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  #1  
Old 02-03-2004, 07:07 AM
Unit1 Unit1 is offline
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Default Output levels low

Hey everyone, new user . I'm running an mbox setup. Recording goes great, no problems. Output is great, too.

My problem is when I export my tracks as a wav or aiff file, the levels are all very low, I have to crank up my stereo to hear it from cd, and even then, not all my tracks are audible.

I'm missing something here, I think.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2004, 07:21 AM
where02190 where02190 is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

You missed the last step in recording: Mastering. Until you or a professional mastering house masters the tracks they will never compete with commercially produced CD's.
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2004, 08:20 AM
Unit1 Unit1 is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Thanks for the reply . Let me just ask you, can I master in pro tools ? If so, I'll learn how to do it, and actually put out some good audio. If not, is there any particular software specifically made for this ?
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2004, 08:22 AM
altheperson altheperson is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Well, I'm new too. I encounter the same problem. My solution is to use the mastering track...After you record the tracks you add a master track...I use the mastering track to boost the sound level as high as possible. When recording I try to get the sound level as high as possible on the meter of each individual track-I don't go by the headphone volume. Then if a track is still to low I might boost it with compression. It comes out ok on the cd - but I still have to turn it up but only a little. It's a good full sound. Tere may be a better way.

Also I am wondering about the analog inputs on the 001. I don't seem to get a good signal from them if I am just using a microphone as some of the stuff I am doing requires 4 mikes. I have boosted the analog input levels but unless It is powered through an amp or maybe a mixer I am guessing it won't produce a high input-output level.

I am interested in what other people say to your question. I am using a 001.
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2004, 10:14 AM
RinnyTin RinnyTin is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Quote:
Well, I'm new too. I encounter the same problem. My solution is to use the mastering track...After you record the tracks you add a master track...I use the mastering track to boost the sound level as high as possible. When recording I try to get the sound level as high as possible on the meter of each individual track-I don't go by the headphone volume. Then if a track is still to low I might boost it with compression. It comes out ok on the cd - but I still have to turn it up but only a little. It's a good full sound. Tere may be a better way.
Yes, you need a Master Fader to know at what level you're bouncing to disk, only way to tell if it's low or over.

Quote:

Also I am wondering about the analog inputs on the 001. I don't seem to get a good signal from them if I am just using a microphone as some of the stuff I am doing requires 4 mikes. I have boosted the analog input levels but unless It is powered through an amp or maybe a mixer I am guessing it won't produce a high input-output level.
You'll need a mic preamp to use the inputs on the back of the 001, only the 2 front inputs have mic pres built in.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2004, 11:48 AM
BaCKhead BaCKhead is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Quote:
Thanks for the reply . Let me just ask you, can I master in pro tools ? If so, I'll learn how to do it, and actually put out some good audio. If not, is there any particular software specifically made for this ?
When mastering, you really need 4 things. Compression, EQ, Limiting, and Dither.

A good place to start when mastering your own recordings in Pro Tools, is to aquire plugins like the C4 and the L1 or L2 maximizers by Waves. visit www.waves.com to find out how to get these things.

The C4 is a multiband compressor.

The L1 or L2 are basicly limiters with built in dither.

Dither is a little bit of noise added to the mixdown to mask the errors that cause audible distortion. It is needed when you are reducing the number of bits in your mixdown. For example, when you are recording at 24bits and bouncing at 16 bits.

Hope this helps...
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2004, 08:14 AM
Unit1 Unit1 is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Good call, this definately helps. I'm planning on getting the plugins I don't have asap so I can get started, thanks.
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2004, 09:36 AM
where02190 where02190 is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Using a master fader when you bounce and Mastering are two entirely different things. Slamming the master fader up is not how you master. Nominal BTD levels should be in teh -18dbfs range for an 001 and M-box, -14dbfs for an 002. this allows for adequate transient headroom and leaved dynamic room for the mastering engineer to work. If your bounced track is slammed to or near 0dbfs, you've left the mastering engineer little to no dynamic headroom to work with.

My recommendation is to put the master fader at 0, and adjsut your track levels accordingly. this ensures you do not overdrive the mix buss. If you plan on having your mix mastered professionsally do not use any plugins (particularly compression/limiting) on the master fader. If you do use any master fader plugins, remember, unlike audio track and auz plugins, master fader plugins are post fader.

Mastering is the final process done to the bounced file. It is a 3 stage process, and you cannot skip one, track, mix, then master. while mastering can be done with relatively deceent results with PTle and some good plugins, it is best left to a mastering engineer with the proper tools and knowhow.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2004, 09:59 AM
BenTerry BenTerry is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

I would also like to suggest that you make sure you are maximizing your headrooom as you are going into Pro Tools. Don't have low levels, then slam every fader, then decide that your overall level is to low and then create a master and slam that. It's better if right from the start you have good levels. Things sound better at higher levels and you don't have to over-process them by using compression to boost a lousy level.

Also, Be careful with mastering. It's a very delicate step in the recording process. Possibly the most delicate. You can really suck the life out of a good recording if you don't know what you are doing. A great mastering engineer can work wonders for a mediocre recording or mix.

Ben
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2004, 10:02 AM
BenTerry BenTerry is offline
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Default Re: Output levels low

Also to answer a question that was asked a long time ago, there are other software programs for mastering than Pro Tools, that work better than Pro Tools for mastering. The two big ones are Sonic Solutions and Sadie (which is PC based, but is pretty cool nonetheless)
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