View Full Version : Db level query

Nov 29, 2006, 06:38 PM
I'm using a presonus firebox and and AT-2020, the firebox comes with a software control panel that can boost the mic output. But what is puzzling to me as a novice studio engineer (howls of laughter) is that even though I am using the mic very close to a voice source, with the 12Db boost on I am still needing to have the mic input at a what appears to be a very high level, and I was wondering if this is normal.

Here is a shot of the mic input level knob. It goes from -10 to +30 (but I'm not sure what these numbers refer to) the manual says that the range is +14 to +55Db (45Db of variable gain) so it looks like the level is set at about 33Db of gain including the 12Db gain set in the control panel..

A related question is, is it better to have the software Db boost off if it means that I need to set the recording level even higher, and is this level normal for a condensor mic?


Nov 29, 2006, 10:45 PM
no, that's not an unusual amount of gain. every piece of gear has a sweetspot, so while you might not be advised to use every bit of gain the presonus has to offer, i still think it's better for hardware to do that than software.

that said, you want enough gain to get a good signal from the mic that:
1) sounds good
2) gets you above the noise floor, and
3) doesn't hit the converters too hard

i shoot for a level that averages in the middle 3rd of whatever software level meter i'm looking at. if my peaks are getting above the 75% mark too often, i back off the signal before it hits the converters (i.e. in hardware).