Mixdown Question.

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rjm
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Mixdown Question.

Post by rjm » Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:12 pm

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this issue I'm having.

I'm doing some test mixes going from an HD24 to a Masterlink. When I mix down to the Masterlink and then burn a CD, everything sounds fine and normal. Here's my issue:

When I try to mixdown to two tracks on my HD24 (straight out of my board, just like I do when mixing to the Masterlink), I automatically need to boost the level, as it goes down much quieter. Then, when I take the 2 mixed tracks from the HD24 and burn them to disc, I've lost a lot of the fullness and volume level.

I have no idea why there would be any difference (level wise) mixing down to the Masterlink vs. the HD24, given that all levels are exactly the same. What am I missing here?

Thanks in advance.

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Post by drumsound » Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:26 pm

My guess is that the HD24 and Masterlink are operating at different reference levels. There should be a way to check how each unit is set. I.E. 0vu=-18dbfs vs 0vu= -22dbfs.

Check you owners manuals for procedures.

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Post by jmoose » Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:37 pm

Maybe there's some sort of phasing/polarity thing happening? Could be some sort of "transparent" volume or wiring issue too. You're a little vague, how...exactly, are things hooked up when this is happening?

I'm not really following...
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Post by idylldon » Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:06 pm

If your board is putting out unbalanced signals, then you'll lose 6dB going into the HD24, which has balanced analog inputs only. Are you using the unbalanced RCA inputs on the Masterlink?

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rjm
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Post by rjm » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:29 pm

Yes, I'm using balanced outs from my board into unbalanced inputs on both my Masterlink and/or HD24.

Simply put, when I mix straight down to ML and make a CD, it's fine....everything is there....volume, dynamics, etc.

When I decide to mix down to two tracks on the HD24...same mix, same fader levels, etc.......it records on to the HD at a lower level....and then when I take that two track mix and put it back into the ML to make a CD everything is just completely down a notch....it feels like something was "lost". But I can't figure out why there would be a loss of anything between either method.

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Post by kayagum » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:14 am

That's your problem.

Your HD24 is expecting +4dBu and you're feeding it a -10dBu signal- the mismatch is causing your signal level drop. This is independent of balanced vs. unbalanced. And, to my knowledge, you can't switch +4/-10 inputs on the HD24.

Your Masterlink has both +4dBu (on the balanced inputs) and -10dBu (on the unbalanced inputs). If you're feeding a -10dBu signal to the -10dBu input, then you're properly matched. If you're feeding a +4dBu signal into a -10dBu input, then it's going to be pretty hot. Not necessarily bad, but you'll probably have to scale back on your faders.

Easiest solution (if you really don't want to convert) is to use the balanced inputs on the Masterlink. Then it will be the same (level-wise) as the HD24.
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rjm
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Post by rjm » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:49 am

Thanks....that helps a lot.

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Post by Mark Alan Miller » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:24 am

kayagum wrote:That's your problem.

Your HD24 is expecting +4dBu and you're feeding it a -10dBu signal- the mismatch is causing your signal level drop.
Except that it's being done the other way around:
rjm wrote:Yes, I'm using balanced outs from my board into unbalanced inputs on both my Masterlink and/or HD24.
So the issue is more likely a difference in how the inputs to the HD24 and the Masterlink handle being sent from a balanced source to their unbalanced inputs, or, more likely, how much the console doesn't like having its balanced outs forced to be unbalanced, and is reacting differently depenting on the load it is seeing.

But I too believe that it's in this whole balanced/unbalanced crowbarring.

Unless I'm completely missing something. :)
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Post by rhythm ranch » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:02 am

Mark Alan Miller wrote:So the issue is more likely a difference in how the inputs to the HD24 and the Masterlink handle being sent from a balanced source to their unbalanced inputs...
The HD24 only has balanced I/O (1/4" TRS, +4dBu), but rjm, is it possible that you're taking the balanced output of your board and unbalancing it (perhaps converting it to 1/4" TS) to run into the HD24? Doing so would drop your mix 6dB.

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Post by rjm » Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:10 am

Yes! I think that is the problem. I have a selection of custom cables that I'm using that go from XLR/Balanced ends to 1/4 ends....but I didn't think about whether the other ends were balanced or not. I'm not very bright sometimes.....

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Post by Mark Alan Miller » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:22 pm

rhythm ranch wrote:
Mark Alan Miller wrote:So the issue is more likely a difference in how the inputs to the HD24 and the Masterlink handle being sent from a balanced source to their unbalanced inputs...
The HD24 only has balanced I/O (1/4" TRS, +4dBu), but rjm, is it possible that you're taking the balanced output of your board and unbalancing it (perhaps converting it to 1/4" TS) to run into the HD24? Doing so would drop your mix 6dB.
AHAH! That makes a ton of sense, sorry for my confusion on what kind of inputs are in question. What then does the Masterlink have, balanced only, too? Even if so, my speculation that the HD24 might not like something about how the cabling is working.

Proper cabling is a must, as is making sure that your console's outputs are being unbalanced in a way that isn't detrimental. Some outputs want to see the 'cold' or '-' line left open, others want it shunted to ground. It might say in your console's manual... (or, if all the inputs in question are balanced, XLR to TRS 1/4" balanced cables are the order of the day.)

And a 6db drop (or even a .25 db drop!) will sound 'smaller' to the ear, all other things being equal, due to good ol' Fletcher/Munson and their observations on human hearing response. That is, the mix on the HD24 might actually sound just as good as the one on the Masterlink, but unless you match their playback levels pretty much exactly, the louder one will sound better to your ears at that moment.
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Post by jmoose » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:33 pm

rjm wrote:Yes! I think that is the problem. I have a selection of custom cables that I'm using that go from XLR/Balanced ends to 1/4 ends....but I didn't think about whether the other ends were balanced or not. I'm not very bright sometimes.....
Heh heh...well, don't beat yourself up on it. Save it for the time that you record the guitar solo over the killer two take vocal.

There's most likely some kind of +4/-10 difference and/or balanced vs. unbalanced thing occuring. Probably any of us could sort it out in about 15-20 minutes if we were actually THERE, 'ya know...in your place with your gear. Otherwise best we can do is ponder it for hours & hours without hitting a solid conslusion...

If you switch from balanced to unbalanced, you lose 6dB of gain. Gone forever.

-10 vs. +4dB signals as referenced to 0VU...there's actually about 11dB difference, not 14dB like we'd like...if that makes NO sense, then we'll have to find you a good book that covers the basic physics kinda stuff!

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Post by Roboburger » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:04 am

jmoose wrote:There's most likely some kind of +4/-10 difference and/or balanced vs. unbalanced thing occuring.
I had a head scratcher along these lines with the ADA8000 unit, because he output signal is -10, Balanced. And I was thinking that that meant that if you used an unbalanced cable, a 0dB signal would not yield the standard .775 volts... you would only get that across the differential of the + and - signals.
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