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A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:54 pm

songwriter wrote:Actually this is something I really don't understand how to get right. I often find that a singer will clip the signal using a preamp without compression on the way in but if I turn it down so it doesn't clip the soft parts are stupidly low. That said I mostly record from in the box vst instruments, so it's only vocals and maybe guitar that get recorded externally as it were

Hehe yeah, there you have your reason. You're recording too hot, most likely because your DAW is deceiving you... both meters and waveform (and perhaps experience with analog devices, which may benefit from being used "hot") make you think you're recording too low, because they appear puny. While in reality you're having a really good signal. So you crank up, getting a worse one - with the results you describe.

This has become one of my favourite rants after I realized the psychological effect of DAWs' GUI. I just started an audio blog and I made it the subject of one of my first posts there, so I'll send you to https://www.theaudioblog.org/post/how-d ... recordings which contains what I would reply here. :)
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Humble Bee » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:37 pm

Great blog-post CS70!

This is a really interesting subject and it might actually deserve its own post here on the forum.

I overlooked everything until I read Mike Seniors books a few years back and it really was a revelation!

:thumbup:
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby James Perrett » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:48 pm

I've just discovered that you can set Reaper's meters to read right down to -96dBFS which would help those who need to see the meters near the top of the scale all the time. Only problem is that I can't work out what I did to change the scale :headbang: :headbang:
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby blinddrew » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:56 pm

Preferences > Appearance > Track Control Panels
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby songwriter » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:17 pm

CS70, that blog post is super useful!!!!!
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:25 pm

songwriter wrote:Thanks for all this advice! A lot to ponder over and consider here. I will post some examples of what I mean in relation to levels etc a little bit later on. Though if my levels are right it isn't causing any clipping and so doesn't fix the problem of my perception of my mixes. I do already do the filter on all tracks to remove unnecessary bass.

I record in 48k 24bit for the extra headroom always.

Very interesting replies thanks all

Not sure I understand this.....

Are you saying your levels are right or what?
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:31 pm

Thanks Humble Bee, it's real hard to keep the cool when you can barely see a waveform on recording.. which is how it should be with the enormous dynamic range of 24 bit (or even the lower range of A/D converters).

And again, kudos to Reaper for being able to change the defaults once and for all.

In Sonar/Cakewalk I've been looking but defaults customization for the meters is fairly limited (only hold/rise/fall timing) and for waveform display nonexistent - you can change them in a actual project (a good thing is that you can change all tracks at once with Alt+UP/DOWN) but not as a global default. I've saved templates with the waveform displays showing up to -12 and it helps, but annoying not to be able to customize the meters.
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:07 pm

songwriter wrote:Though if my levels are right it isn't causing any clipping and so doesn't fix the problem of my perception of my mixes. I do already do the filter on all tracks to remove unnecessary bass.

Keep in mind it doesn't need to clip to sound worse. I mean, if it clips, it will sound unusably bad because you'll have digital noise on the recording, and there's no way to fix that other than cut it away.

But also by simply working hot , you end up constantly near the performance ceiling of the A/D converter. For concrete, physical reasons, like temperature changes with higher voltages etc this may cause a little less accuracy.

Converters are calibrated to a set of parameters which the designers of the surrounding analog circuit attempt to maintain (for example, a base reference voltage at a given temperature). These calibrations are based on an average expectation of usage.. which is not to keep the machine working at the ceiling of its operational envelope. Pretty much like cars engine aren't tested by running them near 6500 revs (or whatever's the max) all the time... it's just no way to drive a car - and it's certainly the way to make sure it doesn't last long :)

So the more you push the converter, the harder it'll be for the surrounding circuit to keep its environment stable - and you'll end up with a little less accuracy and a little more quantization errors (especially in lower-grade designs - even using the same A/D chip.. that's because less attention may have gone during design time to counter these changes and the stability of the involved electrical components may be lower, to allow for lower price)

These small errors in conversion will hopefully impact only the lowest significant bits of the sample (i.e. the ones which produce the smallest differences between the numbers they represent) , which in turn represent higher frequency info.. leading to a slight, barely perceivable loss of detail (and hence clarity) once the signal is D/A converted. 22 or 23 bits give such a large resolution that the effect is minimal, but when summed up over many tracks, it may lead to noticeable, perceivable effects.

I record in 48k 24bit for the extra headroom always.

Just to make sure - 24 bit is 24 bit regardless of sampling rate, there's no difference in headroom using 44.1, 48, or whatever. Sampling rate only drives the amount of information that you capture (and, in the real world, where the low and high pass filtering, that cuts out the frequency band to sample, occurs). 20-20Khz is the "human" audio band. but at 48 may that band will be "cut" a little better (and hence result in less aliasing).
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:09 am

The only reason to turn up the record gain is to bring the quietest parts in the performance sufficiently above the system noise.
Don't try and mix while multi track recording. Mix at the mix stage.
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Arpangel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:32 am

The Elf wrote:I've seen this scenario many, many times...

Oh yes, I wonder where?....... :D

I must vouch for what folks have said here about levels, I've had exactly the same issues as the OP, all cured by just turning down the levels, my reference level used to be -6dB :blush:
Then I lowered it to 12, now it's -20dB and it's much more workable, and things don't start to thicken up, distort, or loose clarity.
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:19 am

songwriter wrote:I record in 48k 24bit for the extra headroom always.

24 bit working has the capacity to afford extra headroom, but only if you choose to work in such a way as to enable that headroom. And that means making sure your average level is around -20dBFS and your peaks never go above -10dBFS, or thereabouts.

H
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby molecular » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:24 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
songwriter wrote:I record in 48k 24bit for the extra headroom always.

24 bit working has the capacity to afford extra headroom, but only if you choose to work in such a way as to enable that headroom. And that means making sure your average level is around -20dBFS and your peaks never go above -10dBFS, or thereabouts.

H

Is it, in fact, extra legroom? :beamup:
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:07 am

Yes... :lol:
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Re: A-D Advice For Studio Upgrade Please

Postby innerchord » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:25 pm

songwriter wrote: I do already do the filter on all tracks to remove unnecessary bass.

This caught my eye. Be careful using plug-in filters since they can cause problems, especially phase issues.

Otherwise I agree with the masses. Levels etc. would seem to be the issues, not gear/room.
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