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Offline airbladder

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setting levels
« on: October 12, 2003, 02:56:36 PM »
I run: mbho 603/ka200n (-10 db pads)> mp-2>adc-20>dap-1.  Now that we are back inside, here in NY, I am wondering the impact of running my levels hot will have on the overall recording.  Lets say a tape with a margin of 5 or a margin of 1.  Will this do anything to the croud/room noise?  I have been runnign my levels as hot as I can without going over.  However, last night (addison groove project at higher ground) I had them a little lower and it may sound better.  I don't have the vocabulary to say how it sounds better.  What do you think?  
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2003, 06:23:14 PM »
There are far too many variable IMO to determine that the lower levels made your recording sound better.  Unless, of course, you were clipping on previous recordings.  It's probably more a function of location and sound system and mix than your slightly lower levels.  Lower levels won't impact the amount of crowd/room you pick up.

Why the -10dB pads between the MBHOs and the MP2?
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cpclark

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2003, 09:40:10 PM »
There are far too many variable IMO to determine that the lower levels made your recording sound better.  Unless, of course, you were clipping on previous recordings.  It's probably more a function of location and sound system and mix than your slightly lower levels.  Lower levels won't impact the amount of crowd/room you pick up.

Why the -10dB pads between the MBHOs and the MP2?

a reason for the pads, and i run -10db pads as well, could be for how hot of a signal the mic sends to the pre, i know my mics give my pre a very strong signal, so i tone it down with attenuators to give myself some more headroom, and so i can get the gain right where i need it. it doesnt do anything to the quality of the sound, just brings the signal down a few decibals to control the mix easier

Offline jlykos

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2003, 11:26:58 AM »
it doesnt do anything to the quality of the sound, just brings the signal down a few decibals to control the mix easier

Actually, the pads do affect the quality of the sound.  It also forces you to run the MP-2 hotter which also negatively affects the quality of the sound.  Try taking out the pads and running the MP-2 as low as humanly possible.  I used to calibrate my A/D (SBM) and pre with the MP-2 running one channel at zero gain and I would fine-tune the other channel between the 0 and 5 hash to get a proper channel balance.
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2003, 11:33:10 AM »
Why the -10dB pads between the MBHOs and the MP2?
a reason for the pads, and i run -10db pads as well, could be for how hot of a signal the mic sends to the pre, i know my mics give my pre a very strong signal, so i tone it down with attenuators to give myself some more headroom, and so i can get the gain right where i need it. it doesnt do anything to the quality of the sound, just brings the signal down a few decibals to control the mix easier

Yeah, I'm clear on why pads are used, but was curious because [1] I used to run MBHO KA200/603a > MP-2 and never needed the pads, and [2] think the MP2 sounds better at low gain.
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Offline creekfreak

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2003, 12:45:47 PM »
I ran MBHO--->mp2-->sbm-1 for awhile. Never had to use pads, just ran the mp2 as low as possible and adjusted using the sbm-1, figure that if I am over 5 on the sbm-1 I am good. Don't run pads unless you have to, just more electronics for the sound to go through.
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Re:setting levels
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2003, 05:18:45 PM »
i run the mp-2 low and my ad500e as hot as it can go, ill try without the pads next time and see if there is any notable difference, i also see very few people that run the mics i do, so running the pads give me a bit more piece of mind, but thanks for the info and +T's all around

Offline jlykos

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2003, 05:30:58 PM »
If you have not done it yet, also try properly calibrating your preamp to your A/D.  These directions off the SonicSense website work very well.  A bit confusing to read through, but if you sit down and try it step by step, it all falls into place.


Microphone Pre-amp calibration with decks and analog-to-digital converters


In response to repeated questions regarding calibrating of a/d converters with pre-amps, we are now offering the following detailed calibration process.

Having described this process repeatedly to numerous pre-amp and a/d converter users, we were fortunate enough to have Ryan McKinney offer to type the following information as I explained it. This should serve as a guide but we still welcome you to call us as you put together your system and need assistance optimizing the gain settings.

As we have seen many people fumbling with flashlights in their teeth while trying to hold a flashlight and screw driver on their knees at a show, the following steps should enable a/d converter users to set-up their converters one time at home and simply rely on the pre-amp for further adjustment.

To calibrate the Graham Patten ADC-20 or the Apogee A/D 1000, the calibration pots will prove to be the most useful. In the case of the A/D 1000, this also prevents the potential for the knobs to get bumped at a show since the calibration pots are recessed.

Steps:
Connect all of your gear.
Place mics in front of one loudspeaker.
Set the stereo to a non-dynamic source such as fm static or white noise,
DO NOT use a cd or talk show or any source with fluctuating volume.
Turn Pre-amp to its maximum setting on both gain levels and trim levels.
Turn up radio volume until +16 dbu on the preamp just starts to illuminate. (on the V2 this is when the red lights first come on).
If using a Lunatec V2, adjust AD converter until the meters on the DAT deck peak at -6 to -8db.
(the small Sony Recorder most likely will have to set at 6, as there is no "-8db" marking on the display meter).
If using a Sound Devices MP-2, adjust AD converter until the meters on the DAT are peaking at -2db when MP-2 +16db blinks.
Adjust the L and R channels until they are balanced.
A couple of unit specific notes:
Note that the ADC has 20 turn pots, so you may have to turn them quite a bit to get the levels where you want them.

Caution: when turning the adc20 up, if you hear clicks, stop, it means you have exceeded the threshold of the unit.

As we know that the V2 red light illuminates at +16dbu but that it does not clip until +26, this gives us a 10db buffer zone. If your +16 creates a -6db on your meter, then you can safely assume that even when the V2 is flashing a lot of red, but only putting a -2 or -1 on the tape, you are only 4 or 5 db into "the red zone." As a result, you will know that you are not overdriving/ clipping the pre-amp. Remember, however, that the V2 trim controls only affect the output of the unit and that the front panel meter are responding to the input gain. Thus, for each db of trim that you introduce, you are compromising the overall headroom (i.e. the 10db that you would typically have if the trim pots were all the way open to zero).

The MP-2 will clip between +20-22dbu so this process leaves roughly 4db of headroom while obtaining optimal levels on the recorder

The benefit of calibrating your pre-amp with your deck or a/d converter is multifold:
You will know that you are not overdriving/clipping the pre-amp.
You will know how far you are into the pre-amp's margin/headroom.
You will not overdrive the pre-amp and assuming that you do NOT go over zero on your DAT meters, you will not have distortion/clipping on your tapes
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Offline airbladder

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2003, 07:54:57 PM »
Thanks for your input on the pads, what about the levels?  I use the pads inside because how hot the mics are.  I still run the mp2 low.  However at very low gain the mp2 is VERY sensitive.  The slightest movement of the knobs makes a huge audible jump in the levels.  The pads just make things smoother.  They are MBHO pads that go in between the cap and body, is this going to change my sound?  The ADC-20 is calibrated so I have to rely on the mp2 to adjust my gain.  If it didn't take a small screwdriver to adjust the ad I would take off the pads, keep the mp2 low, and just adjust the ad.  Thanks for the feed back so far....Keep it comming.  
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Offline creekfreak

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2003, 09:30:51 PM »
ok, I understand your delima, you have to use the mp-2 for setting your gain.......makes sense. I never used pads inside or out with the mbho's. You want to run your levels as high as you can inside and out IMO.
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Offline Kelso

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2003, 07:57:18 AM »
I'm thinking to buy a Jukebox 3, what about the sound of the AD-20, for those who tested it, compared to the UA-5? It's cheaper, doesn't need mod, smaller and already powered.  Is the 20 bit converter a problem for the jb3?
How long last the battery? I think I would add a rode  nt2 or nt4. The specs are good. What about the sound?
Thanks

Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2003, 08:04:22 AM »
I'm thinking to buy a Jukebox 3, what about the sound of the AD-20, for those who tested it, compared to the UA-5? It's cheaper, doesn't need mod, smaller and already powered.  Is the 20 bit converter a problem for the jb3?
How long last the battery? I think I would add a rode  nt2 or nt4. The specs are good. What about the sound?
Thanks

The Denecke AD-20 sounds a bit thin to my ears, but it's a good box.  With the AD-20, though, keep in mind that you'll still need power for your mics - another $125 or so for a Denecke PS-2 or some such.  That puts you up around the price range of a digi-mod UA5 which, IMO, gives you better sound and broader feature set.  The AD-20 dithers 20- down to 16-bit (I think, or does it truncate?), so it's fine with either JB3 or DAT.

I haven't used any of the Rode mics, but someone around here has and I recall the feedback vaguely.  They do okay for near-field recording, i.e. on-stage, but suffer as you move out into the audience (something we obviously do all the time).
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cpclark

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2003, 03:51:03 PM »
I'm thinking to buy a Jukebox 3, what about the sound of the AD-20, for those who tested it, compared to the UA-5? It's cheaper, doesn't need mod, smaller and already powered.  Is the 20 bit converter a problem for the jb3?
How long last the battery? I think I would add a rode  nt2 or nt4. The specs are good. What about the sound?
Thanks

The Denecke AD-20 sounds a bit thin to my ears, but it's a good box.  With the AD-20, though, keep in mind that you'll still need power for your mics - another $125 or so for a Denecke PS-2 or some such.  That puts you up around the price range of a digi-mod UA5 which, IMO, gives you better sound and broader feature set.  The AD-20 dithers 20- down to 16-bit (I think, or does it truncate?), so it's fine with either JB3 or DAT.

I haven't used any of the Rode mics, but someone around here has and I recall the feedback vaguely.  They do okay for near-field recording, i.e. on-stage, but suffer as you move out into the audience (something we obviously do all the time).

as soon as i get my vxpocket, ill transfer a cheese show, and all laughing matters aside, this tape from JMU sounds really good, so you'll be getting a copy and the only real thing that sounds a little thin is the bass and believe it stil sounds good, especially with the right mics, robc runs one with km184's and his tapes smoke as well, dont doubt the ad-20 as it has been touted one of the best all in one pre/ad box on the market under 1000 dollars, food for thought

Offline gonads

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2003, 05:15:48 PM »
the only real thing that sounds a little thin is the bass

ummmmmm, yeah... what else would be sounding thin? Thin = Lack of Bass
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re:setting levels
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2003, 05:16:44 PM »
the only real thing that sounds a little thin is the bass

ummmmmm, yeah... what else would be sounding thin? Thin = Lack of Bass

I think mids can sound thin, too.
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