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2 questions I should have asked long ago

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sampsoniter, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    I usually leave my mixer's mic eq flat when recording vocals , then I just adjust the eq after recorded in t-racks....so
    1 - should I be adjusting the eq on my mic preamp and avoid adjusting the eq after vocals are recorded , or does it make any difference if I record through a flat eq then tweak after?

    2 - this may be a stupid question , but should I have any "gain" on for vocals on my preamp?.....I always thought it just added noise making $*^t louder, but was starting to wonder if having no gain on is making vocals sound too thin......

    I know these are little things I should have sought answer for when I first started doing this $*^t , please excuse my ignorance.....

    please & thank u to anyone who cares to take a minute
     
  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    People sometimes record with EQ and sometimes they don't. Recording without EQ leaves more flexibility at mixdown, but if you have a nice preamp or hardware EQ, you may find that it sounds better than your plugins.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'gain'. That's what preamps do; they supply gain to boost microphone signal levels. What preamp are you using?
     
  3. fjell_strom

    fjell_strom Guest

    sampsoniter - hats off, old horse. Those are two questions I'd love answers to as well. Thanks for asking for the both of us and perhaps countless others!

    fjell_strom
     
  4. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    the "gain" knob on my mixer's mic input is what I was referring to and I am using Behringer eurorack MX602a to be exact.......
    I have a nice Mackie VLV202 , though for whatevr reason with all the volumes down , I still see my recording meter in acid jumping up and down a bit so there is some sort of static or noise comming from it somehow......sometimes if I pick it up or move it around it'll go down and stay flat if I'm lucky .....anyway that's another story
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    It seems this question is asked about once a week even though it is the most basic of operations. This is a babies first step kind of thing .... and what you are asking is really about the same thing as asking, "How do I put on my pants in the morning?"

    I am amazed at how many people are recording that do not understand the basics of gain structure or sound chain theory. If you are missing this then it's safe to assume there's a lot of other stuff you are doing incorrectly as well ... Step away from the recorder. Get some books on recording and read ... look for someone who can mentor you ... take a class at the local junior college.

    Here's the answer .... Place the channel you are using in pfl solo mode and set the gain so there's about 6 or 8 dB of headroom before clip.

    Running the attenuator too low actually adds noise. The noise floor is nominal... it's there regardless if the gain is set low or high up to a given point where you are adding a sh*tload of gain. Usually when the noise level increases as you crank up the trim it's because the source itself is noisy, not because the pre is adding noise. The highest setting possible without overload is what you want on all the pieces in your sound chain.

    You also want to try to run everything at what is known as gain unity. That's where each piece in the chain is putting out approximately the same levels .. you don't want to be cutting gain early in the chain only to be boosting it in later stages.
     
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    One "book" you can read may be your Mackie manual? Mine has a very nice, very detailed description of how to do proper set-up of the mixer for a wide variety of uses, including the basic - yet horribly important - initial gain settings.

    Actually, as I got my 1202VLZ used, I have no paper manual - no matter. Manuals for almost every piece of gear, these days, are on-line and a wealth of information. Many audio web sites have literally tons of info, white papers, theories or operation, etc. DBX and RANE, come to mind. While no substitute for actual education, the web can answer alot of questions...

    TG
     
  7. groovietuner

    groovietuner Guest

    "You also want to try to run everything at what is known as gain unity. That's where each piece in the chain is putting out approximately the same levels .. you don't want to be cutting gain early in the chain only to be boosting it in later stages."

    "The highest setting possible without overload is what you want on all the pieces in your sound chain. "

    So, which is it? Keep it at unity or keep it at the highest setting without overload? I'm about to answer my own question!

    From what I understand, you want the input to each device in your signal chain to be as close to clipping as possible without going over. You get that by adjusting the output of the previous piece of equipment in the line to the max level of the next. Usually it's a good enough approximation to use specs from manufacturer. If you're ambitios, you can take the output at each stage and put it into an ADC to see on your computer whether or not the signal is clipping. You can do this by running any test tone through your system and looking for the beginnings of harmonic distortion (which is represented by odd harmonics of your test tone(the fundamental). Eg, run a 400 Hz tone at unity from a CD you created or from your recording interface's DAC. If you are testing the first item in your signal chan, turn up the level on the input of the device you are testing until you start seeing 1200 Hz, 2000 Hz, 2800 Hz, etc. At this point, you are clipping. Back it off just until those harmonics disappear. If you are testing any other part of your chain, do the same except, instead of turning up the input of the device you are testing, adjust the output of the previous device.

    Eg, you go from eq to effects to an ADC. Your eq has a max dB of +20 (outlandish, I know, but just an example) and your effects processor has a max dB of +10, then you should turn down the output of the EQ from Unity to -10. If you then had it going through an adc with a maximum input of +15dB, then you would turn up the ouput of the Effects processor from Unity to +5

    The goal is to set it so that ALL pieces of equipment in your chain will clip at once (It's easier to notice too). This gives you the lowest noise floor possible. If done properly, it can really change the sound of any setup for the better.
     

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