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Sound Devices 633 recorded levels

Mike Westgate

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Recently established that my recorded levels to all tracks are low


I remember having this issue initially with my 664 some years ago but cannot remember the solution.


No hints in the manual or in the machine menu so is it related to the tone reference level setting??


Help please



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I fully admit that I may be wrong on this because I don't regularly work on 6 series recorders, but when I have, I find that putting the knobs at noon and then adjusting the pre's to match the LR mix does the trick. But then I'd back off the pre's just a touch so the ISO's aren't in danger of distorting on the peaks. So then you might have to put the knobs at 12:30 or 1.

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Thanks guys but:


The levels on the metering is fine but putting a recorded track into software the level is low!


So a voice over on the 633 is (in software) far lower than a v/o recorded on my 664.


I'm still puzzled



1 hour ago, afewmoreyears said:


Thanks for the input, but goodness does not help



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Are all tracks, including the isos lower than what you recorded them at?


If it's only the MIX track, check that it hasn't been "bumped" - this can happen accidentally when wearing the bag (it has happened to me, and I'm not rocking that big a belly LOL).


What I mean is:

Use the "Select" knob (push it) to select the L-R Mix track and check that it's all the way up to 0dB.

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I'd probably try this to double check:


play a generated tone through a speaker

on the 633 check that ISO are set to prefade and Mix postfade

record it so that the levels read 0dB on the ISO and Mix track

import the file in your audio post app and check the levels there (-20dB)


if you get different levels, how much difference is there?


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  • 2 months later...

There is a calibration setting in the system settings.  

Check the PFL for the trim level?  I've had the menu be at lower levels than the physical wheel after an update once. 

My trim is usually set to 5/8's way through to have the gain knobs be at the level I thought appropriate for my work.  Made me think a similar thought once. 




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"Low" is a subjective term. Let's break this down:


* What software are you using to analyze the levels? Do the meters in that software indicate digital full-scale or some other kind of reference?

* Have you tried running test tone into the recorder?

* Are you talking about iso tracks, mix buss tracks, or both?

* Do you have your iso tracks set up for pre-fader or post-fader?

* When looking at the meters set up for RMS, where does your average level hit? I usually aim for a healthy 0 on the meters (-20FS), let the peaks go into the red, and allow the limiters to light gently at times. For dialog the limiters in the 633 are nearly clip-proof when run this way.


Keep in mind that "0" on the 633's meters corresponds to -20 digital full-scale ("-20dB FS")


When the 664 was first released it had significant metering bugs that were worked out in early firmware revisions. It's unlikely the same behavior would be evident in the 633, no matter how obsolete the firmware.


When reducing the overall level of mix buss tracks, the reduction does not affect the test tone on the meters. In other words, reducing the mix bus level by -10 will have no effect on where the internally generated tone shows up on the meters. If you have the tone set up to hit "0" on the 633 meters, it will show up at 0 no matter how much the bus is reduced. (Perhaps this has nothing to do with your problem, but it can trip people up if they don't know.)


I suggest the following:

- Run *external* test tone into one input and have it hit "0" on the 633's meters (a sine wave will hit the same point on the meters in either RMS or peak)

- Record it, both to an iso track and a mix bus set for no reduction

- Analyze the resultant recording in software that indicates level in full-scale (FS). It should read -20dB FS nearly exactly.


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2 hours ago, TVPostSound said:

Subjective low = When you need to raise the clip in post nearly 30dB in order to be nominal.

Whats nominal, when average dialog LUFS sits around -24.

I (received) had a whole season of this with a show ISOs recorded to a 633. Inquiring minds want to know.


What SPL were you mixing to? 

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