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Padding is the way to reduce the incoming signal level by a fixed amount. It's usually a button that comes in increments, and if you push it, it'll reduce it by 10 dB, or by 20 dB, whatever the manufacturer thought was the right amount to put on that device. It's usually just a simple push button, push it in to turn it on, and push it again, and it comes out it turns off, or switch it slide it, on microphones you'll find that it's kind of slider switch. It's really useful if you find that your sound source initially is really loud. Certain things have different output levels, certain things have different sensitivity.
Some microphones generate a lot of signal, and it's pretty common to find padding on microphones that do that and on preamps that are used with microphones. Generally, on an audio interface device you'll find a couple buttons, and usually the numbers will be below, and it'll let you know how great a pad that is how much it's going to take the dB down by. So in this case we've a 10 dB button and a 20 dB button. Chances are you probably won't find both on it on an interface, they're just here for as an example. Usually, they will give you one to pick from.
But anyway it's something you to keep in mind if you get things all hooked up and your source is really, really loud giving you too much signal to work with, you can't, no matter how little gain you use or how you turn things down, you just kind of peaking out and getting too much signal. Hit the pad and then go ahead and go back and use the preamp, or the gain, and turn it back up. It's a useful device to work with setting appropriate levels. In case you're in a situation, and you don't have a pad on your preamp, or on your microphone, or whatever the other devices it is, it is possible to buy just in-line devices--that look kind of like a plug--that you can plug it into the cable or on the cable that actually do the padding themselves, and you can also buy those in different increments.
So if you don't have this feature, it's not an incredible feature to look for in an audio interface it isn't a preamp. It's going to be on most preamps, but if you're working, and you don't need go out and buy a new one just to get a pad. You can go on and get a in-line pad that will work just fine for certain microphones or certain devices. In the next movie we're actually going to look at an audio interface and do a little kind of features tour, and look at some of the inputs and some of the different buttons. We'll show you an actual padding button and some other stuff so that when you see these things in person you'll know what they are, and we'll also show you what kind of the effect they have on sound.
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