Playback clean but too quiet, or louder but peak distortion

I use:

A ZEDI10 mixer
Two Behringer C1 mics
A laptop running Window 10

My problem:

I’ve tried a many different settings on the ZEDI10 but I just end up having to choose between a recording that is clean but too-quiet (tiny waveform) or sufficiently loud but with peak distortion.

Can you suggest some optimal levels for gains (preamp, mixfade, and master) on the ZEDI10?

Or is this problem solved in post-production? If so, what do I do to boost the volume and get good clean, distortion-free but sufficiently playback?

Is this the same issue as your other topic?

Thanks, but no this is a separate issue. I initially had trouble with one mic being quieter than the other. But this is another, different issue.

You didn’t say what you’re recording…

That’s normal…

Pros use compression*, limiting, and “manual” gain-riding** for a “louder sound”. Modern [u]Loudness War[/u] recordings are very-highly compressed & limited, and sometimes even clipped (distorted). Dynamic compression and limiting (both with make-up gain) can be used to bring-up the overall/average loudness without boosting/clipping the peaks. (They do reduce the dynamics of your recording and if over-done they can sound like distortion or otherwise mess-up the sound.)

You can use those same effects/techniques, but of course professional mastering engineers have years of experience and a choice of expensive tools, so we can’t expect to get the same results “at home”. And, you might not want to “crush” the dynamics (if you’re recording/producing music) because some of us find that constantly-loud sound boring!

Can you suggest some optimal levels for gains (preamp, mixfade, and master) on the ZEDI10?

With digital recording your recording levels are not critical as long as you don’t “try” to go over 0dB. Pros often record at -12 to -18dB (that’s around 20% of the maximum level). You can use the Amplify or Normalize effects to bring the levels up after recording. Then, if it’s not loud enough you can try some compression & limiting to bring-up the “loudness”.


  • Don’t confuse dynamic compression with file compression like MP3. MP3 doesn’t affect the dynamics of the sound and dynamic compression doesn’t affect file size. :wink:

** With modern digital recording, the levels are adjusted in post-production/mixing with a process called “automation”. So it’s not really manual, but is done by-ear. In Audacity there is and Envelope Tool, that allows you to fade-up or fade-down selected parts of the recording.

Thanks for all the information. I am just recording voices for a podcast and I’m a total newbie when it comes to recording.

I’ll give the things you suggested a try and reply with the results.