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Question about 24 bit recording levels


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Originally posted by where02190



Wel Lee, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it, just as I am. If you continue to read my posts I suggest you learn more patience and tolerance, or use the ignore function. That choice is entirely up to you, but if you continue to read my posts, don't come whining to me about how I express my opinions. You have a choice to read them or not.

 

There's the rub... I too am entitled to express my opinion. Since you refered to another poster's post as the "worst advise" then I guess we're also commenting on each other's post's. So I'll continue to whine when you speak in a condesending fashion, as I'm entitled to my opinion and all.

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Originally posted by where02190



Wel Lee, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it, just as I am. If you continue to read my posts I suggest you learn more patience and tolerance, or use the ignore function. That choice is entirely up to you, but if you continue to read my posts, don't come whining to me about how I express my opinions. You have a choice to read them or not.

 

Patience and tolerance, coming from you?

 

that's about one of the most ironic things I've read on this forum in a long time. Dude, YOU need to learn tolerance and patience. leccturing someone else about it when you're the one tossing around attitude is inappropriate and only shows a decided lack of care about others that I could never subscribe to.

 

-Todd A.

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Originally posted by where02190

Once again the relationship between opinions and assholes is shown by example.

 

But you mistake "your right to having an opinion" with "your right to having an opinion and condescending manner". You keep reverting back to the "I'm entitled to an opinion" point. Nobody has ever disputed your right to your opinion and your right to state it. If anything, it's always been welcomed and encouraged. The only point being made is the manner in which you state your opinion.

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Originally posted by where02190

Like I said, no one is forcing you to read my posts.

 

We should re-name the thread. :)

 

OK, you're right. No one is forcing me to read your posts, but every time this subject comes up, and it has come up a few times, you always have the same reply. "You don't have to read my posts." When you think about what the subject is, your rudeness, I would think you might have a little bit of interest as to what people are talking about. You clearly and honestly don

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Yea, he's my alterego. I spend sleepless nights thinking of ways to torment your sensitive ego.

:)

 

I posted my opinion. You keep fornicating this pissing contest to stroke your ego.

 

Once again, don't like what I post, don't read it, it's that simple. Record at whatever the {censored} level you want, but please go piss in someone elses ear, I'm sure I'm not the only one sick of your whining.

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Originally posted by where02190

Yea, he's my alterego. I spend sleepless nights thinking of ways to torment your sensitive ego.

:)

I posted my opinion. You keep fornicating this pissing contest to stroke your ego.


Once again, don't like what I post, don't read it, it's that simple. Record at whatever the {censored} level you want, but please go piss in someone elses ear, I'm sure I'm not the only one sick of your whining.

 

patience and tolerance....

 

I'm still laughing over that one....

 

Way to prove a point.

 

-Todd A.

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I have to add my "amateur" opinion to this (the side topic that is).

 

1. I think WHERE adds some very informative and trustworthy opinions to the forum....And I should have capitalized the word VERY.

 

2. I agree with Lee's sentiments. Where you have your way of doing things and it works great (I've listened to your samples on your studio's site). However, there are many ways to any end. You (where) frequently state very good ways to a good end. However, they are not the only ways. You mentioned about the one post being misleading because it seemed to disregard the fact that tracking levels should be absolute. This may be true that you should track well so that you have good tracks to mix with. I agree. However, THE CHINESE, has an excellent point in that the music is what matters not always the quality. You may be misleading people in that a pristine recording is required to be a GOOD recording. There are some recordings that sound horrible in a recording sense, but are great records. I know the point was about tracking levels and your opinion was stated, but the chinese was merely stating another opinion which i view as equally valid (not better per se). Personally, I thought every clip on your site (where) was at least somewhat CHEESE. I mean it was mixed really well, I'm not knocking you. Very Clear {censored}. However, it wouldn't be caught it my cd rotation. So, my point is that some young engineers looking for advice are quite frequently the people that are also making the music. In that case they should be concerned about the "music" first, and the recording second. Though, the question asked was SPECIFICALLY about tracking levels (and you gave a valid answer) maybe that person shouldn't be concerning themselves as much with this as they think (I mean track well, but if you're just recording your own music worry about the music). The person posting might have benefited from your post way more than TheChinese's, but there are hundreds of beginners reading these posts and if all of them refuse to make and release their unique tracks because they feel they don't have the proper tracking levels, or perfectly tuned rooms, or AD convertors worthy of a pro studio then what is the point of them even trying? You know, I mean I'm not saying you're wrong with anything you say. But, I do feel that occassionaly you will post something that makes it harder for some beginners. I mean you say good things, but its sometimes in such redundency that I think there may be people afraid to even buy recording gear if they don't have a pristine sounding room with top notch monitors already. You know. You're not wrong, but ease up, unless it seems like it calls for it because you come off as dick at times which probaby makes your opinion seem less important to some newcomers (who should usually be listening to your advice). I'm sorry to put it that way, but if you can't stand the heat.........

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You may be misleading people in that a pristine recording is required to be a GOOD recording.

 

Actually what I said was "...proper levels are the most important factor in digital recording."

 

As engineers our role, whether it is for our own music or someone elses, it sot capture it in the best manner possible given the equiment and limitations therein. Recording at the properly levels, in this case not slamming the input levels nominally over the 0dbu reference, is IMHO a crutial part of the process.

 

What people want to listen to, and how it's recorded are two entirely different subjects. There is some amazing music that sounds like ass, but spiritually moves me. The other side of the coin, there is a whole heap of music that sounds great but wouldn't ever make its way to my ears for more time than it takes to turn it off.

 

Music will move you no matter how it is recorded, however IMHO ignoring the basic fundamentals of recording because of that is not ignorance, it's stupidity, and great music will suffer.

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I hear you man, thats why I made it a point to say that you are not wrong you

make good points always. My point was not in regard to this thread but your posts in general. I'm not saying its been a problem for me, i read all the details and sort through it myself. I do think though sometimes you post aggressively almost as if you are the type of person that enjoys an argument regardless of whether it requires it. I am this type of person myself if don't check myself and try to curb it. I'm just saying your are right when your right. However, sometimes, somebody will post a question to which there are many answers depending on what level you are at, trying to achieve, or have the funds for. When somebody is asking a very beginner question about something its not always the time to tell them that they must have a properly tuned room. For some people whatever {censored} setup they have they could learn a great deal from. I'm not arguing against a properly tuned room. I think its essential. However, when somebody is asking about budget monitors it SOMETIMES may not be the time to tell them that they have 1000's dollars to spend before it matters. I know this is off the topic but I'm just going off lee's sentiments. again you're not wrong, i still just think you SOMETIMES repeat the same things (good things) at the wrong times for the sake of being right (as you are). feel me?

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One can (as I have suggested many times) DIY room tuning for very very short money. There is a wealth of info available free online about the subject.

 

Getting new monitors is not the answer to a bad room. The DIYer can tune a room for less than the price of a modest set of monitors, and achieve superior results without replacing what may be perfectly good monitoring, only to find that the room acoustics are the issue. Learning about the acoustics of recording is IMHO essential basics that the beginner can greatly benefit from before exploring better quality equipment. As we all know, the best gear in the world won't make a bad room sound good.

 

However this has nothing to do with the posters question about levels.

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Hmmm- what fun! I just wanted to say that I'm still treating my DAW (Logic/Windows) like a big complicated DA-88: recording fairly hot, using outboard stuff a lot on the recording stage, and trying to keep thi9ngs under 0 db. Seems to be working OK- and yes, I'm usually at 24/44.1. Sometimes 16-bit for goofing around, but not much. I think that some of this comes from tracking analog in the old days and then being thrilled that we could actually record 8 tracks of digital audio on an ADAT! Wow- and an ADAT was only 3k!!!

Cool! Technology rules...

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Hi John,

Please could you elaborate on this some more for me? I'm trying to polish my mixing and engineering technique, so this is something I really want to get a handle on.

 

I've always recorded as hot as possible without clipping, and always pulling down my master fader to balance things out.

 

However, I've lately realised the error of my ways, and now track with the levels going into PT peaking at about -12db on the channels.

 

Do you (or anyone else) think they could go through in more detail what is actually going on, and what they mean by 18dbfs = 0dbvu etc, as this often confuses me.

Cheers :)

Al

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The short story -

 

Your gear - Basically all of it, is designed to run optimally at 0dBVU. It's been that way since 1946 (IIRC).

 

Digital was designed around analog - There needed to be a spot where the two would meet. Depending on the gear, that was as high as -12dBFS (normally for older gear with crappy conversion) to -22dBFS or so.

 

It's easy to figure out where your gear is calibrated - Run a tone into anything - A preamp, a console - Something with a VU meter. Set everything at unity except for the first gain control (the pre-gain on a channel strip or preamp for example). Set that so the VU meter reads 0dB.

 

Run that signal into a digital converter. It will read somewhere between -22 and -16dBFS in the vast majority of cases.

 

Notice that doing this the other way around is certain doom for the signal - Running a 0dBFS signal into a preamp set at unity will distort it. Badly in many cases. Even try backing it down. See how far it goes down before the signal is "clean" sounding.

 

Just think about that distortion when you're trying to make a signal that hot with the preamp.

 

The freaky thing is that this has *always* been how it works. This is "how it's been done downtown" since digital was introduced. The whole "get signals really hot" thing just seemed to have come out of nowhere. I've even seen it in product manuals! Unbelieveable!

 

But anyone who's ever owned a guitar amp can tell you - You push the gain past a certain point, and the signal distorts. There's a point where it's not "fuzzy" - but it's still distorted. That's normal. That's what preamps do.

 

But that's what microphone preamps do also... When you have the "meat" of a signal riding above where the preamp is designed to run, the entire signal is being supported by what *was* reserved as headroom for transients. The signal quickly distorts, loses "focus" and the dynamics get all screwy. The highs may get very strident - or almost disappear - the lows can get very smeared sounding ("focus" again)...

 

On one track, it might not be a *huge* issue - depending on the track. But with track after track after track, you wind up with a mix of mud.

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Thank you for all the info!:thu:

When I do that unity test thing, or what I think I'm supposed to do anyway, the level doesn't even reach midway thru it's travel. It goes to about 20db. The unit is a Yamaha aw4416, the meter says db on it, I may have the meaning of db wrong, I thought it meant decibel.:confused:

What does dbFS mean? :confused:

My mixes DO sound all mudded up.

I have noticed a softer feel to tracks that I thought were recorded too low, but never thought of input levels because of my huge case of paradigm paralysis.

:o

I really need to get a handle on this, thanks again for all the input.:)

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Originally posted by Anna Log

Thank you for all the info!
:thu:
When I do that unity test thing, or what I think I'm supposed to do anyway, the level doesn't even reach midway thru it's travel. It goes to about 20db. The unit is a Yamaha aw4416, the meter says db on it, I may have the meaning of db wrong, I thought it meant decibel.
:confused:
What does dbFS mean?
:confused:
My mixes DO sound all mudded up.

I have noticed a softer feel to tracks that I thought were recorded too low, but never thought of input levels because of my huge case of paradigm paralysis.

:o
I really need to get a handle on this, thanks again for all the input.
:)

 

 

Anna-

 

dBFS= Decibels, Full Scale. In this case, 0dBFS= the maximum signal that Digital can handle. Unlike analog, Digital cannot go above this level without clipping.

 

 

Ok, remember that, because there are cases where it can go above that level, but that's a more advanced discussion....

 

For now, suffice it to say that that is a hard ceiling. So when wwe say that 0dBVU= -20dBFS, then that means that the "0" level is 20dB lower than the full level that the converter can capture.

 

OK, stay with me for a sec....

 

 

There are hard voltage levels that correlate to some of these- Audio guys needed a point of reference, so thus the "0dBVU" standard was developed. That voltage happens to be 1.224v=0dBVU

 

That also correlates to yet another scale, "dBM"

 

so now 1.224v= 0dBVU= +4dBm.

 

So in a system that specs at -20dBFS,

 

1.224v= +4dBm=0dBVU=-20dBFS

 

now in some equipment, the converter has only 16dB of headroom, thus it specs at 0VU=-16dBFS. So for that equipment:

 

1.224v=0dBVU= +4dBm= -16dBFS.

 

 

OK, are you still with me?

 

he he he.

 

What you should notice is that while 0VU is a hard setting, dBFS, is not- it's somewwhat arbitrary depending on the equipment being used.

 

I will say this- Is music there is no standard. DA-88's are -16dBFS, ProTools is -18dBFS (Factory), ADATS were -14dBFS.

 

However, is the video word, the standard is -20dBFS in North America.

 

This is part of why I say not to sweat this too much. There's too much variation in the gear for it to really make sense.

 

So it comes down to leaving yourself some headroom and you'll be fine. Record healthy, but not hot.

 

A good litmus test is to put all your faders at Unity gain and see how much you have to pull your master fader back in order for distortion to not occur. It's common to have to pull it back, but if you're pulling it 20 or 30dB, then you are most likely recording too hot, although that will also depend on how may tracks etc you have.

 

Experiment and have fun.

 

As for your mixes being muddy, look at your sounds at 140-250Hz, most likely you have a big buildup there ;-)

 

 

-Todd A.

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And the standards for Digi interfaces vary also. For instance, the 001 was -18dbfs=0dbu, whereas the 002 is -14dbfs.

 

Also consider this: 0dbu+0dbu=+6dbu.

 

While digital summing is much more forgiving, it too has a finite limit. Imagine 30+ tracks, recorded at .5dbfs peaks, with all the faders at 0. Your master fader ends up around -50 in order to keep from overshooting 0dbfs. You're pounding the crap out of the summing amps.

 

This is probably the #1 mistake new engineers make.

 

 

Forget everything you ever heard or knew about analog tape, none of those rules apply. By simply keeping your nominal levels within the parameters discussed (ie targeting the converters 0dbu reference to dbfs), all other things equal, your end result will sound far, far better in audio quality. It's simple, and it is very, very effective.

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This is great, really helpful to all who replied. Muchos gracias :)

 

When you refer to a converter's 0dbVU being at -18dbFS, does that basically mean that -18dbFS is the point at which all the 'bits are used'? I know the myth about having to record hot to fill up the bit depth being rubbish, but for the purposes of dynamic range, so for example wanting as much of the snare drum to tape as possible, would you say that -18dbFS is the point at which you are using all your 'bits', or have I misunderstood this?

 

Cheers for help, much appreciated.

 

Al

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