Unity Gain Structure vs. Default MIDI Velocity vs. Sample Volumes vs. Audio Tracks
With the addition of the new amazing audio clips function I've come across a roadblock to my workflow.
The default velocity of clips should be "unity gain structure" and it isn't.
What I did:
I set up my audio interface with a loopback, line out to line in.
In a DAW I sent a -12db 1k sine wave out of an extra set of outputs and made certain that I had a -12db sine wave coming back in, assuring us that the output and input were at unity.
I then put the Deluge into the loop to make certain the line in was the same as the line out.
I created a stereo audio clip on my Deluge with monitoring enabled and set the output dial so the levels matched, again.
It turns out this set's the Deluge's volume control at just a wee bit past vertical, 12 o'clock.
OK, so far, so good. Having all that extra output on hand is fine and has no bearing on the this experiment.
I played a beat from my computer through the interface instead of the 1k sine wave.
On my computer attached to the audio interface I set the volume of virtual drum machine (Microtonic so good) so that it's kick/snare hit peaked at -10db. Of course, the out and in levels still matched, GOOD.
I made a synth track on the Deluge. The volume was too low to compete. I tried a range of sounds.
I increased the volume of the synths tracks. Still low. Adding saturation obviously brought the volume up, of course.
THEN I plugged in an external MIDI controller, Alesis QX25. WHAM plenty of volume.
To double test I plugged another one from a different manufacturer in. Plenty of volume.
I was not smashing keys, playing normally. Recording a synth clip would show that I only hit above 110 velocity a few times.
OK, this is the big one for me.
I bounced out the drum loop I was using for the above test. It was a 2 bar loop, as is the Deluge default. It peaked at -10db.
I loaded that loop into a Drum Clip on the Deluge, setting it as default play once for the 2 default bars.
(The DAW and Deluge are MIDI Synced as well, no bearing on the test but obviously easier to deal with)
What "should" have happened is the -10db loop that I played through the Audio I/O loop should play back at the same metered -10db. Instead the reading is ~-20db. Raising the Velocity all the way to 127 got the levels nearly matched to unity. The default velocity being near unity gain is extremely important from a pro-engineer standpoint.
PART 4, Audio Track Unity:
Next I made a new Audio Clip and loaded the drum loop in. The defult playback volume should, again, be unity on the meter but was not. I needed to raise the track volume to bring the level up to match the input-output level unity gain I had set up. What this means is that a sampled source file playing from an external source through the Deluge at unity line level will be at a lower volume if imported onto the Deluge's memory card. That can't be right.
PART 5, Live Sampling.
The volume of a monitored track is louder than the recording played back.
This is obviously very bad. My engineer brain hurts.
These are not insurmountable problems and can be fixed without changing anybody's previously written projects.
1-Raise the default output volume AND default velocity of samplers and synths. 64 is too low. Even when raised to 127 it's still not "unity" so we must raise the default volume of the tracks as well. General MIDI speaking: Fortissimo is 96, FFF being 127. 64 is mezzopiano. Starting out with room to grow is nice BUT unity gain is more important, and more import of a starting point for samples.
2-raise the default volume of audio tracks so they are closer to unity.
Starting with a unity gain structure will save us all a lot of time re-mixing our samples and live inputs AND remembering to add one higher velocity when recording midi/synth tracks.
These issues is most glaring when:
Using an outboard controller and the industry wide standard velocity curve is WAY hotter than the Deluge's default velocity.
Importing self-produced samples from another platform and the default volume is far lower.
Live sampling volume drops.
Please please please please please consider this.