I have to admit you've lost me on a few points here, but hopefully we can pull something out of this.
Studio 919 wrote:apparently I've been doing things wrong. Let me explain. I have recorded quite a few songs and some are "complete" except for mastering. I mixed them down to mp3 and took them to a local karaoke bar and they played them for me on their pa system. That gives me a better feel for how they sound and any adjustments that may be needed. Most times, however, they are "hot". I looked at each one and the waveforms appear to be normal size. They sound good but my friend has to turn down the volume. I have also created a "test" cd and played it in my car. I had to turn the volume extremely high to hear my cd.
My goal is to create mp3's and cd's.
I don't work in MP3, but I don't think that is relevant to the question. And I don't "master" as I have said before.
But this portion of your question leaves me wondering how you are metering. Waveforms IMO can tell you a little about where you are roughly
level wise, recording especially, but its certainly not an accurate way to meter levels. It also makes me feel I need to point out there's often a difference between watching peaks and loudness
, which can be another thing entirely.
Studio 919 wrote:It has been said to set the master fader at unity and leave it alone.
When? Theres so many ways people work, theres no single right way IMO.
The method I currently typically use is to MIX with the main fader at unity, with a target of my mix peaking with allowance for my desired headroom. Often roughly -10 dBfs. Once I am happy with the mix, I might adjust the main for rendering
the file, to the level that meets the goal of the rendering. For instance, it depends on what I am doing with that rendering. And this answer may rely on whether there is any further processing on the main bus and just what that is.
Two examples I used in another discussion recently were setting peaks to -6 as requested by a mastering engineer, or pushing the peaks up higher for presenting a demo or example. I usually dont, but some people mix into, or add a limiter and render right up close to the hairy edge of 0dBfs. Some even use plugins that allow overs and hyper loud mastering. Depends on your goals.
If I understand you correctly I think the answer is that I use the main fader differently for mixing than rendering, .
And again, other people work differently, as shown again and again.
Studio 919 wrote:What about the individual track faders? Should they be set to unity also?
Again, not sure about the meaning of the question, but....
The track faders are for setting relative balance between the tracks. One common problem is level creep. As you mix, the main level gets too hot. With experience I learned to consider when to pull down some tracks to suit instead of turning up the one that was too low. Again, watch your target level range on the main bus. And this brings me back to metering?
Studio 919 wrote:If so, does this mean that during the recording process the gain knob on my interface is to be used in place of the faders?
How have you been setting your recording levels?
The best method for you is going to vary a little depending on your specific rig.
Studio 919 wrote:It has also been said to record at -12 or possibly -18.
Rule number one about recording is NO CLIPPING. There is no reason to record at high levels, anywhere near 0 dBfs.
I dont think theres a hard rule beyond that. If you can record at 24 Bits, I would strongly encourage it.
-18 is a good starting point, and a good idea. But it doesn't HAVE to be -18. Personally I like to consider where the recording will ultimately fit in the mix. Louder sounds COULD start a little louder, quieter sounds a little lower.
I also take into consideration any unwanted noise that might be captured in a recording. For example If I have to turn a recording way up in a mix, that noise is getting turned up. There's often ways to deal with that if necessary, but its always best to avoid it in the first place. There's a lot more to it, many things to consider, but I think that's the crux of the biscuit.
In a perfect world, recording levels would allow a rough mix to be created with all the track faders close to unity. Easier said than done, but worth keeping in mind. There are ways to manipulate this as well.....
Another thing, if you notice the range of adjustment on your faders, the resolution is finer near unity and courser further away from unity..... When you get to the end of mixing and desire very fine adjustments, doesn't it make sense to utilize that where possible?
Studio 919 wrote:Is this setting to be on each individual track or on the master?
Not sure what you meant there.
Studio 919 wrote:The OP had this question. "So when I'm ready to "Record" to Master Track I see in the "Mix" drop down menu where it says "Set Master Volume." Also when I click "Record" for the actual Master Track the Master Fader always jumps back up to 0 db."
I must be missing something. I don't understand what this means.
Neither do I. No idea. I wouldn't dwell on the OP's comments to deeply.
Hopefully there's some help in there. Have we narrowed in on some things at least?[/quote]