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Gain / Headroom etc

Discussion in 'Recording' started by boydelmundo, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Hi there and thanks.

    I am mixing in Cubase 5 and my rule of thumb was to never take the individual or group tracks above 0 even though the channel faders go to 6. The master fader I'd always have down at -5 to -10.

    However does it really matter if I take the individual or groups above 0? I ask this because the song I am workig on has a number of tracks on elastic band mixing and they do go up above 0. As far as I can hear everything is still sweet and not clipping. Obviously I have lost the option to add any more volume to those tracks that are above 0.

    It's not the end of the world if I have to adjust everything down but see no point if I am not really gaining (if you forgive the pun) anything.

    In modern DAW's there are sooooooooooooo many places gain can be potentially added.


  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    Hello Boydelmundo...

    First a question back: have you ever heard any degradation or change in sound ( other then volume ) with master fader and channel faders at -0 dB and over?
    I work with the very same audio engine in Nuendo and I have never heard anything degrading.

    Faders should be balancing the mix. So, faders above the 0 dB mark can be required when the source is too soft. You always mix to a summed volume that can be attennuated
    or amplified with the master fader w/o extreme settings to fit the desired output level. This is still a good rule of thumb for Cubase in the digital domain and good craftsmanship.
    But, in contrast to analog, with our engine, you must only watch what you feed to the D/A converter, anything inside the DAW is most forgiving... you work with 32 bit float point....

    Just try to get it to clip... (keep plugs out, though, some 3rd party plugs might not be able to follow all the way up)...Lift the event volume handles and put faders up...
    use the master fader to set the volume to max level and keep a limiter after the master fader only for protecting the D/A and your ears...and listen...

    Do the same thing with a fixed point DAW and you have an exrememly good example of how digital distortion sounds like...lol...

    With our DAW, there is no sense in keeping an extra headroom on the channels, but there is all the more reason to watch the input
    and output levels ( recording, monitoring, or rendering to wav ) not to exceed the digital -0 dB...

    Well actually you can go over on the way out and it is being constantly done, but this topic is stuff of the next semester...
  3. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    Yea I've never had a problem with going above 0db on the track faders in Cubase. The main out bus is another story of course.
  4. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Thanks chaps.
    So basically above 0 has no detrimental affect to the signal?
    So what does 0 represent on the chanel and group faders?
  5. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    Symply... unity gain...no amplification, no attennuation ... of the channel signal by this fader...

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