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Absolute Beginner's Guide
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  • Student468153
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Aug 28th, 2020
    Low recording volume on live drums?
    HI, I am starting out on a recording project and adding drums to my songs. I am running all mics through a Presonus Studio Live 24.4.2 mixer and into a Focusrite box to connect to my MacBook. Through the Presonus, I’m not able to send each mic to it’s own individual track, but create a mix on the board I am happy with, and then run it through the mono output to the Focusrite. I get a very strong signal during the recording, but the playback is very low and cannot get enough volume out of it. Need to proceed on this recording and seeing if anyone would be able to help me out on this? Much thanks, Keea
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  • Joe A
    Posts: 743
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Re: Low recording volume on live drums?
    Hi - How are you reading the levels during recording and playback? Are you saying that the level meter is lower [and the size of the wave is smaller] in playback then while you're recording? Those levels should be the same -- if not make sure the volume slider for the track is set to Unity Gain ±0.0dB. Also, with the track selected open the Smart Controls panel ["B"] Track tab and check two things: under Recording Settings adjust the Record Level slider and turn off Automatic Level Control; and under Plug-ins make sure that there aren't any plug-in effects enabled on the track that might be reducing the volume [bypass any active (blue) plug-ins].
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  • Student468153
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Aug 28th, 2020
    Re: Low recording volume on live drums?
    Hi Joe, Thanks for the feedback. I looked into all of you suggestions and will try the Recording Level slider next time I am in the studio. I think I need to back up and learn more about the ideal recording levels, because my vocal and instrument tracks all were recorded pretty hot, so the volume of those tracks might have more volume than the drums and so I can’t turn the drum track up any louder to get it more in the mix. When I isolate the drums, they were recorded acceptably, but within the mix, is undesirably to low. Maybe I just need to turn instrument and vocals down. I basically am learning and don’t know yet how to get the best end result as far as output. To answer your question, the level meter is not lower [and the size of the wave is not smaller] in playback. Automatic Level Control was turned off and don’t see any plug ins enabled. Thanks so much for your time as I am on a bit of a learning curve. Keea
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  • Joe A
    Posts: 743
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Re: Low recording volume on live drums?
    Hi Keea - Yes, nowadays with 24-bit recording [enabled in GB's Preferences], there's really no need to have maximum recorded levels above around -6 on the input meter[s]. Drums have stronger transients [impacts] which can overload [go into the red], so those tracks will likely sound lower in level, because of the required extra headroom [safety margin]. If other tracks are recorded hotter, turn them down more after recording -- if the overall playback level is softer, just turn up the listening level on the amp/speakers as desired. In mixing, "Level Creep" is a common thing -- people keep turning tracks up one by one as they balance levels and eventually everything is too loud. A good strategy is to turn all tracks down at first so the combined level [in the meter for the Master Track] tops out at around -12 to -6. Then if levels creep up you have a little headroom. Also, it's always a good idea to get in the habit of turning levels down on other tracks rather than turning the level up on a track that's too low in the mix, still always keeping an eye on the overall Master Track level. This is easier to do in Logic than in GB -- there you can select a bunch of tracks and lower their levels proportionally all at once. [Btw, it's good practice to leave the Master Track slider at Unity Gain ±0.0, and make overall level adjustments with the track sliders, as above] When the mix is done, you can always turn the overall level up by using mastering plug-ins [like the Limiter] on the Master Track, although that's a big topic, as standard levels in mastering are changing from "as loud as possible" to specific lower average levels required by streaming services. GB doesn't really offer those tools, only a "Normalize" option in the Preferences -- that would be fine for non-critical applications, but if you intend to submit your mixes/masters to a streaming site you'd want to read up on the subject as you get more acclimated to the technical aspects of recording/mixing/mastering.. I attached a basic GB course above, though you may be a bit past that already -- in video 16 he talks a little bit about setting levels. A more advanced course on recording drums is linked below -- it's not GB-specific but you might find it useful.. https://www.macprovideo.com/course/logic-pro-x-503-recording-drums?afid=E470KLQ7r9
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  • Student468153
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Aug 28th, 2020
    Re: Low recording volume on live drums?
    Thank you very much. I will go through these valuable notes and do some tests. I appreciate your time and experience. Keea
    Reply
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