What I am doing in all my songs: I have a “Master Rack” with two master faders in it (one for guitar, one for keys). This rack is the final gain control - and I’ve set it to NOT be controlled by the containing song, so it doesn’t get initialized when songs change. To lower the level of all keyboard sounds in a set, I simply pull the master fader (via a midi controller) - all keys sounds immediately go down across all songs.
Before this “final level”, I have five levels of gain control:
- first, within the plugins, I try to set the levels to a common loudness when designing the patch
- where this is not possible (sample set too soft, too much filtering), I use the plugin gain to boost when necessary
- Every instrument rack has a final fader plugin that is controlled by sending CC7 to the rack. I use this for manual volume control via expression pedal or modwheel or whatever. This fader gets initialized on state change so I’m sure that it’s initially on 0dB
- within songs, I use the gain slider for every rack to define the “static mix”: balance the individual sounds against each other
- Within each song, I have separate “volume racks” for main keys, solo keys, extra sounds. These are bound to a fader on my keyboard, so it’s easy to simply lower the solo sound, even though it may be composed of two or three individual racks. Also, the effects racks for main, solo, extra feed into these volume racks, so that I lower/boost both the sound AND the effect.
Finally, all these volume racks feed into my master rack as explained above. This one contains a separate master EQ, compressor and volume control for guitar and keyboard sounds.
So, on my master keyboard, there are dedicated faders in every song for:
- main keys volume
- solo volume
- extra volume
- keys master
- guitar master
Beyond this, I usually have faders assigned to
- main reverb
- solo reverb
- solo delay
Others are then assigned specific to songs (e.g. string layer volume)