Old 04-27-2011, 01:06 AM   #1
nalooti
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Default can I fix my mistake on recording level ?

Hi,
I'm learning a lot while using Reaper but this piece of soft is so rich that mistakes are unavoidable by a newbie that I am. And I'm almost ashamed to say that I though the volume level slider of the track, controls the recording level!
And I'm here to ask you if there is any way to save/fix my guitar and vocal recorded tracks without having to record them again.

I somehow managed to record all my 4 tracks drum, bass, guitar, vocal without any of them going into the red zone while keeping them often in the orange zone. I think I just adjusted (wrongly) the tracks' levels to be in the green and orange zones. So, I suppose that I should have done those adjustments with the input level coming out of my Line6 UX2 sound USB card(used for both guitar and mic input).
After recording, I played the whole 4 tracks in Reaper and saw some clipping on different parts of the guitar and vocal tracks. So I lowered the level via the take's volume level to fix them.

Question 1: can this be considered as a fix ? I ask this because I didn't change anything in the real "recorded" sound, but just lowered the level afterward so that when playing back (or rendering), the level never goes to the red zone. That is, clipping actually occurred, I just tried to fix it afterward.

Question 2: My drum and bass tracks are MIDI virtual instruments (VSTi). When opening their FX windows, I can control the sound level of each virtual drum and bass within those windows. Are those levels considered as "input" levels that I should control to not clip ?

Question 3: It is easy for virtual MIDI instruments to find the best volume levels to not clip and in the same time to get them somewhere between green and orange zone (and leave them always in those positions). This is harder with guitar (because I can change the volume on guitar accidentally) and vocals (because I haven't any volume level in my throat!). Anyway, this makes me think that each track should be recorded to not clip at recording time without any consideration on their relative levels between each other at this step. Then, at mixing time (just before rendering) I should use the tracks' sliders to control the level of each track relative to the others. This time, I should watch the master control to avoid clipping at this step (when mixing/rendering) by too much rising a track'slider level. Is this the correct way to do things ?

thanks
nalooti
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:13 AM   #2
PAPT
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If a recorded wave is making the master track go over 0db then it is clipping and should be redone. This would be with the master fader set to 0db.

If you happen to have a great performance that has portions that have clipped according to the meters, but you don't hear any distortion or general signal degradation, then you might want to use that take for the sake of a great performance. Otherwise, do it right.

The midi tracks are not a problem. You can adjust then in the Vst or with the track fader. I would tend to keep the level under control in the vst if it is going over 0db on the track meter with the track fader at 0db.
The main reason for that is because some effects that you might place after the vst could be sensitive to input levels and could overload if the vst is putting out a too high level.

When you record waves with vocal, guitar, etc then a good level is around -18db RMS. Keep peaks under 0db and preferably under about -6db.

It sounds like that would be too low, but 0db RMS in the digital world is like 0db on a tape deck's meters.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:44 AM   #3
nalooti
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Thank you PAPT for your answer (and also on my other post on compression - I'll answer to that about channel splitting).

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
If a recorded wave is making the master track go over 0db then it is clipping and should be redone. This would be with the master fader set to 0db.
Not sure to understand. Should I always set the master fader to 0db, then watch it to see if it's clipping, in which case I must redo a take after lowering the volume ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
If you happen to have a great performance that has portions that have clipped according to the meters, but you don't hear any distortion or general signal degradation, then you might want to use that take for the sake of a great performance. Otherwise, do it right.
This is exactly the case. I can see some portions going to red zone but overall I hear no distortion. However you didn't answer to my 1st question regarding fixing with the take's volume level. I don't think this can fix anything but it's better than nothing because I'll not clip twice (again at the mixing time). No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
The midi tracks are not a problem. You can adjust then in the Vst or with the track fader. I would tend to keep the level under control in the vst if it is going over 0db on the track meter with the track fader at 0db.
The main reason for that is because some effects that you might place after the vst could be sensitive to input levels and could overload if the vst is putting out a too high level.
I understand it's better to control it in the VSTi. But why this time it is also possible to control the recorded volume with the track fader while it is not possible with guitar and vocal for which the recorded volume level can only be controlled within the device itself ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
When you record waves with vocal, guitar, etc then a good level is around -18db RMS. Keep peaks under 0db and preferably under about -6db.

It sounds like that would be too low, but 0db RMS in the digital world is like 0db on a tape deck's meters.
Thank you very much for this numerical advice. Do you have some similar advice/recipe for my other post regarding compression setting ?
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:21 AM   #4
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If you clip an audio track then it's clipped. Nothing you do afterwards can "unclip" it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:45 AM   #5
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THe difference between an audio recorded as a wave and the audio from a vst is that the vst has not been recorded as a wave yet. So, if you turn down the volume it will no longer clip.

A recording in wave form that is clipping contains the clipping in the recording. If you turn down the volume of the wave you will have a clipped sound playing back at lower volume.

The problem with giving numbers for compression is that the setting depend entirely on the source material.

The threshold you use depends on the volume of the signal coming into the compressor.

If one track has peaks at -6db and you set the threshold to -8db the comp will start to work whenever the level exceeds -8db so it will work on the peaks that go to -6.

If you use -8db for the threshold for a track that peaks at -10db the comp will never start working.

You need to do some reading about compression or you will never understand.
Most people on this forum are glad to help people when they have sticking points, but most of us have no interest in running a school and teaching all of the basics.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:14 PM   #6
Allyhellkiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAPT View Post
THe difference between an audio recorded as a wave and the audio from a vst is that the vst has not been recorded as a wave yet. So, if you turn down the volume it will no longer clip.

A recording in wave form that is clipping contains the clipping in the recording. If you turn down the volume of the wave you will have a clipped sound playing back at lower volume.

The problem with giving numbers for compression is that the setting depend entirely on the source material.

The threshold you use depends on the volume of the signal coming into the compressor.

If one track has peaks at -6db and you set the threshold to -8db the comp will start to work whenever the level exceeds -8db so it will work on the peaks that go to -6.

If you use -8db for the threshold for a track that peaks at -10db the comp will never start working.

You need to do some reading about compression or you will never understand.
Most people on this forum are glad to help people when they have sticking points, but most of us have no interest in running a school and teaching all of the basics.
If Reaper would have somebcustomer service we would jot ne bithering you geeks with the simple +×÷$
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:31 PM   #7
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Great first post.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:38 AM   #8
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I can't be the only one who thought of

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Old 03-21-2019, 09:44 AM   #9
bjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guncho View Post
If you clip an audio track then it's clipped. Nothing you do afterwards can "unclip" it.
Well, nothing in Reaper at least. If you can't re-record you can see if a tool like Izotope RX's de-clipper could redraw the waveforms based on what it thinks they should have been, as a last resort. See https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/pro...ed-vocals.html
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohn View Post
Well, nothing in Reaper at least.
I mean, if you zoom in far enough, you could probably use the take volume envelope to "draw" on the waveform, too. You still have to kind of guess what it's supposed to look like, or just try to draw something that looks (and hopefully sounds) smoother.

Sometimes, depending on the material, you can just EQ out some of the higher frequencies where the worst part of the clipping distortion lives.

But it only actually matters if it matters. If you play the mix and don't hear anything that bothers you, then there's not really anything to fix. A lot of times, if the signal is already distorted, a little extra clipping doesn't hurt so much. Similarly, if you're just going to distort it some more - whether that means amp sim or console/tape emulation - a couple of clipped peaks will sometimes kind of be masked and maybe even rounded off a little bit.

Honestly, that's one of the best ways to "fix" clipped signals: distort them more so it sounds like it was on purpose.
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