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steve25
post Dec 3 2007, 06:26 PM
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Probably a silly question but does your gear always have to be on high volume, particuarly if you're recording a rock/metal track or can you just increase the volume in your software? Also i noticed that whenever i record a track in cubase it seems quieter then what i actually played any idea why?
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 3 2007, 08:14 PM
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When you are recording guitars in a studio through an amp you have to play loud in order to get the proper sound out of an amp. If it`s a tube amp then you have to crank it up because the sound "opens" on high volume. Off cource there are limitations in loudness with microphones so you can`t turn the volume all the way. SOme golden middle is required. But the general rule is that it has to be in a healthy volume range in order to get the best sound of your gear possible.
If you are recording in home conditions with non-pro recording equipment quite often there is a problem of getting a healthy guitar sound feed into your DAW software in this case - Cubase. Try to open a mixer and adjust the slider on your input channel in order to accomodate loudness. If your signal is still weak, try to increase gain level in small increments. THe goal is NOT to get clipping while recording BUT get as louder you can in order to get a healthy "dry" signal.
Hope this helps

This post has been edited by Milenkovic Ivan: Dec 3 2007, 08:15 PM


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Ben N
post Dec 3 2007, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 3 2007, 07:26 PM) *
Probably a silly question but does your gear always have to be on high volume, particuarly if you're recording a rock/metal track or can you just increase the volume in your software? Also i noticed that whenever i record a track in cubase it seems quieter then what i actually played any idea why?


after you finished recording click on the audio that you see in the cubase with
the right baton the look for the option normalize it automaticly increas the vol
to 0 db smile.gif


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steve25
post Dec 3 2007, 10:19 PM
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Ok thanks guys. Well i'm not actually recording with an amp its a POD, an amp modeler i don't know if you'd count that as the same thing? You say increase the mids? Should you always do this?
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 3 2007, 11:18 PM
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It depends Steve.

Ivan is generally right that in some instances in a studio if you want to record your amp via a mic then you may need to crank the volume sufficiently to give you both the saturated distortion and cabinet response that you want. Mics are limited by the dB range that they can comfortably handle - a good mic for an electric guitar can take 135 dB plus -indeed some ribbons can go up to, and over, 150dB and it is extremely unlikely that ANY amp will put out so much spl that such a ribbon mic would be damaged only by the high spl. Seriously at these levels you are in to the realm of recording a jet engine or 'worse'. Ribbon mics here tend to be great BECAUSE they can handle a large spl because they tend to be somewhat 'insensitve'. However just because a mic can take large volumes it doesn't mean you should do it.

You need to consider in a studio that you have to protect your own, and other people's, hearing. Cranking up an amp to full volume in a relatively small space isn't good for your hearing. Unless you intend to sit in the control room some way away behind sound proofing do you really want to have 100watts plus blasting out directly at you? Furthermore crank the volume and you run a risk of sympathetic resonance from other things in the room, unwanted reflections, feedback and so on (and if you have a sensitive mic with low tolerance to high spl you WILL damage it).

Furthermore tone wise amps don't actually record best, in my experience, fully cranked. Too much distortion and too much volume doesn't equal a great tone. On a full tube amp you need the power tubes to saturate without clipping too much. Maximum volume onstage - great - you need to be heard - in a studio you need the best quality sound/tone though. Volume is not the same as tone.

As Ivan says the goal in recording is to maximise the input level for the output from the source (guitar or amp) without clipping. As I've said elsewhere (see the bit on recording hot or too hot) too many people record at a level that is too close to 0dB fsd and so run the risk of overloading the signal clipping. You should set the volume that you need from your source for the tone you want and then adjust the input gain on the desk/audio card accordingly so that it does NOT clip. An ideal would be, for a digital/pc set up to set the input to peak at between -10 to -6 dB. Digital clipping sounds awful.

Something that isn't perhaps generally accounted for is that the gain potentiometer and fader on a console/audio input is not 100% across its full range travel - the vast majority have a definite preferred working range usually between 20/30-70/80% full travel. If you run an amp at full then you will probably dip the input gain quite considerably - depending on the mic of course - and may well take it below its ideal working range with a resulting loss in performance.

Nowadays it is pretty common practice to record an electric guitar/amp direct into the console and then, if necessary re-amp the signal. Recording volume here can be minimised both as the guitar and/or amp are direct lined into the console and additional distortion/gain is done at the re-amp stage.

I think the difference in i/o volume you describe - and as Ben suggests - is to do with the i/o between your outboard and the daw being different. However I would not normalise at this stage but would instead adjust your i/o level to match. Generally the faders on your daw are output and input are the level controls of your console/and or audio card/device. I would leave normalising to the mastering stage.

If you want to crank your amp to 100 % max then either powersoak/attenuate it or put it into a speaker box. Crank a big amp and stack without either of these in anything other then a large live room in most studios and I think you will have major problems.

Cheers,
Tony


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steve25
post Dec 3 2007, 11:47 PM
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Thanks for the reply tony a few questions though. Firstly what does DAW stand for? Also what is normalising with sound? Also micing is not a problem because i'm not using a mic to record, it is direct to my pc but where would i find the i/o board? I get the whole thing about not clipping and too much volume etc but how can you tell what dB you're playing at?
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 4 2007, 12:14 AM
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Hi Steve -

DAW is short for Digital Audio Workstation and commonly means your pc, sequencer, soundcard etc that you use to record, mix and monitor with.

Normalising is a technique used to bring the different levels of a recording mix, or different mixes, upto a given level.

I/O is input/output so (and I don't use a pod so I may be wrong here) in your case the i/o would be your pod via it's usb. For a pod you need to set it, if you're going in direct via usb and no sound card, so that the pod doesn't clip - so reduce the level coming into the pod. If the pod goes in to a sound card then you need to drop the gain off the pod to avoid clipping the sound card ie reduce the level coming out of the pod to avoid clipping.

For the actual dB you would need to check the manual for the pod to see what the meter's mean when they show clipping etc. Meters are commonly set at 0 or -4 - partly as there is a slight lag in time for deflection to occur. I really don't know what they are on a pod - sorry. You would then need to see from the manual what the peak meter readings equate to for the pod and daw set up that you have. I'd guess you're looking at either 0 or -4dB for a just showing red clip signal.

FSD = full scale deflection - it's a bit of a hang over term from when we had big old meters with needles in the past - fsd was when the needle swung all the way over towards the right and showed 0dB or higher. ALL the way over exceeds this and was usually about +12 dB, however old analogue recording used much nicer analogue saturation/distortion which let you go in to the red; modern digital produces a nasty very harsh distortion at or above 0 dB.

On my console I'm set at a fsd peak and hold of -4 dB which just shows clipping into red (but full red goes to +8dB). I have some outboard that does allow me to take my input in to the red without getting nasty - some ADC and a particular Neve mic preamp that is an analogue path but this is pretty esoteric stuff. I run at -4dB as I really don't like digital distortion at all. I generally keep my meters down at about -12dB - well in the green and allows for pretty big one off transient spikes. IF I need more volume at mix down then I'll normalise as Ben has suggested.

Cheers,
Tony


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steve25
post Dec 4 2007, 12:32 AM
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Hmm i'll have to look up some of the stuff because i've no idea what it means or what it does so there's not much point in me playing around with it if i don't know what i'm doing. But thanks for your replies
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