#1
Hi UG,

I got my recording gear set up and i'm ready to record but i have a problem

first i'll list my gear.

4 mics: Sennheiser md421, Tbone 75 and 85 beta (shure ripoffs) and a shitty condensor mic
a keyboard
and an Edrum
Into my mixer ( an old 12 channel mixer - studiomaster diamond - not special i think)
Into my M-audio Firewire 410 interface ( in stereo)
which i control in ableton live 8 and
monitor trough an old kenwood solid state radio reveiver amp trough two speakers


Now you know how things roll in bedroom but here's the problem:
From Mic to ableton how do i have to set all the gain and volume settings to get a good signal that isn't clipping.

There are so much different gains and volumes i don't know what to do, and i always have clipping easily.

So how do i set up my mic input gain setting on mixer, then the 2 stereo outputs, then do i use the DB pads on my interface and how much gain do i use there?

I especially have alot of trouble of getting my keyboard and edrum right. The edrums Bassdrum will make my interface clip in no time...

I hope you understand my problem and have an answer,

thanks in advance!
Last edited by oxokoning at Nov 13, 2009,
#2
for good gain-staging, the important thing is to have a healthy signal with plenty of head-room at all stages.

you need to set up all your mics, drum kit, whatever, then (with all gains turned to zero), have someone beat on the snare as hard as possible (or as hard as will be in the very loudest part of the song).

then, starting with the first part of thesignal chain, (mixer in this case i think), slowly turn up the gain until the hardest hits register at about half-way on the meters.
then do the same for the next part of the chain and so on.

you are aiming to have the loudest peaks at about half-way on the meters in your DAW, this should in most cases correspond to -18dB which is the equivalent of 0dBVU, which is analog line-level, the level that all of your equipment was calibrated and tested at.

the reason for not pushing the levels all the way up is that your equipment is calibrated for analog line level, which is the same as approximatly -18dB on your DAW meters.
this is the level at which the equipment will deliver its best performance with the least distortion to the signal (clipping is not the only distortion possible ).
when recording at 24bit, there should be no issues with the noise floor.

the concept of pushing everything up to "almost-clipping" is a left-over from the tape days, and from the days of 16bit digital recording, which had a much more significant noise-floor problem than modern 24bit recording.
#3
Quote by TheDriller
for good gain-staging, the important thing is to have a healthy signal with plenty of head-room at all stages.

you need to set up all your mics, drum kit, whatever, then (with all gains turned to zero), have someone beat on the snare as hard as possible (or as hard as will be in the very loudest part of the song).

then, starting with the first part of thesignal chain, (mixer in this case i think), slowly turn up the gain until the hardest hits register at about half-way on the meters.
then do the same for the next part of the chain and so on.

you are aiming to have the loudest peaks at about half-way on the meters in your DAW, this should in most cases correspond to -18dB which is the equivalent of 0dBVU, which is analog line-level, the level that all of your equipment was calibrated and tested at.

the reason for not pushing the levels all the way up is that your equipment is calibrated for analog line level, which is the same as approximatly -18dB on your DAW meters.
this is the level at which the equipment will deliver its best performance with the least distortion to the signal (clipping is not the only distortion possible ).
when recording at 24bit, there should be no issues with the noise floor.

the concept of pushing everything up to "almost-clipping" is a left-over from the tape days, and from the days of 16bit digital recording, which had a much more significant noise-floor problem than modern 24bit recording.


this. couldn't have said that better myself.
#4
Thank you!!!

And now that i know it's called 'gain staging' i can look it up myself some more too, thanks!