Recording levels

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of [XAP]Bob [XAP]Bob 3 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #59132
    Profile photo of knga
    knga
    Participant

    Hello!

    Few days ago I was live multitrack recording concert from my QU-16 via USB into Cubase. Later when mixing at home I noticed that some nice clipping has happened on accordeon track (it can be nicely seen on waveform’ and can be heard). When at concert I didn’t notice that anything would clip on Qu-16.

    So how to set levels so it doesn’t clip on recording in Cubase. Are there any tips or advices? I don’t quite understand this metering stuff, how does it apply to recording inside program?

    Thanks for help!

    Alen

    #59133
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    The recording level on the Qu series has an intended headroom of 18dB, so recordings normally seem to be quite low. If you notice clipping in your recording, I expect you also saw red lights on the console during the show (and encounter same clipping live, of course, maybe not noticable).
    Just ensure you never see a red light on any of your peak leds. Contrary to several analog consoles there is no much room left about red in the digital world.

    #59135
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    This is an issue of your setting of the input gain. Properly set, your recording levels will be safe. If you are experiencing clipping it is from too much ch input gain.

    Switching over from analog to digital requires some time to get used to the difference in signal levels, dBvu and dBfs. Likewise, your metering will be somewhat different, but relying on “no red lights” is not going to insure no clipping. Those lights will not show transient peaks of a duration shorter than their “speed” of reaction.

    Allow yourself more headroom in dBfs world. Any signal of -24 dBfs going into your DAW will be entirely usable, WAY over any noise floor of the board circuitry.

    #59136
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    From what I remember is, that the peak leds do flash even on short transients (in contrast to the other LEDs which follow a more smooth curve). This does not compare to analog circuits which indeed need some time to get the actual levels. I’m currently out of board and can’t test…

    #59140
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    I still think that this boils down to the initial input gain determination. Changing input gains in mid performance is quite a no-no. Best practice is to allow enough headroom to ccount for some overall “enthusiasm-based” input level increase during performance.

    Reaction time of the clip lights aside, if you’re adjusting your recording levels with the red lights as a reference it’s already too late. You’re simply running too hot over all. With at least 18 dB of headroom between usable input signal and 0 dBfs clip you should NEVER see any clipped signals coming from the desk. This does not mean that you couldn’t get some program-based DAW distortion, I suppose, but I don’t use that kind of stuff so I can only guess as to what can happen in a computer.

    #59141
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Sure, input gain. I expect Cubase to simply record whats coming in through USB into some PCM file without processing. If that file is clipped, then the input stage of the Qu was overloaded (red peak led).
    There’s also a statement in The Manual:

    For optimum performance the loudest signals should read into the yellow. If any red Peak meter flashes then reduce the level of that signal to avoid possible distortion.

    Depending on the recording point its not necessarily the input gain, could also be some additional PEQ gain. This may be the case when a channel peak led flashes but the input gain seems to be ok (and recording from post EQ).
    Red peak indicator means: Less than 3dB headroom left, this is nothing you want when operating the desk.

    #59147
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    Yep – I did some testing with the waveforms a while ago. The red light is BAD – not necessarily fatal, but really close to it…

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