Logic Pro 9 Loud vocals cause distortion

Voice Man

I work with Logic Pro 9. I record voice overs in my home studio and occasionally I have to yell when I'm auditioning for video games. Stuff like "open fire!" at the top of my lungs. I used to record in a room that allowed me to get far away from the mic and yell. The wave form didn't go off the charts and the meter didn't peak and the output was fine. Now I have a whisper booth, so I can't back away from the mic. Can anyone suggest a way for me to control my input so that these loud vocals don't distort? FYI the signal is recorded with a Sennheiser 416 mic and runs thru a Golden Age Pre 73MKII (gain at -60, output at one o'clock) and Apogee Maestro 2. I've made my voice a touch wet with Logic plugins: Compressor with ratio 3.1:1. AU Hipass, and Limiter 0.0dB - if that helps, if not I can provide complete settings. BTW I've experimented with the compressor's Auto Gain at -12dB and that made a tiny difference. I use a MacBook Pro OS 10.7.5. Much appreciated.
Sounds like you might be well served by getting an outboard hardware limiter so you can limit the signal before it hits the converters.
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If it is for video games you rather need short sounds with pauses between them. Means, you have time - why don't you turn the mic input of the preamp down?

Not as comfortable as a limiter though.


What is your recording level? Around -10 to -12 dB is enough for 24 bit recordings. If your signal is hotter the reduction may solve the problem.
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Thanks Peter,
Turning down the mic preamp is a good idea. However, my preamp (and the rest of my gear) are in another room away from the whisper booth, so moving back and forth to adjust levels kind of interrupts my flow when I'm working. I'll investigate my recording level and adjust to around -10 to -12 dB if I'm too hot. But yes, limiter seems the way to go.
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You can insert a pad in the microphone line ...
Shure switchable microphone attenuator
Earthworks switchable mic pad
... and certainly some others.

Limiting is not the same, because with a reduced input signal level (pad) you keep the headroom while a limiter reduces the headroom. This is not necassarily bad for shouted parts which you may compress anyway.


If you want a really good compressor/limiter and don't mind stereo 19" gear, you may look at Ebay for a used BSS DPR 402. Does not matter if it is old because these devices are built and used almost unchanged for many years now. Very solid, very effective, fast, they don't add character and there is no hiss unless you turn the gain up very far. You won't do this, for your application the gain knob remains at zero. Balanced in/out, built-in power supply. Price should be $350-$450.
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