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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:55 am 
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Dude

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Hi guys, got some great advice here before, hope someone can help with this problem.

My band has been using the AW16G to create backing tracks. I download the tracks from various sites and transfer to the recorder with a RW CD. We balance it all to get the levels right and then create a mix down to the stereo track, this sounds fine when we play back the saved stereo track. We only have one stereo track saved for each song on the recorder. All the music is panned to the right channel with just a click track on the left.

The problem occurs after burning the stereo track to a CD, when the burned CD is played it seems to have reduced the volume on the tracks that we intentionally set louder. So, what we get from the burned CD is not the same as the saved stereo track, it is almost like the recorder is limiting the volume when burning to the CD.

Am I missing something? Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:25 pm 
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Marker Magician
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Just to know the lay of the land - What kind of click track do you have running on the left? Where did it originate? Is it to be heard on the CD made from the mixdown?

More to your issue There is a problem that some folk may run into, if you are mixing down and recording a stereo track and them immediately asking the machine to burn the mix.

Unless the file is first saved, an immediate instruction to burn after a mix, will give you the mix as it was before the mixdown. You have to save first, before an instruction to burn, to get recently recorded 2-track.

Next is the assignment of the stereo track's virtual, but you said you had but one, so this is not applicable, for now.

It is not unusual that people feel that the product they get from the AW is too quiet. there are ways around this. I wrote about that at some length in a very recent thread. I would find that for you, if you aren't successful in searching.

I would need to know more about what you expect from your mixdown and for what purpose you are panning all to the right with click to the left, to get a clear picture.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:29 pm 
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Dude

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Thanks for your reply.

The music I have on the recorder is obtained from bought multi tracks, found on sites like Jamkazam. They have individual WAV files for each instrument plus a synchronised click track.

We load all the tracks onto the recorder and make a mix with just the tracks that we require. The click has to go on just one side of the stereo mix so we can control where it goes as it is only required on our stage monitors for the band to hear and not through the main PA. All the other tracks go through both the monitors and the main PA which is all controlled through a mixing desk.

All of the mix downs we have done are saved prior to burning to CD. The issue is not the overall volume when playing the mix down back from the burned CD. As an example, last rehearsal we got the backing track nicely balanced for the song 'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits, kept all the faders exactly where they were, did the mix down and saved it, burned it to CD and then played the CD. On this occasion the backing vocal, which sounded loud enough when playing the saved stereo track, was a lot quieter (compared with the rest of the mix). On another song the 2nd guitar on the backing track came out much louder after the stereo track had been burned to CD.

We need to have the mix down on a CD so we can use a CD player during live performances. We may be messing something up with the initial mix, but it just seems to be that what we get on the stereo mix down track comes out different once it is burned to a CD.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:11 am 
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Not sure what the exact issue may be with the mix down, but it will become apparent along the way i am sure.

To start with let's talk about the monitor signal. If i understand correctly you send the Left and Right of your CD to separate input strips on your mix desk. Then the Left (click ) can be sent to the monitors separately, and need not go to the mains Right side of the CD, containing the mix needed to be utilized in the performance, is assigned to both mains and monitors.

This seems a workable scheme. I will ask - Have you successfully utilized this method before, or are you at the beginning of an "experimental" learning curve? Is the CD itself satisfactory (ie comparable) to what you hear from the AW itself, without trying to play along?

If you are making a mix that sounds good on its own, but seems to have issues when being played back against the stage instruments in a rehearsal setting, then the issue may have more to do with stage volume settings of individual instruments, drum kit volume, stage vocal levels etc. Keeping in mind you want a well balanced mix for the Front of House, if it is OK on its own but not working on stage, the solution may well be adjustment of stage volume levels. This is complicated somewhat if you are not sending everything through your mix desk. I mean for EG an electric guitar amp. If you are playing a small house and you are using your Guitar amp's volume to get it to the FOH, without micing it, then you of course need to have the volume set loud enough for the audience. Such volume may be OK for stage, on its own, but may be overpowering for the backing track or competing with / masking specific frequency profiles ( ie instruments, vox etc.). the solution would be to turn down the guitar on stage, but that would cause the FOH signal to be weakened. The solution to that would be to mic or line in the guitar amp to the mix desk so it can be beefed up for the FOH when turned down to achieve stage balance.

I have never experienced a radical difference, such as you describe, with burned disc compared to the stereo mix from whence it came. Unless it was caused by not saving immediately after a mix recording, prior to ordering a burn. But you say that is not the case.

What say you to my speculation re: stage volume? If there truly is a radical difference between what you believe you mixed and what you got from a burn, there will be an explanation. When you mix are you listening in stereo so click is definitely on left, mix on right? Or might you have your monitors configured to be listening in mono as you mix?? That perhaps would cause discrepancies such as you describe, seeing as the final mix is panned hard L/R to suit your purpose.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:39 pm 
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Dude

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Hi Byron, thanks for all the effort you have put in to try and help me.

As there doesn't appear to be any known issue with sound levels changing when burning the stereo track to a CD I am inclined to think we most probably didn't have the multi track songs as well balanced as we thought and need to spend more time getting them right before putting on to a CD.

Right now we have another more worrying problem with the recorder, it has lost the left channel, both when playing back the multi tracks we had been working with (from the hard drive) and when playing a CD of the songs that we had already burned which had been playing fine on both channels. Also, on the screen there is no visual indication on the level meter that any signal is present on the left, from the hard drive recordings or a CD. Is there something in the system that could completely turn off one of the stereo channels?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Mark1956 wrote:
Hi Byron, thanks for all the effort you have put in to try and help me.

As there doesn't appear to be any known issue with sound levels changing when burning the stereo track to a CD I am inclined to think we most probably didn't have the multi track songs as well balanced as we thought and need to spend more time getting them right before putting on to a CD.

Right now we have another more worrying problem with the recorder, it has lost the left channel, both when playing back the multi tracks we had been working with (from the hard drive) and when playing a CD of the songs that we had already burned which had been playing fine on both channels. Also, on the screen there is no visual indication on the level meter that any signal is present on the left, from the hard drive recordings or a CD. Is there something in the system that could completely turn off one of the stereo channels?


Check the VIEW screen for the Stereo Track.. there is a balance controll there. I suspect it has been moved hard right???

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:45 pm 
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Dude

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Thanks for the quick reply, I'll take a look in a while but would that also cause the loss of the left channel when playing a CD or the full multi tracks we have loaded on the hard drive.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:40 pm 
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Dude

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Just found the problem. The balance on the stereo fader was hard right, not too sure how it got to be there, but if it happens again I'll know where to look.

I had a look in the VIEW section of the TRACK screen, can't see a balance control there, just the Metronome volume and on/off control.

Thanks again for your help.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:35 am 
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You found the screen to which i was referring. And yes, that would affect what was finally burned to the cd. but it would also have affected the mix as you monitored it, as you were were mixing. so this would make me guess that it was somehow done just before you burned it, if you had not noted imbalances before. It can only be adjusted on the screen you found. I call it the view screen as that is its name on the AW 2400. I will check for the proper name on 1600. You get to it through one of those buttons in the vertical row, to the right of the LCD screen.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:42 am 
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Dude

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Hi Byron, sorry for such a long delay responding, been very busy with work.

Thanks for all your help and my main problem is now resolved, but there is something else you may be able to help me with. Is there a straightforward method of ensuring all the stereo (mixdown) tracks are created with the same overall volume. We have made a few from multi tracks on the 1600 and are getting to grips with the initial problem of getting all the tracks correctly balanced with each other. But, we now find that the final stereo tracks, after burning to CD, are not playing back at the same volume to each other.

We need to ensure the final backing tracks that we create and burn to CD are all at the same volume, is there a way to do this using the 1600 or with mixing software like Audacity, I've used Audacity quite a lot so am fairly familiar with it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:19 pm 
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Mark1956 wrote:
We need to ensure the final backing tracks that we create and burn to CD are all at the same volume, is there a way to do this using the 1600 or with mixing software like Audacity, I've used Audacity quite a lot so am fairly familiar with it.


I'm not sure there is a sure fire way of leveling each track the exact same. Not quite sure you'd want to. The VU meter while monitoring the tracks is the best way I know how to see that each track is set where I want it to be. As you said, you can certainly take the tracks and load them on a computer with a program like Audacity. Then you can actually level out each track to be the same.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:17 pm 
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Dude

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Hi RZ, thanks for responding, but it is not the volume of each individual track that I wish to have all at the same volume, it is the final stereo tracks of each of the songs that I will be burning to CD that I wish to have all at equal volumes.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:36 pm 
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One method for leveling tracks is to analyse them to determine their RMS volume level. this is a fairly good indicator of a track's "density". A track with an RMS level of less than about -17 dB will be quiet compared with commercially prepared tracks. If you get an RMS reading of -14 the track will be much louder. I shoot for a number between -15.5 >> -16.9 RMS

I am not sure if Audacity analyses for RMS level. i use an old version of WavLab for this. I will check the Audacity platform when I have a moment.

For the purpose you seem to want for your recordings, i might tend to not struggle to make quiet recordings louder, but rather adjust the volume of louder mixes downward to match the quieter tracks. then when you are utilizing the tracks, turn the volume up on the board. the idea is to have them match, not all be "loud". this of course is not the primary strategy for album assembly, whose tracks would be listened to recreationally, beside other recordings. but because you are utilizing your mixes as a group of backing tracks, it is OK they be a bit weak compared to others because you are able to turn the volume up, so the whole group of backing tracks is as loud as you need them on stage.

This is easily accomplished in WavLab, not so sure of Audacity. I will have to get back to you.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:09 pm 
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So yes, Audacity does appear to be able to handle what i have suggested.

First step would be to load the stereo track into Audacity. then highlight the whole track.

Next go to the Analyze on the task bar. Choose contrast. This utility was meant to analyse for differences between spoken word recordings and the background noise, so you want to use the Foreground portion of the analyzer. Analyze the track, and the software will give you an RMS number. I would do this for the quietest track. It should have been mixed and /or normalized to have peaks hitting 0 or near 0, but still, overall the mix is is quiet. The number on the analyzer is your reference. Say it was -17.5 dB

Now load another of your tracks. Again in the Contrast section, analyze the track. If it has a number higher than -17.5, say - 15.5, then go to the Edit menu and choose Amplify. then use the slider on the screen to -2dB >> OK . audacity will lower the level by -2dB throughout.

Just to be safe, repeat the process on the newly adjusted track and find how close the new RMS number is to your reference.

If the two numbers are close, and the material is generally of similar nature, then the two tracks should sit well against each other. this is an iterative process, so the numbers don't have to match exactly, just be in the same ball park. Repeat as necessary. You of course start with "finished mixes" and would not Normalize these tracks once you have turned them down to match your quieter track.

There are ways to beef volume upwards, beyond normalizing. but you are much more likely to affect the mix negatively if you push hard with compressors or limiters. So I would go for the taming strategy rather than beefing up the quiet ones. you may find that you use both methods if there are a bunch of tracks you are trying to match up.

Give it a go and don't hesitate to ask further questions, as necessary. This is a simple process, that tends to at first seem foreboding.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:28 pm 
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Thank you soooooo much Byron, that has saved me a lot of time trying to find the answer. I had a feeling that Audacity may have the solution, but no idea where to start, could have taken me hours figuring it out.

That should rap up this thread, if I have any more problems I shall start a new one.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:06 am 
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We certainly look forward to hearing the final project!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:04 am 
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Dude

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Hi RZ, I would gladly share the finished product, but we are only creating a backing track for my band to play along with so the tracks produced won't be of much listening pleasure, a couple are just a bass line and click track. All the music we are using is from downloaded multi tracks from sites like Jamkazam.

If we ever get around to doing full recordings of the band I will post some in the appropriate forum.


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