X32 : optimal gain for studio recording ?

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MJKlein
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Re: X32 : optimal gain for studio recording ?

Post by MJKlein »

DaveH wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 11:00 am
MJKlein wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 10:18 am I say, do what you want, however you want to do it.
Oh, do not misunderstand : I take all your advices into account. They are very valuable to me. :)
@DaveH, I apologize. You must have taken my comment in a bad light. I simply mean that you should do your own thing and see what happens. Experiment and find out what works best for you. I respect you for asking so many questions and I encourage you to go your own way. :D
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MJKlein
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Re: X32 : optimal gain for studio recording ?

Post by MJKlein »

DaveH wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:06 pm And by the way, these vumeters deliberatly show a limit green-orange at -18dB, so there must be a good reason afterall
After working for several decades in analog studios, one of the hardest things for me to unlearn, was banging the VU meters. When I was tracking drums, I would always do something funny for the band members in the control room: I asked the drummer to play something so I could make one last level check, and I would mute the monitors. The needles on the analog VU meters would bang against the pegs with every kick, snare and tom hit. I would point that out to the band members, and declare that we were good to go because we were "pegging". The tape machine was calibrated for +4 dB. Ahhh, the old days of analog tape. 500 sessions later....

Not to beat the subject to death (because I've mentioned this before), but my studio has 2 consoles. I bring in all the analog sources into my Soundcraft Ghost and then put them on buses which output to the Aux inputs on the X32. Sometimes, I will hit the channel inputs as hard as +9 dB to get the color I want, but then I pull down the buses to feed the X32 Aux inputs reasonable levels. Still, I sometimes find myself getting a bit out of control when mixing. I normally aim for the "color change" range of the VU meters, as @DaveH alluded to. I try to hit -12 because I know that at that level, I am far above any digital signal-to-noise issues, and, because it's digital I can bring the level up or down my simply moving the volume control on the audio item (in Reaper). When mixing, I also shoot for that -12 to -15 range so I can get the headroom I need for Mastering. I always dither and noise shape when rendering the mixdown track.

Btw, this is why I moved this topic to Recording Engineering. As it progressed, it had less to do with the X32 than general engineering.
湖口鄉新竹縣台灣 Hukou Township, Hsinchu County, Taiwan
Behringer X32/Dante + Soundcraft Ghost + X32ReaperAutoMate
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thunfisch
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Re: X32 : optimal gain for studio recording ?

Post by thunfisch »

Another interesting perspective:

Seems like there are several gain-stages that are enabled discretely, and then adjusted digitally. It might be worth a try to measure the SNR at different gain settings just to see if there's the same effect that the Yamaha desks have - breakpoints where the SNR suddenly jumps
wing+dante, xr18, midas dl16+dl32
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timverhoeven
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Re: X32 : optimal gain for studio recording ?

Post by timverhoeven »

My 2 cents on this discussion, you are free to assign your value to it ;)

First, the reason for green and orange divider on the VU meter being at -18dBFS. Actually, the reason is very simple. The designers calibrated the console to emit +4dBU on the outputs if the meter is at -18 dBFS. Like on an analog console the yellow start at or just above 0dB which would in most cases also mean that you get +4dBU at the output. So they basically let the VU meters work the same as on analog consoles.

Then onto how hard to gain. The rule of thumb to gain, in live circumstances, at around that -18dbFS mark is indeed to have sufficient headroom left over that first the individual channels don't go into clipping, indeed there is always a difference between soundcheck and the actual performance for example. But secondly also to give some headroom to the mix bus. While the mix bus uses floating point math, if there is a big difference in dB between the loudest and the softest sounds/channels being mixed, you quickly start loosing the details of those softest sounds/channels.
The rule, to summarize is there to "protect" the operator from having bad sounding mixes because of gain structure issues (there are still many ways to get a bad sounding mix even while your gain structure is in order, but it becomes harder).

Feel free to gain is high as you want, nothing will break, just be aware of the risk of clipping your input channel/preamp/ADC. But try it out, how hard do you need to gain to have an audible impact? What color LEDs are you seeing in that case? It could be a surprise :)

So, in a studio setting, which is a much more controlled environment, I see absolutely no problem in gaining hotter then in a live environment. Indeed make use of the preamp sound when you drive it harder and use all the resolution the ADC's have. Both will benefit you further down the process of recording, mixing and mastering a track.

I've not so long ago saw a Youtube that tested how hard you could push the inputs on a A&H SQ (or it could also have been a dLive, but definitely a A&H console). Conclusion, the clip led was full on before any audible effect was heard.
I would support someone doing this with a X32/M32/WING to have a comparison! :D
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