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Recording and pre-mixdown levels.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ailgun, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. ailgun

    ailgun Active Member


    I want to ask something, I hope it's not too newbiesh.
    When we are recording stuff what should be our trim level for best results? I have a Motu 828mk3 and I usually record at 30db but somewhere I read that it should be 0db?

    Second question; Maximum level at the mixing must be 0db again, right? I mean in Logic, no track should be above 0db. Am I right?

    And the last question is that how do I get the true value of db from my monitors? I have a pair of Genelec's and should I turn all the way up to get the true db value of my mix?

    Thanks, I hope my question was clear.
  2. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    i'll have a go at your questions. now im assuming you mean 0 dbfs when you say 0 db.

    1- the trim level(input level) depends on what source your recording whether it's a mic,keyboard,ect.
    ideally imo the trim level should be set so the track your recording registers at around -18 dbfs with peaks around -10 dbfs in your daw.
    a good way to monitor this if your in doubt is to use this plug in below to set your levels.
    Roger Nichols Digital Inspector – Free at Kaos.Audio

    2- right, no track should be above 0 dbfs.
    if you recorded your tracks as per no 1, they will all be around -18 dbfs with peaks around -10 dbfs, cause when you start adding plug-ins to those tracks now,most of those plugs are going to bring them closer to 0 dbfs. you dont want to go even near 0 on the individual tracks so to leave some headroom.
    all those tracks will naturally be mixed toghether to you master left/right mix bus and here,you can get closer to 0dbfs if you want to but never over.
    if your gonna get these mastered, i like to leave that level around -3 to -5 or even lower.
    if not, you can do whatever, you can peg em at 0 with comps and limiters if you like the loudness war approach.

    3- you could turn em all the way up and use a low software volume output but i would not turn em up more than 2 oclock.no volume pot should be full open.
    set your mix bus output or master to 0 or a bit under,then bring the speaker volumes where it's suitable.

    hope i understood your questions correctly.
  3. ailgun

    ailgun Active Member

    Firstly, thank you very much for your reply.

    So now I have checked my Motu 828mk3 and the lowest trim level is 0db, but it has a button saying PAD -20DB. Should I enable it and adjust to 2db with trim level to obtain -18db recording level?

    And lastly, when I'm recording Line-In (With PodX3 Live) how do I control the input level? Does the plug-in you adviced helps me adjust that? I mean sometimes gain is neccesary to get some nice guitar tones? How will deal with that?

    Thanks again,
  4. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    what app. are you using..cubase,sonar?
    the -18 dbfs level that im referring to is measured in your app..not at the trim imput level knob.
    you turn the trim imput level knob up until you get that reading in your app.

    say your using cubase, you would do this:
    1-plug the pod xt into the motu.
    2-put the pod xt output volume at 1/2
    3-open a track in cubase and open the plug in i mentioned(inspector) on that track.
    4-while your looking at the the inspector plug in,
    play your guitar and turn the trim level knob on the motu until you see the levels on the plug in go up to around -18 .

    if your still not sure, you could P.M. me if you want and we can get more specific.
    as in, wich app.are you using and how familiar are you with plug in's and gain
    staging and such.
  5. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    Nice answer on this! But I must emphasize that you should end your mix having your L/R stereo out reach no more than -3dB on your DAW... This is a must to send or to master your mix to someone or if you master yourself.
    If you master directly on your mixing daw, well then you may imo define what's your loudest level and this one is a very discuss subject... but try not to reach the 0dB...
  6. ailgun

    ailgun Active Member

    Thanks for your replies again.

    Sadly that plug-in (Inspector) don't install on Mac, I tried Logic's 'Level Meter' (I guess they serve same function) and I watched it as I tried some voice. And it was about 16dB (Peak) but It didn't seem to be very fastly responsive cause it didn't change much even when I tried some dynamic changes on my voice.
    By the way my trim level on Motu was 0dB while all this.

    So what should I do? Maybe another plug-in software?

    So please correct me if I'm wrong; I should bounce the hole project to one track and check again if any of the L/R channels pass -3dB?

    Thanks again, can't tell how much I appreciate your help.
  7. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    On your daw it should be clear how much are you reaching... but you can always try to take a look at this plug in which is free: Sonalksis FreeG which is a High Precision Meter!
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    (Dead Link Removed)

    This pretty much says it all about tracking levels.
  9. ailgun

    ailgun Active Member

    Wow thanks a lot great article!

    And I guess I have managed it with the Sonalksis FreeG.
    When I have 15dB on my Motu (Trim Level) I got -18dB Peak level on Sonalksis FreeG. Yes the tracks seem to be very low volumed at the beginning but it sounded cool when I turned my Genelecs a little bit up.

    I'm really exited to record new tracks! Thanks to everyone.
  10. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    now put the sonalksis plug in on the master bus and mix your song so that now the plug in reads between -3 and -5.

    bring the output levels to 0 on your master bus and crank those genelecs till your happy as a clam.
  11. ailgun

    ailgun Active Member

    Thanks mate, I've re-recorded a track last night and it turned out to be great!
    PS:I'm happy as a clam :)

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