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Logic - Pre-fader metering. An epiphany

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Logic - Pre-fader metering. An epiphany

Postby MarkOne » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:41 am

I was watching a great series of tutorials on youtube by a guy called MusicTechHelpGuy and he recommended the use of pre-fader metering on channels. The thinking is, so you can see as you load up channel strip plugins, you don't hide any overloads on the FX chain.

I know most plugins are using 64bit float processing giving almost unlimited headroom in FX, so you shouldn't have a problem, but having tried this technique, and keeping each channel nicely under 0dB before any fader moves seems to make the whole mix breath.

Is it really making a difference, or are those psychoacoustics at play again? Anyway. It seems to help me.
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Re: Logic - Pre-fader metering. An epiphany

Postby desmond » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:08 am

It's good practice to work within proper gain staging limits and understand what you are doing to signals throughout the processing chain.

While inside a modern DAW mixer you *can* go way above 0dBFS without (theoretical) problems, but plugins handle high levels differently, particularly ones modelled on real gear - the harder you drive them, the more compression/distortion/saturation you get, so there will be a difference in sound when driving them hard compared to driving them with more realistic levels.

There are even plugins around that don't handle over 0dBFS gracefully at all (though mostly these days modern plugins are better at this.)

The pre-fader metering thing is a preference, lots of people like it, and if it works for you, great!
Plus it's easy enough to put on a key or MIDI command and toggle between them to get a nice overview of your levels...
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Re: Logic - Pre-fader metering. An epiphany

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:29 am

Plugins based closely on analogue originals will tend to get more and more crunchy as the levels rise, so running with decent headroom will usually make them sound cleaner. It also helps with the analogue monitoring path, of course... so any technique that encourages good headroom margins when tracking and mixing has to be a good thing.

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