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Old 09-12-2003, 01:42 PM
Siegfried Meier Siegfried Meier is online now
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Default Interfacing 888 analog output with analog console

So I have an interesting question. With the outputs at near full scale level on the 888's, an analog console is driven extremely hard-28 dbu or so. The output trims on the unit only affect roughly 6 dB or so. Internally, there's no way to change the outputs of an 888-only the 882's. We've always just driven the input of the console hard. We're lucky because we don't have mechanical VU meters-it's a Sony MXP3000 with an LED adjustable scale meter, but the input of the console-and everything including EQ's, is driven hard. So what is everyone else doing to overcome this? Thanks.

Best regards,
Siegfried Meier

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Old 09-12-2003, 02:03 PM
Mike Tholen Mike Tholen is offline
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Default Re: Interfacing 888 analog output with analog console

Observe 0dBVU while tracking.
problem solved.
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Old 09-12-2003, 02:18 PM
nlc201 nlc201 is offline
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Default Re: Interfacing 888 analog output with analog console

Siegfried,

The reason you are driving your console inputs so hard is due to the fact that digital gear (888s, DATs, DA88s, etc.) is designed with a fair amount of headroom in mind. PT interfaces come stock set to -18 dBfs = +4 dBu. Before we all get back into that same stupid argument about what level to record at (its been discussed), just remember that consoles are made to interface with other gear running at +4 dBu. So, you have a few choices:

First, I would recommend calibrating the inputs and outputs of your interfaces to -14 dBfs = +4 dBu. This will give you a bit more headroom by running less hot on the outs and ins.

Second, if your recording style is to record hot into PT (say peaking close to 0 dBfs), you need to find a way to get the audio back down to normal analog running levels. If your console has line amps on the channel inputs (some tape returns do, some don't), see if you can attenuate the signal there. OR, you can simply mix with your PT faders at a lower level (say hovering around -10). This is not ideal, but it does work. OR, you can use plugins to reduce the signal level on the plugin output level. The "Trim" Plugin also works well for this. The bad part about this scenario is you're adding another layer of digital math which could affect the quality of the signal (see the thousands of DUC posts debating this). Another problem with using plugs is that any Pre-fader sends you have going will be quite a bit hotter than everything else. But is this really a concern during mixdown? Probably not.....

Third, and I mention this as an option, not necessarily a recommendation. You can record at a lower level into PT. If you "observe 0 dBvu" when you record, you'll probably be peaking under -10 dBfs in Pro Tools. It would be like recording at analog tape levels rather than digital levels. The advantage of this is that the signal will come in and out of PT at a good level for an analog console to deal with. There are raging debates as to what level to record at digitally and I wish to steer clear of that whole argument. You have to decide what's best for you.

But, whether you record hot or not, analog gear is designed to run at a certain level. If you feel you're running your console too hot (some people like the sound of hot running consoles), you need to find a way to get your digital audio levels down to more managable analog levels. Digital devices were designed to interface with their analog counterparts at +4 dBu. It's simply a matter of how you get that audio to be at that level. Just remember that recording close to 0 dBfs in the digital world is just like recording close to +20 dBu in the analog world.

Hope this helps,

Nick
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Old 09-12-2003, 02:26 PM
Siegfried Meier Siegfried Meier is online now
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Default Re: Interfacing 888 analog output with analog console

Hey,

Thanks for the info, even though it's all stuff I've heard before. The easiest way, I suppose, is to drop the line trims on the console. They work at 10 dB so that's better than nothing. It's not just a matter of recording at a lower level, because sessions come in from the outside that are recorded hot. I just wanted to know how others are handling this. Thanks.

Best regards,
Siegfried Meier
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