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If Setting The Gain Correctly is So Important, Why Dont Mic Preamplifiers Have Meters?
When you first learn how to use a mixing console, you will be shown how to set the gain. Your instructor - either in audio school or in the workplace - will emphasize the importance of this and kick your ass every time you get it wrong, until you can't do anything other than get it right.
Setting the gain correctly optimizes the signal level for further processing in the mixing console. EQ, inserts, auxiliary sends, routing, fading, solo and mixing all depend on having the right signal level for optimum performance, and the gain control is precisely where you set that.
But outboard microphone preamplifiers commonly only have rudimentary metering facilities - perhaps only a single 'clip' LED - or no metering at all! So how can you possibly set the gain correctly?
The answer is that firstly the preamplifier needs to be correctly designed with plenty of output level available. For example, the Manley Labs Mono and Dual Mono microphone preamplifiers can supply up to 30 dBV of output before clipping. That is one hell of a voltage in audio terms - around 30 volts, compared to normal operating level of around one volt.
It's probably fair to say that there is no way you are ever going to clip this brute of a preamp, whatever you are driving. So if there is no possibility of clipping, there is no need for metering.
Where you do need metering is in the equipment you are driving with the preamp, probably your recording system. So the procedure for setting the gain with the Manley preamp is to choose the lowest setting of gain, and also set the 'input attenuate' control to its lowest setting (the attenuator controls the level of signal going into the preamp circuit). Then reduce the amount of attenuation while watching the meter on your recorder. When you are getting a good, healthy signal level with a reasonable margin before clipping on your recording, you have the right settings.
If if the level from the mic is too low to reach a good indication on your recorder's meter, increase the gain as far as necessary but no further.
Setting the attenuator and gain controls in this way will optimize the noise and distortion performance of the preamp.
Now since this is a tube preamp with variable 'character' according to the gain setting chosen, then once you have mastered setting the gain in the technically correct way, you are free to break the rules...
When you see smoke coming from your recorder, that's when to stop!
Your PC Is An Awesome Singer... If You Let It!
As an amateur songwriter, who struggles with a computer far from powerful enough to run the necessary software to record vocals of good quality, I have looked for good solutions. And I've found a few.
Composing George Winston Style
If you're a fan of New Age piano, no doubt you've listened to some of George Winston's music. What I find fascinating about his songs is how he creates them. Most improvisers/composers start with the melody, usually because it's the easiest way to begin.
The King of the Delta Blues Singers - Robert Johnson Still Stands at the Crossroads
Probably the most enigmatic Singer and Guitarist of the twentieth Century is now one of the most revered and respected of all Musicians who make up the Genre of the 'Blues'. I speak of course about the wonderful Robert Leroy Johnson. Born in 1911 in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, in a Deep South plantation, he, in his pitifully short life, has become one of the founding Fathers of the Blues.
Zen and the Art of New Age Piano
We all want to be in the moment. That's where real transformation takes place. For some, walking gets them there. Others like to play sports or watch movies. For me, it's playing the piano. When I'm in the moment, letting the music speak, it's like the world is new again.
Home Run Gigs
Are you still playing your heart out to small audiences on gigs at unappreciative dives (excuse me, I meant to say nightclubs) that feel paying you a couple of hundred dollars for a 3-4 hour gig is also paying you about $150 too much?
Radio - What?s Happened To It?
Remember when radio stations played great music?
Rickenbacker 4003 Electric Bass Guitar
The Rickenbacker 4003 electric bass guitar is oneof the few electric basses to have earned the accolade"classic" as a title for itself. The Rickenbacker 4000Series guitar is attributed for creating new dimensionsof bass playing capabilities. Basses by Rickenbackerare made by hand in America, using traditional methodsrefined and honed.
Would Chopin Have Passed A Music Quiz?
Q. My children are very interested in playing music. Is there such a thing as a music quiz for kids?
Getting Rhythm - Three Tips for Guitar Beginners
If you are just starting out learning guitar one of the hardest things can be getting a good rhythm and keeping that rhythm going while you change chords with your left hand.
These MIDI Tools Are Music To My Ears
Curious about MIDI? Want to find out what tools are out there and what they do? Here are a few pointers.
Is Your Child Capable of Composing Music? Maybe the Next Mozart?
We've all heard of them. Child prodigies who begin composing music at some ridiculously young age. For instance, history reports that Mozart was writing minuets by the time he was five years old. Amazing. At five years of age, I'm not sure that I knew the difference between my finger and my thumb and I certainly wasn't composing music.
Taps; Piping Military Honors: A Ceremonial Guide for Highland Bagpipers
It has become increasingly popular for U.S. military veterans and their families to specifically request a piper to not only pipe for a funeral, but to pipe Taps for the rendering of military honors as well. Funerals for law enforcement and fire personnel in the United States have a long tradition of incorporating pipers and military honors, and most departmental funerary protocols closely follow those of the U.S. military. The following is a brief general outline of what to expect and what will be expected of you as a member of an honor guard when playing Taps.
Dance Musics Most Popular and Enduring Theme: The Declaration of Independence
It all started with Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" in 1979, perhaps the biggest fluke in popular music history. To follow up her hit "Never Can Say Goodbye", Gloria's label issued a song called "Substitute". The track bombed. Everyone hated it, including the radio DJs and the public. Then DJs started to play the B-Side track "I Will Survive" and the rest is history.
Musical Improvisation Basics - Four Strategies For Playing Wrong Notes
While it probably doesn't seem like this would help - let's face it - if you are unwilling to play a lot of wrong notes, you're never going to learn how to do anything hard. And improvising is hard! It isn't something that you can do safely, with the assurance that you will look good while trying to get good at it. You won't look good. You won't sound good -- and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you will be able to do something of real value.
How to Play Piano Using a Few Chords
How many chords do you need to create a piece of music? Would you believe that it doesn't really matter and that whole pieces of music have been created using just one chord? For example, if you play a D minor 7 chord, you could use the bass note D to create a drone effect and anchor the whole improvisation. It could last for a few seconds or many minutes.
The Record Industry Continues Battle Against Free Music Downloads
Movie and record producers alike are saying file-sharing networks that permit its users the ability to make copies from other network member's computers are infringing on the copyright laws and costing billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Win Friends & Influence People Through Music -- Is It Possible?
The idea that studying music improves the social development of a child is not a new one, but at last there is incontrovertible evidence from a study conducted out of the University of Toronto.
Greg Koch Fender Guitar History
The Greg Koch Fender guitar began to take shapeall the way back when Greg Koch was in the thirdgrade. Greg cut out cardboard Fender Stratocasterguitars, then Koch used his sisters sewing machinepedal as a wah-wah. By watching, listening and copyingwhat he heard on records he was able to advance quickly.
Ibanez SR400 Bass Guitar
The Ibanez SR400 bass guitar is very comfortableto play. The neck is thin up at the headstock, youcan move your hand along it well because of thenecks finish. The SR400's neck at the back hasa matte finish making it very easy to slide your hands up and down the neck. Its easier to playthe higher frets because the neck is a bolt-onwith a curve where the neck bolts.
CD Mastering using Har-Bal
Feel free to download the entire manual detailing the mastering process from Har-Bal complete with pictures of all the tools needed to create a great sounding mastered cd .
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