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A few questions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by todddr, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    I recently purchased a Presonus USB and made my first attempt at recording to my computer. Used the StudioOne Artist software which came with the Presonus unit. Recording to my laptop, a custom-built (by PCLaptops) with i7 quad. I do not "seem" to have any issues with multi-tracking--but I guess I have read so much about "latency" issues that I'm paranoid. But one issue I noticed is that when playing back, I do not seem to be able to get much volume. I've gone to the console in StudioOne, and moved the master volume like way up, though it had defaulted to a pretty high setting on its own. I've turned the volume out all the way up on the Presonus usb unit. But still would like to get "more boom" on playback. My comparison is to my previous system, a Tascam studio in a box 2488Neo. With that, recording the same sources at similar levels, I could never turn volume up all the way without wreaking havoc on my speakers. Anyone have any suggestions or explanations regarding my want for more output volume? Thanks in advance!
  2. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Which Presonus interface, and which speakers?
  3. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    The interface is the Presonus Audiobox USB Speakers are KRK Rocket 5's Thanks again for any suggestions!
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Do you get good acoustic level when you play commercially-recorded tracks on your computer out through the AudioBox interface and the RoKit speakers? If so, your level problem is in your recording process or in whatever you are doing to the tracks in the DAW (StudioOne) after recording. If not, you may have to adjust the input sensitivity on your speakers to match the signal level that the AudioBox puts out.

    Presonus are very shy about saying what level their box actually produces on the line outputs. They give only the information that the output gain goes from -80dB to +10dB as you wind the front panel knob. However, dB figures are relative and not absolute quantities, so it's not very meaningful. They do admit that it's an unbalanced output in signal terms, but your speakers will not mind that.
  5. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    Hmm. Haven't tried that...frankly didn't know it was possible, but I will try playing some commercial music, just off of my iTunes collection and see what happens.
  6. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    So I finally got around to trying some commercial music through my computer and Audiobox USB to my Rokit speakers...YES, I get good acoustic level--I cannot turn up the output all the way on the Audiobox without overdriving the speakers. I can turn it up about 3/4 of the way before I start hearing issues. So what could I be doing wrong when it comes to my tracks when playing back? I "seem" to have good signal on my tracks. I tried, again, recording a guitar with a line in to the Audiobox. Set the gain pretty high (higher than I usually would), just below clipping (seeing the red light on the audiobox unit anyway). On playback, when I leave everything at "default" the output is, still, poor. I can turn the output knob on the audiobox up all the way and am nowhere near real loud coming through the monitors. Even if I move the faders all the way up, both on the track and the master output on the console, it's still not good. I know I must be doing something simple and basic wrong...just don't know enough to know what I don't know. Could this be a stereo/mono issue? I'm just recording to the initial default tracks that appear when I open up studio one. Is that creating an issue? Other ideas?
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    it probably set for a 0 dB output. a few years back i reviewed the 8 channel PreSonus M80 pre amps (now out of print thank goodness) and i found them to be lacking in gain among other faults. PreSonus pres have never been a fave of mine.

    when i mentioned this to the mucky mucks at PreSonus they told me they were designed to run at a 0db level. as i was used to things running at +4 i questioned this and they were a bit insulted and they told me that they thought this level was a better approach. my only guess is they are shooting to bridge the gap between -10 and +4 much like Mackie does with their mixers.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    OK, that's good information, and points to one or both of two possibilities.

    Firstly, it may be your expectation. An interface and speakers of this type are set up to deliver their full sound levels with commercially-mastered music, which is often flat-lined at near full scale (0dBFS). That's appreciably louder than you can usually get just by recording a guitar or a vocal track yourself and replaying them without any processing.

    Secondly, there may be a fault, a mis-setting or a misunderstanding in your recording process. What I suggest you do is post a small (30 second) sample on Soundcloud, and we can have a look to see if your sample is under-recorded, allowing for the normalization imposed by internet sharing sites like that.
  9. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    Are you sure, the mixer knob is fully on the playback side?
  10. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    Yes. Now when I first got the Audiobox and was trying to get anything to playback...that mixer knob was an issue for me, sadly!
  11. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    Thanks Boswell. I will check out soundcloud and see if I can get something on there.
  12. todddr

    todddr Active Member

    Thanks for the info Kurt. It does seem, even compared to my Tascam studioinabox, that the audiobox does not have as much output. If you, or anyone, has suggestions on other brands/models of interfaces that are better in that area, I'm "all ears." My wife will never notice another, as she puts it, "ridiculous purchase for that guitar room."
  13. GDP

    GDP Guest

    Please understand that the record levels, even if they are filling up your waveform in the timeline will not necessarily make them as loud sounding as the other commercial recording releases. I've installed plenty of systems just like yours that are identical to yours and no problems. Not sure how loud you need to be playing back? You indicate the commercial releases playback a good volume levels that are more than adequate. This simply indicates that your raw tracks are in fact that. It's not a finished product. It hasn't been Mastered. Low frequencies have not been rolled off. All of which will make it appear to be lower in level on playback because it's not ready to be released as an actual recording. In effect, what you are now trying to do is to change horses in midstream. You're blaming your equipment which is a typical newbie thing to do. There is no problem with your setup, no problem whatsoever. People don't turn into hit making recording engineers by simply buying a box and plugging in a microphone. So you're probably expecting too much from yourself and from equipment you don't quite understand as yet? Some folks even go to schools, pay a lot of money, just to learn how to set levels properly, adjust equalization and provide for good mix balances. And that will only cost ya $10,000-$40,000 along with learning the kind of equipment you'll never be able to afford to purchase yourself. In fact your system is already nearly perfect. It's you that has to learn how to use it, what to do with it, how to engineer and the technique behind the engineering. You don't come out of high school and get a job as a brain surgeon. It takes a bit of time. And of course people your age, the drive-through generation, the smartphone generation want instant results. Well it doesn't work quite that way not in the real world of music recording and production. This is a very demanding thing. Something that takes years to master, so you'll just have to be patient and keep working at it like we all had to do when we were your age 30+ years ago. And it took most of us at least 10 years to get good. So if you purchased an Indianapolis race car yesterday, do ya think you'd be ready tomorrow to enter that race? Of course not. You'll come in last, if you come in at all, if you're lucky not to get killed. Thankfully, recording yourself isn't quite that dangerous. Nor are you competing against any of the big-time studios or big-time engineers or big-time Mastering Engineers. Currently you are just a single digit in a large mathematical equation that has not yet been put up on your blackboard. For which there are no current answers available for. Not until the entire equation has been posted and worked out can you expect to arrive at the proper answer. Without all the digits, there is no answer.

    In the end, it comes down to the same kind of technique that you had to learn to become proficient with your musical instruments. You didn't pick up the guitar and turn into Mozart the following day after your purchase, right? Getting the keys for the car does you no good unless you know what car those keys fit. And if you're looking at a big batch of cars, can you immediately tell which key fits which car? No you can't. It's impossible to deduce. Audio production goes the same way. Plug the microphone into the audio converter and what do ya know, what do ya have? You have a raw recording not ready for prime time. You need to wash his face. Put some diapers on and a little powder before it can even be considered presentable. So the baby is currently in the bath water. Then what do you do? Throw the bath water out, keep the baby, dry the baby, dress the baby and don't forget the diapers. Make sure you get all that stuff in the right order and you'll have a beautiful baby. Diapers over the head, socks on my hands, T-shirt on the bottom makes for a pretty funny looking baby. And that's where you currently are. You're on a learning curve of how to make good baby recordings. Over time, baby will grow up into some fun rock 'n roll kid. But not really until baby stops crapping on your recordings. Until then, you'll be changing lots of microphones and diapers.

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