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Gain stage setting

Claude77Claude77 Posts: 178Pro, 2.0 PRO
Hey all,

I would like to ask help about recording and gain stage.
I have studied a bit and found out that the gain stage we use for recording it is one of the most important thing if we want to reach high quality recordings.

My gear is pretty straight:

USB microphone APOGEE PLUS with integrated preamp into GARAGEBAND

The question is related to the sweet spot you have to find between the analog signal and the digital one (the law of -18db - 0db).
The digital input should be set to -018db in order to have maximum quality in the analog world.

So how do we do it?

When I record my vocal track I try to set the mic input not too high but enough to get a good quality, I leave the MAIN VOLUME in garageband at 0DB and I usually manipulate the input volume of my vocal track to get the best quality I can.

This way to procede is very intuitive and not scientific.

How to get the sweet spot and the magical relationn -18db -0db?

Thanks,
Claudio

Comments

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,453Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Claudio,

    GarageBand it is very simple. When you engage the track make sure that the signal meter of the input track remains in the green area when you are recording. Use the input control of your interface to adjust the recording volume. If you do so your signal should be recorded at around -15dB.

    The channel fader of in GarageBand will only control the output signal of the track. You can try it. Arm your track for recording and put the Volume fader of the channel to -oo dB. You will still see that the signal indicator will be in the green area.

    I hope that helps.

    Doc
  • Claude77Claude77 Posts: 178Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Thanks @doc_ramadani

    So I am assuming that I don’t have to care about gain stage as long as all my recording track remains into the green area?

    So not any yellow is acceptable? Just green?
    In this way I am getting the best sounding quality I could?

    Thanks a lot, this really helps
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,453Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Claudio,

    Gain staging is more a part of the mixing process. It means that we start our mix by staging all the tracks against the others, in means of Volume.

    It is no deal if you hit the yellow range here and there but we generally like to stay very conservative when recording. I would recommend to you to record at 44,1 kHz with 24 bit depth. This gives you an amazing dynamic range and the very good audio quality.

    If you need more detailed help we could meet via Skype.

    Doc
  • Claude77Claude77 Posts: 178Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Thanks a lot @doc_ramadani it should be clear now.
    If I am still struggling with this stuff I will take advantage of your kindness.
    C.
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 341Pro
    @Claude77 unless it's a plug-in modeled after analog gear, I don't believe digital software or hardware has a sweet spot. Doc is right that it's better to record conservatively and crank the volume later. In the analog recording days, they recorded at a level just below peaking. This way they could get the most powerful performance possible without getting noise from turning up the sound. In digital recording, this is much less of an issue.
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