How to attain right recording level

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mdarby
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How to attain right recording level

Post by mdarby » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:49 am

Hello,

I am new to recording in general, both the DAW and the hardward sides, so please pardon the basic questions.

I am trying to record vocals and guitar parts into Auria on my iPad 2. For interfaces, I am using a recently acquired Alesis ioDock or an Apogee JAM. It seems to me my electric guitar and mic'ed acoustic guitar record fairly soft, at least judging by the waveform images relative to the demo song.

I know this is a general question, but what is the "right" level to aim for in terms of recording level / loudness? And how do I get that? Both my interfaces have gain adjustment on the hardware. I assume I should raise those to 90% or 100% of their range. But what about on the Auria side? Should I adjust before recording with the recording level, or after recording with Process Gain or Process Normalize?

Thanks for the advice!

Best,
Michael

mrufino1
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:31 am

Re: How to attain right recording level

Post by mrufino1 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:32 am

Aim for -18 on your levels, generally considered to be 0vu. Even if your stuff is calibrated slightly differently (-14 is another common one), you will be in a safe operating level that will allow for peaks to have enough room to exist. With 24 bit, and digital, with no or little noise floor, maxing your gain on input is not necessary. There are different opinions out there for sure, but when I started doing this there was a noticeable improvement in my recordings. This is good practice no matter what your equipment, but on cheaper stuff, which is all I have (by cheaper, I mean the normal stuff, presonus, Alesis, m-audio, etc, as opposed to apogee, lynx, mytek, etc), it makes a dramatic difference. Cheaper converters tend to get nasty when driven too hard, but at normal levels, most stuff now is good enough quality that it can input a clean sound that doesn't take away anything. Far cry from the days of using the bands half working peavey (or insert brand name here, not an attack on peavey!) live sound mixer into a noisy 4 track cassette machine!

Inside auria, or any other daw, its pretty hard to actually clip inside the mixer, even not at 64 bit, although gain staging is still important, so im talking about your in and out to address the converters.
Check out Bob Katz' writings on the net on this subject, or his book, and also search for posts by Paul Frindle on various forums. But, most importantly, make sure things sound good to you!

mdarby
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Posts: 26
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Re: How to attain right recording level

Post by mdarby » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:05 pm

mrufino1: Thanks for your reply. To make sure I understand, you are suggesting that I set the gain on my interface with the goal of achieving -14 to -18 as shown on the Auria meter on the Mixing screen (based on the right scale next to the fader). If it's lower, I can raise the interface gain until maxed out, and if too high I can clearly lower it.

Assuming the input gain is not sufficient to achieve the desired level, do you recommend leaving the recording unadjusted in Auria or (a) adjusting Auria input record level before recording (b) applying Auria Gain process after the fact or (c) applying Auria Normalize process after the fact?

I appreciate any insights and am enjoying the posts you referred to.

Best,
Michael

mrufino1
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Posts: 275
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Re: How to attain right recording level

Post by mrufino1 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:33 pm

Once it's in, you can increase the gain as you want as long as you're not clipping the next stage. You just want to avoid stressing the converters in and out too much. If I understand correctly, a 32 bit internal path is just about impossible to actually clip, unless the plugin is not 32 bit. 64 bit even more so. However, increasing gain in the digital realm won't harm anything, nor will decreasing. So, turning the master fader up or down to exit the device at the appropriate level should have no effect on the sound. I say should because I am by no means an authority on the subject, but that's what I gleaned from the referenced posts.

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