Author Topic: Recording Level  (Read 4446 times)

poorchip

  • Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Recording Level
« on: January 18, 2012, 03:50:57 am »
I have a Parasound zPhono USB preamp that has an input level adjustment pot for setting proper recording level. An indicator lights when the A/D input is overdriven, and the instructions say to adjust the level until the loudest peaks do not cause the indicator to light (or cause it to light only briefly). When I have the level set properly in this manner, and then use the Check Level tool in VinylStudio, I find that the loudest passages still cause the level meters in VS to go into the clip zone. My question is, which level indicator should I rely on for recording? It seems that since the indicator on the zPhono is driven directly off the A/D input, that would be the most accurate. But I still get unnerved when I see the VS meters jamming into the red on loud passages while recording. I have to say I have not experienced any audible distortion on the recordings though. Does anyone else experience with this or have any suggestions?

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

  • Administrator
  • Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 1177
    • AlpineSoft Main Website
Re: Recording Level
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 12:55:32 pm »
Hi,

If VinylStudio's recording level meters are flashing all-red than clipping is occurring.  We measure the digital signal (obviously) and if this reached the limit of the dynamic range of the digital signal (note that this, by definition, can never be exceeded) then we report it.

You might like to ask Parasound why their indicator is not flashing.  Seems to me like it should be.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 04:22:13 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

drystream

  • Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Recording Level
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2012, 04:17:04 pm »
poorchip--
Check the waveform on a track where this has occurred.  Zoom in to the max amount on one of the waveforms with the highest levels.  You'll be able to see if it's clipped--it will have a flat top or bottom.  If it's just rounded off it's not clipped.

I tried a couple of audio interfaces, one with a USB output and the other with a TosLink output.  I didn't like either one because I couldn't control the level with the VS slider.  The slider is apparently disabled with any incoming digital signal.  I went with a direct analog connection to my phono preamp and all is well.

poorchip

  • Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Recording Level
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2012, 11:13:50 pm »
Thanks for the reply. I've gotten a little more familiar with the VinylStudio interface, and yes, the waveform was clipped on the loudest passages where I relied on the Parasound clip indicator versus the VS meters. Not sure why there is a discrepancy with between the clip indicators, but the Parasound does have the advantage of having an analog "knob" for adjustment of the recording level, so I am now using it to adjust the level while observing the VS recording meters. The actual clip level is well below the point where the Parasound indicator shows clipping, but I have recorded several albums and tapes and am getting excellent results. I can highly recommend the Parasound unit, just don't rely on the built-in clip indicator and use the VS meters to set the recording level for best results. VinylStudio is the only recording software I have tried, and I love it. I bought a license after only 4 recordings because I knew it was the right interface for me. The built-in access to Discogs for track listing is awesome. Many thanks for an excellent product and for the quick response to my inquiry. If anyone has any questions about the Parasound I'd be happy to oblige a response.