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Audio Levels Mysterious Drop

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Andy Bernstein
Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 2:58:11 am

When I record a -20db tone on a wav file and play the file in a stand-alone audio program (like Audacity or Sound Designs Wave Agent), it shows up (as it should) as -20db on the audio meters. But when I bring it into FCP, it drops down to around -27db on the meters. I can play the wav file in my browser and it's noticeably louder. The same file in FCP, without any alteration on my part, is quiet.

I noticed this because whenever I bring in audio, I have to bump the gain up before outputting, even though it seemed fine when it was recorded. Can anyone think of what would be causing FCP to reduce the gain on audio files? Opening the file in the viewer shows that the level is 0db. What else can I check?

Thanks in advance.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 3:02:47 am

I've not had that experience. I bring mix files from Fairlight into FCP and the levels are identical. This is true for wav or aif 16 or 24 bit files at 48khz.

Do your wav files match those specs?


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Andy Bernstein
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 3:12:34 am

They are 24bit 48KHz wav files. They play out fine in other programs. I can't figure out why they get lowered in FCP. It's not the end of the world to always bump the gain up, but I'd like to figure out what's happening if possible.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 5:49:45 pm

hmm, shot in the dark here. is it Dual Mono and FCP is playing it back in Stereo?

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Andy Bernstein
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 5:54:21 pm

How would I check?


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Andy Bernstein
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 6:22:29 pm

P.S. I just tried something. I copied the -20db track and pasted it below itself. That resulted in bringing the levels up to -20db. So does that mean that when I bring my audio into FCP, I should copy and paste the audio track every time before I start editing? Or is there something else I should set so that these mono tracks play at the right level without doubling them up?


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Michael Gissing
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 4, 2012 at 11:59:20 pm

Check your audio settings in the sequence settings. You may have settings like stereo dual mono incorrect. Plus there are 3 db trims that you can apply. I suspect those settings and perhaps track patching needs to be checked.

There should be a default stereo preset which you can choose unless somehow that preset is wrong. It should just give you a straight stereo out with no level trims. If not change it and save it as your default preset.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Audio Levels Mysterious Drop
on May 5, 2012 at 10:37:58 am

If you have a mono track and pan it hard left or right, you get the full level on that side and nothing on the other side, but if you pan it centre you get equal levels on both sides, but 6dB lower.

With a mixer set up that way (which is normal in my experience), if you had a dual mono pair you'd get the same levels for having the tracks panned left & right as you would if they were both panned centre.

I just point this out as it sounds like you're creating a mono track of line up tone and only putting it on one side of a stereo mix.


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