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I’ve got another round of questions for your weekend.

Thanks to everyone for your submissions. Good questions this week!

Topics covered:

  • Mixing & Mastering – Peak vs RMS levels
  • Dealing with USB latency
  • Monitor placement
  • 808 bass drops/mixing
  • Recording & money

Enjoy Listening!

[Photo by Horia Varlan]

  • Hey, Joe, I’ve been listening to your Ask Joe podcasts just recently and really been enjoying them. On your latency question, there is one more piece of the puzzle that you didn’t mention, and that may be because Pro Tools doesn’t address the issue the same way that other, at least PC, audio programs do. That is the matter of the audio driver.

    You could have a super high-speed 8-core computer running 64-bit and a wizz-bang USB2.0 or firewire interface, but if you are using the stock Windows MME drivers, you will always have totally unacceptable latency. You just can’t drive them down far enough to make them work. They’re not designed for it.

    On Windows Vista and 7 there are built-in WDM drivers that are low-latency, and a buddy of mine (www.willsongs.com) is using them to great effect on his new i7 machine (Delta 1010LT interface). I haven’t had so much luck on my new quad-core AMD machine, even though I’m also using an M-Audio interface, so I go the other route, which is probably what most people recording on PC’s use: ASIO.

    Originally developed by Steinberg for their Cubase program, ASIO are the original low-latency PC drivers. In my case, M-Audio make specific ASIO drivers for my Fast Track, which work great. I can get latency down to about 20ms without clicks or drop-outs.

    If an interface doesn’t have purpose-built drivers, ASIO4ALL works great. That’s what I used until I realized that I could download drivers from M-Audio. Do a search on ASIO4ALL and they will turn up.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  • CJ

    I was really excited to see you addressing the question I have been wrestling with for a few years now. I love music and want to make it my occupation. I have been debating shelling out my money and time to go to “recording school”. Yes, it seems great to have a diploma with a prestigious name like Berklee or Full Sail on it, but the truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, it’s all about your ears. I decided to attend college and major in business. I plan on doing free lance work and hopefully getting good enough to make a full time job out of it. I have the benefit of having bands that want to record some tracks all the time, so I am never without a project or work.

    I personally don’t see a benefit to going to a big school and playing on huge desk that will probably never benefit you. Yes, it would be an amazing experience, but I don’t think that any school can teach you more than what some patience, determination, and an open mind and ear can’t do.

    With that said, I think you handled the question very well. I really appreciate everything you do and write. It is incredibly enlightening and really helping me grow as an engineer and musician. Keep up the great work.

    CJ

  • Dun

    First, thank you for your answer, I’ll try master compression… Some people say that compressing the master is a bad idea, but I understand your point and I think it can be a good solution.

    Second, sorry for my english, and you’re right I am from Spain!!

    Adios y gracias!