Bumping to audio

bez23

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Ok, when I'm getting near to mixing a tune, and want to free up some CPU overhead, for the bits I'm totally happy with I'll bump VST output to audio. When you do this, is it wise to focus on getting individual channel signals as close to 0dB as possible, or does it make no odds while it's all internal in 24bit files? Does it depend on the soundcard? I'm using a Terratec DMX6Fire.
Is this the same approach as choosing 'freeze VST' in Cubase, which presumably doesn't bother to maximise the signal before taking a copy of the audio?

...also has anyone got any tips on getting the snapped off top 1cm of a 1/4" headphone connector out of the socket on said soundcard?!
 
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Ott^

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bez23 said:
is it wise to focus on getting individual channel signals as close to 0dB as possible

When recording or bouncing it is essential to get your record levels as near to 0db as possible. Use a limiter to ensure you get no "overs".

Does it depend on the soundcard?

No.


Is this the same approach as choosing 'freeze VST' in Cubase, which presumably doesn't bother to maximise the signal before taking a copy of the audio?

No.

...also has anyone got any tips on getting the snapped off top 1cm of a 1/4" headphone connector out of the socket on said soundcard?!

Pliers.

:Smile3:
 

Drat Mafia

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omg Bez i thought this was a thread about what your favourites tunes are for getting it on to.

Im rather relieved its technical :Smile3:
 

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Drat Mafia said:
omg Bez i thought this was a thread about what your favourites tunes are for getting it on to.

Im rather relieved its technical :Smile3:

LOL

Personally if I bounce down anything with processing of any kind on it I'll do it in 32-bit float, keeping the channel fader exactly where it is. This lets me bring in the bounced audio with the fader at 0dB, keeping the mix the same as it was without having to mess around rebalancing stuff. I do this at 32-bit float because files at this bit-depth have 24-bit resolution no matter what their actual volume is - I can bounce down my tiny shaker sound that peaks at -40dB safe in the knowledge that if I later want to make it into the worlds gnarliest lead sound I can do so without getting any quantisation noise.
 

bez23

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Quantisation noise - that's what I wanted to know about. I think :Wink3:
Thanks for the words guys. Maybe I'll try the 32bit thing.
Anyone know a stockist of *really* skinny pliers?!
 
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makdaddy

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Colin OOOD said:
....later want to make it into the worlds gnarliest lead sound I can do so without getting any quantisation noise.

ih? whats quantisation noise?
 
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Ott^

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All yours then Col.


[Now you know why I kept it to "Record at zero..."]

:Smile3:
 

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Coward... :p

Hmm... this is my take on it; if anyone has more accurate information I'm sure they'll post it! :Wink3:

I assume you're familiar with bitcrusher plugins? Quantisation noise is what you get when you reduce the number of bits in a sound. Apart from plugins like these, you get quantisation noise when you use only a few bits to record a sound (ie. record it very quietly, or the very end of reverb tails), and its obviousness is increased when you boost the gain of such sounds.

Quantisation noise is also introduced when processing is applied to a sound - the floating-point arithmetic used to perform the calculations is rounded to the nearest integer, introducing a slight error which can build up as more processes are applied. This is to all intents and purposes negligible when using 32-bit float audio, but can be a very audible problem when applying processing to 16-bit sounds.
 

Speakafreaka

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Ah shit. This is tricky.

Right.

I'll assume that you know that it is possible to record at 16bit, 24bit and 32bit?

well, this refers to the accuracy of the recording. When you digitally record a sample, it has to give a number to each segment of sound it records, normally an integer.

The thing is, digital recording is only ever an approximation of an actual sound source, as it is not a continuous recording method. It operates a lot like a flick book does for animation. The idea is, that if you flick through the images fast enough, you'll never notice that they are still.

This means, that there needs to be a method to determine what integer is produced.

At 16 bit accuracy, that means that there are 9999999999999999 ( I think ) possible amplitudes ( think of waveforms hear). 'Great', I hear you say, 'surely that is waaaaay more then enough possibilities to record every single musical nuance ever?', and in theory if everything is recorded at zero db, then yes it is. The problem is, as the source is recorded more quietly, less integers are used, effectively reducing the bit rate.

Get out a bit crusher and apply it to some audio. Open up a waveform editor, and compare it to the original. Notice how the bit crushed waveform is full of straight lines, that is becuase you have reduced the resolution of the recording effectively. Now, zoom in on the original waveform, allllllll the way. Guess, what that is right it is full of straight lines, just much closer together.

The effect that a bit crusher has, in very unsubtle terms is quantization noise.

What is the advantage of 24 bit audio then? Well, you have 999999999999999999999999 possible integer values in 24 bit audio. What this means is that you can record things with a much greater degree accuracy, but still when things get, really quiet, then you will still get this reduced bit rate effect, otherwise known as quantisation noise, as it simple runs out of numbers.

32 bit audio is different. It doesn't deal with integers. It actually has the same recording resolution as 24 bit audio, with one vital difference, it can use the decimal point. when a sample is only using say the first five integers of amplitude, say 99999, it will put in a decimal place and capture the reamining 19 integers of detail.

In practice, what this means is that recording resolution stays the same at much greater variety of volume, with no bit crushing effect.

Hope this is clear, apologies for any errors I may have put across.
 

Blender Bender

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Ott, when you say it the quality of bouncing down to audio does not depend on your soundcard,

does that effectively mean that using an external 24-bit firewire card as opposed to my laptop internal one will actually make no difference??

If so, I'm glad I read this, you just saved me a couple of hundred squid!!
 
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makdaddy

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blender you are correct. Bounced Audio is internal...the converters in your card dont get a look in!

and many thanks to colin and speaka....its all clear now guys...ta!

so much good info flying round this board lately :Smile3:
 
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Ott^

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Yup - your soundcard has no effect on the quality of internally generated/bounced sounds.

It only affects the quality of stuff recorded through it, or the quality of what you hear while you're working.
 

Blender Bender

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AWESOME!!!

That means that if something worthy is ever created on my laptop, it can just be bounced down into separate channels of audio and taken to someone's proper studio to be mixed and mastered properly!!

Thanks guys...
 

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Ott^ said:
Yup - your soundcard has no effect on the quality of internally generated/bounced sounds.

It only affects the quality of stuff recorded through it, or the quality of what you hear while you're working.

Why you still need a decent soundcard...
 

Blender Bender

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Yeah, it's not just the quality of monitoring that would be affected, it would also be the latency for recording automation etc..

It will have to do for now as I'm in a temporary arrangement which does not allow me to use monitor speakers so I'm having to do everything via headphones....
 

Speakafreaka

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Blender Bender said:
It will have to do for now as I'm in a temporary arrangement which does not allow me to use monitor speakers so I'm having to do everything via headphones....

Headphones ain't so bad if you are using decent ones. :Smile3: I quite like mixing on mine actually. Whenever I mix in a room now, I keep on getting distracted by the background noise.
 

Drat Mafia

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i find headphones completely useless for mixing on. You get the mix nice on headphones, then pu it on speakers and have to do it all over again
 

Continuum

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Drat Mafia said:
i find headphones completely useless for mixing on. You get the mix nice
on headphones, then pu it on speakers and have to do it all over again

Agreed :Smile3:

However I always check mixes on my walkman - its really revealing if there's too much bass or any parts are too loud or whatever. But mixing, nope.
 

Blender Bender

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My headphones are of monitoring quality and thus with very detailed sound BUT I'm completely aware of what you're saying Drat Mafia, thus my idea of doing the final EQing, mixing and mastering on a proper setup
 
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