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Automatic Gain Compensation

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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:03 pm

I forgot to mention, if you go here:
http://www.tb-software.com/TBProAudio/download.html
Your life is set for LIFE! the AB LM and AGS will do everything
automated, Gain Staging and ABing while doing effects processing.
Will save you days of time and everything, its all automatic.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:58 am

Let make things clear.

Before we globally dismiss everything from VU meters to a 'Gaining technique' ...

We've, seemingly, countless postings that ask about proper gain staging.

For many users working with plugins like Nebula/Acqua, we have questions of 'optimal' levels.

What I've try to present, in an INTENTIONALLY slowed down manner, giving the seeker of more experience opportunity to think through the concept/process.

2nd ... some of those asking MAY have not ever tested, or actually listened to their efx chain in a balanced status. Either confused by the whole process, or not heard to be appreciated.

Therefore ... we laid out an order, with 2 simple, easily available tools, that can be put into use.

Once the concept is experienced, there is nothing to stop one from customizing it to their need.

I would also take exception to points raised earlier.

Although we have new definitions in 'metering'. There is no official statement that the VU meter standard is to terminate. You may personally find that 'other' measurement tools better suite your purpose.

Keep in mind, neither hardware NOR plugins understand LUFS, R128, ITU BS1770, or ATSC A/85 .... these are perceived 'Loudness Units'.
Simply put, a VU meter is a 'Voltage' measurement.

These are 2 different systems, with specific goals intended. You could correlate them, but the user best understand the difference.
When we speak -18dB [RMS], this relates to a voltage measurement [VU], not a 'perceived' loudness.

Next. We used PINK noise for reason. We did NOT use WHITE noise ... again for reason. And, a 1 kilohertz test tone, famous for specific calibration, is not considered appropriate for covering full bandwidth potentials. It does have importance in other calibrating needs.

Lets not forget ... some audio sources are DYNAMIC. Their levels will vary over time.

We know that LOW FREQUENCIES can impact LEVEL much more than HIGH FREQUENCIES might. Easy to test and verify. Do it so you see the impact. This is why PINK was chosen.

Is this the BEST solution. No one said that.

There ARE calibration tones that challenge the entire spectrum. Anyone familiar with calibration programs like IK's 'ARC', or Home Theatre's 'REW' app use a special, spectral, CHIRP. These tend to NOT be practical to the mixing/mastering engineer in his/her routine workflow.

As to efficiency.
That depends on how many plugs in the chain. We've talking a couple seconds per plugin ... so many 20-30 secs to change EVERY plugin output. If you only changed settings in 1 or 2 plugs, then ONLY those need to be re-balanced ... so maybe 5 secs :lol:

Points to be mindful of:

If you read the documentation included with 'other' plugin manufacturers that use a form of 'Automatic Gain Compensation', they often suggests turning OFF the AGC function when RENDERING tracks, reminding the User that these AGC are best 'guess' at correction.

THOUGHTS:

Proper Gain Structure is important. It can be one of the most tedious aspects to the gig.

The digital world of DAW's has opened near unlimited possibilities, combinations. But they also host a magnitude of signal maintenance that can easily be hidden from view in an effects chain list.
In the pure 'hardware' daze, we did things in stages. We also had commitments to make with available hardware units or tracks on the tape machine. We had lights, meters, indicators, and knobs, that flashed and blinked, etc.

Today, with a strong enough computer, we have a real-time processing list that can take a source from RAW through to every emulation. Then we can change are mind.

That flexibility is also the challenge for the mundane task of proper gain structuring.

Looking to a computer solution, and AGC ... I wonder, is the solution to be had at the plugin itself ... or would this better be served from the DAW FXChain protocol itself. Were EACH FX slot could be monitored and compared, then optionally UNITY BALANCED. I wonder.

Utilities like TBProAudio A/B, Ian Sheppard 'Perception', and others, have helped to address. But they too look at a 'perceived loudness' [maybe not of significant issue]. I have and use BOTH these utilities, but find they help to address OTHER important comparison issues.

I want plugin to plugin unity gain balance. Inside the plugin, we can 'cook' or 'lean out', but its output should return to unity gain in the chain.

In my personal 'programming' hobbies, beside making NVC MIDI controllers for custom Nebulas [AlexB's MMeQ is already in the works], I've been pondering a 'meter bridge' concept that would aid the engineer in this specific task. I want less distraction opening closing windows, and a more productive workflow to critical listening.

Hey ... for those that have their system working for them. Excellent.
These are ideas for those that want to get a handle on this. Particularly with Nebula and Acqua.

I hope this gives some ideas to that path.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:01 am

Man, forget all this...tell us...are you still taking drugs?...i mean NyQuill...lol...anything better?
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:28 am

Excuse me ... do you have some kind of problem ?
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby NoNameComesInMind » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:55 pm

not to jump in and start anything, but it seems what Rj is implying is just a very conservative and concise way of doing things as a helpful tool, i actually do this myself (but without noise generator since i'm an hobbyist and can pick and choose perfectly recorded samples to my liking) but mainly because it allows for linear damage control, since Nebula/acqua's behaviour is realtime dynamics; level matching will be a nightmare if you need to repair something later on, you don't want extremes or lows that either kickstart the kernel engine to activate a higher kernel, or shuts of the 3d imagery completely, it just doesn't sound natural in my own experience.

now for the inputs/outputs he also stated that input/output + trim they are all drive controllers in the case of nebula, having unity gain, allows for the choice of coloration and or dimension later on.

when you stop forcing your acqua/nebula you'll experience the true beauty of it :mrgreen:
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby Avgatzeblouz » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:10 pm

Sorry if I missed someting there (I think I did), but are the meters inside Nebula accurate ? Input, output, and gain reduction ? 2 reasons for my question :
can we use the input/output info given in Nebula to do proper gain staging and unity process ? I think so, by listening to it, but I would like to have RJ's opinion about it. There must be a reason on using the Vu-meter instead of the info inside Nebula.
And is the gain reduction info accurate ? I ask because I hear lots of compression when the meter tells me -1/-2 dBs. I know in Acqua we have to do without the meters, but what about Nebula ? Or is it for some libraries only (Sum-100A, Chandly, come to my mind/ears).

Thanks for your input/clarification, I think this thread is extremely important. I remember listening to some demos by Slate for his virtual console thing, and when auditionning the processed vs unprocessed mix, well the processed was essentially louder...Not better. This must be avoided in our choices to make the best mixes we can, and I work quite hard for that, always bypassing plugins, the entire chain, etc... to make sure I'm going the right direction.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:32 pm

No, you can not use the Nebula meters, they are not accurate at least for now but they are working on it.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby ndarjeelingmusic » Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:13 pm

Hi RjHollins,

Just to be sure (sorry for my bad english):

1) If i use your method (i use Pink noise's Tone Generator plugin from Presonus):
Could i need to leave acqua's input trim to -18dB or adjust 0db after adjust trim with VUMT please ? (is it same schedule for Eq and Compressor?)

2) if i adjust to -18LUfs EBU (with LUFS Meter Klangfreund for example) for calibrate it because seems to be more precise, is it working too ?

Thanks by advance
for your great help ;)
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby fr3udes » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:43 am

ndarjeelingmusic wrote:Hi RjHollins,

Just to be sure (sorry for my bad english):

1) If i use your method (i use Pink noise's Tone Generator plugin from Presonus):
Could i need to leave acqua's input trim to -18dB or adjust 0db after adjust trim with VUMT please ? (is it same schedule for Eq and Compressor?)

2) if i adjust to -18LUfs EBU (with LUFS Meter Klangfreund for example) for calibrate it because seems to be more precise, is it working too ?

Thanks by advance
for your great help ;)


I'd say... do whatever you want until it sounds good. You'll know it overloads because you'll know, and if nothing really happens, that's probably because you're hitting Nebula too lightly. At the end, what works is what you like, not what you're supposed to get.

Not sure i'm helping, anyway.
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