Something is recording to loud

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Member Since: Oct 25, 2004

Ive been recording a violin and piano for several months with no problems
Im using two Phantom powered mics going in to a beringer desk then in to an emu 0404 sound card recording using Cubase lite

Anyway all the levels are right with no clip detected but when i record on cubase the sound clips creating distorting in the louder parts.. I took the levels down on my 0404, i have had to take the DPS software interface down 9 DB before it stops the clipping but still its a bit dodgy!

Can anyone help?

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Formally Hydrial69
Since: May 06, 2009

Feb 21, 2010 09:54 am

if you have money, get a compressor ha ha, im not to great with cubase, but i know many others are great with it here and can explain it

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Feb 21, 2010 10:41 am

A compressor at the input overdrives a signal *more* - not less. The last thing you want to do is compress the input if your levels are too hot.

That said - There's probably something goofy going on between your interface and Cubase. Any chance there's a digital gain stage in there somewhere that's throwing the numbers off?

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 21, 2010 12:13 pm

Well, a compressor will overdrive a signal more only if you add makeup gain. With a -0 dB threshold, there should be no difference in the signal strength, right? And as you turn the threshold lower and lower, the signal gets clamped down on at lower and lower amplitudes, right? As long as you don't add any makeup gain then the signal should be quieter as it leaves the compressor.

I dunno, maybe some compressors have some level of built-in makeup gain that they add but I'm not familiar with any such unit.

But still, that's not the solution that you're after, I don't think. I think that proper gain staging is going to be the approach to take before you spend any money on gear.

First things first, why are you using the Berhinger mixing desk at all in your signal chain? Your EMU 0404 has Phantom power, so I'd suggest simply plugging straight into that. Unless there's some other reason you're using the Behri desk, I'd take it out of the equation completely. It's preamps are probably going to be noisier than the EMU's, and if you're going from a preamped channel on the Behri to a preamped channel on the EMU (e.g. a mic input instead of a line input), then you're asking for excessive noise.

So try that first, just plug your two condensor mics straight into your EMU 0404 (which has 2 XLR inputs and phantom power, so there should be no problem there).

After you've tested that configuration, tell us how it's working and we can go from there.

Good luck.

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Feb 21, 2010 06:21 pm

Signals get overdriven *before* the compressor and the compressor allows that overdriven signal to "fool itself" into thinking it isn't overdriven --

Example -

You're recording a vocal track - Figure you want a little headroom on the analog side, so you're seeing a signal a couple dB short of 0dBVU or around 1 volt. Good thing.

Run that signal into a compressor and get a few dB of gain reduction going on and one could easily be pushing a 2 volt signal into the compressor while the compressor is reducing that (distorted, overdriven to some extent) signal back down to 1 volt.

We're at that "a burnt steak doesn't get less well-done by pouring ice on it - It's just a cold, burnt steak" situation.

The extremely bad stuff happens when people try to "track hot but without clipping" and use a compressor to stop the converters from clipping -- now you're talking 4-5 volts, risking complete failure of the analog circuit (not even thinking about the S/N, skewed spectral response, harmonic distortion, etc., etc. that's occurring from running the preamp at 300% over spec) and then *thinking* that the compressor is making the signal "better" -- It might be stopping the *converter* from clipping, but it's allowing the preamp to clip (which is generally far worse, as the preamp probably sounded pretty bad far before it started clipping).


If a "normal" signal is being compressed a whisker on the way in, that's another story.

I'm just trying to keep some people from flooring the motor and using the brakes to dictate the speed.

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Feb 22, 2010 01:25 pm

Based of the title of your post my simple answer is "turn it down" ;) Normally I turn things up once tracked in my DAW not down, if turning down (especially a piano) you are probably tracking too hot.

Now, my little Rhode NT5 SDC's require so little gain that I actually have to use the -20 pad button on my interface when micing overheads. If I don't pad them they are still audbile with the gain at 0.....

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Feb 22, 2010 09:29 pm

skewed spectral response

I see a name for a new band =)

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Feb 22, 2010 09:51 pm

Lol, that is pretty dynomite.

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