Avid Pro Audio Community

Avid Pro Audio Community

How to Join & Post  •  Community Terms of Use  •  Help Us Help You

Knowledge Base Search  •  Community Search  •  Learn & Support


Avid Home Page

Go Back   Avid Pro Audio Community > Pro Tools Software > Tips & Tricks

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-18-2001, 11:29 AM
Felix Felix is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,026
Default setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

this topic stems from the other thread on levels in this forum. it seemed to be interupting the "flow". i think the dominate posters of that thread will appreciate the transfer [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Nika:
Also, there may indeed still be ergonomic issues with tracking one way or the other such that the levels are well below -6dB. Roger Nichols was writing on a thread that sometimes he tracks in the "straight line method" such that he puts all parts in at the level he anticipates them sitting at in the mix. He explained that this is an ergonomically advantageous way of tracking SOME material, and in the world of digital there is really no drawback to it if one understands digital systems. This is just an example of where ergonomics may still play a role in the way levels are set and a session is tracked.

That's all I got.

Nika.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Felix :
this is one of the most interesting points made for me. i'd like to hear more about this.
the use of the word "ergonomics" confuses me a little. it means: n. the study of the efficiency of persons in their working environment.
i think i see how this applies in context. in fact, context seems to be a better word. choosing levels based upon their context within the mix, and not as much upon ideal mic pre / a/d settings. am i on the right track? or do you mean something else with that word?

Dr. J-
What we are referring to by the "general" use of the word, is the ease of a mix.
Example: in a car, when you can reach all majior controls ie:radio, temperature, turn indicators, wipers, buttons, lights etc... without having to move from the driving poistion or lean in any direction, the car is said to be very ergonicmally designed. (utilizing all the features with minimal effort)

Loosly appling the word to recording and mixing, one could say that if you could track and mix achieving the best possible sound, in the shortest possible time, your recording processes are very ergonimic.

An example of this is "tracking for mix" A tracking engineer can get a great sound on track in any number of ways at any number of different levels, and still have a world class recording in the end. But the amount of time and treatment it may take to get the final product to that level can very greatly depending on what the mix engineer is given to work with. (both levels and in PT, board/mix screen set up) There is a school of thought out there, that i like which is basically to track your signals "generally" in the place where you think it will rest in the mix. Obviously as long as you do not sacrifice sound quality etc... this will save time during the mixdown. And can achieve a more "natural" feel and dynamic to a song rather than just pounding the crap out of every signal when you know half of them are going to need 60db cuts for where they will sit later.

The idea, for example, being that a highly gain pushed and compressed, from the start, rim shot will sound sound different than one simply tracked softer possibly with little or no compression. Which also get's into sweet spots.

On pre amps, depending on the instrument, drum, vocal etc... it's effect on the signal will differ when being pushed at different levels. You try to find the sound your desiring in the end, then track that. That mind set, will save time in mixing, thus have applied "ergonomics" to the recording process.

To be clear, there are still some rules to follow, taking into account dynamic range, bit rates, noise floors etc...

Hope that made sense.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

posted December 18, 2001 10:55 AM *** **** ** ** **
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Felix-
excellent! very helpful, Dr. J. i have been gravitating towards setting levels in the way you've described.
it's like the way things were done in the early days- putting any eq, comp., effects, etc., to tape as they fit within the mix. thus, the mix down is fairly easy, albeit a bit commited without much flexibility for any changes, or "undos". this was done more out of neccesity because they didn't have all the gizmos and fancy consoles of more recent times. i think this has -somewhat- to do with why those older recordings have that special sound that many strive to recreate. they were simply summing up the channels (and there were not many channels either) with pretty much just minor levels changes throughout the mix.
i have been exploring the ways in which different levels from different sources have subtle changes in the ways a mic pre will effect the sound. they are subtle effects that become less subtle as all the sources are blended together. overall, i currently subscribe to keeping the levels "natural" as they suit their role in the final mix. i'm expecting this approach to develop exceptions as i learn more.
btw, is this going off-topic? i could start another thread....

--------------------
Dr J.-
Yea, i guess it could be another topic, but it does have to do directly with the topic heading. But yea, i am one of the only under 30yr old producers I know of, that is in love with the natural dynamics of a song, and does see the value in maximising level, but doesn't like to hear every last ounce of dynamic squished out of a song in the mix or the mastering. Tracking it that way seems to help achieve some of that openess that has been lost in the quest for a solid -0.01db. I'm always in the minority among my friends on that discussion. For pop i guess it's ok, but for a lot of other types of music the dynamics are the "feel" in my opinion.
____________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-18-2001, 11:36 AM
Felix Felix is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,026
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

i think the fact that this may not be a popular view makes it more complelling to discuss. any others out there who are more in tune with this level practice?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-18-2001, 11:52 AM
davip davip is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Seattle
Posts: 528
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

I recall reading that when re-mixers were given the multitrack master for one of Bruce Swedien's Michael Jackson recordings they loaded the tape, set all the faders at unity, and heard the album mix (minus reverbs.)

Sure saves some mix time if you can pull it off!
__________________
Dual 2.3 GHz PowerPC G5
2.5GB RAM
OS 10.4.6
HD 2 Accel
PT 7.1cs9
192 I/O
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-18-2001, 05:21 PM
Mike Tholen Mike Tholen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Chicago
Posts: 329
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

Yes indeed!
I was "taught" to work this way.
natural gain structure is imperitave to a kick ass recording.
it only makes sense even more in the digital realm, we have more room!!!!duh...
the first people o latch onto the CD format were the "Audiophile" Classical listeners.
and it was because of it's extended dynamic range/no coloration/no hiss...
so why do we adopt the option to do the opposite with it's capability? [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]
I dunno...
You will discover that your mixes will open up dramatically. If you just set some nominal levels, kick back have a smoke and let the music dictate the dynamics.
overcompressing your tracks in order to "maximize" is a bad idea, and I won't even go into why...you should've figured that one out by now. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
I just turned 30 so I guess I didn't make your cutoff but I'm still lookin'for someone younger than I that has the same approach.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-18-2001, 05:56 PM
Dr. J Dr. J is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: All Over
Posts: 354
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

sorry Mike, didn't mean to alianate you, 30 sounded like a round number, but yea you bring up a good pint...oops, i mean point (thinking about the bar already) using the word open. There are always people asking how do you get that "openness" or 3 deminsional quality in a mix, and keeping as much of the natural dynamics as possible plays a huge role in that. I mean think about it people, if you can capture the natural volume and room charecteristics, your sound will be more "real". I love my PCM90, and fx have thier solid place, but sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing.

I co-produced this album recently where the tracking eng. hit everything hard as hell to 2", and marvled at his own genius during the entire break. Immediately after that, the first thing he did was gated every damn drum track, and compressed the living s*$t out of the guitar, bass and vox. He then actually looked over at me and said, ok I think Pro Tools will be able to handle the mix now.
[img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]
__________________
[email protected]
www.jayriggs.com
www.fifty-fiftymusic.com


Turn Me Up!™ – Sign Up Now to Bring Dynamics Back to Music (www.TurnMeUp.org)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-18-2001, 06:29 PM
plenky plenky is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: paris, france/ brooklyn, ny
Posts: 94
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

it all depends on the sound i want to get!
i'll distort everything i got in the studio, mixer, a-d, fx, tubes, amps, plugs to get the nasty sound. i just try all the options! BUT i don't see the point anymore to record secondary stuff at very hot levels. there is in my ears no valuable reason to make gear work harder than necessary. why work harder than necessary? i never got that concept.......
but hey, you have first to know what sound your looking for.............hmm, thats the tricky part!!!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-19-2001, 05:08 AM
Jules Jules is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,565
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

I had my best quality mix for a while by using that 'straight line' tracking method. Reading the DUG reminded me of it again.. and I thought I would try it out again (I used to do it on 2" tape sessions)

I put all the mix faders at -10 the master at 0 and set a nice 'not overloading bass drum' level, then I set the input level of every other drum mic and instrument to sound roughly mixed sitting also at -10.

and so on..

Not to get TOO in love with the idea Dr J (!) - I have to tell you that, come mixdown time, the faders were all over the place - none level, EQ's added busses made etc - no way was it 'flat all the way' . But STARTING like this and using the Sony EQ plug in on everything - DID make for one of my best sounding productions on PT ever.

[img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

P.S. I always have a Cranesong Hedd accross my master fader on AES insert, this phattens up a mix nicely and I now can't live without it on a PT mix.
__________________
Jules
London, UK
Come hang with us here!
www.gearslutz.com
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-19-2001, 07:03 AM
Dr. J Dr. J is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: All Over
Posts: 354
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

yea Jules, i'm never flat all the way either, but like you said when i start out that way, i get a really good mix.
I'm curious, were you compressing your input signals, and if so how heavy? I've been using as little as possible on the front end, just to get some leveling ans tone when necessary. The funny thing was i was taught to comp heavy on inputs and max everything out, but learned quick to treat more later, only when needed to and I can get killer heavy guitar and drum sounds this way. Very spacial, open sound.

Don't have the sony plug, been thinkin about getting it.

hmmm...Cranesong Hedd, I'll have to check into that one.
__________________
[email protected]
www.jayriggs.com
www.fifty-fiftymusic.com


Turn Me Up!™ – Sign Up Now to Bring Dynamics Back to Music (www.TurnMeUp.org)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-19-2001, 05:23 PM
Jules Jules is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,565
Default Re: setting levels "naturally" vs. what "the books" say

Yarz...

Not too much compression on the way down, Fatso & DBX 160 on Kick n snare Cranesong & a little SSL hardware compressor on overheads.....

.....nice!

[img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
__________________
Jules
London, UK
Come hang with us here!
www.gearslutz.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Does "Westmere" qualification apply to "Bloomfield" and "Gulftown" also? bashville Pro Tools 10 5 03-23-2013 03:04 PM
002 rack "clicks" and Windows beeps when "Setting Up Midi" or sw0mgt 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Win) 0 08-03-2012 03:42 PM
Protools LE 8 hang while "setting up peripherals" and while "loading tracks" xfarre 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Mac) 2 09-22-2011 07:37 AM
hardware buttons for "preview", "capture" and "punch" evs Post - Surround - Video 1 12-06-2010 12:28 PM
"Bouncing" . . . . Can I CHANGE The "Default Setting"?? The Zone 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Win) 3 06-17-2002 02:59 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:14 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2008, Jelsoft Enterprises Limited. Forum Hosted By: URLJet.com