-inf To 0 Db Is Not Enough.

When I export all my tracks for mastering, the complaint I get from engineers is that they are way too loud. With that said, these are my questions related to this observation.

  • Where’s the headroom? Most apps go from -144db to +6db but the Renoise track DSP’s only go to 0db.

  • If I drop the volume to -INF on the master track (track DSP) and have Audio Inspector in the chain, it doesn’t affect it, at all.

  • In the volume bar in the upper-left of the Renoise interface, it’s not clear where 0db is? If I push it to the maximum the volume in the Master track (track DSP) goes to 3.522db which, technically, is impossible to achieve by using that DSP alone.

What’s up?

Sounds familiar. :rolleyes:

+6 dB eh? -144 dB is the lower limit of 24 bit audio, so that would suggest you’re talking about dBFS, in which case +6 dB is theoretically impossible. My guess is that it’s just an extra 6 dB of ‘pseudo’ boost, in the same way that a 0.0 dB normalised sample rendered through Renoise will come out at a volume of -6.0 dB, in which case using +6 dB just outputs the volume right at 0.0 dB, which imo seems quite useless.

The -6.0 dB mixing volume seems like the right approach, since it leaves sufficient headroom to build on if you have the loudest instrument (most likely the kick, especially in dance music) peaking at -6.0 dB (i.e. using a 0.0 dB channel volume), bringing the rest of the mix up to around -1.0 dB.

As mastering requires the maximum peak volume of the mix to be around -3.0 dB however, it would only mean that you’d have to take 2.0 dB’s off the master volume, and never actually have to add anything.

I’ll leave the other points over to the more proficient Renoise users, although that 3.522 dB issue does look a bit worrying. I never really liked how the master volume concept was changed from an earlier version of Renoise. Can’t remember exactly what happened, but it would seem much more logical to have the top volume slider sit on the far right when the master volume is at 0.0 dB.

I’m no “sound engineer” so whatever you said is fine by me.

Sorry, I realise I may have been a bit vague in my last post. Maybe it’s time to read up on dB’s, especially dBFS versus dbU. This article seems to get mentioned a lot, and although quite a heavy read, might explain how 0 dBFS denotes the clipping point in the digital domain, whereas +3 dBU (I think, although I also think it depends on how the VU meter is calibrated) denotes the clipping point in the analogue domain. It’s probably time I brushed up on that article again too actually. :unsure:

Anyway, after reading again what you wrote about Inspector not reacting to the adjustment in master volume, this is because the fader comes after the effect, which is how you want it to be anyway. :) Think what would happen if the effect was a compressor, and you adjusted the channel volume…

Hopefully someone can still clarify those 3.522 dB’s though…

Even if this is the case, it’s not consistent with the way all the other Track DSP’s work.

If this is how things work then that Panning/Volume/Width DSP should be the furthest to the right.

At least, this is how I feel.

Is it? I’m no full-time Renoise user (just use it to render sequences when I need to, more or less), but the faders should come after the effects. Sure, it might not be logical to place them to the left, but then almost every other sequencer works in this way too, it’s pretty much standard to have it set up this way, and better in a way anyway. Hmm. :blink:

Anyway, I just tested this, and the channel volume and panning faders do come before the effects…which is totally wrong imo. I guess width would be a slightly different story, since you may want to check the phase of the channel using an insert effect…but then again, ideally you’d want to place a widening effect at the end of the chain anyway, rather than at the start and have any equalisers or compressors work on the widened signal.

I’m beginning to see your frustration. :rolleyes:
The faders need to come after the effects! :drummer:

I was going to say I was sure about the channel faders before before any DSPs you have in the chain, it only seems to be the master fader that doesn’t work like this, but that’s something I can live with, you can always add a Gainer where you want it and use that if you want to adjust the level at a different point in the chain, as long as you understand how things currently fit togther.

Really do need some markings on the meters at the top of the screen though. I would also like to see some gain on the track faders, rather than just 0dB to -infinity dB. Think about a real desk, you have a gain control at the top, then a fader at the end of the channel. Both come in useful at different times.

Re: Decibels. Please don’t even try to think about talking about VU. You do know it really stands for Virtually Useless don’t you? Need to be thinking in peaks, not some arbitary average that doesn’t really bear revlelance to anything. In the digital domain -18dB is usually taken as being your “0dB point” or where you line everything up to. This would relate to 4 on a PPM meter. In a broadcast situation you are generally alloud peaks up to 6ppm, which is +8dB.

But please remember it’s peaks we care about, not some dodgy average value that doesn’t really mean shit.

Average ratings like RMS certainly have their circumstantial advantages over Peak ratings. This is certainly the case with speaker and amp rating. Peak rating is an unreliable measure in this case because it doesn’t rate sustained usage - which is directly related to the physics of sound waveforms.

My day job is as an Audio Technician and I’m switching between old analogue gear and digital recording/mastering all the time. How the two worlds are oriented is fine once you understand how they work. All analogue faders are exponential, so having “7” as the 0 mark makes sense if you’re using analogue ‘head room’ (as in the case with amps and speakers). If you overdrive analogue the distortion produced is quite warm and sometimes desirable (sometimes dangerous too!). But digital is rated up to 0db, and if you overdrive that it sounds way more nasty. Modern digital mastering techniques have been developed with this 0db limmit in mind (you actually can’t have data outside of that). In short analogue mastering accounts for headroom whereas digital does not.

The two can talk to each other quite simply if all your gear is matched. Just take “7” on your analogue fader to mean the same as 0db on your computer.

In the case of Renoise, I think the devs were trying to simulate that old headroom thing by having that 3.522db extra to slide to on the master volume. How this works in the programming is beyond me. I think it is a measure for people who just don’t have the mixing skills to make everyone of thier pre-mixes sound even (which I use to use). A little boost can help.

However, if you want to get real anal about it I agree that the master fader should go up to 0db and that’s it. This would force composers to mix their tracks to standard pre-levels (without clip). It’s a pretty tall order if you ask me, I fear some newbies won’t like the restriction in flexibility. I never touch the master fader anymore, wouldn’t want to introduce unecessary mathematical distortion. Not everyone understands that.

Agreed that the top level meter should have some markings on it.

I like how the faders are the first item in the dsp chain on the channel, but we need an equivelant at the end. The gainer is innappropriate for this because it has 1/4 of the position resolution. (I often end up using the gate’s fader to use the full 256 positions).

Some things to think about.

I’m not denying that RMS has it’s place, but we are talking about recording in a digital medium here. VU doesn’t even relate directly to RMS anyway.

Yes, I suggest a “volume” DSP, which goes from 0 to 100, in percentages (leaving the “gainer” DSP as it is). The current volume dsp slider is pre effects so it sometimes affects the effects. For example, with a distortion VST, the outputted volume may stay the same. Also, with the upcoming mixer, you usually don’t want to automate the channels sliders for fadeouts (because then you “forget” the value when fading back in again).

Can someone of the devs explain the 3.522 dB? I always put the main volume slider to the max thinking it is 0 dB. It is generally considered bad to gain signals in a DAW environment.