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Differences Between Fader Volumes Before and After Recording


enigma
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When I test my levels before I record they are below the red, but when I play back what I record the levels are much higher than what I tested. I do not think it is because I am playing harder when I record. I suspect it is because of the plug-ins affecting the levels. I have pre-fader metering on. Should I rely on the post-recorded fader volumes to adjust my levels, or the pre-recorded?

 

-Thanks

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It's hard to know which level you're talking about. There are 3 different levels at play here:

 

Recording Level:

This is the level of the file you're recording. You don't adjust it in Logic, you adjust it on your mic/instrument/line preamp before your A/D converters. Once the A/D converters feed Logic 0s and 1s, all Logic does is put the 0s and 1s in an audio file without changing them - meaning it does not affect the digital recording at all. In fact you can move the faders all you want in Logic's mixer, and your recording level will not be affected. The recording level is measured at the input of Logic (so before any plug-ins) when an audio track is record enabled.

 

Monitoring Level:

This is the level at which you are monitoring (listening to) your instrument during the recording. Unless you've selected "Independent Monitoring Level" in your audio preference, this is the same as the Playback level.

 

Playback Level:

This is the level at which you are monitoring (listening to) your instrument during playback, thus the level at which that instrument is in your mix. That level can be measured pre-fader (after the last plug-in inserted on the channel strip but before the volume fader) or post-fader (after the volume fader).

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So I've set the recording level at a place where it does not clip, and the monitoring level is adjusted to my comfort. But when pre-fader metering is on, my playback level is clipping. When I turn pre-fadering off, I can adjust the playback level so that it does not clip, but I am concerned about the pre-fader clipping. Why is it that it is clipping in the playback and not the recording level? Is it because of the plug-ins? Do I need to readjust my recording level so that it does not clip in the playback or can the guy who does my mixing use the track that I've recorded and adjust the plug-ins so that they don't clip?

 

-Thanks

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Do you have plug-ins on that channel strip? If one of those plug-ins raises the level say by 10 dB, you could be recording at - 5 dBFS but playing back at +5 dBFS pre-fader. But if your fader is set to - 10 dB then the level is - 5 dBFS post-fader.

 

The only thing you have to worry about when recording is the recording level, and that one should never clip. Then you can always adjust the levels before, after or within your plug-ins so any clipping generated upon playback can easily be taken care of by making small adjustments.

 

FWIW I do not understand why you would be concerned about your pre-fader level: it doesn't really matter given the fact that you're going to adjust it non-destructively with a volume fader.

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  • 9 years later...

Why don't Pre-Fader Numbers change? When I play guitar with the volume too high, the numbers jump way up. When I turn the volume down on my guitar, it stays frozen at the much higher number. Why doesn't it react to what I'm playing in the moment? I can turn every volume knob to zero and the numbers refuse to change.

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5 hours ago, Dead Mans Fingers said:

It grabs onto the highest number and holds it there. I never know where I am after that. Feels like I should be able to Monitor as I go. Any advice?

That's the expected behavior, and the entire purpose of the peak detector: to detect the highest value and hold it so that you can tell how high you've been since the last time you pressed play or you started playing your instrument. The meters below are momentary: those don't hold the highest value. 

You can click the peak detector to reset it.

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2 minutes ago, Dead Mans Fingers said:

Or do I just watch the little colored bar? 

Yes, the vertical colored bars below the peak detectors are the meters and they provide real time measurement of your level. 

You can also choose metering plug-ins in the Audio FX slots, in the "Metering" category, however for most recording application, the regular meters on the channel strip should be enough. 

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Obviously it works. The whole recording world is functioning just fine. It's just weird that they would drop such an obvious limitation on such an important thing. For all the bells and whistles this program has, being able to effectively monitor your levels as you play seems a  no brainer. That little 1.75 inch colored bar is too small to be specific. 

 

I started off with an old Yamaha Analogue 4-track. The colored bar was 3.5 inches tall, and extremely responsive. Being able to see it in the moment as I played, allowed for a lot more nuance. I could pick my spot and hold it there. And react up and down, as the moment required.

 

I love digital. I recorded close to 2,600 songs the old analogue way. For as frustrating as the learning process can get, I will never go back. But I have to tinker so much more after the fact, now. It's one of the few things the old analogue system did better. 

 

Anyway, thanks for taking the time. Cheers

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