hot signals and main outputs

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endertak
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hot signals and main outputs

Post by endertak » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:10 am

hello,

i'm curious if anyone can share their experiences on how to reduce a hot signal before it hits your studio monitors.
i find that my monitor dials for my outputs are always set to, at maximum, -17dB.

i'd imagine there are some units that do a noise reduction + attenuation of an analog signal before it hits the speakers.
can someone point me in the right direction?

the outboard units i know of are passive attenuators, but I wasn't sure if there was something else out there.

thank you!
e
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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:15 am

Hi,

This is my gain staging on my equipment:

Output from Pro Tools HD at 0dBFS (maximum digital possible)

Into Allen & Heath console line input, set to 0 dBVU to that previous digital output. The line input trim is used to calibrate the DAW signal to 0 at that input. Since the signal is panned hard left and right, this gives me a further 3 dB of headroom at the mix buss.

This gives me a total of 19 dB of headroom which the DAW will never ever ever be able to get to, since it's signal is already at maximum.

This allows for the console to not color the monitor mix at all, more than the normal amount from its circuitry. From there, the console Mix comes out of the Cue monitor, which has the level knob. This level I calibrate with a SPL meter, to 82 dBu at the mix position, where my head is during mixing. The speakers, JBL 4308s are set to no attenuation at the input. This also guarantees that I cannot accidentally use the remote to turn up the speakers and blow my head off.

So to sum it up, you need to make sure your output from your DAW is feeding your monitoring equipment at it's maximum possible so you cannot distort the monitoring.

In between your monitors you need to have an analog or a digital attenuation happening.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:10 am Post subject: hot signals and main outputs
hello,

"i find that my monitor dials for my outputs are always set to, at maximum, -17dB."

I am not sure what this means. What equipment is this? The DAW? The DA converter? Not sure at all what this is.

The best attenuators are passive, and well made ones. I recommend Coleman Audio.

http://colemanaudio.com/
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endertak
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Post by endertak » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:21 am

@Nick Sevilla - thanks so much for this info. This is certainly what I did when I used audio returns from a computer via virtual mixing software, whether it be fed from a DAW or otherwise.

In my case I am not using a computer, so I'm curious what people do there.
For example, I have hot output from a mixer that I would like to feed my speakers with, but it is too hot to keep the speakers at a reasonable level. I am able to use a separate monitor feed from the output for them if I desire, but it seems natural to use the main stereo outputs instead.

Here is one of the devices I'd mentioned. I'd imagine that there are many related devices buried in a part of the audio market I've yet to discover.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Thank you,
e
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:46 am

endertak wrote: I am able to use a separate monitor feed from the output for them if I desire, but it seems natural to use the main stereo outputs instead.
You should absolutely use the monitor feed for your speakers. That's what it's there for. The main stereo out should be fed into whatever your mix capture system is. 2 track tape, 2 channels on your daw, another daw, whatever.

endertak
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Post by endertak » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:49 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:"i find that my monitor dials for my outputs are always set to, at maximum, -17dB."
I am not sure what this means. What equipment is this? The DAW? The DA converter? Not sure at all what this is.
http://colemanaudio.com/
Sorry, thanks for asking for clarification: "this" means the mixer actually.
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endertak
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Post by endertak » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:51 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
endertak wrote: I am able to use a separate monitor feed from the output for them if I desire, but it seems natural to use the main stereo outputs instead.
You should absolutely use the monitor feed for your speakers. That's what it's there for. The main stereo out should be fed into whatever your mix capture system is. 2 track tape, 2 channels on your daw, another daw, whatever.
Well that makes too much sense for me to not be embarrassed. :oops:
I actually set this up initially out of laziness and inaccessibility to the proper cables.
I'll now purchase them and make sure to use the monitor feed for such a task, then use the main outs for a recorder.

Also, thank you Nick for the reference on the coleman units. Didn't know about those.

Thanks so much,
e
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endertak
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Post by endertak » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:56 am

RE coleman: seems like the model i would want would be the QS8MKII
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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:21 pm

endertak wrote:Also, thank you Nick for the reference on the coleman units. Didn't know about those.

Thanks so much,
e
Anytime.
Greg Coleman is a really great guy, and amazingly knowledgeable.
His stuff really it top notch.
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Post by ashcat_lt » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:17 pm

Course, if you want to hear what your mixdown medium is actually doing to your signal, you'll have to work something else out. ;)

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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:44 pm

ashcat_lt wrote:Course, if you want to hear what your mixdown medium is actually doing to your signal, you'll have to work something else out. ;)
That is why I recommended a Coleman monitor selector.

He could monitor from the mixer or from the final mixdown deck.

Or from whatever...
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:18 pm

It might be helpful to know what the mixer being used is. It may vary well have a 2 track return that can be used to monitor playback from the mix deck (many do). The Coleman stuff is great but why buy new hardware when you haven't fully explored the hardware you already own?

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Post by dfuruta » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:23 pm

If all you need is an fixed attenuator in front of your power amp & you know how to solder you're looking at a few cents worth of resistors, a handful of connectors, and a box to put it in. If you need switching & lots of options maybe it makes sense to spend some money, but this isn't a complicated problem to solve.

If your current workflow is doing it for you except for this issue, why change?

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