I’ve seen this touched on, but not to any depth.
I have a huge range of sounds I use on stage, and I’ve forever been trying to find a way to level things out. Since I want dynamics, I don’t want to just “pin” the meters @ -6db, but I do want to be able to have the sounds be relatively even. The only thing worse than starting a tune only to have to reach over to turn myself up is to play a killer part and not have it heard by anyone but me
Back in the analog audio days, a FOH engineer taught me to use a compressor to level my sounds. Since I had multiple synth modules playing at the same time, I had lots of different levels to manage. Bill (FOH guy) taught me to use the gain reduction on the compressors VU meter to determine “evenness” from patch to patch. I would find a benchmark patch, and then watch the gain reduction “tick” the VU slightly. If it didn’t move I’d increase the individual volumes. If it jumped, then I reduced the individual volumes. I spent a day doing this, and it worked out really well - the side benefit of this was that I was able to concentrate on playing and not riding volume pedals.
My current project is a jazz/contemporary jazz/fusion quartet (bass/drums/guitar/keyboards). No vocals, and in most rooms we are running our own sound, so the better I can dial the sounds in, the better the chance I’ll be heard and avoid annoying people.
Obviously a patch where I’m playing melody on the piano, with no other sounds, will have to be treated differently from a screaming Brian Auger organ tune, but I’ve got to start somewhere…
Here are my questions:
- Are the Cantabile “Master” meters fast enough/accurate enough for me to use to 'set" the levels?
- I hear guitarists talking about adding 6db to their gain for solos. Is that a good place to start, or am I going to blow everyone out of the room if I do that?
- How do you normalize your volumes?
Thanks in advance…