Volume Levels

• mac 10.3.9
• renoise 1.8.0

• prior topics on volume levels

i’m confused with the volume levels in renoise.
i’m importing 95% normalised processed & non processed samples & the volume levels in renoise are:

• master volume level (top left by the panic button) > slider all the way to the right
• master track volume level > 0.000 dB
• note track volume level > 0.000 dB
• prehear sample on master track > 0.086 dB
• sample properties > 0.000 dB

everything seems ok at this point, but when i start cramming in multiple samples & layers in the pattern editor, & doing my best to find a spot for it, including some light EQ & pattern effect commands to control the volume, the volume peaks easily compared to other sequencers, causing some clipping & distortion (which can be good if intentions are in that direction). in short, the overall mix volume is low.

i really like working in renoise compared to other sequencers but i can’t figure out where exactly to tweak the problem. is it renoise’s sound engine ?

You just described the problem quite accurately yourself: You have every volume level set to maximum, leaving no remaining headroom to mix multiple sounds together. In other words, one sound at 0dB + another sound at 0dB = clipping.

The easiest solution is to simply lower the master volume slider.

You can leave all the other settings at 0dB if you wish (I start this way myself, but always end up lowering volumes while adjusting the sounds to fit in the mix), but as a general rule I keep my master volume level set at around 2/3… basically where Renoise sets it by default… and then I try not to touch the master level after that. This ensures you always have some headroom to work with in your track.

If you want a rough idea of how much your song is clipping, enable the auto-adjust volume feature. The button for this is directly to the right of the master volume slider. When enabled, this will automatically lower the master volume to prevent clipping.


I use the same default master 2/3 volume setting Dblue describes + always use a multiband compressor (with the limiter set to -0.2 db) on the master track.

If you use a good multiband/limiter combo this raises the overall levels considerably , plus the limiter prevents your speakers blowing up from nasty feedback or clipping vst(i)'s.

thanks for clarifying where my senses needed to be

• keeping the master volume slider at default > using auto adjust at times
• boosting sample properties & vst instrument properties at 6.000 dB
• using mda limiter in the master track

overall mix sounds much louder than before & all imported audio files sounded as the original

additional info on single & multiband limiters


A much more discipline approach would be not to touch at all the two master faders and mix all the parts lower. This will put pressure on yourself to watch transients and balance all the sounds in a reductive manner.

Additionally you avoid bit-quantisation error issues being globally imposed upon your mix, but that’s just be being nerdy :P

• not at all nerdy, helpful in my quest on varied volume fidelities, in other words, ‘what the hell is going on here’

• i’m used to Reason’s MClass Mastering Suite > that environment made it easy for me to make certain frequencies louder than others & add effects to certain frequencies without peaking. the overall mix was loud & warm. i never touched their default master patch.
• i was able to do fast & simple things like route one audio source to 4 tracks, 2 at volume level 100 & another 2 at volume level 45. link to examples > http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=726716
tracks 01 > 04 > 06 > 09

• i planned on using izotope’s ozone in renoise, single tracks & master, but there seems to be some compatibility issues > i don’t have the minerals to try izotope in renoise

• i’m going to keep experimenting with renoise & try to figure out the best signal flow, inside & outside its environment

I hope you’re mixing without mastering plugs. Doing it the other way round is kinda fudging approach.

I’d also advise against Ozone, or multi-band comps.

i’m experimenting with a few mixing setups

i have sample & vsti properties at 6.000 dB because whenever i import audio files, the volume is lower than before.
do you advise in keeping sample & vsti properties at default 0.000 dB ?

…mixing without plugs makes sense, but why not Ozone and the like?

after reading & hearing a bit on ‘level wars’ & a couple of other sources on mastering:

• default renoise levels
• mixing with sample & vsti properties at 0.000 dB & a separate mix with 6.000 dB
• limiting the use of ‘beefy’ plug-ins & DSP tricks only on sound shaping environment & certain musical phrases > trying not to use anything on sequencing environment

btw, i have no musical or engineering background, all DIY, so any experience & war stories is appreciated

I’ve not liked Ozone for sound reasons - noisy and an approach that encourages fudging blanket solutions that aren’t precise enough.

My mastering chain:

A0 Parametric EQ (largely for bass reduction but no saturation) —> DSP-FX Aural Activator (for gingerly boosting tuned harmonic content) —> PSP Vintage Warmer (for loudness boosting, and rarely for a knee) —> Free-G (for RMS monitoring: I usually aim for somewhere between -9dB to -7dB rms).

This only goes on after I’m happy with a mix. Mixing as a craft takes years to develop, there’s no end point.

I leave my master alone. Put gainers on all tracks, almost always pull everything down about 3 db and then others more to suit to give room. Usually don’t touch those ever after.
Then I control fade in and out with volume.
On a related tangent, bandpass filters can be helpful in filling out a mix without too much crossover.
Send tracks are good for controlling things as well.
For a final rendering I’ll put a limiter/compressor on the master or a gainer and find out where it clips and back it off slightly.