Over modulating at 5

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gravy6
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:37 am

Over modulating at 5

Post by gravy6 »

As a voice talent I like to have my levels peaking at 6 but I can't seem to get levels higher than 5 without over modulating and the wave form cuts off. Is there a setting that sets the peak that I can change?

DougDbug
Posts: 2051
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Silicon Valley

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by DougDbug »

Do you mean 0.5 (50% or -6dB)?

What kind of hardware are you using? If you are using a regular "computer mic" it could be a limitation/weakness of your soundcard or a limitation of a "cheap" USB mic.

Your analog-to-digital converter should go to 100% (0dBFS). Your digital-to-analog converter and "normal" WAV files are also limited to 0dB. (Like most audio editors, GoldWave uses floating-point internally so it can "temporarily" go over 0dB without clipping.)

You can boost the levels with Effect -> Volume -> Maximize Volume, after recording. Note that Maximize Volume* is referenced from the highest peak on the recording, so it may not sound loud after Maximizing.

You may need some dynamic compression and/or limiting to get a strong volume level. i.e., You can knock-down the peaks (without clipping) by using compression/limiting, then Maximize to bring-up the average/overall volume. (When compression/limiting is used to boost the levels, it also boosts the background noise.)

A "studio style" USB mic or a USB audio interface along with a stage or studio microphone should give you better results overall, and should allow you to get to 100%.



* In audio terminology, "maximization" is usually called "normalization".

gravy6
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by gravy6 »

I'm using a Rode NT1A condenser mic into an Avalon V5 preamp, into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 into my PC.
It's clipping at 5 and I don't know what to do. I'm relatively sure it's a some setting that I don't know. I'd really prefer not to have to match or max volume every time.

donrandall
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 11:06 pm
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by donrandall »

Gravy...
It appears that you are using quality equipment, and I know that Goldwave is an outstanding recording software.
I'm thinking it is probably a matter of finding some adjustments in your recording chain that give the results you are looking for.

Let's start with Goldwave, because the computer and software are most certainly links in your chain. Open Goldwave, Use F-11 to open Control Properties, Select Volume. What is your setting? I use 33%. You can adjust more or less if that isn't ideal for you, experimentation may be necessary.

What about your Windows settings? What is your Recording Device setting? I use Line/Audiobox on one computer and Line/Presonus Saffire on the other. It is possible that you might have your windows setting too hot, so check that. It will probably be in Windows Mixer, if I remember correctly.

Do you have settings and adjustment that you have for things like tube, or tube simulation, saturation, impedence, or compression, or equalization, or anything else? I have discovered that some times, those things may be useful to correct some things, but often enough they make things worse instead of better.

I use an Audio Technica 4040 mic with either a Focusrite Saffire, Presonus Eureka/Audiobox combo or a Yamaha preamp that is built into my mixer. I run them all at low power, or gain, settings... none of them are running as high as fifty percent of their capacity. Unless there is a valid reason for it, I use no other adjustments that may in any way alter the true and actual sound of my voice. That is the job of any producer to whom you send your track.

DougDbug
Posts: 2051
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Silicon Valley

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by DougDbug »

Sorry, I still don't understand what you mean by "5". 0.5 Makes sense, and -5dB makes sense, but 5 doesn't...

Like Don says, your equipment seems fine (assuming it's not defective or broken), but if you are clipping below 0dB, that's an analog/hardware problem.
I'm using a Rode NT1A condenser mic into an Avalon V5 preamp, into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 into my PC.
The Focusrite has a mic preamp, so you don't need the other preamp. It's possible that the output of the preamp is clipping, or that you are clipping the Focusrite's analog circuit. With two circuits and two volume/gain controls in series you have to get the "gain staging" right.

It's also possible to clip the electronics in a condenser mic, but that's very unlikely with voice.

If you want to use an external preamp, make sure the Focusrite is set to "line", and you may have to experiment with various gain settings on the preamp and on the Focusrite.

Or, you might want to try it without the separate preamp to see if it works OK with just the Focusrite.

I assume you've got phantom power switched-on on your preamp?
I'd really prefer not to have to match or max volume every time.
That's a normal part of audio post-production. You have to leave some headroom with "live" digital recording because the peaks are unpredictable and you absolutely don't want to hard-clip the ADC. Pros typically record at -12 to -18dB to allow headroom for unexpected peaks, and for level increases due to mixing or effects/processing. For home recording, it's common to shoot for -3 to -6dB.

gravy6
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by gravy6 »

Ok, I did mean -5db
I was using just the saffire 2i2, but it was suggested by fellow voice over talent that the Avalon would be a good addition.
Actually everything was fine on my last computer which died and had worked great for 7 years with great levels, but on my new one i'm having these level issues. That's why I'm wondering if it is a setting somewhere. I've been using Goldwave successfully for 11 years and LOVE it. I won't switch.
So I've check all my levels. The Line in Scarlett in Control properties>Device>Record was set at 100% Reset to 33% as suggested
Windows levels were set at 100% reset to 75%
I wish I could post a picture. PM me?

donrandall
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 11:06 pm
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Over modulating at 5

Post by donrandall »

I'm a big fan of "Minimalism" in recording. The "Less Is More" theory is often correct. The less stuff in the chain, the less chance of one of them being the weak link and all that kinda stuff.

I rarely use my Presonus Eureka channel strip. Oooohhhh Man... that thing has all kinds of cool toys. None of which I really need or use.

I find that my Focusrite Saffire has a wonderful preamp. So does my Presonus Audiobox. And so does my Yamaha mixer.

I hope you get things all sorted out and clean and pure the way you want it! Let us know how it comes out.

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