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Can someone explain -18 db mixing?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by XxSicRokerxX, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    No, of course it's not a peak measurement. If it was, then you'd see people recommending to shoot for 0 dBFS on DAW meters, which would be ridiculous, since there is no anything above 0 dBFS in digital audio, and you would easily step into a wonderful world of digital clipping.

    Use the VU meter, shoot for ~0 on it, or use the RMS meter and shoot for ~-18dbFS. If you can't be bothered and want to use just a peak meter in your DAW, shoot for peaks between -6 and -12 dBFS, it's safe.
     
  2. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    AWESOME :D thx man, i finally have full clarity on the topic now :D

    Did you ever read up on Joey Sturgis's Gain staging procedure, where he gets tracks to hit -0db on the channel and then send to a group set at -9 db?
     
  3. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    No, but I bet that's not the reason of his success. In my opinion, he'd probably get even better mixes without that 'procedure' ;)

    To be fair, some plugins are meant to be fed with a signal peaking close to zero (CD sound master VTM-2 for example, if I am not mistaken), but most of vst plugins provide best results around 0 VU.
     
  4. Backe

    Backe Space Cowboy

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    [​IMG]

    if you got an ok mix, as long as the tracks aren't clipping in the daw you can just drop the input gain on the master bus, and the mastering plugins will work as intended atleast. everything except the master bus is 32-bit, float, meaning you can't clip it or in any way destroy the audio. it's only the mb that is hitting the DA, in better terms. modeled plugins, like 1176's and distressors and everything based on analog gear will probably work best with a lower input, like something from the chart above, since they model the analog circuitry which is VU. the stock cubase comp for example doesn't give a fuck since it is built so that you can control everything in accordance with the level, not the other way around.

    but as far as recording goes; if you have a poor A/D, it will not handle the upper register well with higher levels (the last few bits). just drop the recording level and you'll get a cleaner less 'pushed' signal. the noise floor rises a bit, but in 24-bit that is not significant nor audible. if you're running i.e. a lynx aurora 16-vt with the screws trimmed to perfection you could easily have analog gear slamming their VU's in the red.

    personal experience; tracks quickly stack up. i don't check every tracks led on my preamps or in the daw for clipping anymore when i'm recording drums etc, i just look at the master bus. play em to the scratch guitar just to get a gist of how much room i have to work with. when mixing time comes, my masterbus generally clips anyway because i have so many tracks going on and i can't record at -40 db, so i group the channels in like 5 groups or more, Guitars, Drums, Bass, Vox, EFX, etc and drop their input gain until i'm in the clear and have the mb peaking at like -3 ish. and i always keep my faders at zero until the final mixing, that makes it way easier to automate the snare and kick down for a certain part, raise the vox here and there, drag that note down on the bass that's just sticking out no matter what and most of all: transfering presets between projects! haha, i loved how joey shared this method and now everyone are dropping their group input gain levels to -9 even though their mbs might be hitting to low for plugins to work. presetz? but i'm using cali d plate? why i no asking alexandria? ¯\(°_o)/¯
     
  5. aviel

    aviel Member

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    ok, something i dont get.
    i just turn on superior drummer, only kick channel, no plugins. i put satson instance on it,and the needle reach 10 (before the red 0), meaning -10 i guess.

    but the meters on the channel in reaper peak at a little more then 0, how that possible?
     
  6. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    satson must be calibrated to something other than -18, you need a VU meter that is calibrated to -18
     
  7. Plendakor

    Plendakor Member

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    Sorry my DAW doesn't use plugins so I can trim knob the sum of the quad-tracked tracks... So Can I just send the 4 tracks at 0vu to a mix channel and lower the fader until it's around 0vu there ?

    I use Reason 6
     
  8. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    Yea that will work, Does reason have a built in VU meter??
     
  9. Plendakor

    Plendakor Member

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    Yes on the Master, but I'm not quite sure about the faders ?
    It says "Channel level Meter"... here's a picture
    [​IMG]

    So I figure I should measure my level while looking at the Master Vu/Peak instead of the channel level ?
    I conclude that the channel level is not a VU or Peak indicator, right ?
     
  10. xANDREWLIFERx

    xANDREWLIFERx Member

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    So I have to get my head wrapped around this, DI tracks can and should be recorded at any level as long as the peaks are not going into the red?
    Anything using a mic whether it be vocals drums or a guitar cab follows -18db recording as well as vst synths, drums and amps?
     
  11. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    Actually the channel fader meter looks like its lining up with the master peak level, so the channel meter must be peak.
    Also, the VU meter says it is on 0 when the peak is on -12. This means your VU meter is calibrated for -12db peak.
    I think VU meters are usually calibrated to -12, -14, -18, or -20
    So if you want your levels to be at -18, you will need be under 0 VU on your meter because in reason 0 VU = -12 db peak
     
  12. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    ANDREWLIFER

    I record my DI's at -18, and if they arent loud enough I'll use a volume plugin to make it louder.
    In fact if I record any louder than around -10 to -14, when playing hard (some palm mutes etc) it clips/distorts on the way into my sound interface
     
  13. xANDREWLIFERx

    xANDREWLIFERx Member

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    @hurdy

    Thanks man for clarifying
    So that also works for reamping i assume
     
  14. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    Reamping is abit more tricky to get right, but just record ur DI's at -18
    If it sounds like it has lost distortion/gain when reamping just turn it up with a volume plugin until it sounds normal again
    If you need to turn it up abit more, double check that its not clipping on the way out of the DAW
     
  15. The-Zeronaut

    The-Zeronaut Mixing..Y U SO DIFFICULT?

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    Here you have 2

    1khz -18dbfs test tone for calibration
    Great for calibrating the Master Buss compressor as someone mention earlier.

    http://soundcloud.com/dubstudio/1khz-sine-18db

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tziQZGjIspM&hd=1[/ame]
     
  16. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Ok ive just stumbled across a bump in the road in my setup. I use a Line 6 Toneport UX8 which has dbVU meters on the front panel. I opened cubase 5 put a stereo channel with a test tone generator on 1 Khz at 0db. Then i put PSP vintage Warmer on master buss. My cubase channel shows 0db, master buss shows 0db and my physical dbVU meters on my toneport also show 0dbVU.

    My question is, if cubase is digital realm, shouldn't something in my setup be reflecting -18db or are cubase meters acting as VU meters?
     

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  17. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    That's because the test tone has the same peak and RMS values. Digital and analog levels are not really 'comparable' (sp?), hell analog and digital levels are 2 totally different worlds. You can never convert dBFS into dBu and vice versa. But people have come up with some sort of standards over time (2 most often used are -18 and -20 dBFS for 0VU=+4dbU).
    Set your VST VU meter so it reads -18dBFS RMS as 0 VU (Satson has a couple of calibration options on its 'back' for example, PSP Vintage meter too).
     
  18. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    OneDaySky
    Click on the "PSP VintageWarmer" logo at the bottom by the red on/off switch. This will open the settings. Change the VU metering to -18 dbFS
    I think they are normally calibrated to around -12, so you will need to to adjust to -18
    Mkay??
     
  19. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    I think I need to read this article just to understand this thread.

    Unless someone can easily explain dbu, vu, dbfs, etc.?
     
  20. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Ok so i put the PSP on my 2 buss with the test tone on 1K @ 0db on a stereo channel. Nothing changed when i changed 0VU reference level. But i tried the Satson turned the gain knob to -18 (im assuming this is correct as i see no other options on it) Then my VU meters show between -12 and -18 somewhere. Satson VU shows 0dbVU and my 2 buss says -18. Im still confused!
     

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