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Old 10-27-2008, 05:19 PM
O.G. Killa's Avatar
O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,152
Default Re: Best Recording Levels

Originally Posted by DrFord View Post
I am always of the opinion that hot levels are better across the board. But I would say the reason is because of noise.
What noise? Your mic preamp that you are cranking up is going to have more noise in it than your protools system. Most mic preamps have a noise floor of about -90dB, protools is around -118dB to -120dB. Your mic and mic preamp will have AT least 30dB MORE noise in it than your DAW. So, if you are trying to record at louder levels the only thing you are doing is putting MORE NOISE into your tracks because you are turning your mic preamps up to get the signal as hot as possible without clipping.

If you are recording into a DAW, you are NOT USING TAPE. There is no need to record as hot as possible since there is no tape noise/hiss to compete with. You are only going to make your recordings noisier by turning up the preamps.

Calibrate your studio and everything will fall into place. The 192IO is set from the factory to -18dBfs (on the PT meter) = +4dBu = 1.228 Volts = 0 VU (on an Analog VU meter).

This means, the old analog technique of "keep the needle right around 0 on the VU meter" translates to "Keep the signal right around -18dB on the Protools meter (which is just under halfway up the meter)".

Some of the best tracking engineers I've seen, record everything with the faders set to "0" and change the mic preamp gain to place things proper ly within the mix WHILE TRACKING. Most people today don't really do this because pulling the fader down in PTHD doesn't really effect the sound of the track (until you get down around -90dB on the fader). Whereas on an analog console as soon as you start pulling the fader down you are changing the sound (since the fader is a voltage controlled amplifier/variable resistor).

So, to answer the original poster's question... if you are going to record and mix completely in the box you are better off keeping the levels lower for better Signal to noise ratio and to keep intersample peaks from clipping plugins and such.

Last edited by O.G. Killa; 10-27-2008 at 05:20 PM. Reason: typo
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