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Old 08-14-2007, 07:20 AM
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Default Headphone mixes

What's the best way of getting a good can mix for tracking a vocalist? I ask because yesterday I had to track myself doing a guide vocal and had a hard time hearing myself sing in the phones. I guess it's just a matter of lowering the level of all the instruments in the mix at the same time so I found myself writing automation so I could hear myself sing during the loud parts of the song. Admittedly, a noob question but one I have to learn.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:01 AM
Torchlight Torchlight is offline
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

I think you kind of answered your own question. Just cut the levels of the other tracks until you can hear your voice comfortably. There should be no need to employ automation for this unless your mix dynamics are out of control. I have never had to use automation to control mix levels during recording. If your tracks are that uncontrolled you may be seeing some clipping on them. Just curious, which tracks are giving you level problems and are you using any compression going to tape (hard drive) when you recorded them?

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Old 08-14-2007, 09:03 AM
max cooper max cooper is offline
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

You can set up separate headphone mixes on a send if you have an extra headphone amp; otherwise you have to use analog 1-2 (which is okay if you're using external converters as you won't be using the analog outs anyway.)

Set up a stereo analog out on each track you want to monitor; you can show the little faders in the mix window under "view" menu.

Then connect your headphone amp to the pair of outputs on your interface that correspond to your stereo send.

Headphone amps can be bought for very little cash.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:57 AM
Torchlight Torchlight is offline
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

Hi Max:

I think the problem was that whatever mix he created for the cans would have to be adjusted on the fly because of possible out of control dynamics. If he sends a cans mix to one of the sends he will still be faced with the dynamics problem of that mix. Too loud for certain parts and too soft for others while he is recording vox.

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Old 08-14-2007, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

Right now I won't be using any extra headphone amps, just the one on the interface. There is no clipping on these tracks and all were recorded around unity gain taking great care to get a proper signal to noise ratio. Nor was any compression used to record them. Absolutely no out of control dynamics. I just didn't do any mixing.
I didn't want to get into doing automation just to do a guide vocal, just the quickest way possible to lower the overall instrument tracks so I can hear myself not just singing....but the actual notes I'm hitting.....so I guess I want a lot of vocals and not a lot of instruments in the cans. Listen to me...I'm already a picky diva! Can I use the send option without a headphone amp or is there a way to just pull the faders down a little bit and bypass the automation?
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

For me, simply raising the fader on the recording track to +6 to +9 works fine. Once the recording is done, drop the fader back to -0. Changing the track fader has no affect on the signal being recorded.
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:16 AM
Rail Jon Rogut Rail Jon Rogut is offline
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

Create a stereo Aux Track... send your whole Mix except the vocal to the Aux Track via a Bus pair... Command click on the Aux Track's solo button to solo isolate it... Set the output to 1-2, the Vocal also out of 1-2... Lower the Aux Track fader.

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Old 08-15-2007, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

Thanks guys. I'll try both ways to see what works best for me.
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

I'm trying out this Aux track option but when I pull the Aux. track fader down I can't hear much difference in the overall level. I went back and remixed checking the overall level against the Master fader to eliminate any clipping tracks and there were a few. Now it's corrected. I've got every audio track except the vocals track bussed to 1-2 with a send and the Aux tracks' input to bus 1-2 and I've command-clicked the Aux. tracks solo button to solo-isolate it(whatever that means...) and the mix is going through the Aux. track but shouldn't the audio get lower and lower down to nothing as I pull the Aux. fader down?
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:41 PM
Torchlight Torchlight is offline
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Default Re: Headphone mixes

One other thing Goth. When you record in the digital domain you should not try to get your individual track levels to reach unity gain. That's what you do for analog, but digital is a different animal entirely.

Actually in analog I believe the comparison is something like an 18 dB separation between analog and digital. 0 dBFS (decible full scale) digital = +18 dB in the analog realm. It's impossible to achieve anything higher than 0 dBFS in the digital realm.

With that said, try to get your "digital" individual track levels in the -12dB to -4dB range MAXIMUM. You don't have to worry anywhere near as much about signal to noise ration with digital. There is inherently less noise floor to be concerned with in digital. If anything you should be more concerned about bit depth. However, if you are in the range I specified you will be taking full advantage of your bit depth, especially if you are recording at 24-bit and at least a 44.1 kHz sampling rate. The time to get your levels at unity gain is when you are mastering. Even then you should set a hardwall limiter like the Waves L2 to a ceiling of about -0.2 dB. Even when you mix, your overall mix levels (at the master fader) should be around -4dB. Gain staging is everything, especially when it comes to digital recording, mixing and, mastering. And digital is very unforgiving!

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