Posted on Aug 18, 2010 05:51 pm
Member Since: Sep 30, 2009
Quick question, even if a guitar has passive humbucking pickups, should i still put it into the pad if i'm doing semi-intense strumming? I think i read on here once to pad if its > -10 db...fs (i think thats the right acronym), but i thought i'd check on here. my guitars peaking at like.. eh, between 6 and 2.5 db.
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Aug 18, 2010 06:27 pm Hmm, maybe I don't understand pads correctly. When you mentioned that you need to run active bass pickups through a -10dB pad in an earlier post I kind of raised my eyebrows but didn't think a lot about it.
Since: Nov 11, 2007
I guess digital is supposed to sound good until it sounds bad and then it's unusable, so as long as you don't clip I think you're good. You'll compensate for the louder tracking level before bouncing your final stereo pre-master, right? Perhaps a non issue.
Personally, I shoot for tracking anywhere between -infinity and 0. That said: I don't always hit what I'm aiming for. Sometimes the performance looks more dynamic than it is going to be during sound check, then when tracking begins I have all this extra headroom and maybe a little more environment than I had hoped for. Other times the opposite occurs: a performance looks squished during sound check so I get it peaking at unity gain...then something happens to the way the player is performing and I'm clipping at my converter. It's definitely a learning process for me. Sometimes the best performance is the first one and I've had to get a little creative with EQ's to polish a few turds. Most stringed instruments have headroom requirements that are easy to predict. Horns are a different critter!
Tip from my experience: Baritone sax needs more headroom than a stringed instrument. Alto sax needs more headroom than baritone sax. Trumpet needs all the headroom in the world...it gets so dynamic at times!
To directly answer your question in the digital world, I think you should use a -10dB pad when you need 10dB of additional headroom. If your pre-amp gain is already on a low setting and you're still clipping, I'd employ the pad.
Aug 19, 2010 03:55 am i thought a pad was just attenuate.
Since: Nov 27, 2007
Aug 19, 2010 09:50 am Make sure something in the chain isn't pushing somewhere, but I'd be looking for input levels around 10dB lower than what you're getting (so long story short, hit the pad). -6 to -2dBFS is in the realm of 15dB hotter (nearly 300% of the voltage) the circuit was designed to handle.
Aug 19, 2010 03:54 pm @quincy eh....your knowledge far surpasses mine haha. I'm still a lowly padawan ;D But as far as i understand (mostly from MM's websites advice/ ranting lol) even though digital clipping is pretty much an "it is or it isn't" deal, unlike analog. The level that you record at is still important so that you don't "smash" it in the analog-digital conversion. And then something about a burnt steak dinner.
@MM okie :) figured that sounded right, still wanted to check here though, before i start second guessing myself again. Thanks!
Aug 20, 2010 03:58 pm Man...don't let me fool you, I am just reporting on what I've heard and what my untrained ear tells me. And also, I think you are right and I was wrong. I'm headed up to see John next weekend and I think a good chewing out will be in order after we get started. I tracked some of these songs a little too hot.
Since: Nov 11, 2007
Aug 20, 2010 05:12 pm Curiosity urges me on, have you actually tracked horns? I'm just wondering. I always thought it'd be kind of fun to have the opportunity to work with a bunch of musicians that play instruments that...foreign to me, and help "produce" them. And johns the one you were telling me about before, correct? the dude that ventured up to LA to meet with some people? Thats great! well. not the getting chewed out portion. But still.
The annoying thing about the internet is...there's so many "noob" tips. I've read far many more tips that say "track as hot as you can without noticeable clipping" than ones that go along with MM's line of reasoning.
Aug 20, 2010 06:12 pm The whole point of the pad is to establish a reasonable input gain as early on as possible. There's nothing you can do about a signal that will bottom out a voice coil, rip a diaphragm or unseat a ribbon -- But right after that is the electronics that will pass that signal -- Once that voltage is too high, the damage is done (and permanent).
If you're getting a signal that's arguably (easily...) "too hot" without adding gain at the preamp, that's an easy cue to engage the pad - even moving the mic wouldn't be out of the question.
More or less the same thing goes with line-level inputs (except the "moving the mic' part).
Aug 25, 2010 07:10 pm The guy I was recording before, Jeff, is more a pop rock sort of guy. He's not a producer or an engineer or anything, I meant that when I get this music mastered I may find out that I clipped the snot out of a few tunes. John = MM.
Since: Nov 11, 2007
As far as more classic instruments are concerned I've recorded alto sax, bari sax, trumpet, and upright bass. Trumpet was a dynamic PITA, but once I figured out how much headroom to dial in it wasn't a big deal at all. The two sax parts didn't need nearly as much headroom. The upright bass I recorded had one of these awesome little transducer mics between the bridge and the body. It sounds really great, but to achieve a great traditional jazz recording I probably would want to throw up an SDC pointing down the neck of the instrument to capture string noise. The "jazz" I worked on recently is an electronica fusion type thing though, so the boominess seemed to work really well. I think the string noise would have been lost anyway.
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