1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Active monitor level vs. board level.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Digipenguin, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Digipenguin

    Digipenguin Guest

    I use Event TR8XL monitors. I leave the volume knobs in the 95% up position. They are connected to an FW1884. The FW has a 'Monitor' level pot which I leave usually in the 50% position. The FW also has a master fader which controls the output from Sonar4. I find that for normal listening levels the master fader needs to be down around the 25-30% position.

    This has never posed a problem per se but my questions are:

    Am I causing unnecessary wear and tear on my monitors by leaving the pots nearly all the way up? Would it be easier on my monitors to turn down their volume pot and feed in a hotter signal by turning up the 'monitor'out or master fader on the FW?


    Is there a standard gain structure rule such as, "Keep your signal as hot as possible all the way through and only use the final stage of volume control" or vice-versa?

    I am interested in how these things affect both the sound and the longevity of the equipment. Any info appreciated.

  2. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Some people will say that you want to keep your digital faders at unity gain to avoid losing resolution, and use a control knob or fader of some kind outside of the box for attenuating levels.
    I personally don't like to turn any speakers up past half way. Probably just paranoid, but that is my general rule.
  3. Vince Jaeger

    Vince Jaeger Guest

    I have a pair of TR8-N's (non xl) and noticed they introduce alot of noise when turned up even the slightest bit, so I left the gain on the monitors themselves at 0.

    ...and what Reggie said about your digital faders...
  4. Digipenguin

    Digipenguin Guest

    How old are your Events? Mine are whisper quiet even all the way up.

    How did you locate 0dB? My monitors each have an 'Input Sensitivity' pot on the rear. It only has a '-5dB' mark at the halfway point and they are non-detented.
  5. freakydave

    freakydave Guest

    Active monitor level v. board level

    Second question first. The general "rule" of gain structure is actually a goal, which is: obtain the higest signal/noise ratio in each stage without distorting the signal. Distortion comes in many forms and is introduced in different ways, but the most common types are due to a lack of knowledge of the equipment first, and improper use second. Clipping is what you are trying to avoid here. To find the best levels for your monitors and board outputs takes some experimentation, and if you want professional results maybe some bench testing with the music you plan to record and play as your source signal and a oscilloscope as a measuring device/detective, unless you have well trained "tech" hearing, in which case you wouldn't have asked.

    It is not generally good to run powered monitors at close to max power all the time unless you are listening to music that requires it. Try to set your board levels at unity and then adjust the monitors to a comfortable level. Then, with no music on, turn the monitors up untill the noise is too much (only you can judge what too much is), then drop it back to a tolerable noise level . This should give you the headroom you may need for most music, while keeping the noise floor down for the quiet stuff. This headroom should be about 10db or so. Any more than that is just a waiste of good noise. .
  6. Mr-Nice

    Mr-Nice Guest

    I dont think you are causing any extra wear on the monitors. If you turn the monitor gain down you will allow more noise floor to become apparent. I keep my Alesis monitor gains 1 notch below max. And I use my gains on my mixer to make things louder or lower. Yes my external instruments are slightly under max as well.

    Well in recording you should always get the loudest signal as possible without clipping. Dont exceed 0dB with digital and analog you can take it as far as +3dB (or is it +4) without distorting.

    I record everything as loud as possible (without clipping) so if you were to look at all the faders after recording everything all the signals playing would be reaching 0dB. I would adjust fader positions during mixdown, and even though I lower a fader its still a strong signal on that track.

Share This Page