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Old 12-21-2010, 12:58 AM
minifhncc minifhncc is offline
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Default Elementary question: Levels

Hello,

What's the best way to bounce with appropriate audio levels?

Currently I'm aiming to have my loudest tracks at just below the 0 mark on the meter. Is this the correct way to do things?

Thanks
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:18 AM
youngas75 youngas75 is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

Hi,

The ultimate answer is, does it sound ok? If so, then the levels are fine :) For a reference point though you should be looking at using a master track to control the overall level that's leaving your system. Create a master track and watch that level over your track ones. So long as your tracks aren't clipping then you can use the master track to get a nice loud mix. Also worth remembering that the PT system gives you lots of nice headroom so you don't need super hot levels to get a clean mix, I can't remember but I think -6 dB is a good reference, I'm sure someone will be able to tell you for sure on here. Also, you can then master your bounce down to bring the overall level up and multiband compress it etc, much harder to remove distortion later on!
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:15 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

A little deeper into it. I recommend always recording at 24 bit as it gives you much more headroom. Then aim for input levels just into the yellow(no need to go as hot as possible as you are not trying to mask tape hiss, like in the old days). Use a MASTER track so you can spot mix buss clipping(its possible to clip the mix bus with a ton of tracks that are all in the safe zone). Mastering engineers want a final mix that peaks at -6. That will not be a "loud" mix(making it loud is part of the mastering engineer's job). If you are not using a mastering engineer(due to budget or simply that your not expecting that project to end up as a commercial release), then its not too difficult to do your own rudimentary mastering, but that is a separate step/process and you should do some research on that for more advice and recommendations of mastering plugins. Mastering is part art and part science and mastering engineers will get better results than you or I will, but we can still make a loud enough product to make the final product not get lost in the volume wars(the DAMN volume wars). Just don't destroy the dynamics of your music in the process

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Old 12-21-2010, 01:10 PM
LanceK LanceK is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

Also remember, -18dbfs + 0 VU (depending upon your calibration)
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:08 AM
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waltz mastering waltz mastering is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

Quote:
Originally Posted by minifhncc View Post
Hello,

What's the best way to bounce with appropriate audio levels?

Currently I'm aiming to have my loudest tracks at just below the 0 mark on the meter. Is this the correct way to do things?

Thanks
For a master... peaking at -.3 dBFS is good
For a mix..peaking anywhere around -6 dBFS is good.

As long as no plugs or tracks are peaking you should be in the clear printing a mix anywhere under 0 dBFS although leaving 3 to 10dB of head room is recommended.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:50 AM
HD2 HD2 is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

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Originally Posted by minifhncc View Post

Currently I'm aiming to have my loudest tracks at just below the 0 mark on the meter. Is this the correct way to do things?

Thanks
No. If you had 20 tracks in a session all just below 0, by the time they are all mixed together the summing would put the master way over 0 and cause distortion.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:22 AM
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Park Seward Park Seward is offline
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Default Re: Elementary question: Levels

Your sound will sound the same at any level. The lower the level the higher the noise but you have tons more headroom on digital than you had with analog tape. Noise was around -65 db. With 24 bit digital, -144 db.

Give yourself plenty of headroom when tracking and mixing. Don't "tickle the dragon". Use a meter plugin where you can adjust the operating level. Most agree on -18 dBFS = 0VU.
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