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Audio level adjusting on a DVD recorder?

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Andrew Crosby
Audio level adjusting on a DVD recorder?
on May 9, 2008 at 6:28:24 pm

Hey guys,
If this is the wrong forum to post this then I apologize, but since my last post got such a HUGE response I thought I'd try here again.

Part of my job entails making DVD timecode burns for clients, so they can make a paper edit before coming into the edit suite. The way we have been making them has been going out of the deck composite super via SDI cable and into a consumer DVD-R (we use an RCA adapter to fit into the DVD-R) and patch the audio analog to the recorder. The particular model we use is a Panasonic DMR-ES45V.

Now, the problem we are encountering is that there is no way to set or monitor the audio levels, and for some reason the recorder boosts the level and clips the audio. The levels sound fine coming directly out of the deck, but monitoring the DVD audio it sounds awful.

The question now is, does anyone know of a particular "professional" DVD-R recorder that has audio level monitoring and adjusting capabilities that they prefer? Right now my temporary solution is to go out of the deck and into a mixer, out of the mixer and into the DVD-R. I say temporary because by going through the mixer I am unable to patch anything else through the mixer, aka I'm pretty much stuck waiting for the timecode burns to finish (3 one hour long DV CAM tapes)

I would LOVE to find something that has an audio record level adjustment like on every other deck I have, even the old professional VHS recorder we have (Sony SVO-1630) has this feature, why there aren't any/many DVD recorders that have this is beyond me...

After doing a search on Google I found 2 recorders so far,

which is a DataVideo MP-6000 DVD plus R-RW recorder for $1,200


which is a Pioneer PRV-LX1 Pro for $5,399, although this one looks like you have to go through a menu to get to the audio adjustment, nothing that is on the outside of the unit.

Know of a better recorder? Any ideas would be a great help. Thanks guys!

-Andy C

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Mark Suszko
Re: Audio level adjusting on a DVD recorder?
on May 9, 2008 at 9:19:47 pm

I've had problems playing off the timeline into a Panasonic DVD recorder. Mine was because the recorder was never set up to any kind of reference level, nor was the FCP system.

I found that by normalizing my timeline audio for a -6 DB peak, my output to DVDStudio as well as play-outs to the stand-alone recorder resulted in a better overall audio level, without further needs for adjustments. Why -6? Dunno, came to it by trial and error and by ear, not very scientific. Scientific would be everything peaking at 0, I guess... I know from testing that stuff mastered at -6 peaks on my system will play and sound "normal" in comparison to movies on DVD rented from blockbuster as well as the level of the shows on my local cable channels.

I think your existing recorders use AGC for riding the levels? If so, you want to feed them a level that doesn't force the auto-leveler to clip the peaks or pump the noise becasue the incoming signal level is low.

Yes, a more expensive deck with independent audio controls onthe inputs can solve this, but it's treating the symptoms, not the disease, if you take my meaning. Follow your signal chain back to the computer and any mixer/amp/speakers you have outboard of that.

Go back to basics and use your tone genrators and displays, and a sample of human speech, to get everything lined up to the same reference level, then you won't have to constantly be figuring out "fudge factors" between different hookups. Then, when the knobs for the speakers and headphones have been set, glue them down, tape them over, rip them off, anything to disable them from being messed with again. Or I suppose some sharpie marks would do as well:-)

The point is, in a shop where people share systems, you'd better have some kind of standard reference points established for everything, or you'll never have the same mix setup twice.

Everything will just come out sounding "right" the first time.

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grinner hester
Re: Audio level adjusting on a DVD recorder?
on May 17, 2008 at 3:04:41 pm

I have only seen em with meters but not input controls.
I have mine fed by a cheap mixer. This is something you could do with a quick trip to guitar center.

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