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gain restricted

Discussion in 'Recording' started by KathyB, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. KathyB

    KathyB Guest

    Hi everyone!

    I am a voice over talent and I'm hoping someone can help me get a nice full wave form.

    Presently the maximum Db that I can input is restricted to -6 and I am normalizing everything to -1 and then editing. I am using Adobe Audition 2.0 on my Dell Compaq computer and I have a Studio Project c-1 mic and a new E-mu 0400/usb preamp. I appreciate any help or suggestions you can send my way.

  2. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Kathy - Is the -6db peak on the 0404's input channel meter, or Audition's input/playback track meter? Are you needing more input level, or just wanting a hotter final product?

    To bring up the overall level once recorded you need some compression (but not too much). If delivering to a production house, I wouldn't compress it at all - just get a good solid read and clean edits. If going direct to air/final product, then compression and EQ is needed to get a typical "radio" sound.

    Let us know if that does or doesn't answer your question.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hi Kathy -

    Welcome to RO!

    To add to dterry's advice, let me ask a few questions.

    First, is this the device to which you're referring?


    If so, how far up are you setting the gain? (The knobs at the bottom left of the device).

    Other than the lower gain, how is the sound that you are getting? Do you feel it represents your voice accurately?

    Also, how far are you positioned away from your microphone when recording?

    Sorry if I'm asking some elementary questions, I don't know your level of skill in the audio world and don't want to make assumptions.

  4. KathyB

    KathyB Guest

    Thanks so much for the responses and the welcome!

    Here’s what’s happening. If I turn up the gain, the meters on both the pre-amp and the one in audition hit red, but the wave form on the playback track is limited to -6 and shows lots of flat clipped edges at -6.

    Here’s what I’ve been doing to record. I set the gain low, so there’s no clipping. Then I normalize to -1, edit, used the compander preset, then normalize again.

    I’ve messed around with EQ, but need to learn more. Any suggestions?

    J....That's my pre-amp in the picture! And I am a little bit experience, so I know how to adjust the gain and where to stand. Although it was not that long ago that those questioned loomed huge in my mind!!! I have been working for about a year now and have done a considerable amount of work on the internet and a few local radio and tv ads. So I am pleased with my career so far. I just know there's room for lots of improvement and want to move up to the next level. So I'm writing to you all hoping to learn some new technical skills.

    Again Thanks, Thanks, and more Thanks! PLease let me know your thoughts.

  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Is this the waveform before you've compressed it?
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    The E-MU's soft limiter engages at -12dB.

    In the control panel, turn it off if it's not already.

    Try recording again, that should fix the clipping.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    There's some serious distortion in there. (See the non-linearity of the waveform??)

    This is interesting. It's as if the preamp is being overloaded by the input of the mic but the signal isn't that hot.

    Is that your take on this too Bent??
  8. KathyB

    KathyB Guest

    This is an unprocessed wave form--no compression. It's just straight out of the mic.

    I've played with the soft limit button on the control panel of the Emu. It is off on this take. It actually seems to be worse (to me) when I turn it on.

  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well, it looks to me like you are clipping the preamp, but have the output level set low. (Though I'm not sure I understand what an output level knob means in relation to the digital output.) Where do you have the output knob set? At any rate, your gain is about 6dB too high. See what happens if you turn that down and turn up the output,
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Does someone who knows Audition know what meter would hit red and then produce a wave form at -6dB?

    Kathy - Are there any plugins operating when you are tracking?
  11. KathyB

    KathyB Guest


    I'm not sure where the output knob is. Can you look at the image posted by J and give me some help?

    I don't think there are any plugins operating. In fact, I thought you could only use plugins after recording. This is an education for me!

  12. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I was thinking it could be a software limiter in Audition set at -6.

    Though, reading through the manual I don't see one.

    I'll look again at the E-MU manual and see if there's something else there that might be the culprit.

    Looking again at the waveform, it sure looks to me like the soft limiter at -12 (does it look to you guys like there could be 6dB more on top of those clips?)...
  13. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Kathy, the output knob is at the top right - but I would think that would only affect the actual analog outs on the back, not the signal going into the software...
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I could be way off base here so please bear with me. You keep referring to the 0404 as a preamp. You are using this device as your main sound interface right? That is you're going from the 0404 directly into Audition and not by way of the outputs into your existing onboard soundcard? Sorry, I know it's kind of a stupid question but I have to ask. :p
  15. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Kathy - it's the Main Output on the upper right of the 0404. Where is the level on the input channel of the 0404 when you are recording? Bob is suggestion you turn the input gain on the 0404 down and the Main Output up to compensate.

    Audition's main level meter should show the input level as well as playback, so if it is also limited to -6db, then it's limited at the 0404.
  16. KathyB

    KathyB Guest

    Yes, Ben

    That knob says "main output" and I've used it many times. It controls the volume to my speakers, which are plugged into the back of the preamp.

  17. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The output knob I was referring to is the one on the upper right. My guess is that it just affects the monitors, not the digital output. so it's probably not the culprit. What we are trying to figure out here is the "gain structure." You have three gain knobs, input (lower left), Level (upper middle), and Output (upper middle). I'd guess that one of these is turned up too high and is causing the signal to clip at the converter. (And without a block diagram that's just a guess.) Where were those three levels set when you made the recording in the picture, and where did the meters hit on the e-Mu?
  18. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    At some point we might stop saying the same thing...

  19. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I didn't mean for that to come across as it might have, sorry guys!

    The 'Level' knob is actually a mix knob (here it's called 'Direct Monitor'), as on most boxes of this type, it mixes the input level (mics / instruments) with the signal playing back from the software, to your phones and / or master (monitor) outputs.
  20. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Hard to type when I'm eating my lunch. :wink:
    It doesn't look very soft to me. More like hard digital clipping. Now why Audition would read those as -6dB....

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