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Master Fader at unity gain?

During final mixdown to 2-track - is there any loss of sonic quality if the master fader on the console is not at 0dB?

I think I'm hearing a slight degradation in sound, but maybe it's just me?

Thanks, Dingo

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Member for
20 years 3 months

realdynamix Thu, 02/12/2004 - 02:44

Originally posted by Sir Dingo:
During final mixdown to 2-track - is there any loss of sonic quality if the master fader on the console is not at 0dB?

I think I'm hearing a slight degradation in sound, but maybe it's just me?

:) Howdy stranger! On your killer board? I can't imagine! But I do notice a reduction of quality on my stand alone with respect to the output fader, if I reduce it too much. It seems to like to be around -3db to 0.

--Rick (db), nice to see you here, how is the old gang? ;)

Member for
20 years 3 months

Recording Engineer Thu, 02/12/2004 - 03:53

With my Mackie SR32*4-VLZPRO, I find that if I leave the master fader at around Unity and try to adjust and reajust the channel faders for a good level going to the 2-track recorder, my noise-floor is thru the roof! But if I don't worry about the fader position on the channels and simply turn-down the master fader as low as needed to get a good level to the 2-track, then my noise-floor is fine. My noise-floor ends-up being somewhere between -70dB and -80dB from 0dB Full Scale.

Oddly enough, I believe this is for the most part, the complete opposite of what is usually recommended, but it is what has worked for me with the Mackie I have.

Member for
19 years 8 months

Doublehelix Thu, 02/12/2004 - 06:21

OK...this is a great topic, since I have been having similar discussions with my colleagues for a while.

I am also of the philosophy that says keep the master fader at unity.

Here is a twist however for those of us that record to a DAW, but want to mix in the analog domain:

I say to keep *all* the faders at unity within my DAW, and then bus each channel to a separate fader on my mixer, and then adjust each mixer channel fader while keeping the master fader at unity.

Any math within the DAW seems counter-productive to mixing (summing) outside of the DAW.

Member for
51 years 5 months

bluefunk Thu, 02/12/2004 - 08:19

Forgive me for this rudimentary question, but could someone define unity in terms of mixing?

Member for
19 years 8 months

Doublehelix Fri, 02/13/2004 - 04:18

Originally posted by Gleeson:
Forgive me for this rudimentary question, but could someone define unity in terms of mixing?

This means setting the fader at 0 dB... (close to the top of the travel)...no cut, and no boost.

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