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Old 09-08-2019, 08:20 PM   #1
EricK425
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Default REAPER - Addictive Drums 2 - Gain staging and post fader recording questions

Hey all,

I've been off and on home studio recording for the past few years. I really only recorded 2 songs about 3 years ago and didn't know wtf I was doing so of course they sounded pretty bad. I have now taken the time to learn about gain staging, how to use compression, etc. My question pertains to Addictive Drums 2 since there is really not much on the web about this software (aside from the tutorial which I have read through several times). I have tried to find the answer to this question and located one forum question that sort of pertains to my question but not exactly so here we go.

I have learned this whole notion of unity gain. I feel that I understand now a lot more about treating an audio signal and the notion of gain staging. When using AD2, my levels come in hot by default. I can of course split out my individual tracks from AD2 as post fader and drag those faders down and get decent levels showing in Reaper with peaks around -18 to -10 ish. Does unity gain still apply within AD2 faders? Is it bad and am I losing resolution by lowering the volume to not peak so hot in this fashion? Would it be better to pull down each instrument's gain individually in AD2 instead? Also, I was under the assumption if I set my track to split out pre fader that I would not have any of the processed effects from AD2 internally but this doesn't seem to be the case either. Any advice is appreciated.

Eric K
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:39 AM   #2
Tiny Tortoise
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In physical hardware, keeping gain at unity maximises SNR because less signal processing translates to less added noise floor.

In floating-point digital processing (especially when it's using 64-bit math) adjusting a fader trim is about as transparent as it gets, imparting practically nothing to the noise floor.

Good gainstaging in software is still important, but not for the purpose of maximising SNR. Often you'll want an effect's output to be level-matched to its input so that you can accurately tell whether that effect is actually improving the sound or not. Apart from that, since a ton of plugins are level-dependent it's also important that they receive an appropriate signal level to do their job properly.

TL;DR, if you need to adjust volume in a digital environment (as AD2 and any other virtual instrument is in), go for it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:58 AM   #3
EricK425
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiny Tortoise View Post
TL;DR, if you need to adjust volume in a digital environment (as AD2 and any other virtual instrument is in), go for it.
I appreciate the detailed response man. Very concise and comprehensive.

Cheers.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:21 PM   #4
lunker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricK425 View Post
I was under the assumption if I set my track to split out pre fader that I would not have any of the processed effects from AD2 internally but this doesn't seem to be the case either. Any advice is appreciated.
No -- the sound goes through the AD2 internal FX, but then skips the volume fader before coming into Reaper. I usually use the "pre-fader" option, so that there is only one place (Reaper fader) to adjust the volume of each drum.
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