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Topic: Volume differences

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  1. #1

    Volume differences

    I've just been composing in Sonar. I set all my tracks to CC7 = 90 at the start and found that one instrument in Kontakt had the volume slider way up whilst all the others were in the middle.

    This was annoying me for a bit, then I realised the instrument in question was from EWQLSO Gold whilst all the others are from Kontakt's VSL Orch.

    I though this was bit odd, so a tried an quick experiment using the two flute sounds from each library...

    SONAR (CC7)
    20 40 60 80 100

    EQWLSO Gold output in Kontakt (dB)
    -36 -18 -7.5 0 5.8

    VSL output in Kontakt (dB)
    -48 -30 -19.5 -12 -6.2

    There's a 12dB difference between these two libraries at the same CC7 value which is a bit strange.

    I then thought that this wouldn't really matter if there was no perceptible volume difference between, say EWQLSO at 0 and VSL at -12. But there is! VSL sounds quieter than EWQLSO at the same CC7 value.

    The strangeness with the 12dB difference between the volume sliders is not too much of a problem, but I do find it weird that at the same CC7 value two libraries can sound so different in volume.

    Is this common? Is it something I'll just have to put up with and make allowances for whilst composing?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Volume differences

    That sounds natural to me. Unfortunate but unavoidable.

    Every developer approaches the recording editing and processing (if any) of samples differently. The room, instrument(s) mics, and gear will all affect the waveform to some extent, and even if the samples are normalized before the virtual instrument is created, those inherently different waveforms will peak in different ways, resulting in different overall volume, despite hitting 0dB at some point in the sample.

    Unless every developer compressed the crap out their samples, this would be the case when comparing volumes of libraries. Maybe not so much (or at all) for things like staccatos and percussive attacks. The differences in sustains from one lib to another are anyone's guess.

    Also under scrutiny should be the volume control's behavior:

    I know from my own tests that sonar's audio volume controls behave in a directly proportional manner to what the peak readouts say is happening (simply put, if you play something that peaks at 0dB, then play it with the volume pulled down by 6.1dB, the peak readout will say -6.1 dB). However, I'm unsure whether the midi channel volumes behave in a linearly proportional manner to the output dB of the resulting audio. Your example tells me, "almost", but it's probably also a function of the plugin and the audio content. I think a good ol' fashioned white noise test is in order if you really wanna know your sequencer/sampler. Take the samples out of the equation.

    Belbin

  3. #3

    Re: Volume differences

    The instruments have different MIDI volume range settings. My Kontakt VSL samples have the range from infinitely to 0dB and the EWQLSO Silver samples have a range from infinitely to 12dB.

    You can change these settings here:

    Instrument> Instrument Options> Controller> MIDI controller #7 range.

    Hope this helps.


    Michael

  4. #4

    Smile Re: Volume differences

    Quote Originally Posted by belbin
    That sounds natural to me. Unfortunate but unavoidable.

    Every developer approaches the recording editing and processing (if any) of samples differently. The room, instrument(s) mics, and gear will all affect the waveform to some extent, and even if the samples are normalized before the virtual instrument is created, those inherently different waveforms will peak in different ways, resulting in different overall volume, despite hitting 0dB at some point in the sample.

    Unless every developer compressed the crap out their samples, this would be the case when comparing volumes of libraries. Maybe not so much (or at all) for things like staccatos and percussive attacks. The differences in sustains from one lib to another are anyone's guess.
    Belbin
    That makes sense. If I'd thought about it like that I wouldn't have needed to post here - it's obvious that slight differences in volume between libraries is infinately better than samples compressed to within an inch of their lives. Oh well.

    I think in future, given that I will be mixing these libraries, it might be wiser to use CC11 as the volume control for dynamics and have CC7 values at the start which take account of the differences in volume between the libraries.

    It was more of a curiousity than a question but thanks for your response anyhow.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: Volume differences

    Quote Originally Posted by rob1984

    I think in future, given that I will be mixing these libraries, it might be wiser to use CC11 as the volume control for dynamics and have CC7 values at the start which take account of the differences in volume between the libraries.

    It was more of a curiousity than a question but thanks for your response anyhow.
    Generally that's what I do.
    A quick volume setting on the slder to get it close then CC:11 to do the dynamics and tweaking. Occasionally I'll need to put CC:07 changes on a track but it's rare.

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