What lvl do professionals record into PRO TOOLS at 24 bit 48

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by nuknight, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. nuknight

    nuknight Guest

    What recording lvl do professionals record into PRO TOOLS at 24 bit 48. Because when I record at 0 DB THE WAVE FORMS Are so big and blobby , But when I look at professional done projects before on protools the wave forms look small on the screen. - aron
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Re: What lvl do professionals record into PRO TOOLS at 24 bi

    the size on the screen is independent of the level of the actual waveform and can be adjusted to ease working with them.

    that said:

    I calibrate my interfaces so that Odb is equal to -14db of full scale. That means in essence that if I send a signal into pro tools that reads odb on an external analog meter then it will be @ -14db below full scale in pro tools. The "standard" is -18db. But I have found through experience that this is not as good for me as -14.

    I record into Pro tools or a tape machine so that the balance is what I would want in the end. The myth of having to record each and every part as close to full scale is just that...a myth. It meant something back when we were using 16bit 3328 sony's before apogee came out with their A/D's but with 24 bit. I think it's is much more important to put it in as close to how it's to be when later mixed.

    When I record drums; I want a lot of kick....so this gets near 0db. same with the top snare mic...maybe a little less than 0db. The bottom snare mic I only want a touch of...I do not record it full scale. I record it so that sonically the balance is the way I want to hear...and I do not need the bottom snare mic anywhere near as loud as the kick...YE-UCK. Same with Hi Hat..-10db on average there too.

    This is why you see "pro" pro tool sessions with more conservative levels.

    Back to -18 vs -14:

    Another thing. Lots of us still like to end up mixing on an analog desk when possible. That being the case...if we record tracks full bit @ -18 than when they come out of pro tools into the analog desk the level is too hot..meaning we have to go through hoops to gain-stage properly. -14 (or -16, etc) makes a much better match.

    the difference between a good mix and a great mix can be in the area of 1/2 db's...so -18 to -14 is a grand canton of difference when all things are added up
  3. nuknight

    nuknight Guest

    Im actually using nuendo sorry

    Im actually using nuendo sorry, but fopr some reason when I record at 0 DB ITSlike the whole waveform is sooooo big and i look at someone recording on PT and the waveforms are small? This a setting in nuendo? AND HOW do i check What lvl I recorded it at exactly? by putting it in a track soloing it without FX and seeing what the meter hits? So MORE PRO Recordings were recorded at 0 db rather then -14?
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Re: Im actually using nuendo sorry

    forget protools/nuendo. think engineering. read my post again.
  5. nuknight

    nuknight Guest

    Well man you helped so much! i've been recording my lvls at like -20 and thought it didn't matter but I realize what lvl u record it at is kinda how it will be stupid me, WHAT LVL do you record vocals at like 0 as much as possible?
  6. pan

    pan Guest

    Just record with the analog 0dB VU in mind!
    ...recording a Kick peaking @ -2dBFS is different than recording a Vocal peaking @-2dBFS:

    On VU, the Kick will read 0dB OK, but the Vocal is totally slamming the meter like +6 VU

    Food for thoughts...n
  7. tomtom

    tomtom Guest

    I think that using an analog ppm meter connected to your console output would probably help you getting good levels in and out of your system. A VU meter will give you a good idea of how loud your signal is, but isn't accurate enough to avoid digital clipping now and then. You need to fully understand the differences between a VU a ppm or a digital peakmeter. (too long to explain here. There some good hints on the Manleylabs.com website. Read or print their online manuals, especially those of their dynamics processors.) I suggest anyway that you don't record too hot in your pro tools if you are working internally using plug-ins or you'll end up stuck without headroom for mixing.
    Let's say you recorded tracks with peaks @ -2db full scale. Now you want to boost certain frequencies @+6dB. You're in trouble! You're going to clip your signal!! It sounds ugly.
    There are ways around this (like using the Gain function in the audiosuite or adding a plug-in before the one you're using so that you reduce your level before you boost it again) but it can be a pain and very time consuming. If you mix on an analog console, it doesn't matter as much, because you deal with levels in a different way...

    I hope this helps a little.
  8. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    Let the signal be represented by the number bits the dynamic range of the music dictates. 1 bit = 6dB. So, forget shape and size of the wave graphically. If a drum has 12dB dynamic range, then you only need 2 bits. That's all that would be used, reguardless if you compressed the crap out of it and used make-up gain. Actually you might use less. Using any more bits to represent that instrument, by decreasing your headroom only raises the noise floor, and wastes bits.

    If you look at your music's dynamic range, you can determine what is better for you. Whatever you are getting signal from (mixer, preamp, etc) should be 0dBV at the output with a 1kHz tone. 0dB (which is actually +4 on most pro consoles and outboard, but is actually 0 on a Mackie and other semi-pro crud) should hit at -12 to -18dBBFS on the converter. Someone mentioned a "standard". There is no standard among manufacturers or engineers. Everyone has an opinion. Apogee has recommended -16. ProTools HD gear (192's) comes calibrated at -14. Let the music dictate.
  9. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    ..becuase this is a good match when coming back through an analog console for good gain staging..otherwise your hittimg the line amps too much and have to compensate. Classical music or Big Band jazz with the increased dynamic range could be an exception. But I prefer -14 or -16 to -18.
  10. noit

    noit Guest

    I know that the question was answered and this is secondary, but in CubaseSX and probably Nuendo, there is a slider to the right of the window to adjust the relative height of the drawn wave.

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