Recording level and digital sweet spot

I’ve seen many videos on the “digital audio sweet spot” but the Cubase manual simply says that the input level for recording should be the nearest zero possible without clipping. How do you set your mics input gain on your interface and how do you check it on Cubase Pro? Do you simply check the peaks on the input channel of the mix console?

I set my recording level by getting the loudest possible sound and making sure it doesn’t go beyond zero. I may even back off slightly as you really don’t want digital distortion. The level is set on your hardware which should either have a meter or an overload LED. If just an LED I set the input to make the light just come on and then back off a bit so it doesn’t come on.

By my side for recording I set the hardware channel gain so the software channel meter (peak reading) moves around -18 dBFS (“eye” mean value) but not freaking out if it is more, even -10, provided that some few peaks are not above -6, more or less. So I have little work later at gain staging before mixing, not burning the master and at the same time I am far from having clipping in the recording of the event.

Cool, thank you both. I have to decide what approach to follow. The @Knopf’s one is the technique I was talking about. My only doubt is that you’ll have a very low audio image and it’s a bit “uncomfortable” even if you can zoom it. A good advantage is that I’ve no outboard compressor so the input signal is really dynamic: if you don’t want to get dangerously close to zero, you’ve to get the rec level down :thinking: … maybe there’s a correct distance to have between the singer and the condenser mic.
Anyway, I’m actually using supervision on the input channel on the mix console, I’ll think about it.

Also google some videos on “Gain Staging”. It is an art onto itself.

with “low audio image” are you meaning the drawing’s size of the wave in track? If it is this, I have a good drawing, no issues at all. Regarding distance to mic, try that it is relative close, but not too close, as proximity effect appears and it is annoying and destroys your capture.

Yes, it’s the drawing’s size that becomes quite small. Thank you for the tip on the mic distance: singing really close to it is satisfying but the low frequencies richness is something that you maybe have to obtain later with a more balanced clip. It’s a matter of experience here, I’ve to test many things!

Singing really close does work great with a pop shield for an intimate sound. The low end can be rolled if later. You can adjust the size of the waveform you see in Cubase but if it looks really small and others don’t then you are probably not getting a high enough level. I don’t think this matters too much as we are not driving a tape these days but best to get a decent level.

Interesting…in my case, the song is very dynamic and the singer has to perform quiet melodies and belting choruses, so I’ve to test a good distance between the two parts in order to guide her to move properly from the mic.