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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a question..

When I record, I try to have all of my inputs come in around -6db on their respective busses. My master, I keep around -12db or lower, and I end up "fixing" the volume during mastering. so that it matches the rest of my MP3 collection (so to speak).

Is this a bad practice? Should I not be tracking so hot, and leaving myself more headroom, or am I right in aiming for -6db or so during the actual recording process?
 

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Creeping in your sheets
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I'd say that you are good to go. i usually record with lvls between -4 and -8. For summing on the master, depending on how much head room i want i pretty much go for the same range...
 

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Is this a bad practice? Should I not be tracking so hot, and leaving myself more headroom, or am I right in aiming for -6db or so during the actual recording process?
Somewhere around -8 to -6db on the master out is, well I should say "was", the industry standard. Although some houses are taking levels up to -4db these days.

Stick to -8db and your mastering engineer will love you long time. :agreed:

Also it never hurts to make sure your monitors are properly calibrated. That tends to be one of the biggest issues with people printing final mixes too hot. They don't have their monitors at optimal gain levels.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Well, look at it this way - once you've got your tone converted to a digital signal, volume becomes irrelevant. Turning it up or turning it down becomes a mathematical equation rather than a gain stage, and makes no further difference to the sound, right up until you clip. So, you have two constraints.

1.) noise floor. In reality this isn't much of a constraint since the self noise of a modern recording workstation is incredibly low. You have to really push it on the quiet side before his is even a problem.

2.) preamp/interface headroom. This is your biggest constraint. Most 'pro-sumer' grade stuff is decent but the converters get a bit non-linear when you really slam them. This matters because how a signal peaks (and the peaks of course are the part most impacted) really changes how it'll sit in a mix and how much clarity and perceived headroom your mix has, so you absolutely don't want to fuck around here, especially since you have nearly infinite perfectly clean gain in-the-box. You can always turn up a too-quiet signal, but once you hurt your peaks you're toast.

I usually track around -8-12db. This leaves me a ton of headroom and ensures he peaks are getting captured pristinely, and from a pragmatic standpoint also means that when I have 8-10 tracks playing back, I don't have to turn hem all down to keep the mix from clipping. And if you think about hat, that matters. Each track has only a finite amount of headroom, and if you're trackin hot enough that you hVe to turn all your tracks down so he master doesn't clip, you're just wasting some of hat headroom.
 

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Pallin' around
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Okay, totally newb question. My master is usually around -4 dB when I am done with my mixing, however, the sound is nowhere near as loud as my mp3, hence the need to master.

How do you guys go about this? Do you run a limiter to get it as loud as possible without clipping, or is there some post-processing volume level increasing program that you use?
 

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Post processing. While it's no substitute for a pro mastering job, in a pinch a normalizer followed by careful work with a compressor and/or limiter can get your volume up.

Usual disclaimer - modern mixes, especially modern metal mixes, are often WAY too hot anyway. I wouldn't use anything from after the late 90s as a reference. See Death Metallic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Post processing. While it's no substitute for a pro mastering job, in a pinch a normalizer followed by careful work with a compressor and/or limiter can get your volume up.

Usual disclaimer - modern mixes, especially modern metal mixes, are often WAY too hot anyway. I wouldn't use anything from after the late 90s as a reference. See Death Metallic.
Magnetic you mean. You could have said "the super shitty Metallica album", but that would have been confusing since there are so many of them.
 

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Pallin' around
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Post processing. While it's no substitute for a pro mastering job, in a pinch a normalizer followed by careful work with a compressor and/or limiter can get your volume up.

Usual disclaimer - modern mixes, especially modern metal mixes, are often WAY too hot anyway. I wouldn't use anything from after the late 90s as a reference. See Death Metallic.
Awesome, thanks Drew! I'll give that a shot.

P.S. What the hell is a normalizer and what does it do? :lol: Google here I come!
 
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