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Old 11-16-2008, 01:51 PM
dcboucher dcboucher is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: LA, CA 90025
Posts: 97
Default Re: Best Recording Levels

Originally Posted by digilogin View Post
also, you should feel free to recalibrate you interfaces to -15 or so if you are running too hot for your console or something.

This is a really good suggestion.

Many consoles (even the big boys) are getting pulverized by full scale digital recordings and the mixers are turning down line trims or just not noticing that their consoles are folding in on themselves. While driving a console a bit gives you some extra sauce, there is a threshold of diminishing returns met very quickly and suddenly your mixes end up airless and flat. While the difference between -20 dBFs and -14 on the input side may only mean one click of a stepped mic pre, that usually puts your mic pre at a happier, less likely to get cranky, gain setting (especially with ribbons). Also, the return to your console is lower. Unless you are working on a console with a linear fader, the resolution of your analog fader increases as it approaches 0 dB. Why not have your recorder's returns optimized for the console? Get all your faders in the most usable range. Want to drive the channel harder, turn up the line trim. Want to drive the stereo buss harder, turn up the makeup gain of your buss compressor or just push the faders hotter.

I know it accepted knowledge that most big consoles can handle +26 dBU, but across 24 or 48 faders? You've got two line trims on the 192. Set the one you don't use to -14 dBFs and experiment. You'll probably end up somewhere in between, but you'll find a use for those VU meters that were always pegged and those faders around -30 that change level when somebody breathes too close to it.

I also think that the meters on protools don't say it all. When recording, give yourself 1-2 bits of headroom, you deserve it.
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