Maximum loudness for live setups #2 // Elektron Analog Heat

Dear Nauts,

Here’s a new video where I use the Elektron Analog Heat as a master compressor and saturation to glue a live set signal and achieve more loudness. I thoroughly show you how to set the levels, how to do proper A/B testing, and examples on how to properly set everything to get a mix glued and peaks under control.

(Fixed the ironically low volume on the earlier upload)

Enjoy!

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Sweet!

Looking forward to watching this later on today.

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Lol

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Watching now. I love the AH, use it on my live set master too. Thanks for making this and sharing, Dave!

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Hope it was useful :slight_smile:

Happy to do it! Would love to know if it works for you and let me know if you have any questions :slight_smile:

Watched earlier today – I really appreciate the thoughtfulness, time, and good explanation you put into the video! Learned a lot while you monitored the loudness and peaks. I’m eager to play around with my AH but I don’t get it back for a few months.

Couple thoughts and questions:

  • You dialed in the compressor (the automation ducking the preset vol) with a not-as-fast-as-possible attack time. Which sounds amazing on a drum bus because, like you explain, it lets that kick through without squashing the transient. However, I think master bus limiters have extremely fast attacks (the Stimming’s IMC, for example, attack range is .1 - 30ms) because the goal is to catch those peaks. I’m curious if you tried this fast-attack on the preset-vol if its yielded interesting or useful results.

  • Have you played around with automating both the preset-vol and drive together (using the 2nd Env Follower in the settings menu)? Curious if its possible do the drive ducking on a more “extreme” level (like you have in your preset), then setting the preset vol ducking to act as a last-chance limiter. Since you can’t set each env follower independently, I assume you’d have to do dial these settings in with the depths?

  • Similar to the idea above, I saw somewhere that they were using the AH to duck away drive (drive or dry/wet) but then using the 2nd follower to pump the vol. Essentially letting them do your preset technique at even more extreme levels all while keeping the volume of the unsaturated kick high.

  • It sounded like before a live set you configure all your settings for set before hand. Do you also measure and dial in your LUFs/peak db (and is it always the same)? Or is that something you do once you plug in and setup?

Thanks!

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Thanks for your thoughts and questions. I’ll do my best to answer them :slight_smile:

  1. Couple of things here: The goal of the compression stage in this use case is not to limit, but to compress the signal to basically lessen the dynamic range. A limiter’s task is to squash every peak that goes over the threshold (depending on the limiter of course) and to gain even more loudness. On the IMC this fast attack is not meant for limiting or squash peaks (I actually liked the .3 in most cases, which is not ultra fast). The peaks get squashed by the drive stage on the IMC. The setting I used in the Heat video is actually fast. I have no way of measuring this exactly but to my ears it’s close to 30ms. As I demonstrated in the video, faster attack times will add distortion. Any lower also didn’t sound as good in my ears. And that’s ultimately the most important thing. It should sound good , glued, breathing in a pleasant way. The drive circuit is the thing that can get the loudest peaks under control, not the compression bit. Hope that makes sense :slight_smile:

  2. Yeap. Played around with a lot of different destinations, and multiples. The last-chance limiter bit is not going to happen though, because as you point out, both destinations will use the same envelope follower and attack/release settings. Unless you set the attack to 0 peaks will come through. The way I control peaks in my preset as shown in the video is by using the saturation circuit. Not unlike the IMC but on the IMC the drive circuit is after compression and in my heat preset the drive amount itself is being used as the compression, which gives a different effect. The IMC is much more transparent in this operation than what I can get from the heat and this is one of the reasons.

  3. You could explore that technique yeah. I guess by ‘pumping the volume’ you mean also ducking the volume? Because if they pumped it, as in made it louder on the louder peaks, you essentially create an expander which more or less negates the drive ducking. Anyway, extreme pumping is not my goal here. I don’t really like the sound of extreme sidechain compression pumping (unless used to create rhythms). The goal is to glue the mix and gain more loudness (in other words: lessening the dynamic range). Preferably as transparent as possible, although I do like the sound of a bit of that saturation in my harder live sets.

  4. What I do for that particular live setup is making sure that the levels from all the material I use reads out around the same LUFS. So relative to eachother. I’m not aiming for a specific LUFS number as there’s no point in that in this case :slight_smile: . The important thing is that the grooves in the liveset are more or less leveled the same so I don’t have to worry about that in a live situation. This way the heat will always act in the correct manner I want it to. So gain staging is really really important as always :slight_smile:

Hope this clarified a few things. Cheers

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Ohhh right. It just seems so counter-intuitive to me that the drive is acting as the
“master limiter” function but what you’re describing makes sense.

RE: 2 - If you owned both, do you think you’d prefer the IMC for your live use case? Or is there something you’d miss from the AH?

RE: 3 - When I’ve explored this technique previously it didn’t make an super obvious pumping sensation but instead was just a technique of adding heavier distortion from the Heat while avoiding distorting the low-end/kick. But I believe you’re correct that, even when dialed to gain match, the peaks would increase. Therefore, its probably more fitting to use on drum bus and not a master bus.

I feel like the curse of the Heat is it does all of these different things really well (and in a unique way)—like it can be an individual instrument processor, a drum buss, a compressor, or a limiter — but we have to choose only one at a time.

Thanks for your reply!

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Hah yeah, some sort of heat plus would be cool. But probably would increase the footprint as well. It’s still a slightly underrated device as well imho. Either people find it too expensive (what compared for less really?), Or don’t like the sound (so many different sounds to choose from.)

If i owned both, I’d choose the IMC. I’m planning to eventually get one. Probably next year. It is so transparant, and the way it compresses and enhanced the sound is really quite something. It’s also more compact so that’s a big plus as well.

I’m also going to test the OTO Baum as it’s obviously another candidate for this type of use case. And I have another weird option coming in from cheesy instruments. Super cheap so I’m curious if it can hold its own against the more expensive options. Should arrive here next month I hope.

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Next you have to do this with the OTO Boum. At that point you’ll have the most robust comparison of color, distortion, saturation, mastering boxes that exists online.

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If this is mainly about loudness/compression, what is your opinion about using a transparent, portable, yet fully featured compressor such as the Elysia Xpressor Qube on the master bus?

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I have no experience with that one. But that could work yeah. Would be nice to test as well actually.

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Nice video! Using the envelope follower release to let the kicks sneak through before processing is great. I really liked the drive modulation a lot, towards the end.