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Checking for overs before the channel fader [SOLVED]


chillywilly

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Does Logic offers any facility to check for overs before the fader? If not, then this is a feature request.

 

The channel Inserts are pre-fader. If one of my plug-ins does not have an output level meter built-in, or uses a fine-looking (and more-or-less useless) "analog-style" VU meter, then it's possible to go over "0" at the insert stage before the signal path hits the channel fader. If your channel fader is faded down anywhere below "0", then the peak counter above the fader becomes useless too.

 

If these do not already exist, here are my feature requests...

- Is there any way to set the channel peak counter to display "pre-fader" ?

- I wish the blue inserts would turn red if there was an over detected at this stage.

 

I know I'm going to hear people saying, "Use your ears!" and I'm going ignore you because I already do and sometimes I miss hearing the over, which could be transient, until I've already invested in mixing a lot of other elements according to the current level of the track that is over. I want to avoid discovering these overs too late.

 

I know... probably I'm just mixing too hot. I'm not trying to push things, but the levels do tend to sneak up over time. I invite you to share your strategies for setting levels. I know about recording so the peaks are somewhere between -18 and -6. I usually aim for -12.

 

Also, I already know that I can insert a Level Meter plug-in anywhere I want, but this is not usually ideal. 1) if there is any automation on any insert, I have to be careful not to move the insert out of order or I will break the connection between the insert and its automation (this is actually a bug I'll report to Apple...). 2) the level meter plug-in has to be open, which eats up valuable screen real-estate on my laptop.

 

Please let me know if you have any ideas, or if you know of a setting that I may have missed. Thanks!

Edited by chillywilly
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Yes, Logic has a pre-fader metering option.

 

No, Logic can't tell you if an audio file contains an "over" because there is no such thing. The peak level that any audio file can reach is 0 dBfs and that's not an "over", that's just 0 dBfs. If your audio recordings were made such that clipping occurred, that will result in a consecutive series of values reflecting 0dBfs. In this case your audio file would be clipped, but it's still not "over". It's just clipped. If you want to then lower the level of that audio before it hits any of your plugins, insert a Gain plug in the first slot of the channel and lower the gain by the desired amount.

 

If you're talking about wanting Logic to detect clipping in an audio file, no, there is no such feature. There used to be a feature like this in Logic 7 and previous versions, but it would only indicate clipping under this criteria: the audio was being recorded in Logic, and 6 or more consecutive data points of 0dBfs were detected immediately after the recording was finished (upon hitting stop).

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The channel Inserts are pre-fader. If one of my plug-ins does not have an output level meter built-in, or uses a fine-looking (and more-or-less useless) "analog-style" VU meter, then it's possible to go over "0" at the insert stage before the signal path hits the channel fader.

You do realize that you could potentially go over 0 dBFS at ANY POINT IN YOUR SIGNAL CHAIN? That means in the audio file, at the input of the first insert (using the Gain region parameter), in between every insert, after the last insert, after the fader, after the pan, and this on every single channel strip in your Mixer.

 

Are you trying to meter your signal in all locations where it could potentially go over?

 

If your channel fader is faded down anywhere below "0", then the peak counter above the fader becomes useless too.

I don't understand your statement? The peak detector is always useful to detect peaks - independently of the position of the fader. Here's a post-fader metering example:

 

333395916_Picture1.png.b12d1ae7634e8732a2cf808e8164a290.png

 

I invite you to share your strategies for setting levels.

Do you realize that Logic uses a 32 bit floating point engine? That means that levels above 0 dBFS do not create distortion in Logic's audio engine. So making sure the signal does not go over 0 dBFS in between every single plug-in is not always necessary. Also, as long as your levels are reasonable and you don't do anything unreasonable with a plug-in, there should be no need to check the level for overs. For example, if a signal clips at -7 dBFS and you're equing it mostly downward, maybe upward by 2 dB, compressing it without or with little make up gain, modulating it etc... there's virtually zero chance the signal will go over 0 dBFS.

 

Guide to Levels in Digital Audio

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[EDIT: seems I've cross-posted with David]

 

Just a little extra info... you can push your levels very hot on channel strips and not fear going "over" because of Logic's 32-bit floating point audio processing. That's not to say that you can't distort certain plugins with levels that are too hot, but the channel strips themselves are extremely "tolerant", with up to something around 1500 dB's of dynamic range. Of course, too many channels worth of too-hot audio will potentially distort your outputs, but that's easy enough to solve by simply bringing down the level on that output.

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I don't understand your statement? The peak detector is always useful to detect peaks - independently of the position of the fader. Here's a post-fader metering example:

 

I'm not getting that result...

normal.png.0624087c7adaa657eed8fed4c6f1fe7e.png

Here is a signal before the fader is brought down.

faderdown.png.5509c5b6ab03cff123d87e998a48f003.png

Here is the same signal with the fader down. Notice that my peak indicator is lower.

 

Is there some setting that would change this indicator's behavior?

 

Do you realize that Logic uses a 32 bit floating point engine? That means that levels above 0 dBFS do not create distortion in Logic's audio engine. So making sure the signal does not go over 0 dBFS in between every single plug-in is not always necessary.

 

I downloaded and digested lagerfedlt's very helpful PDF. Thank you for introducing me to this. However, this PDF actually explains my concerns exactly, and illustrates the reason for my feature request. He says, "you need to pay attention to your output level in each plug-in in your plug-in chain which is why lower levels from the start is smart." Not every plug-in has a digital-style output meter, so it is not possible to visually confirm that we're not sending "too hot" signals to the next plug-in... which may not have an input meter and may react with undesired distortion. Sometimes this undesired distortion is subtle enough to be missed until some embarrassing moment. This is the problem I'm trying to avoid by requesting the "blue insert turns red" feature.

 

I am very glad to know that I don't have to worry about Logic's internal overs. That, I did not know about. It's very good to know!

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I'm not getting that result...

...why would you? You don't even know what signal I'm using or what level it's at. And I don't even know what signal you're using or what level it's at. What the peak detector and the meters show you is pure math. If your pre-fader signal is at +28 dBFS and you turn down your fader to - 15 dB, then the resulting signal level is +28 -15 = +13 dBFS.

 

I downloaded and digested lagerfedlt's very helpful PDF. Thank you for introducing me to this. However, this PDF actually explains my concerns exactly, and illustrates the reason for my feature request. He says, "you need to pay attention to your output level in each plug-in in your plug-in chain which is why lower levels from the start is smart."

Which is pretty much paraphrasing what I just stated:

 

Also, as long as your levels are reasonable and you don't do anything unreasonable with a plug-in, there should be no need to check the level for overs. For example, if a signal clips at -7 dBFS and you're equing it mostly downward, maybe upward by 2 dB, compressing it without or with little make up gain, modulating it etc... there's virtually zero chance the signal will go over 0 dBFS.

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Control-click the transport bar and choose "Pre Fader Metering" from the Modes and Functions column. Then engage that mode in your transport bar.

 

Great! That helps a lot. That gets me a good part of the way towards the solution that I would like from Apple.

 

Thanks for all your help!

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Not every plug-in has a digital-style output meter, so it is not possible to visually confirm that we're not sending "too hot" signals to the next plug-in... which may not have an input meter and may react with undesired distortion. Sometimes this undesired distortion is subtle enough to be missed until some embarrassing moment. This is the problem I'm trying to avoid by requesting the "blue insert turns red" feature.

 

This is indeed a problem, particular with some of Logic's own plugins. While they sound good, many of them are nevertheless "cheaply designed" in that they don't offer metering (I'd love there be metering on the Enveloper, for one). But the upside, in some cases, is that it forces you to use your ears more.

 

Still, the embarrassing moments are best avoided by exactly what you don't want to hear: using your ears. Totally dead serious about that. IMO you can only afford to be just so anal about internal levels being displayed on meters. Ultimately they're just flashing lights that can sometimes lead you to exactly the wrong impression about what's going on. Just because a signal pegs a meter doesn't mean it sounds bad!

 

The best way to check for distortion is to listen to music at extremely low levels from your monitors, as well as by using headphones (again, monitoring low). Distortion will stick out 99.9% of the time. It's the best way to listen for distortion when your ears are fatigued too.

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The best way to check for distortion is to listen to music at extremely low levels from your monitors, as well as by using headphones (again, monitoring low). Distortion will stick out 99.9% of the time. It's the best way to listen for distortion when your ears are fatigued too.

 

Thanks for understanding. Yes, I don't want to hear the ear suggestion because, like I said, I am using my ears. I am putting in some very long days and getting fatigued, and at the end of a long day of mixing, I hate to discover that I missed some crunchy distortion caused by overloading a plug-in. It just happens even though I am listening carefully.

 

Thanks also for the suggestion to listen at low levels for distortion. In fact, I prefer to do everything at low to moderate levels. I even installed a -30 dB passive attentuator before my HR-824s because of the extremely hot output on my MIO 2882. Just saying... I agree... and I want this indicator feature. Visual confirmation is never going to allow me to stop listening. It just may help me work more effectively for long sessions. The pre-fader metering will help me.

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Let me join this topic just to talk about something that changed my entire digital mixing life. There's a topic on gearslutz about this very topic, digital levels ITB. Besides the simple fact of distortion and headroom, there's something more to be considered in this game. I suggest you to take a close look at these ideas. There's a guy that really knows about what he's talking, his name is Paul Frindle, the man behind some of the greatest plugins ever made, sonnox, and some other great projects too, it's very good idea to take a look and consider their thoughts . Since the day I read this topic, I changed my behavior in ITB mixing and found that my sounds are really more open than before, IMO, the sound with low levels are really more open. Just my 2 cents.
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There's a guy that really knows about what he's talking, his name is Paul Frindle, the man behind some of the greatest plugins ever made, sonnox, and some other great projects too

 

http://www.israellycool.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/beaver.jpg

 

So you are saying the rest of us really don't know what we are talking about because we didn't invent a plug in?

 

If you don't know what you are doing without using 'some of the greatest plugins ever made,' then using 'some of the greatest plugins ever made' won't really help, now will they?

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It is simply a fact that few here have the knowledge and experience that Paul Frindle has. Understand, however, that many of hose issues that he was addressing were more relevant to fixed point than floating point

 

That said, as a guy who has been doing this a long time, even in a floating point DAW, if you are using third party plug-ins as well as the Logic plug-ins, paying some attention to the amount of level flowing from one plug-in on a channel strip into the next and avoiding them going into the red, leads to better sounding mixes, if for no other reason than it really focuses you on what is going on within your mix.

 

Paul Frindle agreed with me on this and said, "If we are wrong about this {with 32 bit float} where's the downside? :),

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paying some attention to the amount of level flowing from one plug-in on a channel strip into the next and avoiding them going into the red, leads to better sounding mixes.

 

Unless there is a specific sounding result that can be had by pushing the input of a plugin.

 

If the signal going into a compressor, for example, is too low, the compressor has no effect and has nothing to compress. Not clipping the input to the compressor and making the compressor work the way it should, will give the desired results for the dynamic processing. Overloading the input to the compressor can drastically change the sound (Drums or Bass guitar for example) of the signal, and yet the output can be lowered to appear as if it did not clip.

 

Exporting or bouncing in a 24 bit format commits your work to undo-able results, where-as exporting in a 32 bit floating point format allows that flexibility. However, one should never get to the point (32 bit or otherwise) where something has to be undone.

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paying some attention to the amount of level flowing from one plug-in on a channel strip into the next and avoiding them going into the red, leads to better sounding mixes.

 

Unless there is a specific sounding result that can be had by pushing the input of a plugin.

 

If the signal going into a compressor, for example, is too low, the compressor has no effect and has nothing to compress. Not clipping the input to the compressor and making the compressor work the way it should, will give the desired results for the dynamic processing. Overloading the input to the compressor can drastically change the sound (Drums or Bass guitar for example) of the signal, and yet the output can be lowered to appear as if it did not clip.

 

Exporting or bouncing in a 24 bit format commits your work to undo-able results, where-as exporting in a 32 bit floating point format allows that flexibility. However, one should never get to the point (32 bit or otherwise) where something has to be undone.

 

Yes, agreed. That said the current taste towards digital clipping is sonic imbecility. Just MHO of course :)

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There's a guy that really knows about what he's talking, his name is Paul Frindle, the man behind some of the greatest plugins ever made, sonnox, and some other great projects too

 

http://www.israellycool.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/beaver.jpg

 

So you are saying the rest of us really don't know what we are talking about because we didn't invent a plug in?

 

If you don't know what you are doing without using 'some of the greatest plugins ever made,' then using 'some of the greatest plugins ever made' won't really help, now will they?

 

I did not want to offend anyone here mate, maybe you're feeling this way, since you used a photo of a defenseless child to represent your own feelings, for this, I suggest therapy, can help you with your insecurity. Still, I must redeem myself if anyone has felt offended too, for me, exalt the knowledge of a man for being an authority on any subject, in my view, does not diminish the knowledge of anyone, it's a simple fact, is exactly the opposite , is to be humble in itself, since I myself also have enough experience and knowledge, and yet I omit from my own opnion to exalted the opnion of an expert. And no, he's not an expert because he made a plugin or another, he is an expert by the knowledge he has, and if you do not think the projects he was involved in your entire life testify to the quality of his work, and the amount of knowledge that he has, sorry, but for me, I think it testifies.

Posts like yours are the very reason I almost didn't post in forums, people tend to lead things to a so personal side, and it's not personal, we're sharing ideas here, proposing ideas, pointing to one direction or another, try to be fellows, try to HELP. Just relax, again, I did not want to offend anyone, sorry if what I said about what I think about the Paul Frindle's knowledge, that for me He's an authority on the subject of digital audio, caused so much anger in your heart and attacked so much your ego, was not my intention. I hope we could be back on topic. I hope all the best for you mate, and again, sorry if I offended you so much

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It is simply a fact that few here have the knowledge and experience that Paul Frindle has. Understand, however, that many of hose issues that he was addressing were more relevant to fixed point than floating point

 

That said, as a guy who has been doing this a long time, even in a floating point DAW, if you are using third party plug-ins as well as the Logic plug-ins, paying some attention to the amount of level flowing from one plug-in on a channel strip into the next and avoiding them going into the red, leads to better sounding mixes, if for no other reason than it really focuses you on what is going on within your mix.

 

Paul Frindle agreed with me on this and said, "If we are wrong about this {with 32 bit float} where's the downside? :),

 

Exactly what I'm trying g to say, and please, the topic that I was triying to bring to life here is there's more to digital levels than just cliping, for example, Interpeak Samples. and my fault not put the topic that I was talking about in my first post. here it is:

 

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/463010-reason-most-itb-mixes-don-t-sound-good-analog-mixes-restored.html

 

and again, I'm not trying to diminish the knowledge of anyone here, I just think the fact that Paul is one of the guys behind projects such as SSL analog consoles, after having been one of the guys involved in the design of digital consoles such as Sony Oxford and dpois be one of the guys involved in the projects of the plugins from Sony, and now have their own company Developing your own plugins, as well as technicians and users like us, he's aa developer and engineer, who knows things by the side of inside, and the fact that he has been known to manufacture analog and have migrated to digital manufacturing, puts him in a totally different level of knowledge of me for example. It's just my opnion guys, sorry again. I know you guys are very wise, all of you, but want to respect the superior knowledge of someone, it's not ugly, that's nice, I think at least.

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Suggestion: ditch the attenuator and buy this: http://www.presonus.com/products/detail.aspx?productid=1

 

It's inexpensive and sonically very transparent. Has a dim switch, mono switch, speaker trims, etc.

 

Thanks Ski. The passive inline attenuators that I'm using were recommended by MH Labs. They are inexpensive and sonically transparent by nature (according to both MH Labs and Hosa). At this time, I don't need all the features (or the expense) of studio monitor controller hardware. I do appreciate the referral for the future. Maybe someday I'll need to A/B speakers, send multiple mixes, etc. Right now, I'm working simply and alone, and my setup is working well.

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I did not want to offend anyone here mate, maybe you're feeling this way, since you used a photo of a defenseless child to represent your own feelings, for this, I suggest therapy, can help you with your insecurity.

 

... Posts like yours are the very reason I almost didn't post in forums, people tend to lead things to a so personal side, and it's not personal, we're sharing ideas here, proposing ideas, pointing to one direction or another, try to be fellows, try to HELP.

 

The photo is that of Beaver Cleaver and he always asks "Whaddya mean Wally?" when he needs clarification.

 

As for offending me? Not possible since I am a lowlife scum of the earth. I have no feelings to be hurt (p.s. there is no therapy available that could ever help me, the meds they gave me failed to work.)

 

For all you know, I could be Paul Frindle :shock:

As far as I know, you could be Paul Frindle :shock: :shock:

 

In any event, the topic is about monitoring the input/output of a plug-in to see if there is clipping. The simple and most effective method tends to be ignored in hopes that Logic will be redesigned just for this purpose (which I hope it is).

 

I am happy you decided to post here, and I hope you continue to do so, but referring us to gearslutz to read a never ending thread that that contains the wisdom of Paul Frindle is beside the point in terms of a simple, yet effective solution.

 

Since the topic is marked solved, I shall refrain from posting any future comments in this thread

 

Have a nice day. :D

8)

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