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I need some help with levels and gain staging (I think).....

Discussion in 'Recording' started by IHateRap, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. IHateRap

    IHateRap Guest

    All of my mixes have level issues. I'm not looking for "industry standard" volume, or would be foolish enough to even believe I have the knowledge or equipment to achieve it. That said, my stuff is pretty weak.

    Example: http://www.switchrocks.com/Songs/DreamSequence.mp3

    A typical response to this song would be: "pretty cool tune, quiet though".

    The stereo waveform doesn't show any clipping, but the level meters in Sonar 3 do. So it's weak and clipping. :) Great! :)

    Sometimes, when I listen to other stuff that's considered mixed well, it distorts on my system. I'm thinking my problem might be in the signal path itself.

    I need some advice on setting up my gear properly. I think something's out of whack.


    Sonar 3
    Echo MiaMidi card
    Yamaha MG10/2 mixer
    Event TR6 monitors
  2. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    If you are getting clipping but not showing up on your wave form, my question is...do you have a outboard mic pre if so you are probably overdriving that before it gets to tape. That is the only thing that i can think of. I dont know why if you are listening to things that are already done they would be distorted. That could be a bad monitor, or you are clipping at one of your gain stages
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well, what can I say? I HATE RAP, IHATERAP! But this is way cool rock and roll! They're certainly isn't any clipping in this! You're recording talents are rock solid and excellent! Truly professional! I loved it! I think perhaps that your version of Sonar 3 may have included a slight bit of padding to make sure that people don't clip? It's possible? An extra cushion of safety? And so, you didn't clip out. I'd love to know the technical stuff behind this recording because it is superb.

    Rap on. Rap off.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. pumpcat

    pumpcat Guest

    Check out the Mastering Sound Forum. For fun, search "loudness war".

    Consider taking your mixes to a Mastering Engineer. Mastering is not all about getting your mixes louder, but in most cases, that is a big part of it. If you can't (or don't want to) afford a professional Mastering Engineer, you can try applying a brickwall limiter like Waves L1/L2/L3. Be warned though, if you start playing the loudness war game, the quality of your mixes will suffer.
  5. wayne

    wayne Guest

    Re: I need some help with levels and gain staging (I think).

    Are you talking about a master 2-track mix playing in Sonar? You can exceed zero within the mix but not on the hardware output for example.
    Maybe you could run this path down for us. Sometimes it helps to break thing down into the separate pieces.
    Ps I'm only on little p/c speakers, but I really like where the cymbals go in that mix. Can you talk about how you did your kit?
  6. IHateRap

    IHateRap Guest

    Thanks for all the replies.

    I think things are somewhat squared away. I believe I may have been giving my monitors too hot of a signal.

    Wayne: All the drums were Fxpansion's BFD programmed by mouse. All processed using plugins included with Sonar. Thanks for listening.

    RemyRAD: Thanks for the kind words. I'm just a guitarist trying to write and record cool tunage. For this particular song, I used my Ibanez rg220 prestige into a Bogner Uberschall amp through a Marshall 1960a cab miced up with an sm57 into a Vintech Dual 72 preamp. All of the leads were a Line 6 Podxt. I'm using an Echo MiaMidi soundcard, a little Yamaha mixer, and some Event tr-6's. That's about it as far as hardware goes.

    Software: Sonar 3 Producer, NI Fm7, Spectrasonics Atmosphere, EWQL Hardcore Bass, and Fxpansion's BFD for drums. I just read all the forums and turn knobs until it sounds decent, I think. Always looking to improve though.

    I have other tunes at my site: http://

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