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View Full Version : SOS:How to get the highest vocal level with ProTools.


Earjam
10-23-1999, 01:59 PM
I'm not completely clear on your entire problem, but The gist is that you have a low level going to PT.
Follow this Procedure:
Make sure you are running your mic pre as hot as you can without breaking up.
If the pre doesn't have a vu/peak meter, or at very least a peak light,you need to use a compressor that can display input level as well as gain reduction.
It is very important not to distort the micpre, or the input section of the compressor. Once you have established these levels you can use the gain make up on the compressor to achieve the desired level to PT.
If there are still problems with you your signal, calibrate your I/Os.
That Should solve your problem.

MULOMBA K.LUABEYA
10-24-1999, 12:19 AM
As a beginner I have the following equipments:
#1- An Audio Interface 888/24.
#2- A Focusrite dual mic pre.
#3- A SoundTracs Mixer.
#4- A TLM 193 Georg Nuemann Mic.
#5- External compressor,Gate,Denoiser items
#6- ProTools,Waves,TcTools...Plug-ins.
I get the best recorded audio signal with other instruments than the Mic when I either use
- ProTools,Focusrite mic pre,and Audio Interface 888/24. Or,
- ProTools, SoundTracs Mixer,and Audio Interface 888/24.
Please tell me what I am missing here when I am using my Mic.All vocal levels are low when I directly record into ProTools 24.However the audio feedback I get through singer booth headphones is so loud.

Thank you very much for your needed help.

[Benjamin]
10-24-1999, 02:32 AM
I understand your problem and I know the solutions. Basically there are several steps, but I don't think it'll do you much help if I tried to line them out for you. Instead, get some help to the studio.

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[HYPERSONIC]

smack
10-25-1999, 02:38 PM
DonŽt overload your preŽs, put your 888/24 in -10 setting and youŽll get the signal you need without trashing you Focusrite.

Mats

dBHEAD
10-28-1999, 01:10 PM
If you want the highest level possible, here's what you do:

STEP 1: highlight the vocal track.

STEP 2: from the AUDIO SUITE menu, choose "NORMALIZE." a box will appear.

STEP 3: click "process" on the box. What this will do is analyze the entire track, find the loudest point and pull that up to 0dB, and the rest of the track will be pulled up by an equal amount. The track will then appear in the audio regions list with the word "NORM" before it.

STEP 4: pull the "NORM" vocal track out of the audio regions list and put it on an unused track --or-- replace your existing vocal track with the "NORM" vocal track.

By the way, the NORMAILIZE box will allow you to have the loudest part at any dB or percentage level. I usually go for -1 dB, because at 0dB I often seem to get a clip light. The track isn't actually clipping, but it gets annoying to see the light come on.

Eric Lambert
10-28-1999, 10:04 PM
First of all, turn down the mix being sent to your booth - if you don't, and you fix this level problem, your singers will go deaf.
db is right. You can normalize audio to bring it up to digital full-scale, but in this case you shouldn't let that be the answer. If you normalize you'll be amplifying the noisefloor you recorded to a level that is still unacceptable. You're really only making the same signal louder - you're not optimising the signal strength. And you're also performing a computation that will rewrite your digital audio in a way that is inaccurate. Any mastering engineer will tell you to avoid normalizing since it changes the sound. It may be a subtle change but the art of engineering digital audio IS maximizing every step (often very subtle and, itself, minor) and sometimes hundreds of SUBTLE changes are being made to your audio before it ever reaches your ears. These hundreds of little alterations can multiply into poor quality if you don't watch what you do.
This is why I say don't normalize. Instead, get the hottest level possible into ProTools.
I don't know why your level is so low, though. Are you sure that your input gain on your mic pre is adequate. Put ProTools in the LED "pre" mode (at the bottom of one of the menus). This will tell you exactly how much level is coming into ProTools BEFORE it reaches your fader. Then adjust the gain on the mic pre so that it's as close to the top as possible. That's it.
If you still can get enough gain out of your Focusrite check to see if there is a "pad" that is pressed. I don't know how big the pad is, but if you have a -20db or so in the on position then that would explain your problem.
But turn down that headphone mix first.

Eric Lambert
10-28-1999, 10:07 PM
Wow, did I just call it an LED. I must be stuck in the ProTools III mode.

10-29-1999, 01:15 PM
I expect to be tweaking the inputs to my interfaces on a regular basis & then resetting them all.

dBHEAD
10-30-1999, 12:30 AM
Yes, Mulomba, Eric is right when he says that normalizing will bring up the noise floor along with the signal. Normalizing won't change the dynamic range, and you'll get the optimum dynamic range by recording at the loudest level you can.

As far as normalizing changing the audio...well, yes, technically it does. But ANY processing, whether TDM or Audio Suite rewrites the 1s and 0s of a digital signal. That's how digital works. The advantage of normalizing tracks is that it makes the mixdown easier when you've got tons of tracks to work with. At least it does for me.

I guess it boils down to your individual value system. I'm a big believer in paying attention to the subtle details. However, when we're talking about something so subtle that it's essentially inaudible, to me, the normalizing seems worth it. The final product is unquestionably going to be better because the mix will be better. Microphone choice, position, and preamp choice will have a far bigger impact on the nature of the sound than normalizing can ever possibly have. Those factors you can actually hear.

Of course, if your recorded level is really low, you'll have a noise problem. But the dynamic range of PT24 is amazing. As long as you're peaking above -20 dB (using the mic and pre you listed) you'll STILL have better dynamic range and S/N ratios than CDs.

Now you CAN tweak the 888 interface, but it's a complicated procedure and I don't recommend doing it. Besides, it wouldn't likely solve your problem. Crank the output on your preamp, and if that doesn't work try double-gaining with another high quality pre. And get your system checked if you have to double-gain because it shouldn't be doing that.

M2E
09-23-2000, 12:47 AM
M2E HERE

I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM WITH MY SETUP ALSO.
AKG414 TL2 & A DEMETER MIC PRE.
THE MORE I TURNED UP MY DEMETER, THE MORE NOISE I GOT. BUT THIS IS HOW I SOLVED MY PROBLEM COMPLETELY.
I RUN MY MIC TO MY MIC PRE THEN STRAIGHT TO MY 888/24. TO A AUX BUSS(MONO)THEN I ADD PRO TOOLS TRUSTY PLUGINS. FIRST THE MIC MOD, THEN THE FOCUSRITE COMPRESS FOR A LIGHT COMPRESS SOUND THEN TO A DIGI GATE.
AND IT SOUNDS SUPRERB.
TRY IT

M2E

Chris Lambrechts
09-23-2000, 02:03 AM
M2E, did you put an upward expander on this last post of yours, ............, try to turn it down a bit or we all will have to put limiters on our modems too. No need to shout ............... http://www.digidesign.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif



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Chris Lambrechts

ballerina
09-23-2000, 04:57 AM
You must choose a way to work:
Do you want to use your SoundTracs or ProTools as the main mixer?
To get the most out of your setup I recommend the second alternative.

1. Connect the Focusrite mic preamp to inputs 1 & 2 of your 888|24. If you record sessions with more than two mics included you may connect the bus outputs of the Soundtracs mixer to inputs 3 - 8 of your 888|24. This way you can also use the SoundTracs as a synt / sampler mixer if needed.
2. Outputs 1 & 2 of the 888|24 should be connected to your control room monitoring system. Outputs 3 & 4 should go to a headphone system for the musicians.
3. Start the PT software and make a template that you can use whenever you start a new project: Create 24 audio tracks. Create 4 stereo aux inputs (to listen to the synths if you haven't recorded them as audio files). Create two stereo master faders (one for the control room and one for the headphones). In the aux section of every track you should make a stereo send to outputs 3 & 4 (press and hold alt).
4. You are now in control of all signals from the PT mixer. It takes a little time to get familiar whith this way of working but it's definately worth it.
Good luck Mulomba.

/Nils Johansson, Ballerina Audio AB

moosh
09-23-2000, 02:23 PM
Beginers with Focusrites? The worlds going to Hades in a hand basket. (Do I sound bitter?)

M2E
09-25-2000, 12:53 AM
Sorry for shouting Chris. Though I'm just glad somebody is listening.
But in any case what do you guys think about how my hook up is? And is there any problem with useing Pro Tools plugins as a mic line leveler?

Tell me what u think?

M2E http://www.digidesign.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif

ballerina
09-25-2000, 06:53 AM
It is always best to have the signal as hot as possible before it reaches the AD-converter. Otherwise you don't use the full bit depth of your system.

/Nils Johansson, Ballerina Audio AB

dBHEAD
09-25-2000, 07:19 AM
Did any of the last few posters happen to realize...

That the date on the original post was almost a YEAR ago? I certainly hope MULOMBA has the problem solved by now! http://www.digidesign.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif