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tracking on adat - naive questions


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i'm currently doing "on location" recordings using an 8-track ADAT xt20 and a small behringer mixer...i'm having HUGE problems in tracking bass and drums and everything that has a wide dynamic range. i'm worried at how easy it is to "clip" the adat.i'll always have to record at low levels because the led will go red so easily.that way the drums and the bass always sounds thin and all my records sound dull,dead,flaccid and low...as an example i could never even BEGIN to think about setting the gain at more than,say,9 o' clock when trackin a snare drum (using an sm57)... noway.the adat would be clipping at every hit. it looks like i'd have to compress EVERYTHING while tracking.i understand that compression is often used during tracking,but my instinct (it's all i have,since i'm an amateur) tells me there's something wrong here. a few questions: has this happened to any of you? the feeling that you can't capture the signal's dynamic in a satisfying way. what's wrong with my signal chain? my mixer pres? my adat? my amateurism? am i missing something? i'd really appreciate your help because this is really bothering me. thanks.
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Compressing signals during a live location recording is necessary usually. Even in a studio recording the bass and bass drum and even the drum overhead mics are at least lightly compressed. You may also need to use Pads on the mics to get the signal level lower so that you can get a better S/N Ratio at the mixer inputs.

Mac Bowne

G-Clef Acoustics Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

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Other than the "ditch the ADAT's" advice, which is most likely not helpful at all, I do a lot of live recording on my ADAT and you simply have to keep the levels below clip. I use the direct outs of my mixing board and usually run levels around -15 or slightly above. I haven't had any problems with the music sounding dull or flat. You don't say what you are using as a front end to the ADAT. I usually compress the bass and possibly the drums but not much else. Most of my live recording work is with acoustic and bluegrass groups so a lot of compression isn't required. If you have a headphone jack on your mixer you should try to get the best sound you can. The ADAT should record what you hear. I personally like the unit and the fact I can store an hour of 20 bit eight tracks for around $12 makes it really cost effective for live recording.

Mark G.

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame others" -- John Burroughs

 

"I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man." -- Thomas Jefferson

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my mics are the usual dynamic mics (d112,sm 58,57,57 beta) and a rode nt 2 that i use for vocals and/or as a overhead for drums. the mixer is a behringer 12 channel...that is also part of the problem... the main issue for me is that ,unless the sound is VERY compressed,like a distorted guitar, my AVERAGE levels will be (as you said) at -15/19.it's like there's a whole "zone" between -15 and +0 where an average level just can't be set or else it's going to be "clip-fest". fuck it,i'll trade the behringer for a mackie and see what happens.
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The adats are not the problem. Lower your gain on the board until there is the very occasional over, that's what you want to compress/limit. If the compressor is lighting up on every snare hit, your threshold is too low or your gain on the board is too high. You might need a pad for it, don't know if Berringer(k) has that.
-David R.
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I don't think it is the problem with the ADAT or the Behringer mixer. I used probably all of the mixers in the Behringer's product line with the mics that you have mentioned including Rode NT2 and the ADAT XT20 as well. Compression surely helps to even out the level but yours is another issue. Unless the unit is defective you can go well above "nine o'clock position" on the Behringer mic gain with an SM57 in front of the snare. What is the model of the mixer? On Behringer, from where are you feeding the XT20's inputs? Behringer mic pres DO NOT sound fat, we all know about the converters on the ADATs so surely we cannot expect a state-of-the-art sounding recording BUT with that set-up, and the dbx 160, you should be getting at least a DECENT sounding recording.

Ufuk Onen

www.UfukOnen.com

Ankara, Turkey

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thanks for your reply,ufuk. the behringer mixer is an eurorack mx2642. i usually track the drums with four mics:kick (d112),snare(sm57) and two oh's (rode nt2). i always have the 4 buses going to the adat.the buses are always lower than 0db or the adat will clip,sometimes they're set MUCH lower (depends on the drummer)... ...and the gain stage is usually set at "nine 'o' clock". if you think i might be doing anything wrong feel free to tell me.i'd appreciate your help on this one.
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Hi all......this would be a good place for the Alesis 3630 compressor/limiter. They are really better for live situations than in the studio where I use them with the lightest touch. My good friend is a bass player that wants to pick up one of these and set it on top of his rig for his live playing. It will keep him at a more stable level, and still allow for him to sound dynamic on stage. They only cost $100+ bucks. The drummer could do the same thing from a rack next to him too. But if you do it you'll need to get a couple of these for those offending players before the mixer. My 5 cents worth.....inflation ya know..... Jazzman :cool:
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>> The adats are not the problem. Lower your gain on the board until there is the very occasional over, that's what you want to compress/limit. If the compressor is lighting up on every snare hit, your threshold is too low or your gain on the board is too high. >> This is wonderful advice. I do it the same way, more or less, but I use the RNC compressor at a 10:1 ratio, which by most definitions is limiting. I do this when recording just about anything with peaky transients like rock, etc. when recording to a digital source. With analog, obviously, it's not really that big of a deal if you get the occasional "over" -- in fact, sometimes, it's desirable. This is all personal opinion, of course, but I don't like the 3630 compressor for hard squashing. It *sounds* like it is being squashed really heavily, with the big squeeze in the low and high ends (and yes, I know how to use a compressor). For low-budget recordings, I much prefer the RNC compressor.
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[Behringer mic pres DO NOT sound fat, we all know about the converters on the ADATs so surely we cannot expect a state-of-the-art sounding recording BUT with that set-up, and the dbx 160, you should be getting at least a DECENT sounding recording.[/QB][/QUOTE] I keep reading about the major releases being done on ADAT's. I also wonder about the term "state of the art". An ADAT blows away most recording medium more than six years old and performs nearly as good as systems costing over a hundred grand ten years ago. I have live recordings getting national airplay that were recorded using a Behringer mixer and my ADAT and they needed very little adjustment in the mastering phase. If Springsteen can release an album recorded on a four track cassette, you should be able to get a quality product on an ADAT with a Behringer mixer. Keep trying..

Mark G.

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame others" -- John Burroughs

 

"I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man." -- Thomas Jefferson

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