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Old 09-17-2015, 11:32 PM
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Default Calibrating an HD system

What would be the benefit of calibrating to -14 dbfs? Instead of the default-18 dbfs


I only see the downside of having less head room, when tracking and mixing....I see no upsides.....

So should I just adjust it to 1.23V AC and forget about it? Most of my humble outboard would be line level and sans console....
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Old 09-17-2015, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

We run -18dbfs in both our rooms on HD and since atleast i can't see what the -14dbfs would bring to the sessions so stick with what you have been doing until now instead of adding yet one more "thing" to wrap your head around. There is plenty of other issues to tend to with PT these days anyway
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

I'm also fine with -18 but if I some day went nuts and re-calibrated, I would calibrate to -20
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

From a not so technical standpoint, I'd say that the only benefit could be if you're used to hitting the PT meters at a certain level during tracking, and your outboard sounds sonically better at a different level.

I haven't fiddled with this myself, though.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

If you are always mixing really hot, i.e. close to 0dBFS through a brickwall limiter, then your max output voltage will be lower at -14dBFS ref level, than at -18 or -20, and you will be hitting your monitor controller in a more linear region. Most mid and lower market monitor controllers these days can't even take full-scale level at -20dBFS ref and probably have distortion figures much higher than published spec when passing levels close the their max rated input level. That's about the only advantage I can see.
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

Really just depends on your workflow, priorities, and the surrounding analog chain (input and output side). When I'm tracking, all of the analog gear I'm using is capable of at least +22dBu peak output. I like to know that I'm not gonna clip the inputs to PT before the analog side hits the rails, so I prefer a -18 or -20dBFs cal; a -14dBFS cal is just too dangerous for me in those cases; too easy to clip the A/D while the input side preamps and compressors all look happy. But keep in mind that the *output* side will then be driving any subsequent analog gear harder for full meter deflection inside Pro Tools. Also depends a lot where you're metering - if you're on an analog console then you're probably gonna be metering at the console, in which case you want to know you'll have loads of headroom at the converters. If you're metering at ProTools all the time, then you might want to force yourself to run the analog gear 'cooler' which would mean a -16 or -14dBFs cal.

I like -18dBFs = 0VU = +4dBu. Seems to me like the best match to most professional analog gear, and the best tradeoff between pre-converter headroom and post-converter headroom.

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Old 09-19-2015, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Calibrating an HD system

Thank you Gents....I appreciate your comments.


I set it up for -18 for now....and will use it as it is now....but if my needs change I will understand how to proceed.

Thanks again.
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