User discussion > Mixing and Recording Techniques on SSL boards

What levels are you hitting the console's channel input (DAW output)?

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Artur D'Assumpção:
Hi guy,

I am wondering how do you gain structure out of the protools into the SSL channels inputs?

Are you being careful of the output levels in protools (max peak value?) and also where the console VU meter needle lives?

On my setup I notice for instance, if I am a keeping my snare peak levels around -6dbFS, my channel input (line level knob at zero) compressor almost doesn't work. So I find my self having it to peak at -2, -1... or having to add some line level knob gain to compensate (to avoid DA clip).

By the way, just as a side note my converters are the Focusrite rednets, which are factory calibrated to the BBC standard, which is 0dbu = -18dbFS. This means my -18dbFS on the protools is always -4dbu lower than the console line level (+4dbu). Typically (at least my previous converters) AD/DA are calibrated with line level (+4dB) which is what it makes sense to me...

Anyways, I would love to hear what's your approach?



Hello Artur. Thanks for all your comments, videos, and help on this site.

Did you get a chance to watch the new CLA mix series of videos on MWTM yet?

For all of us here its fantastic.

I need to post more in the new year.

I attached a PDF of Randy Staubs setup. You may already have seen this in SOS.

Artur D'Assumpção:

Yes I have had the change to watch CLA videos... not all though since I only have access for a couple of days now. Great stuff!!! And I must say his technique of laying down the tracks is very interesting and makes sense! :D

I was watching to the PDF setup (thank you btw) and I also see something curious:

Line Inputs -> -18dbFS = 0dbVU (+4 dbu)
Console Return -> -14dbFS = 0dbVU (+4dbu)

So he's returning with much less digital headroom than he outputs from the DAs.

Unfortunately I only have two possible setups, this is hardwired on my rednet AD/DAs which aren't trimmable like any other NORMAL AD/DA. My options are, -18dbFS or -24dbFS.  Also since focusrite is English they stupidly decided to adopt the BBC standard, where -18dbFS = 0dbu. This only serves to complicate things even further. I currently don't have any other AD/DA for the console returns (a stereo one for instance) where I could dial a different setup, so this setup is overall setup either for inputs (AD) and outputs (DA) across the entire console.

So I can choose -18dbFS = 0dbU:

If I use the -18dBFS reference within the DAW for gain structuring all tracks

* DA outputs are always 4dbU lower than the +4 line level of the console inputs.
* AD inputs are always 4dbU hotter (0 dbVU = hitting -14dbFS) with the +4 line level console outputs.

So to have a correct +4 console input, I need to push tracks level up, which peaks into the converter DAs.

To have a correct AD input I need to trim (either with a trimmer or with the console's master fader) the level down to have 0dbVU fall into the -18dbFS mark.

- this gives me a 14dbFS headroom.

Or I can choose, -24dbFS = 0dbU:

* with this setting I have to use a -20dbFS reference in the DAW instead of -18dbFS to make things spot on

* DA outputs would be at +4 line level of the console inputs (-20dbFS -> +4dbu)
* AD inputs would be at -20dbFS if we consider a +4 dbu console output (of course if you hit harder the console you'll still have to bring level down...)

- this gives me a 20dbFS headroom.

I just came with the 2nd option last night, so I am yet to test the result...

What are your opinions?

I would also be interested to know when your setting DAW track output levels, what are the references/ballpark for a proper signal on the console VUs?



So 18 since you only have two choices, The 14  is the the print rig. Probably due to it matching the analog 2-track Studer if they chose to use that.

Artur D'Assumpção:
-18dbFS for the output is too soft for the console. Remember my -18dbFS is 0dbu on my converters. So to have a good signal for the console it has to be at least +4dbu (or more), so you have to go to the -14dbFS ballpark and above. With more transient signals such as snares, overheads, it's easy to peak the pro tools meters and your converters.

Anyways, I am curious if someone could tell me what are the console VU meters ballpark when outputing from the DAW. Can anyone make a quick iphone video of their mix or something like that?! :D




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