Signal level vs. recorded levels in ProTools way off

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
wenley
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Signal level vs. recorded levels in ProTools way off

Post by wenley » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:54 am

I've got what (to me at least) is a real stumper.

I've been working on a new record, and just overdubbed one last guitar part, but for some reason the recorded level is much lower than the level going into PT. In other words, I got a decent level going in, and then once I've recorded the sound, it's displayed as a tiny waveform with a tiny sound. Weird.

I'm running a Digi002 with PT LE 8.0.3 on an Imac 2.16 Intel with 2 gigs of RAM. I have a 7th Circle Audio Preamp box with two N72 pres that I use as a front end. So my signal is guitar, Countryman DI split into two signals, miced amp and a DI signal into PT. Looking at the meters and hearing over cans the signal seems fine, but once it's recorded the waveforms are tiny and the recorded sound is tiny as the waveforms.

After noticing this and trying to fix it, I completely tore down my rig, checked all the IO between the Digi and the 7th Circle and repatched everything, cause I figured maybe I had some weirdness going on in the signal flow. No dice. Then, I tried recording the same setup on another track with perfect results: the waveforms were normal for the input signal coming in and the recorded sound's level was in tune with the display.

I also copied the offending session and all audio and opened the copy and tried recording a guitar part with the same low signal results I described in my first paragraph. I used to work in computer graphics and sometimes the files would get corrupted. Could that be what's going on here?

I'm really stumped here. If anyone has any advice or has experienced something similar, I'd be glad to hear it. Thanks in advance, and I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Stumped in BK

User avatar
JGriffin
zen recordist
Posts: 6739
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:44 pm
Location: criticizing globally, offending locally
Contact:

Post by JGriffin » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:13 pm

Can't say about the sound, but the waveforms in ProTools can be made larger or smaller by clicking a button on the edit window. The height of the waveform has little to do with its signal level. For signal level you should look at the meters.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

wenley
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

thanks

Post by wenley » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:41 pm

I know about the waveform tool, but what I'm saying is, the sound is hot on the meters and very low once it's in recorded form. I wish it was just a case of making the waveforms larger with the tool. It's a weird problem I know.

User avatar
farview
tinnitus
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 1:42 pm
Location: St. Charles (chicago) IL
Contact:

Post by farview » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:15 am

Are you looking at the protools meters for both the recording level and the playback level?

Is there a trim control on the tracks?

These are just the first things that popped into my head. It's easy to overlook simple things when you are troubleshooting.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5133
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Lake Arrowhead California USA
Contact:

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:48 am

Hi,

You can use the PT meters when in Record input enabled, they will reflect the approximate levels going in.

You might be monitoring a little too loud, if it sounds good to you but the recording is too low. Try turning down your monitoring, and raising the input recording levels...

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

wenley
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Post by wenley » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:31 pm

Are you looking at the protools meters for both the recording level and the playback level?

Is there a trim control on the tracks?

These are just the first things that popped into my head. It's easy to overlook simple things when you are troubleshooting.
Thanks. I am looking at the meters for both, and even when they're close to pegged in record, once the signal is recorded it's incredibly low compared to going in. It sounds loud going in and looks like a good healthy level going in, but once recorded the waveform is tiny and the recorded sound is an extremely soft representative of the healthy level that was being monitored and recorded into Pro Tools.
You can use the PT meters when in Record input enabled, they will reflect the approximate levels going in.

You might be monitoring a little too loud, if it sounds good to you but the recording is too low. Try turning down your monitoring, and raising the input recording levels...

Cheers
I am only monitoring loud enough to hear both the amp in my room and the signal on my cans. The amp is an AC30 clone going in through a THD Hotplate so I can run it at an extremely low volume while getting some bite, so I know it's not that.

Thanks for the tips everyone! I think maybe it's a problem with this specific session in PT. It's a headscratcher for sure. I've moved on to another session file where the exact same set up was giving me no problems. Maybe I'll try the problem session again at a later time and just see if maybe I did something stupid. Either case, will report back, and if anyone has experience anything like this, please let me know. Thanks again to all!

User avatar
SoulOfJonas
pushin' record
Posts: 277
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:56 pm
Location: New York, NY & Lodi, NJ
Contact:

Post by SoulOfJonas » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:10 pm

A few things that came to mind:

-Are there any plug-ins on the track that might be messing with the playback level?
-What metering/monitoring selections do you have checked? Pre-fader metering? Input-only Monitoring?
-What version of PT are you using? If HD, have you checked the I/O or Hardware settings to see if there is anything weird going on with the trims there?

Hope that helps.
John Valencia - Freelance audio-recorder-mixer guy
-One East Recording (Matt Wells)
-Melody Lanes (Jay Braun)

wenley
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

think i figured it out

Post by wenley » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:27 am

So, I copied all the sound files into a new folder and built a completely new session with them. Then I re-recorded the same part on two new tracks just to make sure everything was working. I got perfect levels going in and the recorded signal was exactly what went it. I saved and closed the sesssion.

Then, I opened the problem session file and imported the new tracks into it. Guess what? Same low level as before, at least on the display. So, I clicked the waveform tool directly in the middle and suddenly all the waveforms were displaying similarly as tiny as the problem tracks. When I made them bigger, they all changed in size uniformly.

So, I guess my ears were playing tricks on me when I thought the tracks were sounding small. Everything seems fine now. Must have been some pref I accidentally changed just for new tracks if that's possible. A key combination I don't know about perhaps? Thanks to everyone for your assistance.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5133
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Lake Arrowhead California USA
Contact:

Re: think i figured it out

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:40 am

wenley wrote:So, I copied all the sound files into a new folder and built a completely new session with them. Then I re-recorded the same part on two new tracks just to make sure everything was working. I got perfect levels going in and the recorded signal was exactly what went it. I saved and closed the sesssion.

Then, I opened the problem session file and imported the new tracks into it. Guess what? Same low level as before, at least on the display. So, I clicked the waveform tool directly in the middle and suddenly all the waveforms were displaying similarly as tiny as the problem tracks. When I made them bigger, they all changed in size uniformly.

So, I guess my ears were playing tricks on me when I thought the tracks were sounding small. Everything seems fine now. Must have been some pref I accidentally changed just for new tracks if that's possible. A key combination I don't know about perhaps? Thanks to everyone for your assistance.
It was your eyes... not your ears... the waveform display was off.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

wenley
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 1:01 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Post by wenley » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:58 am

Indeed.

Cheers!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 65 guests