Author Topic: What are your record levels?  (Read 2513 times)

Numina

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What are your record levels?
« on: October 01, 2010, 03:40:18 PM »
Curious - what do you guys aim for with recording levels when recording via analogue?  I'm peaking around -8db to -6db.  When I record via spdif it's -12db (this is forced though by spdif protocol).

mgriffin

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 03:45:30 PM »
220, 221.... whatever it takes.
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Numina

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 05:33:11 PM »
What I was getting at is some people seem to like to get right up to 0db. How much headroom do you like to maintain per track?

Scott M2

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 06:39:06 PM »
If you're recording at 24bit or higher, you can leave much more headroom.

Scott M2

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 06:41:38 PM »
If you're really talking analog, like tape, you can go right into the red above zero if it's a pleasing saturation/distortion.  <- edit
I used to keep the needles lower but now wish I'd pushed harder.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 06:21:54 PM by Scott M2 »

LNerell

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 09:51:21 AM »
Digital and analog tape are two different beasts when it comes to recording levels. I usually record 24 bits in the digital world so I back off my levels to around -12db. 16 bits are a different story, usually much hotter, less then -6db. In the tape world I use to record around zero, maybe even higher if the instrument didn't have strong peaks, or even higher on more modern tape stocks. I think some of the later tapes from 3M and Ampex you could record up to +9db before it would start to distort. I did most of my recording on Ampex 456, which would start to distort around +6db.
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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 02:21:13 PM »
What Loren said. Without going too deep, Analog Zero is akin to -18db (I think, maybe -12db) in the digital domain. Especially if you are ever planning on mixing through outboard gear, be it a compressor, EQ, console, ect, then you want to average your levels to between -18 and -12db, occasionally peaking around -6db as this is what analog gear can handle.

Keep your final mix levels in the same perspective and you should have a great mix with good dynamics that a mastering engineer can then work comfortably with to bring your whole mix back to release standards.

Paul
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Numina

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2010, 10:20:02 PM »
Loren & Paul - thanks. Yeah this is what I thought and has been my approach in recent years.

darkenedsoul

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2010, 10:42:42 PM »
In Ableton Live when I am working on finalizing things I try to stay below 0db as I don't want clipping in the track during playback. I have found that if it is much lower it seems to quiet overall. I will try and play with that when I come up with a new track. Actually I render it in Live then load it into Sound Forge 7.0x and convert the wave to mp3 format, usually @ 128kbps for upload compatibility with the sites I currently use. I should lower output in Live and see how it sounds at same volume level to see if it is *that* much lower overall after running through SF. I usually don't boost/modify it in SF, just use to render to mp3 since Live doesn't do that (still....).

Mike

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: What are your record levels?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 04:03:26 PM »
Hey Mike,

Yes if you stick to analog levels of -18/-12db in the digital world it will seam exceptionally quiet when compared to commercial released standards.

Turn your monitors up, do the best mix you can and then after you render your track and open it in Sound Forge, try finding the absolute loudest point in the song and boost your over all volume back up to maybe -1db (so if your mix peaks at -8db, boost the volume 7db) and you will be louder for listening purposes, but still retain your dynamics.  Better yet keep the levels down and apply appropriate levels of EQ, Compression and limiting to boost the track to release standards as in simple terms that is what a mastering engineer would do.

Paul
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK