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Old 03-14-2013, 03:01 PM   #1
robschmit
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Preamp gain

Ok, this maybe a stupid question due to my lack of not using many pieces of hardware. I recently got a seperate tube pre and is it common that even though my DI track for reamps is sitting around a -3 db peak that once I reamp using the tube pre for the mic, that my actual reamped track peas around -15 db? On the actual preamp itself the VU meter is reflecting its hitting right in between -3 to -5 and i dont want to push the pre too hard but im not sure if that is usually whats necessary...any help would be appreciated
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:17 PM   #2
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I'm a little confused. If the pre is saying -3, what is saying -15?

As long as there is no clipping and distortion, you should be fine. Use your ears. Also, sometimes people push tube pres a little harder to really get the 'tube sound.'
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:53 PM   #3
robschmit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosmoon
I'm a little confused. If the pre is saying -3, what is saying -15?

As long as there is no clipping and distortion, you should be fine. Use your ears. Also, sometimes people push tube pres a little harder to really get the 'tube sound.'


sorry i new it was going to be confusing but its hard to word it... ill try to make it more simple.

Record my DIs for guitar to pea around -3db...

I level the preamp to where it is showing the mic'd cab signal to hit around -3 to -5 dbs.

But once I check playback in the DAW the reamped track is chilling at around -15 db with the fader sitting at 0...

So ultimately Im getting a super quite reamped track...
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
DisarmGoliath
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Ok, first up - what's the problem there? Your tracks should be sitting around that level when you're mixing.

Secondly, please list your exact signal path (both recording the original DI, and then when re-amping) in the following format:

Example
Guitar > Audio interface instrument input > DAW > No plug-ins, fader at unity gain (0dB), meter reads -8dB .
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
robschmit
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Originally Posted by DisarmGoliath
Ok, first up - what's the problem there? Your tracks should be sitting around that level when you're mixing.

Secondly, please list your exact signal path (both recording the original DI, and then when re-amping) in the following format:

Example
Guitar > Audio interface instrument input > DAW > No plug-ins, fader at unity gain (0dB), meter reads -8dB .



Path is Guitar > interface> DAW (DI)

Reamp is DI > Pro RMP > Amp then SM57 > Pre > Interface

And Im just seeing if thats normal losing that many DBs. Ive only ever used Amp sims and just plain reamps minus the preamp in the reamp chain there. So Im not sure whats standard practice signal wise because I usually always have guitars traced n around -3 db but it just seemed strange that when it was through the pre it ony put it to -15 roughtly and once instruments are leveled Im going to have to cran the fader almost all the way up for a place in the mix
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robschmit
Ok, this maybe a stupid question due to my lack of not using many pieces of hardware. I recently got a seperate tube pre and is it common that even though my DI track for reamps is sitting around a -3 db peak that once I reamp using the tube pre for the mic, that my actual reamped track peas around -15 db? On the actual preamp itself the VU meter is reflecting its hitting right in between -3 to -5 and i dont want to push the pre too hard but im not sure if that is usually whats necessary...any help would be appreciated


DIGITAL dBFS -12 is roughly equal to Analog 0. The metering scales between Analog & Digital are different. At -3 to -5 it makes sense you'll see -15 in your digital system. YOU DON'T NEED TO PUSH DIGITAL HIGHER BY PUSHING THE ANALOG PREAMP HOTTER (unless you want to intentionally clip your analog pre-amp). You can calibrate your digital system meter to match your analog if you want. However you don't need to, just accept the difference and record. It's good to leave yourself the headroom on digital makes it easier to mix when you're track counts begin to build up and the overall level of your mix goes up.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubehead
DIGITAL dBFS -12 is roughly equal to Analog 0. The metering scales between Analog & Digital are different. At -3 to -5 it makes sense you'll see -15 in your digital system. YOU DON'T NEED TO PUSH DIGITAL HIGHER BY PUSHING THE ANALOG PREAMP HOTTER (unless you want to intentionally clip your analog pre-amp). You can calibrate your digital system meter to match your analog if you want. However you don't need to, just accept the difference and record. It's good to leave yourself the headroom on digital makes it easier to mix when you're track counts begin to build up and the overall level of your mix goes up.


This pretty much nails it on the head.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubehead
DIGITAL dBFS -12 is roughly equal to Analog 0. The metering scales between Analog & Digital are different. At -3 to -5 it makes sense you'll see -15 in your digital system. YOU DON'T NEED TO PUSH DIGITAL HIGHER BY PUSHING THE ANALOG PREAMP HOTTER (unless you want to intentionally clip your analog pre-amp). You can calibrate your digital system meter to match your analog if you want. However you don't need to, just accept the difference and record. It's good to leave yourself the headroom on digital makes it easier to mix when you're track counts begin to build up and the overall level of your mix goes up.


Bingo.

The only thing I'll add is that, the value of -12db can go up to as high (low?) as -20db, depending on how some of the other gear in the chain is calibrated. So, another person using some different gear might find that their -3db signal actually comes in downstream to meter out at -23db. Usually, it is closer to -12 though.

Why is this important? Because it needs to be noted that most gear is designed to run optimally to a maximum of 0db in the analog domain. So, when you push your analog gear to produce signals of -1db (just for sake of example) in the digital domain, you are driving that gear harder than what is optimal. The result is noise and distortion.

Back in the old days (like 10 years or so ago, before most people were onto 24 bit recording) when we recorded at 16 bit, it was still advantageous to get signals up to a nice healthy "into the yellow" reading to avoid the noise floor. But with 24 bit, there is so many times more dynamic range that you can record a fighter jet without clipping now. A signal that tops in at -20db is perfectly fine enough. It won't be noisy or produce distortion. It will have a boat-load of headroom.

As a general rule, your goal for hitting the input meters in a digital recording is to have most of your program material hitting between -20 and -10 db. It's clean and quiet and gives you a ton of headroom for transients.

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