Amp levels vs Mixer levels...just to be clear

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Member Since: Feb 25, 2010

I want to be sure I am clear on this. You guys are saying to max the poweramp then bring the master or main volume on the mixer up slowly.
I am asking this because I read that many years ago but I was reading today and an article said the opposite. It said to max the board (each channels attenuation to just before clipping for max output) then the mixing board masters also maxed...on most "0" then creep up on the power amp volume (input sensativity) until just befor clipping.

....I assume all of this is done before the audience comes so you can adjust for the feed back. the real world we want the max volume before feedback.

so which will give us better results? max the mixer and creep up on the power amp just before feed back or a red meter on anything?


Max the amp and creep up on the mixer just before feed back or a red meter on anything? folks are great!

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MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Feb 25, 2010 11:44 am

Actually suggesting having *no* headroom...?

Let me answer with a rhetorical question...

Say you're driving a car at a normal speed down the highway. The motor is designed to run up to 9kRPM. At 9kRPM, the motor will blow - It will fail completely (It's a good analogy, as "clipping" is failure of the circuit).

Do you think it would be a good idea to run the motor at 8900RPM and control your speed by how hard you have the brakes on - or simply run the motor where it "needs" to run - where it "wants" to run - where it was designed to run - to hit the speed you're attempting to travel?

THAT said - If your goal is to drive at 70, maybe 75MPH, driving a 200MPH Indy car on the highway is a waste of horsepower.

IMAO, the *worst* way to run a chain is having anything, anywhere, even approaching its failure point.

But the final arbiter of volume at a specific level is the amplifier -- If you're running a 600 watt amplifier on a floor wedge that only needs 200 watts to have a solid signal, you're probably going to have to turn that amp down some - that's just common sense.

Same with hooking up a studio monitoring chain -- You run a nominal signal level (usually -20dB(FS)RMS) through the chain and adjust the amplifiers to give you a signal around 85dBSPL - but with plenty of headroom to get you at least 12dB (200%) over, without getting the chain anywhere near the voltage where it would fail - anywhere.

Feedback? Without question, you're going to get less *distortion* running the chain with a good amount of headroom. Feedback can certainly be skewed by skewing the distortion and spectral balance of the system - but the two aren't "really" connected. You can make a clean-gain signal feed back pretty much as easily as a dirty-gain system.

That said - I'd much rather have a clean-gain system feeding back (because it won't explode). And I'd much rather listen to a system that's running "in the zone" as opposed to one running "on the edge."

Uh, at least one more time . . .
Since: Feb 07, 2007

Feb 26, 2010 12:12 am

You needn't be modest here, Massive: send this person to the Independent Recording Network where he can check out the section on metering (Metering and Gain Structure). I finally got straight on metering and gain after studying your site's excellent little discourse on the above. You do have something to do with IRN, right? Anyway, thanks--and some day, I'll be in to see you with some stuff you can master for us.

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