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Daw/Interface Input Issue.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by cassanova, Jan 8, 2017.


  1. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I'm having some odd issues with my daw and interface regarding the input meters on each. I can be using my Lakland, and Ibanez, and the input level meter in the daw will be right where it should be, around -6 db, occasionally peaking at -3 db, yet on the interface it's still reading in the -20 meter range as a rule, occasionally flashing in the -6 db range. The two meters are never syncing up where as they should be, or at least be close. Now when I connect my Fender, the meter on the interface will read that it's clipping, yet in my daw, the meter is barely recognizing any signal at all, and the one it picks up, is virtually inaudible. The interface is a M-Audio M Track Plus, and the interface is Pro Tools Express. This is a relatively new development too. I've tried researching what the problem could be, but no real luck there. Anyone have any clue as to what the hell is going on, and how to remedy the problem?
     
  2. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Bump just on the off chance someone might be able to assit.
     
  3. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Have you had any software updates or installed any new audio products or divers? That's usually when things that used to work, break. I once had an issue where an M-audio driver was conflicting with a Focusrite one. I found that drivers from different companies do not always get along with one another, even though they are supposed to.

    Check for the availability of driver updates and if they are compatible with your current OS.
     
  4. Are both sets of meters reading dbFS?
     
  5. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Sorry for the delay, I've been really busy.

    No. The best way I can explain it would be, my daw (Pro Tools Express) is registering -3, and even going into clipping, but the M-Track Plus meter is still reading in the -20 range, and rarely going into the -6 range on it. The two meters are that out of sync.
     
  6. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I've done that, but checked once again. Pro Tools express doesn't offer any support, and according to my computer the driver for the M-Track Plus is working properly and up to date. It's also telling me it's a Microsoft driver, version 10.0.14393.0
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Sigh!

    Sorry, that's all I've got. I use a Mac which seems to play better with others than a PC.
     
  8. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    It's all good. I'm going to try rolling my computer back to a point to where I know I didn't have this problem, and see if that helps resolve the issue.
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I think you misunderstood what @stevenA800 was asking. dbFS stands for "decibels full scale" and refers to digital metering. You said earlier that you were looking at "the input level meter in the daw" which couldn't be anything but dbFS. So the answer to his question was actually 'yes.'

    If one meter was showing dbFS (Pro Tools is certainly showing this), but the other was showing dbV, dbU, etc. (how meters in the analog domain work), the differences in levels could be down to unit conversion and not an actual difference in voltage. This gets more complicated because you can't express dbV (consumer) or dbU (professional) levels as dbFS (digital) or vice versa. You'll see a lot of accepted benchmark references like setting -20dbFS (Skip Burrows), -18dbFS (Alan parsons), or -14dbFS (Bob Katz) as the reference point to 0VU, but these are just useful approximations, not actual conversions as no such conversion can exist.

    Have you read the manual on the M-Track? Does it specify where the hardware metering takes place? If it's on the way into the preamp (i.e. ahead of the AD conversion presumably measured in dbV since it's a consumer-level device) then it would make sense that the two wouldn't show the same thing since ProTools will display dbFS. If the M-Track's metering takes place after the AD converter the two SHOULD both be represented in dbFS.

    To further confound things you've stated that Pro Tools is showing -3, which would more accurately be -3dbfs, but it's going into clipping. -3dbfs means you have a full 3db below the point of clipping. How can you be clipping with 3db of headroom?
     
  10. The M Track Plus manual claims that the LED meters indicate the audio level of the MAIN OUT, which is an analog output, so I'm not sure what to think here, especially since I don't have one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  11. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The main OUT? o_O

    That is truly bizarre. The output would then be a dbV measurement (I can't imagine the M-Track Plus uses dbU being a consumer-level device), and really only useful for calibrating the level of whatever monitors (presumably) you had attached to it. I'm confused as to how that's even terribly useful. That said, it effectively solves the difference in the levels between what was being seen in the DAW (dbFS), and what was being shown on the hardware's meter (dbV). The answer is that there is no difference, because there is no comparison. One is showing input on the digital side, the other is showing output on the analog side. Zero correlation. So with that in mind, the OP has exactly zero to worry about in terms of the difference.

    @cassanova just set things accordingly inside the DAW, largely ignore the hardware meter and walk away smiling. If you're hitting an appropriate level inside your DAW (likely between -20 and -14dbFS on individual tracks, and around -6dbFS on the 2buss) with no audible clipping you should be in good shape.
     

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