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Final Level Problem??

Discussion in 'Recording' started by FreakStudios, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. FreakStudios

    FreakStudios Guest

    I recorded at 16b/44.1k then i converted them to 32 bit/44.1k (float). and i cant get enough volume without clipping. it doesnt really sound distorted when i go over 0db but it says its clipping, well the thing is that when i mixdown the highest volume isnt close to a lets say whateversong.wav or .mp3 I just dont know why my recordings have lower volume.... grrr.

    Is it because I recorded at 16bits? or it doesnt matter since i converted the files?? please help.

    BTW im using cubase SX3. 3.0ghz comp, 3gram, Emu1820 sound card.
  2. FreakStudios

    FreakStudios Guest

    Please help.
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    do a search
    it's been covered .. often

    compression, peak limiting
    level maximising

    you have more dynamic range than you want

    why have you converted to 32 bit ?
    floating is the way the calculations are done
    you can't ... well not really ... go over 0dBFS ... FS is full scale

    please do a search as it has been done to death[/i]
  4. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Yeah, a bit late, now, but for next time. Record at 32 bit(32/48, is fine, 96 or higher, if you like or if you're doing DVD audio?), mix, master, make everything wonderful, SAVE IT as 24/whatever - you can't save it as 32 bit, that just happens in the computer process. THEN convert to 16/44.1 JUST BEFORE you make your CD's.

    Start and stay with the best quality until you have to convert to your "lesser" output(CD/.MP3, whatever.)...


    BTW: No matter WHAT you put into your audio software, it is probably 32 bit, by "default"(Unless you changed it?) WHILE it's in the computer! If you consciously recorded at 16/44.1?(Can be done, but I wonder?) using same computer/same software... Why?... would be the question..... Next time...... Don't do that!
  5. FreakStudios

    FreakStudios Guest

    Well the thing is that i restored my pc and forgot to change the project settings so its 16/44.1k default then i realized i hadnt changed it. lol so thats mainly it.

    so really short question, if you record at 24 or 32 does it help to maximize your final mix level.?

    and btw thanks a lot for that I will always check my settings before recording hehehe.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    No, it does not always help to simply hit the "maximize" or "normalize" button. If your highest "peak" for example is already at -1 db, doing a normalize to 0, only raises everything, equally, 1 db(You'll not hear the difference.)

    Some buttons do a more complex thing with the gain of the piece(Maybe "maximize" is one of these buttons? I don't know.). Trying to raise some things more than others(Some even "play" with other parameters, like EQ.) - nice when it works. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. The nicest button we now have is the "re-do" button(The "Back to where it was before" button. Ha.).

    Try this.

    Go through your recording and manually(My software uses something called "gain change") lower all the peaks, to something closer to the level of the "average" recording - at least "knock down" the big, icky ones(Unless some of them were intentional? Most are just happenstance.). Then, maybe, go through the recording again and "raise" all the lowest level parts a bit.

    What you've done is "manually" compressed the piece. Now, you can use "normalize" to raise everything up to 0 db, or something a bit less - the "makeup" gain, as it were. You would get the same effect if you, then, highlighted your manually compressed piece, and used "gain change" to raise the entire level of the piece to 0 or -1, whatever.

    Do any of these things "help"? Yeah, sort've, maybe(It's still easy to raise any "noise level" as well - careful.). Practically speaking, it's just almost impossible to keep the gain of most recordings "level" as you'd maybe like them to be(Not too high not too low), however, the very best recordings would rather not use ANY such tricks - just play it back as recorded - PROPERLY recorded. Doing it all right, going in, is pretty tough, so we all use all the tricks neccessary - just don't go overboard with the compression and fooling around for the average recording. Of course, all bets are off if one is looking for some sort of effect or sound not on the original recording.

    If you don't know what else to do, hit "Normalize/Maximize" button, it should at least bring down any "over 0 db" levels, and otherwise get the levels "close" - a good thing.
  7. FreakStudios

    FreakStudios Guest

    Thanks for that post, It really helped. I did comp. some of the tracks so that they are pretty even without compromizing the dynamics and mixed it again a little. and it shows as maximum of -0.1 db but when I mix it down the level (volume) is still lower than the average proffetional mp3 or wav file.

    I was wondering if you guys do a mix then export the whole mix into 1 file then import it again on a new project and master it there. Also when you master it what is it that you do to master it. thanks for all the help im learning a lot here.
  8. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    There are at least 2 ways of looking at "mastering". One way would be just "finishing" the recording, now ready for duplication/burning, whatever YOU can do.

    Another way would be that you "finish", the best you can(Track, do the best mix you can, adding your effects as desired, then your best mixdown to 2 track - or surround - you can), doing no finalizing or normalizing, just keeping your levels under and over wherever you want them to be under and over, making it sound the best you can! Then "send it away" to some other person(One would hope a competent "mastering engineer".), experienced and equipped in all things neccessary to really finish your recording, to listen to and make any changes they think might help. A "real" mastering engineer "SHOULD" have gear and ears devoted JUST TO mastering - perfecting levels, EQ, and otherwise preparing the recording for duplication. They might even send your work back, untouched, and ask that you do something(s) over/different?(Charging you for their advice, of course!) A good thing!

    It would be instructive(To all of us who haven't done so!) to "do the best we can" - finalizing, whatever - and burn a CD from the results AND, to save, prior to OUR mastering efforts, our "best mixdown" prior to OUR mastering, send that away -- call the mastering engineer FIRST, before you even begin tracking, so you know what they'll need you to save for them -- (Gonna' cost ya', but..?) and hear how those results compare to yours. The "big guys"(I guess I better say "almost"?) always have their recordings mastered by a pro - kind've like doing all the work restoring your classic car yourself, then turning it over to a great "detailer" for the final touches, the final polish, just before the car show? For most of us, even a "fair" mastering facility, for a rather "budget" price, should be able to help, alot.


    Look for books on recording and mastering. Do a Google search! Do LOTS of Google searches! Subscribe to a magazine or two(I like "Mix"), even "seeing", in pictures, and reading the short stories, on how some of this stuff is accomplished, is helpful. None of this is learnable(Or even understandable) over night...

    Yes. "Save" your "final mix", of EACH TRACK, good as you can make them - but NO "finalizing" or "normalizing". Now, as you say, open a "new" project, call-up your "master/s"(Helps to give it some time, a week or two, so you kind've "forget" how things sound.), then, see if you can figure out any "tweaks", not just on individual pieces, but on the "overall" album, if there is such -- maybe "overall" compression/EQ/Level "correction" so the tracks don't "jump" and fall" level-wise if they're not supposed to, that sort of thing. Who knows? "The Mastering Engineer knows! HAHAHAhahahah....."
  9. FreakStudios

    FreakStudios Guest

    Awesome I got the Idea now. I guess i was trying to master each track lol normalizing every track etc. hehehehe. thanks a bunch for the help know im starting to get into this whole world of mixing mastering. Thanks a lot VERY helpful post. thanks for taking the time to explain everything.

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