Redlining - how bad is it?
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  1. #1
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    Default Redlining - how bad is it?

    In addition to common sense, I've read multiple times that redlining is generally bad for the sound system and in the best case scenario you'll end up with worse sound quality. However, I keep seeing popular DJs hit the reds and noone does anything about it. Can anyone clarify what the actual effects of redlining are?

  2. #2
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Yes

    Of course, it's not good for the music quality, but, i don't think it's bad for your sound system...

    I think no one would say to a popular DJ that he his redlining, but it's not good so..

  3. #3
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    Most modern digital mixers have enough headroom and a limiter on top which stops the most serious problems caused by redlining.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by makar1 View Post
    Most modern digital mixers have enough headroom and a limiter on top which stops the most serious problems caused by redlining.
    But you still get really shitty sound when you do it.

    It's because popular DJs usually dont know what they're doing

  5. #5
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    If you're within headroom and fully below the limiter there's no loss of quality. It's only bad when your transients get squashed and you start compressing your sound.
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  6. #6

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    one red=ok / two red=no good / three red=no no

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor No Left Turn's Avatar
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    There are really only 2 scenarios that explain why ANYONE would ever be running the reds.

    1) You think that louder is better. Not only are you the DJ, but you're also the sound engineer. You've taken it upon yourself to make sure the club is as loud as possible, completely disregarding the fact that you did not set up the sound system.

    2) You're playing after one of the aforementioned "DJs" and can't drop lord knows how many dB to save the DJ mixer/sound system without killing the energy in the club.

    I find myself in scenario #2 quite often and with the sound engineer nowhere to be found. In my 12 years of DJing, I've only ever spoken to the sound engineer maybe 5x. Those were the best sounding shows I've ever played. They made sure that as long as I was playing at a medium level (2-3 yellow/orange) that they'd have me nice and loud on the PA.
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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor cpetticrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loverocket View Post
    one red=ok / two red=no good / three red=no no
    haha love it
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru bumtsch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loverocket View Post
    one red=ok / two red=no good / three red=no no
    That really depends on the mixer

  10. #10
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Default

    Without knowing which scale they're using, dB numbers don't mean much.

    "Red" means even less than that.

    You can hook the mixer up to an osciliscope if you really care, but here's what it boils down to:

    DJs don't understand levels.
    Digital audio made it even worse.
    Meters are made to compensate. Some more so than others.

    If you hear distortion, start turning things down.

    In general, it's worse for channels to hit red than outputs because your mixer is still doing processing (EQ, summing, possibly effects). And all of that processing is affected by its input level, sometimes drastically.

    Mixers have wildly varying output levels. For example, on some xones, it was correct to run them just below the clip light to feed the next gain stage correctly: it appears the designers knew that DJs were idiots, so to ouptut a nice line-level signal that was relatively noise free, you had to run them so they looked like they were cooking everything. I have no idea if the modern ones are the same. My uk-made xone:62 (sold a while ago) was like that.

    And at a big show/club/event 99 times out of 100, the mixer is going into direct boxes that feed a bigger live sound console anyway. When that happens, the DI takes the mixer's output down to microphone level, and it's re-amplified to a line level signal by people who know more about sound than the vast majority of DJs anyway. Then, as long as the DJ doesn't clip the summing bus or the output stage, it'll be the right volume in the end. And any issues you're getting are dynamic range issues (very minor with insanely compressed music) and gain staging issues (somewhat mitigated by using good gear with really low noise floors).

    And some mixers (some Pioneers, Eclers, etc., though I'm not sure exactly which ones) have attenuators built in that can further reduce the level before the output stage (probably pre-DAC on the digital ones as well) so the meters mean even less...just to compensate for people who think the clip light means "almost loud enough". When they're set up like that, pegging the red all the time is the correct thing to do. Unfortuantely, those mixers have helped the problem.





    And for those times when you actually do see a realistic digital meter that tops out at 0dBFS (digital zero), keep in mind that running close to it is kind of like running a console at around +50dB. Nothing sounds good like that.

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