Gain Structure

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Post by andydes » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:00 pm

belmiro wrote:I usually drop the faders on individual tracks to ensure -6db on the master channel.

I never thought to use the gain on the individual clips to achieve this instead thus keeping each individual channel at 0db.

Which is the best way, or is either ok?
I think the idea is to use clip gain and instrument volume controls so that each track plays at -6 when it's own fader is at 0.

You then use the faders to mix the song keeping the master at -6.

I believe it's is to ensure each individual part is making full use of the available bit depth. Although I think it would have made much more differnce on analogue desks than with 64 bit summing digital audio.

It's also just makes sense to have each part at roughly the same level before the mixdown rather than having say, a very loud sound with it's fader right down.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here. My knoweldge is a little patchy.

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Post by belmiro » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:05 pm

It makes sense to me, often during my mixdowns my faders can be as low as -30db.

If I use the gain and volume controls on synths this should be far less on the faders.

I feel a bit of a plum now! :oops:
Apple iMac i7 8GB RAM/Ableton Live 8/Logic Pro 9/Apogee Duet/Novation Remote SL49 Compact/Akai MPD24/Adam A5x Monitors/Novation Bass Station/Waldorf PPG Wave/Fender Stratocaster.

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Post by andydes » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:23 pm

Oh yeah, it also means you'll never have to push a fader past 0, as you'd then take a sound above the limit you've given yourself for head room.

Makes drawing automation easier, too as you have practically the full range to work with.

That said, I often don't bother too much unless a level's miles out. Lazy, that's me.

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Post by NapalmBob » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:12 pm

FYI, all audio/midi channels use 32bit floating point, the sends use 24bit fixed and the master uses whatever your audio card is set to (ie: 16/24/32bit fixed point). You can only clip the sends and master. You can, in theory, clip the audio/midi channels, but it would take a volume so loud you would kill yourself trying. Henke mentions it all in a video TomCosm shot when he went to New Zealand.

Back on topic:

I mix the audio/midi channels low and use a maximising limiter and EQ on the output wav file. Generally, I keep the kick drum to around -8 or -10db and mix everything in relation to that. I avoid clipping like the plague (even though those audio/midi channels can't clip).

When messing around live/improv I use the utility plugin to let me use a midi controller for the mixer and not worry about clips. Also, I use a limiter on the master just for safety reasons.

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