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Preamp into a Preamp

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:42 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:There was a thread about altering the way DAW meters responded so that they didn't show tiny waveforms when recording at -20dB or lower, cannot remember what it was called though.

The idea was to make it look as if you were recording more analogue like levels.

I think I started one a few months ago when I published this blog post https://www.theaudioblog.org/post/how-d ... recordings
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:24 pm

Yes, good blog post CS70, I did search for the relevant thread but couldn't come up with the right search terms. :thumbup:
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby lordmike » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:22 am

Yes, thanks for that, it was informative. I ended up getting the 8i6 for the extra outs so I can use them as effects sends/returns. I'll keep everyone posted of my progress. Thanks again, I can't tell everyone how appreciative I am.
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby The Elf » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:35 am

lordmike wrote:I ended up getting the 8i6 for the extra outs so I can use them as effects sends/returns.
Now that's a *good* reason for an interface upgrade! :thumbup:
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:28 am

I think the unwritten rule of interface buying is:
work out the maximum number of ins and outs you need, then buy a model with twice that. ;)
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby lordmike » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:01 pm

blinddrew wrote:I think the unwritten rule of interface buying is:
work out the maximum number of ins and outs you need, then buy a model with twice that.

I guess I technically only need one line-in and I got 4 so I should be all set! I'm actually pretty curious about the s/pdif i/o on this. I've been looking at the OX box for a hot minute and that has a s/pdif output... I also see that using the s/pdif output on the interface opens up a world of really nice high end monitors. My understanding is that it kind of bypasses the converter in the interface and lets the magic happen in the speaker itself. Sounds pretty cool. Does anyone here have monitors set up that way?
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:12 pm

I take the digital out from my 8i6 to a TC electronics monitor controller and then the analogue from that to my monitors.
But frankly, at the level I'm working, if I'm worrying about different DACs then I'm really not using my time effectively! ;)
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:14 pm

lordmike wrote:My understanding is that it kind of bypasses the converter in the interface and lets the magic happen in the speaker itself.
I did consider that for a very long while. But the DAC is the one device that is easily the most transparent out of everything in the chain. Absolutely not worth the trouble. I think I was only trying to find a cheap way to keep an audio interface while having amazing speakers!

For q while I did use the spdif out into a Philips DCC to run the rear channels for surround monitoring. Then I realised the Mac can make an aggregate interface, so now I use the built in output for those channels instead. Probably a better DAC as it's 24 bit, but I can't hear a difference and didn't bother doing a blind AB test.
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby blinddrew » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:52 pm

Slight misquote there but I won't take it personally. ;)
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:01 pm

blinddrew wrote:Slight misquote there but I won't take it personally. ;)
Soz it's fixed now!
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:11 pm

The Elf wrote:
Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Tomás Mulcahy wrote:if the mix is clipping you can just lower the master fader until it stops clipping there
I really need to pick up on this! :D

I accept that technically this is fine, but if you have to do this it says to me that you have lost control of the mix.

So I say NEVER touch that master fader - leave it at 0dB.

As you were! ;)
It's OK, I use a limiter :beamup:
:lol:
But seriously- there's nothing wrong with working that way (lowering the master fader- not using a limiter!) there's a massive amount of headroom in the mixer, it's very convenient to use it and it won't cause clipping.

I was just watching Andrew Scheps on Mix with the Masters talking about transitioning to ITB mixing. He mentions using the DAW headroom like this , when doing revisions. These usually entail turning stuff up. In analogue there comes a point where that will clip something and it's very difficult to just get the balance right while also ensuring SNR is good and clipping is avoided. ITB that's not a problem.
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby James Perrett » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:29 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:...when doing revisions. These usually entail turning stuff up.

I'd say that it is far better to think in a different way. If you can't hear something then think about what other element in the mix is getting in the way and turn that down. Unfortunately many musicians only listen to their own part and complain bitterly when it isn't the loudest element in the mix which leads to mix changes where the faders move higher and higher with each change.
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pm

lordmike wrote:
blinddrew wrote:I think the unwritten rule of interface buying is:
work out the maximum number of ins and outs you need, then buy a model with twice that.

I guess I technically only need one line-in and I got 4 so I should be all set! I'm actually pretty curious about the s/pdif i/o on this. I've been looking at the OX box for a hot minute and that has a s/pdif output... I also see that using the s/pdif output on the interface opens up a world of really nice high end monitors. My understanding is that it kind of bypasses the converter in the interface and lets the magic happen in the speaker itself. Sounds pretty cool. Does anyone here have monitors set up that way?

S/PDIF is a digital I/O format (in principle not unlike USB or any other), so if your signal is already digital (i.e. has been converted or is generated by a computer synth) it's a good way to pass it to another digital unit which accepts it.

Since it's already digital, yes, no AD conversion is required - AD conversion by definition is involved only if you have an analog signal to convert to a stream of samples.

Some monitors use on board DSP chips (which work on sample streams, i.e. sequences of numerical data), so they perform A/D conversion if their analog inputs are used, and then convert again to drive the (obviously very analogical) speakers. If you already have a digital signal, as it's almost always the case nowadays, you will avoid a round of DA followed by a AD in the monitors.

That said, with quality converters I doubt anyone could tell the difference by ear in a blind test..
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby The Elf » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:15 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Tomás Mulcahy wrote:if the mix is clipping you can just lower the master fader until it stops clipping there
I really need to pick up on this! :D

I accept that technically this is fine, but if you have to do this it says to me that you have lost control of the mix.

So I say NEVER touch that master fader - leave it at 0dB.

As you were! ;)
It's OK, I use a limiter :beamup:
:lol:
But seriously- there's nothing wrong with working that way (lowering the master fader- not using a limiter!) there's a massive amount of headroom in the mixer, it's very convenient to use it and it won't cause clipping.
But again I say, if you have to do this you've lost control of the mix. It really is that simple. If you've tracked at sensible levels and preserved your peaks throughout the chain, then no way should you have to touch that master fader.

This is basic stuff that we olds learned on analogue gear, and there are good reasons to adhere to these principles even now. It makes your life easier!

I did say that I realise that technically it's fine, but it really isn't the way I'd advocate. How far do we take this - have everything running as hot as possible in the box, then habitually drop the master to compensate? It makes no sense to me to do this. You're inflicting the injury, then applying the bandage - better not to injure yourself in the first place!
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Re: Preamp into a Preamp

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:29 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:But seriously- there's nothing wrong with working that way (lowering the master fader- not using a limiter!) there's a massive amount of headroom in the mixer, it's very convenient to use it and it won't cause clipping.

Yes... and not really... :D

If you're simply talking about replaying tracks where the summation happens to go above 0dBFS, then yes, you can just pull back the master fader and all will be well... at least from a distortion point of view.

But if you're mixing with plugins -- and especially emulation plugins -- your source tracks will all be very hot and way above the nominal operating level for the emulated plugin devices, so although you can avoid output clipping the mix itself will probably already have suffered unintentional damage.

You also have the potential problem that your peak signals are probably still banging close to 0dBFS which means you're still trying to shove levels averaging around +12 with peaks to +24dBu down your analogue monitoring chain... which was never designed to handle sustained levels like that!

It's just so much easier and better to work with decent headroom margins on the source tracks in the first place, and then you'll never need to pull the master fader down just to avoid output clipping! And it will all sound so much better....
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