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Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby Mercado_Negro » Thu May 05, 2011 12:08 am

Of course, you don't need to go up to 0dBFS just for the sake of it. Nebula doesn't do dynamics pretty well anyways so pushing levels is kind of... "pointless" if you're looking for *true analog behavior close to unity gain*
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby yr » Thu May 05, 2011 12:38 am

Say you are mixing an orchestral piece with raw material that has the loudest peak around -12dB. If you use the R2R as is, that would mean recording to tape at very low levels. Fortunately we don't have to worry about hiss with Nebula, but at the same time I do find that I get better results by setting the R2R library so that -6dB represents the highest level of distortion. That gives me Headroom of 6db above the highest peak and saves me using FreeG (I can use the Nebula input/output to make the smaller necessary adjustments).

About what you wrote on the other thread concerning Michael's libraries, are you sure it isn't only the R2R that should/could be used close to 0? I always used his consoles in a similar way to how I use AlexB's. Using a -3dB test signal the MLC and the T*****t produce similar amounts of distortion (-51 vs -49dB)...
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby RJHollins » Thu May 05, 2011 12:55 am

excuse ... I'm trying to follow this discussion :shock:

My question to the 'group' ??

What 'METER' setting are you using on NEBULA's MSTR page?

I'm curious to this topic, and this fundamental setting MAY be adding to the confusion.

Currently I'm using: #4 - RMS 17

I'm holding comments till then.

Sincerely
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby ngarjuna » Thu May 05, 2011 1:25 am

yr wrote:About what you wrote on the other thread concerning Michael's libraries, are you sure it isn't only the R2R that should/could be used close to 0? I always used his consoles in a similar way to how I use AlexB's. Using a -3dB test signal the MLC and the T*****t produce similar amounts of distortion (-51 vs -49dB)...


I believe this is correct although I also tend to just use CDSM's consoles in a -18dBFS = 0VU way. I don't find that any of the CDSM consoles I own suffer from being too subtle at that setting, they're pretty character-rich.

RJHollins: Default. Personally, I don't use the Nebula meters at all. I have 3rd party meters that I insert throughout the chain. I have nothing in particular against the Nebula meters (other than there is some confusion from the different modes which is unfortunate, that's another thing we should add to our let's-beef-up-the-documentation-list), but I don't love them aesthetically and I'm just not used to using them (my third party meters also come in handy even when I'm using non-Nebula plugins).

Both my RMS (very detailed and accurate) and VU-style (little detail but a bouncing needle which I often prefer) meters can be calibrated for a variety of scenarios/systems; my VU meter stays set at -18 = 0VU.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby RJHollins » Thu May 05, 2011 1:32 am

To yr:

You mention several tape decks that you've worked and/or own.

Question: What 'Operating Level' do you have those machines cal'd too ???

What tape formulation ??
and
Specifically, Op Level: nW/m2 ??
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby Mercado_Negro » Thu May 05, 2011 2:21 am

yr wrote:About what you wrote on the other thread concerning Michael's libraries, are you sure it isn't only the R2R that should/could be used close to 0? I always used his consoles in a similar way to how I use AlexB's. Using a -3dB test signal the MLC and the T*****t produce similar amounts of distortion (-51 vs -49dB)...


Sorry, I was referring to R2R only. Michael's consoles have different headrooms. For example, in that T*****t console -18dBFS is not 0VU, the headroom is way higher than that so you can use hotter signals in this case. It doesn't matter if the harmonic distribution is similar to Alex consoles, the thing is that particular console can take more *heat*. Michael's consoles are colorful, a lot, this means you can feed them with low signals and still get their *sound*, as ngarjuna just pointed out.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby sfunk » Thu May 05, 2011 8:13 am

Guys theres a rather odd tone from some of the posters here, its not turning into a "dick measuring" contest is it?! :shock:

Gain staging is not rocket science if you have some sort of accurate meter on the hardware device to refer to.
Gain staging is however a pain in the ass when you are working with a GUI that doesnt (currently) have a meter that reflects the device sampled.

If Devs simply told us what dBFS equates to 0VU on the original device then at least we all have a reference point. What is there to debate? How can that not be a good thing.

If you bought some hardware with no meters, just a black box with controls you'd be fairly confused and regardless of how many years pro experience i am sure you would be questioning whether you are using them as they were designed
Last edited by sfunk on Thu May 05, 2011 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby yr » Thu May 05, 2011 9:21 am

I'm happy to see the tone of the discussion is changing and becoming more informative. That will save us all from having to attach a CV before making a post on this forum.

We used to use mostly Ampex (sometimes BASF). The R2R library is set so that 0dBFS represents the maximum amount of distortion. The tape machine analogy will be probably to set your machine to +6 370nWb/m at 0VU and never go above 0 . But I actually feel this analogy is problematic because of the limitations of Nebula (inability to capture higher levels of distortion accurately). I think this is why the TB and the VTM were created (plus the lack of actual compression with the R2R).

If you mix at moderate levels using a -18dB=0VU you can set the R2R library so that -6dB represents your absolute maximum. Just make sure you don't drive it too hard and never go above -6dB.

About Michael's consoles- it's more accurate to say some of his consoles are very colorful (like the T*****t). The vintage BBC console is actually very clean and subtle. I use it a lot.
Last edited by yr on Thu May 05, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby giancarlo » Thu May 05, 2011 9:53 am

@yr: check latest 64 bits build, because you need it for a proper working evf and trim mode. Tell me if it solves your previous crash issues.

[EDIT]: to everyone.

It's very important you understand how nebula works. Programs released till now are based on RMS mode. We are speaking about old and crappy nebula RMS mode so please check nebula meters RMS 17, and
N O T
other meters. In the future a lot of programs will be based on EVF 17, so please
CHECK NEBULA METERS IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PROPER GAIN STAGING.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby yr » Thu May 05, 2011 11:24 am

Thanks Giancarlo- just tested it and everything is working well with the 64bit version. I leave the Nebula metering at default and use an external VU meter.
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