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How loud or Hot should I record?
Old 25th October 2017
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
How loud or Hot should I record?

Hey my fellow slutzs!

So how loud should I record?

For example: When I record, I do not use Limiting/Compression, especially now that we have advance DAW with automation.

However, I try to record each instrument to their highest levels but without clipping, then at Mix time, I simply adjust the kick to it's loudest level but without clipping and adjust each instrument to sit over the kick.

In a nutshell, I record each instrument and or vocal as close to 0db but no less than -4db.

So the kick maybe -4db on the meter so the entire song (all instruments) will be adjusted so they are below -4db or lower than the kick.

In a nutshell, I am mixing very hot but without clip, is this the right way?

I know compression affects dynamic range but this should have no effect on dynamic ranges given I am not using any compression but simply record at high levels.

Thanks
Old 25th October 2017
  #2
Gear Addict
 
MontyMakesMusic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
When 16 bit was the only option what you're doing was the correct approach. Now with 24 and 32 bit, so much information is being recorded even at low level that as long as it's coming in, you don't have to worry. The only thing that comes into play for me is if you're using real time effects/plugins on the track while recording. Meaning that the gain of the preamp will very much affect the sound coming through the plugin depending on how many db are going through it.

So bottom line, I wouldn't worry about trying to get as loud as possible without clipping. Just get the sound you want without focussing on that and then check to make sure it indeed isn't clipping.
Old 25th October 2017
  #3
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioFreq ➡️
Hey my fellow slutzs!

So how loud should I record?

For example: When I record, I do not use Limiting/Compression, especially now that we have advance DAW with automation.

However, I try to record each instrument to their highest levels but without clipping, then at Mix time, I simply adjust the kick to it's loudest level but without clipping and adjust each instrument to sit over the kick.

In a nutshell, I record each instrument and or vocal as close to 0db but no less than -4db.

So the kick maybe -4db on the meter so the entire song (all instruments) will be adjusted so they are below -4db or lower than the kick.

In a nutshell, I am mixing very hot but without clip, is this the right way?
Most people will probably recommend you don't do that, and the reason is really that you don't have to and risk clipping. I know you're saying you don't clip, but the point is that if you record lower you're not really losing much but you gain not having to worry as much about clipping.

So, you don't have to record as hot as you can (without clipping), because as Monty said you have plenty of space 'downwards' with 24-bit conversion (and recording).

Also, please make sure you write out the type of reference you're using. If it's -4dBFS then the "FS" part is important. And if it's average then write that out, and if it's peak write that out.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyMakesMusic ➡️
When 16 bit was the only option what you're doing was the correct approach. Now with 24 and 32 bit, so much information is being recorded even at low level that as long as it's coming in, you don't have to worry. The only thing that comes into play for me is if you're using real time effects/plugins on the track while recording. Meaning that the gain of the preamp will very much affect the sound coming through the plugin depending on how many db are going through it.

So bottom line, I wouldn't worry about trying to get as loud as possible without clipping. Just get the sound you want without focussing on that and then check to make sure it indeed isn't clipping.
Thank you!

I do not record with effects, so everything comes in as is.
Old 25th October 2017
  #5
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
If recording at a 24 bit depth (as you should be) aim for your average level to be -18 dBFS - this way you have 18 dB of headroom for any peaks that may occur - without causing clipping.
Old 25th October 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 
FreshProduce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioFreq ➡️
Hey my fellow slutzs!

So how loud should I record?

For example: When I record, I do not use Limiting/Compression, especially now that we have advance DAW with automation.

However, I try to record each instrument to their highest levels but without clipping, then at Mix time, I simply adjust the kick to it's loudest level but without clipping and adjust each instrument to sit over the kick.

In a nutshell, I record each instrument and or vocal as close to 0db but no less than -4db.

So the kick maybe -4db on the meter so the entire song (all instruments) will be adjusted so they are below -4db or lower than the kick.

In a nutshell, I am mixing very hot but without clip, is this the right way?

I know compression affects dynamic range but this should have no effect on dynamic ranges given I am not using any compression but simply record at high levels.

Thanks
You should be recording no louder than -6 db. Rule of thumb is between -12 and -6 db always. Recording at -4 Is going to cause you serious headroom problems when you go to master.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshProduce ➡️
You should be recording no louder than -6 db. Rule of thumb is between -12 and -6 db always. Recording at -4 Is going to cause you serious headroom problems when you go to master.
That doesn't make sense to me. The difference between -6dBFS and -4dBFS is only 2dB. I really don't see how those 2dB make any difference.

Further more, I don't think headroom is a problem during mastering since all a mastering engineer has to do to get headroom is turn the volume down. Problem solved.

Dynamic range on the other hand can be an issue.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #8
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FreshProduce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
That doesn't make sense to me. The difference between -6dBFS and -4dBFS is only 2dB. I really don't see how those 2dB make any difference.

Further more, I don't think headroom is a problem during mastering since all a mastering engineer has to do to get headroom is turn the volume down. Problem solved.

Dynamic range on the other hand can be an issue.
Do whatever you want lol
Old 25th October 2017
  #9
Deleted User
Guest
-18dB to -24dB is where you want to track your audio
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanabit ➡️
-18dB to -24dB is where you want to track your audio
dBwhat? dBFaucet?
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #11
Deleted User
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
dBwhat? dBFaucet?
Whatever you want it to mean homey
Old 25th October 2017
  #12
Lives for gear
 
donsolo's Avatar
I like to keep it about 74-78deg f in the room...

-4db for the very loudest is fine, but you're pushing it in case the drummer really whacks it or something. with 24 bit you don't need to get super loud like you did with 16.

with mixing, you need to turn your speakers like all the way up. You should read about the bob katz k-system.
Old 25th October 2017
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
A little background:

I am using the RME UFX PLUS for Audio Interface. 24bits 96khx.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanabit ➡️
Whatever you want it to mean homey
This section is for "newbies". They might not know what you are talking about. I've seen some think that they should aim for -18dBFS peak. Was what you wanted it to mean?

If not, then please be clear for the sake of helping those who don't know how to figure out what you mean.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #15
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
This section is for "newbies". They might not know what you are talking about. I've seen some think that they should aim for -18dBFS peak. Was what you wanted it to mean?

If not, then please be clear for the sake of helping those who don't know how to figure out what you mean.
I think if you watch your track meter on any DAW and its pinging between -18 and -24 you are good. No need to COMPLICATE this for the newbies don't ya think?
If so YOU can explain it further
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanabit ➡️
I think if you watch your track meter on any DAW and its pinging between -18 and -24 you are good. No need to COMPLICATE this for the newbies don't ya think?
If so YOU can explain it further
What does "pinging" mean?
Old 25th October 2017
  #17
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioFreq ➡️
I try to record each instrument to their highest levels but without clipping,
Depends on genre, but for most styles, this was the way, back in the analogue days.
However, with digital, it almost always sounds better to track and mix at much lower levels, for several reasons. And my ears tell me it's true.
"Yellow is the new red" might be one way of saying it.
But, as always, try it for yourself, and see what gives you the best result. IMHO. Good luck.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #18
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
What does "pinging" mean?
Bouncing around between -18 and -24 on your DAW meters.

I can understand what he's saying
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor ➡️
Bouncing around between -18 and -24 on your DAW meters.

I can understand what he's saying
And are you a "newbie"?




The 'solid' line is "bouncing around" or the thin line?



And what settings again? Peak metering? Some sort of average? What's the fallback time?

If someone simply says at least "average" or "RMS" or "peak" we've made progress. Not all newbies know this stuff.
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #20
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donsolo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
And are you a "newbie"?




The 'solid' line is "bouncing around" or the thin line?



And what settings again? Peak metering? Some sort of average? What's the fallback time?

If someone simply says at least "average" or "RMS" or "peak" we've made progress. Not all newbies know this stuff.
This discussion is specific to peak because that's what'll clip if you track too hot.
Old 25th October 2017
  #21
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
Not a "newbie" but I do look pretty good for 54 :-)

Anyway you added some useful info for those that don't get "pinging"
Old 25th October 2017 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo ➡️
This discussion is specific to peak because that's what'll clip if you track too hot.
So in your opinion recording so that peaks reach no more than -24dBFS to -18dBFS is what a user should aim for?

Do you agree with that?
Old 26th October 2017
  #23
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seedee701's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
with modern convertors as long as you don't clip everything is initially fine.
things get more complex when adding plugins in the mix. be aware that plugs that emulate hardware may not sound the way the hardware was layed out when they are fed with other than 'common analogue levels'

another school of thought is to record at the level you would set the sound in the mix. but this is more a convenience thing. you will end up with many faders around 0 where you have the best resolution for automation.
Old 26th October 2017
  #24
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seedee701's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
analogue thinking:
an analogue desk is calibrate to +4db VU
a good desk has headroom up to + 28-30db before distorting seriously.
there we have the headroom of 14-16db suggesting to leave same amount of headroom in digital -> -14 to -16db FS

now its up to the engineer to know the ratio of peak to RMS of the recorded sound. experience, preference, knowledge of tape-formula and bias of the tape machine would dictate the level to tape that would be chosen for the right amount of colouration/cleanness in the particular genre.
Old 26th October 2017 | Show parent
  #25
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donsolo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
So in your opinion recording so that peaks reach no more than -24dBFS to -18dBFS is what a user should aim for?

Do you agree with that?
Oh god, -24dbfs peak would barely register visually.

I aim for about -12dbfs peak
Old 26th October 2017
  #26
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
It really is simple.

In a 24 bit system.

Make -18dBFS your "virtual" 0dB and then you have 18db of headroom before digital clipping which sounds likt sh*t (well to me at least)

On my HEDD 192 meter when I'm track I aim for peaks to land at about -18dBFS then during performances when things inevitably warm up and get energetic there's plenty headroom before digital clipping.

This way there's no need to use limiting or compression for reducing dynamic range - I use my comps for texture and envelope.

I can't see the point in recording any hotter than that.

Then when you come to mix your plugins will sound better .... IMHO!
Old 26th October 2017
  #27
Deleted User
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What the hightenor just said
Old 26th October 2017 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo ➡️
Oh god, -24dbfs peak would barely register visually.

I aim for about -12dbfs peak
Ok, so do you now understand that people will get confused when people throw out these numbers without specifying what they're talking about? I know what you mean, and I know what others mean, but 'newbies' that don't even know the terms might not. We've even seen several examples of people confusing advice exactly because they think that someone means peak when they mean RMS, and vice versa.
Old 26th October 2017 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor ➡️
It really is simple.

In a 24 bit system.

Make -18dBFS your "virtual" 0dB and then you have 18db of headroom before digital clipping which sounds likt sh*t (well to me at least)

On my HEDD 192 meter when I'm track I aim for peaks to land at about -18dBFS then during performances when things inevitably warm up and get energetic there's plenty headroom before digital clipping.
But "'virtual' 0dB" means nothing without telling us what you're measuring. Is it peak or RMS? A newbie won't know.

When you say you aim for peaks to land at about -18dBFS you make it sound like you were talking about peaks earlier since you didn't specify RMS (which in turn sounds like the word "pinging"). That's very different from the RMS most people actually recommend using for measurement when recording, and also different from 'real' "0dB" which in the analog world would be "0dBVU", a measurement of average level and not of peak.

The "headroom" is there for a reason. In analog the way we think about the headroom beyond "0" on the VU meter is that it's the place where our peaks live. So if you have an instrument where peaks are 16dB higher than RMS then as long as the onset of distortion is beyond +16dBVU you're good. That's what the headroom is there for. Peaks. It isn't there to be not used.

Now, if your analog devices are operating nominally at 0dBVU, then running your gear 18dB lower seems... "less nominal"... This includes the analog front-end of your analog-to-digital converters as well. And in addition to that there's just no way a performer will actually play 18dB louder, comparing a rehearsal when you're setting levels to the actual take you're recording. 18dB is a lot.

---------------------------

So my first point is that it's so easy to write out if we're talking about peak or RMS or average or whatever, so why not do it? It avoids confusing the 'newbies' who won't be able to understand which one you're talking about. Someone even started a thread about it not too long ago requesting us all to do just that.

And my second point is that surely we should be aiming for our average level to be around -18dBFS after conversion, not peaks.
Old 26th October 2017 | Show parent
  #30
Deleted fe72b38
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
But "'virtual' 0dB" means nothing without telling us what you're measuring. Is it peak or RMS? A newbie won't know.

When you say you aim for peaks to land at about -18dBFS you make it sound like you were talking about peaks earlier since you didn't specify RMS (which in turn sounds like the word "pinging"). That's very different from the RMS most people actually recommend using for measurement when recording, and also different from 'real' "0dB" which in the analog world would be "0dBVU", a measurement of average level and not of peak.

The "headroom" is there for a reason. In analog the way we think about the headroom beyond "0" on the VU meter is that it's the place where our peaks live. So if you have an instrument where peaks are 16dB higher than RMS then as long as the onset of distortion is beyond +16dBVU you're good. That's what the headroom is there for. Peaks. It isn't there to be not used.

Now, if your analog devices are operating nominally at 0dBVU, then running your gear 18dB lower seems... "less nominal"... This includes the analog front-end of your analog-to-digital converters as well. And in addition to that there's just no way a performer will actually play 18dB louder, comparing a rehearsal when you're setting levels to the actual take you're recording. 18dB is a lot.

---------------------------

So my first point is that it's so easy to write out if we're talking about peak or RMS or average or whatever, so why not do it? It avoids confusing the 'newbies' who won't be able to understand which one you're talking about. Someone even started a thread about it not too long ago requesting us all to do just that.

And my second point is that surely we should be aiming for our average level to be around -18dBFS after conversion, not peaks.
Personally I aim for peaks at -18dBFS on my HEDD 192 meters at tracking.

Limiters and compressors in the tracking chain change the equation slightly but in principle it's the way I record and the finish recordings sounds great!

I want 18dB of headroom to accommodate greater peaks not greater average level.

Quote:
But "'virtual' 0dB" means nothing without telling us what you're measuring. Is it peak or RMS? A newbie won't know.
Oh yeah I forgot it's a newbie section.

Thank goodness you're here
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