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Fix my gain-staging?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ThirdBird, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    How high should each level be in my chain?

    1) AT2035 LDC (with bass rolloff and -10pad)

    2) Behrcrapinger Xenyx1832FX Mixer (with trim, fader, master, and low-cut)

    3) Seasound Soloist AD/DA Converter Line Input

    4) Computer

  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you post in the Newbies section you might get an answer. Or not.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    As hot as will avoid clipping even during loud passages.
    Leave headroom.

    Noise is something you can either live with or spend your life getting rid of.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    If you're recording something of a loud nature, you'll want to engage the pad on your microphone to keep from overloading its internal electronics.

    On your mixer, you can generally engage a solo button on the microphone input you are trying to adjust. This will display the mixers preamp operation level. Trim up or trim down for a general indication of -12. This ensures proper headroom & gain.

    When being fed from your mixer, you're audio interface on your computer should generally be 2/3 of the way up or at approximately a 2 o'clock position. If it's much higher or lower, it may be an indication of too much or too little output from your mixer.

    These are just generalities but are mostly applicable to all professional equipment. Some consumer oriented equipment operates at different levels from professional equipment, generally lower on the order of 14 DB or more. This causes a lot of confusion amongst green engineers since the dividing line between professional & consumer has blurred through the years. You always want to have at least 15 DB of usable headroom before clipping & distortion occurs.

    I like my loudness like I like my rock-and-roll. Recorded.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. music293

    music293 Active Member

    15dB of headroom.

    I wasn't aware it was so much? I thought it was always about 10-12db?

    Is this just a preference/experience thing?
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Yes, in fact, most professional equipment has 20 or more DB of headroom. Analog tape typically had better than 15 DB of headroom above your standard reference operating levels. Headroom is definitely the difference between Pro stuff & toy stuff. Between Pro sounding mixes & beginner's sounding mixes. You can never have too much headroom. Well, that's not totally true. Most folks don't need 30 DB of headroom. But 15 is totally realistic. This is not just a personal preference. It's the difference between experience and limited experience. Pushing Pro preamps to near the point of overload can provide for an interesting sonic character. This is a little different than topping out in your digital recording, which produces strictly clipping. Clipping produces odd order harmonic distortion which is dissonant. That ain't normal. True, different types of distortion, in small quantities, can be musically enhancing, which are generally even order harmonic's that occur naturally in life. All musical instruments produce even order harmonics. Some equipment does also. Such as tubes & class A transistor equipment. And to a lesser extent class A/B designed equipment, which is the most common, in conjunction with adequate headroom can produce more pleasing results.

    Melodious & Harmonically yours
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Thanks again for all of the help!
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