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-   -   Pre-Fader metering? (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=64711)

pk_hat 06-15-2002 03:17 PM

Pre-Fader metering?
I just noticed this option under the Operations menu and I understand it's function, but when do you apply it?
Is this recommended for getting the input signal as possibly hot without the fader affecting what we're monitoring?
Anyone use pre-fader metering and when, I'd love to know! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]


Bastiaan 06-15-2002 03:33 PM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
Pre-fader metering for the normal audio-faders is standard. I dont know wether this setting applies for the normal faders, or only the aux/master faders. You can use this setting to see what the actual level is. This will be the same as when you set your fader to unity. Prefade metering will also give you a tool to see if signal is present or not.....

In my opinion it doesnt matter what you use, just use what you like best....

QuikDraw 06-15-2002 04:32 PM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
Pre-Fader Metering should be used whenever you are tracking. That is so you can see the actual levels that are being recorded to disk. If you are metering post-fader and you lower a fader you might be clipping but the meter won't show it. The fader moves don't have any affect on what goes to disk.

Post-Fader metering should be used whenever you are mixing. Since your fader moves actually do affect what goes to the mix bus you need to be able to see what happens post-fader. If you have pre-fader metering enabled during a mix you might actually be clipping the bus but you won't know it because you are metering what is on disk rather than what's being sent to the mix bus.


pk_hat 06-16-2002 12:56 AM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?

So you mean all this time I was not actually getting an optimal level in my audio tracks? I mean, I just happened to see that option today (meaning I never had thought of it much, just glanced at that menu and moved on) and it was unchecked. So I now assume that all my sessions are set to post-fader metering!

Is it that way by default? Do you all look into this when recording and adjust accordingly?

I took my PT manual on the subway ride to work to find out more but all I could find was a sliver of info on p.22.
I also looked for more info on the 3 different values you get when clicking ctrl + volume level and couldn't find anything.

So let me ask you this, if I'm in pre-fader metering mode, how does this affect the monitoring situation? Do you set it to pre-f until you get the right level for each track and then set it back to post-fader during tracking?

Must know more about gain structure, I feel it's perhaps the most important part of what we do. Once we get a good grip on it, our recordings can only get better!

thanks guys,


Bastiaan 06-16-2002 01:45 AM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
I think the faders for normal audio-tracks and aux-inputs are standard pre-fader (still meters when fader closed) and the masterfader is postfader (no meters when fader closed), so you've been looking at it the right way...

QuikDraw 06-16-2002 01:49 AM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
I can't say if you were getting optimal levels or not. Easy to check. Just put your system in pre-fader mode and watch the meters as the session plays. This will show the levels that were actually recorded to disk. Unless of course you've done some gain manipulation with audiosuite or outside processing. Pre-fader metering gives the exact same result as leaving the fader at 0.

If you were metering post-fader while you were tracking you would not see your actual levels if you moved the fader of the rec enabled track. If you pulled the fader up then the meter would indicate a hotter level than actually went to disk. If you pulled the fader down then the meter would've indicated a level lower than what actually went to disk. If you left the rec enabled track's fader at unity then you were seeing the actual level being recorded and there's no problem.

The deal is, the faders only affect the monitoring volume of the tracks, not the recording level. You have to set the level before the signal hits the PTLE software in order to set your record level. Moving a track's fader doesn't do anything at all to change the level that's being recorded. Problem is, the optimum recording level is not always the optimum monitoring level. So you'll set your levels and then move the fader so that it sounds good when you're playing the part with whatever else is playing back. A lot of the time you'll want to track good and hot, but you'll have to pull the fader down in order to hear the rest of the mix. Once you pull that fader down you are no longer seeing the level that's being recorded unless you're in pre-fader mode.

I don't know which mode PTLE defaults to. It is a remembered setting. If I'm in one session and I set it to pre-fader metering and then I open another session it will still be in pre-fader metering until I change it. So if it's in post fader metering mode now and you've never changed it then you've been metering post-fader all along.

It's simple really. When you're tracking you meter pre-fader. Period! You need to know the level going to disk. The level of anything that's not being recorded at that moment is irrelevant. You need to know the level of what's going to disk on the rec enabled track(s)! Metering post-fader while tracking is just not a good practice. It's like driving blind-folded.

When you're mixing you meter post-fader. If you're not recording anything then the levels that are coming from the disk are irrelevant. You can't change the levels that are on the disk (in real time anyway) so why meter them? You need to know the level that's hitting the mix bus post fader. Post-fader metering also shows the level post inserts, so you'll see the results of any plug-ins or outboard units you may have.

Your Master Fader meters always show post fader levels. They are metering what's hitting the bus so that's what they show. They are not affected by the pre-fader metering setting. They work the same regardless of that setting. That's why it's important to be in post-fader metering mode when mixing. Your Master Fader meter might not indicate any clipping, but you might be clipping individual tracks or busses. You'd want to know about that. If you clip a signal and then send it to the mix bus it will still sound clipped even if the bus itself is not clipped. Of course, you can't always hear clipping, so it might not be that critical to make sure that there's none going on in a mix, but you would want to know about it still wouldn't you?

This is one of those rare instances where I think there is a rule that should always be followed:

Tracking = Pre-Fader metering
Mixing = Post-Fader metering

Don't stress too much about what you may have been doing in the past. Does it sound good? Then it Is good! But now you've learned something for the future. It's an automatic response for me. If I rec enable something I go up to the menu and make sure I'm metering pre-fader. If I take all the tracks out of rec mode then I go to the menu and make sure I'm metering post-fader. You'll get so you don't think about it much either once you're used to doing it.

And to directly answer one of your questions... Pre-Fader metering doesn't affect what you hear, only what you see. So you don't set your level and then switch back to post-fader. While tracking you leave it in pre-fader mode. Moving the fader will change what you hear, but the level you set is the level that will hit the disk. And you'll see the level that's hitting the disk, but you'll hear the level you set with the fader.

Happy metering! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]


Stone Knife 06-16-2002 02:26 AM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
There is this to consider, too (on the related topic):

Monitor Levels for Record and Playback

Pro Tools remembers two different fader levels for each audio track: one for when the track is record-enabled, and one for when it is not record-enabled. This lets you adjust levels for playback and configure a different set of levels for monitoring while recording.

Pro Tools remembers these two states for fader levels automatically. If you adjust a fader when a track is record-enabled and then take the track out of record-enabled mode, the fader updates accordingly.

When audio tracks are record-enabled, their volume faders in the Mix window turn red, indicating that the record monitor level is active.

Link Record and Play Faders

When the Operation Preference for “Link Record and Play Faders” is selected, Pro Tools does not keep track of record and play levels for audio tracks. In this case, record enabling an audio track has no effect on the fader level for the track.

pk_hat 06-16-2002 04:30 PM

Re: Pre-Fader metering?
wow...Quick and Stone, I thank you so much for the clarification. I always assumed that when I record enabled a track, the meter was indicating the signal level going to disk, but I'll play around with the pre-fader metering option from the menu on my next session.

Again, thank you for this great info!


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