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#702877 - 03/18/09 06:48 PM Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording  
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Walt Lamberg Offline
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When I complete a recording, before I start editing, I set my PC speaker volume to midway between the highest and lowest settings. I use that setting to judge if I need to increase or decrease the volume in various parts of the song.

I should mention that I use Audacity and I use earphones connected to the PC speakers.

Does that sound like an effective approach to editing for volume? Or is there a better approach?

Would appreciate any advice.

Walt

#703000 - 03/19/09 05:05 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Walt Lamberg]  
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mattbanx Offline
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I hope this helps and is coherent.
But here goes.

I try to keep the mic and line-in settings on my sound card low.
I crank the volume in silence to make sure there is no hum from misplaced patch cords or a bad hook up.
But I did not have multi-tracking software up until I used Audacity with my last recording and Tascam Portastudio.
I used Tascam Portastudio to mix my guitar.

I went before from a playback device and used analog devices, such as my electronic reverb unit on some recordings.
No kind of mixing board up until my makeshift one and now having Audacity to multitrack.

It might depend on your setup, and someone with more knowledge would know this.
But I think what you record in to should be as low as you can make it.

I do bassy recordings mostly.
Much having to tinker with the sound levels for whatever recording I was doing and wrecking speakers, even the headphones.
I want to just get the point across in my recordings. All instrument in hand to keep it emotive and show performance flaws, or to be judged what I may better do, and to emulate a basic band setup. I thought that more could be judged either way in the raw recording doing that. I had too much to work on anyway without camoflauging my mistakes.
I like recording lo-fi.

Some like piling on tracks.
But the digital enviroment seems trickier to get the sound settings right with something more bass oriented.
I try to keep some treble on it with the reverb and echo

There is much more to work with with Audacity as far as the gain though.
I keep the volume setting still at no more then 2 on my soundcard, but feel a bit more comfortable pumping the bass out.

#706280 - 03/30/09 01:54 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: mattbanx]  
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Tom Shea Offline
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I have read several posts and artiles on this. From what they say, it seems that the ear's sensivtity to certain frequencies is not consistant. It is more sensitive at some frequencies than others. All of the artiles recommneded listening at different levels - and on different speakers / systems before making the final mix.

Tom


Thomas Shea

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#711625 - 04/17/09 08:29 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Tom Shea]  
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I think the initial settings of volume vary greatly from one user to another,depending on your system, things like monitor speakers, and the kind of music your recording.

Like you said make sure your not so loud you get the white noise associated with too much volume, that your not running into the red zone on your recording volume indicator, that can cause clipping and that's almost impossible to fix. I find that by recording at a volume that's around -6db, you leave plenty of overhead to work with in the mixing and mastering process.


Billy Darnell

#732505 - 06/24/09 05:57 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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Dave Andrasin Offline
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Where you have your speaker level set is not a factor in the mixing process. But like other say "you donít want to hear hiss or distortion from the speakers them selfís".

I turn on my monitor up to the hiss point then down until I can't hear the hiss and then lower if they are still shaking the walls. That way I will know if my recorded tracks have noise and not the monitors.

You want to use your db meter to judge your master out levels.
Not your speakers.

You still use your speakers to balance the track levels to blend your trascks. So you have 4 tracks. Set them where they sound good under -6db. The 4 tracks are sent to the L/R master faders. Thatís where you want to keep them just around -6db.

You want to record around -18db then you have headroom to mix your tracks. If you are just going to use your mix ďas isĒ and not get it mastered -6db to -8db. is fine for export to mp3 or a wav file. I never go over -6db. You donít need to. You want nice clean recordings. In fact I use Sonar 8 and it won't let me go over -6db. before clip city

Good luck,
Dave

#732515 - 06/24/09 06:40 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Dave Andrasin]  
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Kolstad Offline
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I've read about gain staging lately. The best thing is to have the highest output possible (without clipping) from your instrument, then your preamp, then your compressor, a/d converter and make the final adjustment in your recording software (leaving sufficient headroom). By gainstaging properly, you can reduce noise in your recordings, have the best quality of sound from your instruments as well as enabling you to have the output you'd want from the mixing and mastering processes.

I have tried this out, and I think it works very good.


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#732605 - 06/25/09 01:44 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Kolstad]  
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Dave Andrasin Offline
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hi THE, wink

YES! (what you said)it would have taken me 500 words to add that! good job!

Peace,
Dave


Spelling and grammer are not my thing, so excuse the type-Os...

Iffin I don't review your song, sorry, I'm trying to stay with styles I like. But I do listen to all on 2 pages when I have time. \:\)
#732656 - 06/25/09 06:49 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Dave Andrasin]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Clipping is a no no. Gains whilst recording should be set so the peaks are at 0db.
When mixing tracks use your ears to get a balance. Some sounds may naturally sit proud in the mix whilst others are in the background. This is natural and pleasant to the human ear. You cannot change these frequency peaks without altering the overall feel of the sound adversely. You cannot go by volume settings or readings alone..... go by what you hear.
There is no point in relying on mixing using just one set of speakers or listening at one certain volume regardless of quality of the speakers. Fine tuning is needed using a variety of speaker systems and volumes.
Tip.....turn speakers down very very low so you can just barely hear what is coming through. This highlights and accentuates top end imbalance. Once that has been sorted turn way up to highlight any bass rattles or inbalance etc and adjust accordingly. It should also be noted that certain frequencies can be occupied by more than one instrument or sound. This can mean that a particular track can bounce off another or sound muddy or drowned out in the mix. There are several techniques for compensating for this including panning, altering EQ, multi track layering etc.
Having great ears is what separates the men from the boys.
I remember working with an engineer who was a walking operating manual on the various gizmos and techniques. He knew all the tech stuff inside out but could not produce a decent balance unless he left the final mix to someone with a "good pair of ears"

#732738 - 06/25/09 12:27 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Dave Andrasin Offline
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Hi Tim, lots of good advice.
Maybe we need to be more clear on recoding levels. In Analog (Tape recorder) you want to record around 0db without clipping. In digital recording (Computers) you want to record at about -18db

Have a good one,
dave


#732805 - 06/25/09 03:02 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Dave Andrasin]  
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Patrick Bryant Offline
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I've been hearing a lot lately about how a lot of audio cards and interfaces (i.e. the ones we can afford to buy) sound better when you record at a lower level. If you record at 24-bit resolution you still have plenty of noise margin if you hit the peaks at -10 or even lower.
Then bring your tracks up to a commercially-hot level when you mix.

#732827 - 06/25/09 03:51 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Patrick Bryant]  
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MASSIVE Mastering Offline
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Jumping in sideways -

Recording "hot but without clipping" flies in the face of all logic (although for some reason, it's rather popular). If you're even close to clipping, you're overdriving your input chain. The amount of damage is dependent on the quality of the chain. That said - Backing off and tracking at "normal" levels is by far the optimal route to getting the most out of that chain.

If you're bored: http://www.massivemastering.com/blog/html/blog_files/Proper_Audio_Recording_Levels.php

And a properly calibrated monitoring chain is pretty vital to any rig IMO. You need to have a solid reference point and train yourself to utilize it.

If you're really bored: http://www.massivemastering.com/blog/html/blog_files/Calibrating_Your_Monitoring_Chain.php


John Scrip
MASSIVE Mastering - and mucking up the Mastering Forum at StudioForums.com
#732843 - 06/25/09 05:13 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: MASSIVE Mastering]  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Originally Posted by MASSIVE Mastering
Jumping in sideways -

Recording "hot but without clipping" flies in the face of all logic (although for some reason, it's rather popular). If you're even close to clipping, you're overdriving your input chain. The amount of damage is dependent on the quality of the chain. That said - Backing off and tracking at "normal" levels is by far the optimal route to getting the most out of that chain.



"Close to clipping" equals overdriving your input? Sorry, that's simply not true - or at best is true in only a small number of circumstances, and with poorly-designed equipment.

I thought the topic was playback volume here.

Distortion will increase (usually in a somewhat linear fashion) in an analog signal chain as the level increases, but digital output doesn't care whether it's -8db or -2db.

Certainly, if you're pushing your speakers, they will distort, but just because your board's (or DAW's) output level shows peaks of -6db or even -2db doesn't mean you're overdriving anything.

There has been some really good advice here about listening on different systems and at different volume levels - including really, really quiet levels. If you have a DB meter, you can use 80-85db as a "normal" volume. It's the level at which most soundtracks are mixed. Of course, you should crank it for a bit and listen at hyper-quiet levels as well - and on several systems. Headphones don't give you a proper perspective on instrument and EQ balance, so aren't recommended for setting levels. Headphones are best used to tweak subtle settings such as reverb tails or delay settings.


#732884 - 06/25/09 06:57 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Larry Williams]  
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Dave Andrasin Offline
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lol!


Spelling and grammer are not my thing, so excuse the type-Os...

Iffin I don't review your song, sorry, I'm trying to stay with styles I like. But I do listen to all on 2 pages when I have time. \:\)
#733038 - 06/26/09 06:29 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Dave Andrasin]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Every studio engineer will tell you to get a good set of studio ref monitors. Sub puts it at his number 1 for studio requirements. GREAT ADVICE but beware cause a lot of modern speakers including some pretty expensive so called ref monitors have bass boosts etc so what is coming through the speakers is not really representative of what is being sent.
It is worth mentioning (learned through bitter experience) that a mix can sound great on some systems but terrible on others so you have to listen on a number of systems of different qualities and at several different volumes tweaking mix as necessary.

#772109 - 11/21/09 07:22 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Mackie H. Offline
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There is a lot more to sound control in the studio, than having all the fancy digital
control units. I go back to the 50's, when we used Magnacord tape machines and lesser quality tape. Some of those recordings had superb audio content and clarity.

We had tube compressors and limiters and expanders and crude noise cancellation.

Remember tubes are in a vacuum and have little delay of audio--Today we have all kinds of solid state equipment that introduces delay of each device.. True, the delay is small in nanoseconds--but this additive time to overall signal delay affects the clarity and true reproduction of all the harmonics--some being delayed more than others--sometime a programmable EQ can alter these problems--and they are no longer a problem. Good microphones , instrument pickups, sample sounds are lost in too much over production--The listeners mind can correct some to a point--then listening fatigue sets in. I listen to all of my recordings as well as the best I can find--through simple tube amps into JBL and Altec speakers . There is a big difference --more natural harmonic content through the tube. No listening fatigue to me.

IMO

Mackie

Last edited by MJH; 11/21/09 07:23 PM.
#772204 - 11/22/09 12:52 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Mackie H.]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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I think I've got it. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth!


Ray E. Strode
#897021 - 05/09/11 02:35 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Petra Offline
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Guys,

Every time I go to mp3, the volume is so low, is it your recording is not set right?

I have to strain to hear.

Petra


Invasion of Aliens!!!
#897031 - 05/09/11 03:07 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Walt Lamberg]  
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Johnny Daubert Online content
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Originally Posted by Walt Lamberg
When I complete a recording, before I start editing, I set my PC speaker volume to midway between the highest and lowest settings.


Recording properly is the first step though. Makes all else fall into place better.

Then, hear a lot of pro recordings with that 50% volume setting, and get to hear how your recordings compare in every way, not just volume. You can also download a few pro songs in your genre, and look at their wav files. Then look at yours. Then LISTEN! Then, by knowing how theirs sounds and looks, adjust yours as needed. Your reference should be the standard for what is being sold now in your genre.


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
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#897053 - 05/09/11 05:27 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Petra]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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Originally Posted by Petra
Guys,

Every time I go to mp3, the volume is so low, is it your recording is not set right?

I have to strain to hear.

Petra


Listen to one of my recent recordings. I can promise you that it is plenty loud enough on the recording end. Here is one Hand Upon Your Shoulder

If that does not sound loud to you, it is your system. You may need to go to your control panel, sound and audio devices, audio, volume, and turn it up.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#897058 - 05/09/11 05:45 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Petra Offline
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Collin,

It is not my audio player, that is clear now. It was nice and clear and could hear it across the living room. Most times my ear is right up to the speaker.


Hand Upon Your Shoulder

Really nice work here!!!

Petra
A big thanks to ya.




Invasion of Aliens!!!
#897063 - 05/09/11 06:07 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Petra]  
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Petra Offline
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Petra  Offline
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Collin:

Had a listen to Rogers latest song, sounds fine like yours. I think it is only some jpf's who's songs sound very faint. So, those folks need to record at higher volume set, IMO

Just makes the experience more enjoyable.

P.


Invasion of Aliens!!!
#897182 - 05/10/11 11:35 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Petra]  
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James Perrett Offline
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James Perrett  Offline
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Hampshire UK
Are you comparing these recordings with recent commercial recordings? If so, you may need to remember that current commercial recordings are professionally mastered and many of them are mastered at what even mastering engineers consider to be insanely loud levels. These loud levels are achieved at the expense of sound quality as the engineer often has to distort the sound in some way in order to achieve that volume.

There's a campaign at http://www.turnmeup.org/ to persuade people to use their volume control instead of accepting insanely loud and distorted audio.

James.


James Perrett, JRP Music http://www.jrpmusic.net

Della Perrett's Sweetedge http://www.sweetedge.com
#897200 - 05/10/11 01:30 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: James Perrett]  
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Johnny Daubert Online content
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Johnny Daubert  Online Content
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New Jersey, USA
True, good point, Hard Limiting especially can get the overall volume louder, but with distortion at a certain point, even without the red being lit! I guess that happens with the middle wav area being increased, (where the lows and low mids are bunched in that dark blue area), which when past a certain point, (way below Red even), they become distorted.

I was told this very thing on a couple of mastering edits I did to get the volume up. With my Tinnitus, I wasn't able to play it back beyond the 3 level, so with my ringing among everything I heard during the playback of those songs, I didn't hear the distortion. Thanks again to whoever that JPF newcomer was who told me about that! And thank you too James, for pointing that out here.

"Hard Limiting" can ruin things if overdoing it.
Now, I have to hear music much lower. Others want to heat it all louder! What's going on??!!! smile


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
Songnado I and II:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=322686





#897224 - 05/10/11 04:08 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Petra Offline
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Petra  Offline
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Ontario, Canada
James,

I don't if that post was for me or not. No I was not comparing between wants on radio and jpf mp3 forum.

Just between jpf's gang..sound can hardly hear the voice and others are just fine?

Check out Rogers and Colins, they come in crystal clear. Don't if it has something to do with the equipment they use or not?

No Engineer techie so I can't comment on types of equipment.





Invasion of Aliens!!!
#897225 - 05/10/11 04:08 PM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Petra Offline
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Petra  Offline
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Ontario, Canada
James,

I don't if that post was for me or not. No I was not comparing between wants on radio and jpf mp3 forum.

Just between jpf's gang. - with some songs you can hardly hear the singers voice with others the sound comes in crystal clear; don't know if this has to do with the equipment used or the singers style of low key voice?

No Engineer techie, so I can't comment on types of equipment.




Last edited by Petra; 05/10/11 04:11 PM.

Invasion of Aliens!!!
#897589 - 05/12/11 11:13 AM Re: Question about Volume Setting When Working on a Recording [Re: Petra]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Petra I think you answered your own question. Poorly recorded homemade demos will sound bad, compared to well produced tracks, and have all the elementary errors that produce the results you are talking about. Turning up the volume only accentuates these mistakes and will not rectify them. I have heard some appallingly bad sounding worktapes and demos in my time and wonder how anyone producing these could not at least try to redo it to sort out the muddiness, hums, buzzes, clicks and level imbalances. Most could be simply fixed just by tweaking input and output levels and better mic placement. It is not rocket science.


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