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I am so confused about recording vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by AKR, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. AKR

    AKR Active Member

    I've read lots of articles, and I've been recording vocals a little bit, on and off for a year or two now, but I've just been winging it. This is one aspect that is still confusing to me.

    My set up: Cubase LE; Presonus Firebox, Shure sm57 or sm58.

    Ok, so, from what I understand, you don't want your meter to go over 0db. Well, first off, I can't find any meter that actually shows the exact db level. I just go off of the audio track in cubase that shows green or yellow, and know green=good; yellow=bad. When you look at your track, the wave should never be hitting the top of your track, correct. My problem is, if I'm not hitting near the top or at the top, it simply isn't loud enough. It seems next to impossible for me to not be seeing yellow in the meter in cubase when I'm recording and it be loud enough. If I lower my mic input on the firebox knob, and my wav seems to be staying pretty low, it's simply not loud enough. It seems like whatever I do, I end up almost distorting it to get it loud enough. Record quiet, and I have to turn the audio track volume above Odb for it to come through the mix loud enough.

    Please help me. I feel like I'm mentally handicapped when it comes to understanding some of the audio stuff, even though I've read a lot.
  2. AKR

    AKR Active Member

    Ok, the slow kid is figuring this out. I upped the makeup gain in my compressor about 7db's, and then put the threshold at around -24db's, and this seems to be working pretty good. My quieter passages are boosted nicely and my loudest parts aren't peaking out.

    I hate technical stuff. :)
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Careful, you could be on your way to smashing everything. How about turning the speakers up while you mix? A couple of faders above unison is not a problem. Yellow is more of a warning than bad. There is not distortion in this range. If your peaks touch into the yellow you should be fine. Just don't light up the clip indicator while recording.
  4. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

    unity perhaps?
  5. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Right unity. When I was learning how to use a mixer years ago in high school I learned it incorrectly as "unison." It still pops up occasionally.

    by the way, reluctance is the magnetic equivalent to resistance.
  6. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

    right you are

  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Average level should be -15dBFS, thats halfway on the cubase scale. Shoot for that.
  8. 1000heads

    1000heads Guest

    you know what? there are several ways to get past this: record kind of low so it doesnt distort, then post recording, normalize and compress(if needed) the track. before recording, do a "mic test" with a 1khz tone to get all of your levels to be equal- you should do this for a lot of broadcasting applications anyway. you can obtain this online, and a lot of recording software has this in the package nowadays. its best to record it, put it on a cd, connect a cd player to the mixer or input you use for the mic, and play it, balancing everything while it is playing prior to recording. Finally, just close your eyes and listen to your recording. dont mind the meters- how does it sound to you? do you hear distortion, and are there any discrephancies? like is it too quiet in one area or loud in another? you can comp these tracks. good luck
  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    ed 1000,

    There is some good advice there toward the end, but I disagree with the 1kHz test tone. Unless your goal is to record a test tone, I don't think you should use it to set levels. Set levels with the loudest part. For example if you are recording guitar and playing arpeggios during the verse and big power chords during the chorus, then cue the track the the chorus, and loop record until you get the level right. Then go back and record the track front to back. Because most people play louder when they have a backing track it is important to cue the track up. Another option is to play louder than you think you will while setting the level.

    Normalizing is a good way to fix a track that was not recorded properly, but over use will add aliasing to your audio. (Unless it is non-destructive normalizing like Samplitude does and Pro Tools doesn't)
  10. 1000heads

    1000heads Guest

    i agree with the settings should be referenced from the loudest part, but the 1 khz test wasnt to set the volume, but to make sure that every piece of equipment is measuring the same level- like your DAW and your mixer's meters. sorry if i wasnt clear there, i'm doing this at work and i'm kind of paranoid wehen my boss walks by causing me to type fast. sorry
  11. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest


    I thought you were answering the OP's question on how to set levels.

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