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Calibrating PPM Meters with Final Cut Pro HD

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Kai Whittaker
Calibrating PPM Meters with Final Cut Pro HD
on Feb 5, 2008 at 3:50:28 pm


I have a Final Cut Pro system and I'd like some advice on how to calibrate the audio output. I use a Decklink Multibridge Pro and a Phase3 VP-2 Extended range PPM/VU meter to check levels.

When I lay bars and tone into a timeline in FCP, it's automatically set to -12dB (on FCP's digital scale). If I dump that onto a tape or export a quicktime movie and take it to the sound studio we use for recording/mixing, they say the bars are 8dB too 'hot'. They ask that I set my bars to -20dB in FCP, and adjust my program levels so that they never go above -8 dB (digital).

I'd like to know how I should calibrate my Phase3 PPM/VU meter. My audio engineer guy suggested that I play back a -20dB tone from my timeline and adjust the input volume on my PPM meter (I use my meter in PPM mode) to zero dB.

When I do that, everything in the program seems hot according to the PPM meter.. I'm not very experienced with analog vs. digital sound and I'm wondering if I should adjust my PPM meter to -20dB like the tone in my FCP timeline. But isn't that mixing/matching analogue and digital levels?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Ty Ford
Re: Calibrating PPM Meters with Final Cut Pro HD
on Feb 7, 2008 at 1:10:23 am

Hello Kai and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

-20 dB is a good level for tone. In a digital system, that means you have room all the way up to 0 dB.

What do you mean your PPM "seems" hot? PPM stands for peak program meter. It should be reading hotter than an RMS meter when reading music and/or voice. Not so different when measuring tone.

You do need to be able to understand analog, digital, as well as RMS and Peak levels to get it right.


Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide

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