anything like the potential headroom available in a digital system.

However... Not all floating point implementations are the same, and the mantissa has a fixed resolution in most systems, which means that there is always scope for distortions to creep in through truncation or rounding errors.

Add to that the fact that not all plugins deal with floating point in the same way, and you come back to the simple fact that maintaining a healthy headroom margin through the processing chain makes sense theoretically, practically and sonically.

Which means optimising levels through the channel path starting at the top witha gain control, just like we always did in analogue desks.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: Wiseau]
      #994370 - 23/06/12 05:48 PM
Hey wiseeau,

Sorry about the brain flipping, it took me a good half hour to work out how to word the question as I did not really know whether what I was doing was right or wrong.

charlie


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
charlie chalk



Joined: 24/02/05
Posts: 126
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: charlie chalk]
      #994371 - 23/06/12 05:51 PM
With the the tune I am now working on, I've reset all my channel faders to 0db and now pretty much using the gain knob's to control the levels. I have to say that everything is now sounding much better...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1618
Loc: UK
Re: peak level and fader question new [Re: ]
      #994383 - 23/06/12 07:57 PM
Quote Music Manic:

There's a gain knob and a fader??




The gain knob (as found in Cubase and on a mixing desk) is pre inserts/EQ. The Fader is Post Inserts/EQ. So, although they both do the same thing as far as adding/attenuating the gain, they do it at different places in the signal path.

Use the Gain knob to set the gain structure correctly.. and use the fader for fine adjustments in the mix.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
4 registered and 25 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor 
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is enabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 2655

December 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for December 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media