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Topic: Any advice on Volume control?

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  1. #1

    Unhappy Any advice on Volume control?

    Hi all



    I hope someone could give me some advice on the use of all the different volume controls there are. To me, as a non-professional, this is lately becoming a nightmare .



    This is my confusion: There are SOOOOO many volume controls involved in the process of mixing a piece, that in the end, when I burn a piece to a CD and play it on my CD player, it's either generally too loud or too soft. I don't know how to handle all the controls. There are 8 controls in total!! I realize that, since I know little about these things, it might be obvious to professionals, but to me it doesn't make sense. First there is the volume control on my loud speaker, then there’s a separate one on the external sound card, then there's one in the system tray on the computer. When I open cubase there's a mixer with two volume controls for each instrument loaded in GPO vst. Then on the GPO VST there is another control that says Main Volume. And finally there is the modwheel.... I'm exhausted just listing them all .



    Where does one begin? I usually create rough scores in Sibelius with no dynamic markings at all. I then import that score in MIDI format into Cubase to do the dynamics and all the rest.



    How can one establish a kind of 'middle level' for the volume between all these controls? I hope I don't sound too silly here...



    Can anyone give me some guidance? It will be much appreciated.



    Kind regards



    Louis Dekker

  2. #2

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Hey Louis, its not silly at all. Im assuming you're using a pro sound card so for starters set that to 0db (as loud as it can go)

    In your sequencer make sure the output fader is also at 0db.

    Orchestral music is obviously tricky since you have so many dynamics, but here's a trick - find the loudest part of your piece and aim to have that peaking at around -0.3db (this is a comfortable level to master onto CD with)

    Now that you have established the loudest part of your piece, every other section in your composition can either be building up to, or coming down from this "loud section"

    Also, since your sound card and output fader are set to "loudest" you kind of have a gauge for your other faders, mod wheel dynamics etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Scott.
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  3. #3

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Thanks so much for those tips. It all sounds so logical and simple and yet, I wouldn't have thought of it myself. I'm most grateful.

    Kind Regards

    LouisD

  4. #4

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Just on a side note:

    I typically leave the volume levels of the player alone when orchestrating (only adjusting them when I have solo woodwinds in small chamber pieces.) I typically leave my volume mixing to the mixing channels in my audio program. Also, the mod wheel shouldn't be used for overall volume control just single instrument volume/timbre control. Adjust the mix as needed to bring those instruments up instead of using arbitrarily high mod wheel values since this is directly tied into the timbre of the instrument. This way you don't have an aggressive sound just because you wanted your mix a little louder. Just my two cents. Keep in mind, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

  5. #5

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Thanks Joseph!

    I know at least this much... as to not use the modwheel for volume control . Thanks for the advice.

    Keep in mind, some individuals might suspect you don't know what you're talking about, but I know you know what you're talking about...

    Kind regards

    LouisD

  6. #6

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    A small technical reminder. In GPO general options you can choose "standard CC#7 and CC#10 for vol and pan. I don't know how this operates in all environments but in mine it gives precedence to the mixing board vol and pan over those in the GPO window.

    Ed

  7. #7

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Say, what?? Just when I thought I know what to do... Edi, what does that mean?

    Regards

    LouisD

  8. #8

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by LouisD
    Say, what?? Just when I thought I know what to do... Edi, what does that mean?

    Regards

    LouisD
    Sorry, Louis. It is probably irrelevant but:

    The GPO window has vol and pan control for each instrument.

    My sequencer (DP4) has a mixing board which also has vol and pan controls for each instrument.

    These two sets of controls are potentially in conflict.

    If you want the mixing board controls to do the controlling, then you must select the, "use standard vol and pan " option in the options menu of the GPO player.

    As I say, I don't know how this works in other sequencers.

    Ed

  9. #9
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    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    I disable the volume/pan controls in GPO. The preset volumes are pretty much in the ballpark with minor tweaking in the player. The default settings normally allow my peaks to get close to 0 db. I use modulation control for expression.

  10. #10

    Re: Any advice on Volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn
    I disable the volume/pan controls in GPO. The preset volumes are pretty much in the ballpark with minor tweaking in the player. The default settings normally allow my peaks to get close to 0 db. I use modulation control for expression.
    Yes, the overall volume settings are quite well balanced in GPO, but if you need to work on a quiet string passage, for example, you will get that steppy sound due to the mod wheel resolution. Do you have some kind of trick to workaround this problem without working with cc#1 and cc#7 at the same time?

    Anton

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