What is the ideal level for sound recording?

Nowadays, recording is becoming more and more accessible. Over the past 10-15 years, more and more studios have appeared on the expanses of all countries of the world. All of them are different in terms of tasks, goals, approaches, budget.

Computers have actually made sound recording available. The set of a computer, soundcard, microphone and MIDI keyboard became almost the «gentleman’s set» of the musician. In a sense, this is good, because it gives musicians more space to implement their ideas.

Dynamic processors will help smooth the audio signal so that it sounds exactly and cleanly in the track. Mixer settings mean microphone preamp and dynamic processor control. Some of them are designed specifically for vocals and have special instruments that make them indispensable. Logic is the preferred choice for many manufacturers. It includes a fantastic library of sounds and plugins – one of the most complete packages.

level for sound recording

For practical reasons, the indicators of digital recording devices are driven from a digital signal. This is necessary to monitor the digital signal directly at the input. The value of the internal reserve of the tape recorder (according to the dynamic range) may be different among different manufacturers, and therefore, when copying, the readings of the indicators will be different. The mixing console and analog tape recorder have a clearly marked «zero level».

If the artist wants to get an ideal record, then it is better not to save on recording equipment to purchase professional equipment. Preparation for recording begins with the selection of the correct equipment. Correctness in this case is determined primarily by the artistic tasks of the song. In expensive studios, microphones are selected for each composition and placed in a special way.

The ideal level of recording indication does not exist in principle, since the characteristics of a particular recording equipment must be taken into account. And it can sometimes differ several times.

When recording vocals, monitoring should always go to the headphones. The ideal option is to use closed-type studio headphones. For example, AKG K-series.

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Recording vocals is best without processing. You can use a soft compressor, but only if you know exactly what settings you need. All effects are already overlaid on the recorded track. If the vocalist needs to hear the voice as it will sound in the final version, then the best solution in this case will be to record a DI signal with simultaneous monitoring of the sound with all the processes.

When the performer sings quietly, he better get closer to the microphone. If he sings loud parts, then it’s better to move away. This aligns the volume level of the recorded track. Due to this, it will be necessary to work less with the compressor during processing.

For example, with an optimally tuned tape recorder for clean recording of an instrument with frequent peaks (for example, a loud piano), there may be enough readings of the VU indicator within – 4. On the other hand, the sound of a guitar with a distortion effect has practically no difference between the peak level and the average signal level, and the distortions themselves could well be recorded with scale VU indicators.

The values shown by the VU indicator need to be interpreted by one skilled in the art.

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