Internal gain stage recommendations


#1

Just wondering what kind of settings others are using on Octatrack, from track volume, through level and then through “main”.

I have a comprehensive set of Electron boxes and want to put them through my mixer ideally with the same gain settings.

So, I’m trying to get Octatrack to match Rytm and A4.


Inconsistent Volume
#2

In any digital gear I usually leave around 15% headroom. So far the OT runs at max 110 per track.

Seems to work nice enough although I’ve not maxed all tracks and the master to see the result…

As for matching kit, hmmmm, tough one really as fx, samples, mod envelopes etc are always going to affect your volume anyway. You could get an idea of what’s a decent match by using an external program to match dB levels, personally I’d just use my ears.


Very little headroom
#3

Yeah - I’m more concerned about hitting the bit depth limits tbh.

…which is why I’m interested in thoughts on where to apply gain.

I normally use a combination of level meters and my ears when it comes to matching.


#4

i find this challenging too - would be great if there was some way to meter internally at different points (input, post env., post fx) or something like that.

i guess, as J.m was sort of saying… there isn’t really a ‘set it and forget it’ option… different sources will need different treatment.

keep us posted with any strategies you develop.


#5

Good point. That’s something I do find is lacking - internal metering.


#7

This was originally made in general thread and probably belongs here so we can discuss… This is a config tailored towards external gear and sampling, and maintaining volume while monitoring…

(Begin)
First the external source needs to be set at a healthy level, which makes the LEDs go orange and possibly flash red here and there, definitely above green.

A trick I found is to use the noise gate which gives you a db reading, and crank it up until your signal disappears, this will tell you what the OT thinks the input level is, hitting at -20db to -12db seems good to get a healthy signal and still have headroom for OT to sum.
You can also open the audio editor while recording and watch the waveform, changing your source volume until the waveform is around 70 to 90% of the available height in the display…

Since one might often be monitoring a source elsewhere and reroute to OT for sampling, the following settings will ensure the same volume is heard when switching from the other monitoring to monitoring through the OT:

For all:
Master volume: 19
If using a master track: track level 127

Mixer direct monitoring: dir 127
Flex playback of buffer: track level 127
PU: track level 127, monitoring level on rec pg2: 127
Thru: track level 127, amp vol +49
Any values not listed: default

I’m sure there’s other ways to go but this setup works great for mixing and matching monitoring of external gear for sampling/looping/fx processing and maintaining constant volume… :monkey_face:

A detail I’d like to add that I always use 24 bit for both flex and recording…

Currently I’m adjusting my setup to also maintain volume while directly cueing the inputs. When you cue an input pair it uses a set value equivalent to mixer dir 100, so I will be making adjustments…

I’m curious about things like if I drop the track volumes, can I just raise the master by the same value, and is there any difference in overall headroom between raising track or raising master?
(I will find these out in my tests, I’m not actually asking)

Will report back but not in a hurry… :monkey_face:

Edit: Thrus I usually don’t use, when trying them again the amp vol needed to be at 49, previously it said 40.


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#8

Dude thanks so much for this! Have it copied out into my studio notebook. I have spent hours and hours and hours and hours messing around with gain staging the OT and having things sound not quite right and not knowing how to work it out. This will be a very handy guide. Would be cool in an update to have more detailed mix info included. Maybe the bottom 16 buttons could light up from 1-16 green to red and then on screen we could get the db! Dare 2 dream


#9

I‘ve been trying to optimize the gain staging on my OT for the past month.
The various threads here in the forum have been very enlightening.
Huge thanks for that guys!

It‘s not that I was struggeling to get healthy levels, just wanted to get the best signal possible.

Master Volume 19 refers to main volume, that is set it the mixer menu or with function + level encoder, right?


#10

Yes.


#11

My setup - ot master, A4, digitone slave. A4+ digitone master volume full, track levels 40-70. Ot track levels 30-90. So when I turn on machines sound is same all time. Because master lvl is full. Ot main lvl is 5-15 if u will go on big system louder will be distortion . So whit this scenario I can mix my tracks and go back to them and don’t need to adjust a4 and digitone master lvl all time


#12

And thru machine is +20 volume


#13

Isn’t it boring ? :wink:

Well, I think there are different approaches possible.
Theoretically I prefer track Levels at 127 and change VOL, because that’s the real recording level (for SRC3 recordings, Level don’t change recording level).

I prefer Main Level at 0, because otherwise it influence SRC3 MAIN recording level.
Internal clipping with normalized samples?


#14

I like to keep the MAIN level at +12 because I found it gives me unity gain on thru machines with everything else at default settings.


#15

I think +12 corresponds to +3db.
Default 108 track Level seems to be - 3db compared to 127, so it would make sense.

What is annoying me in that case, correct me if I’m wrong, is that recording level of Main would have +3db compared to a track source (SRC3=T1-T8).


#16

I use a mixer, so I never use the internal DIR routing. But I do set CUE levels to +10 in the Octatrack mixer page, so that my internal resampling (via CUE) is at the same level as the original sound.


#17

I figured it out by running a test signal from my DAW through the OT and back to the DAW to monitor the output level, and adjusting the main volume on the OT for unity gain. The main volume, track level and amp level definitely use different scales, on the main volume an adjustment of +/-1 would give me a change in output level of +/-1dBFS but the track and main volumes were totally different from it (and each other). 112 on the main volume makes it easy to sample a source and play back the samples at unity with the original source, which is convenient.

I might have misspoken in the previous post though, because a year and a half ago when I actually sat down and measured stuff I wasn’t using thru machines at all, I was always recording and playing back from the same buffer instead because it fit my workflow better, so I don’t remember if I actually confirmed that thru machines were unity as well, or if the -12db pad that I was compensating for is only applied to record buffers. Once I figured out what worked at the time I made it my standard operating level and I’ve stuck with it ever since.