Levelling output volumes from C3


Hi Guys,

i have about 40 songs on C3 that i use live. Each song can have multiple samples that over time playing i have balanced to sound the right level when played in a live environment. Unfortunately the songs themselves can vary in volume (done at different times) and im constantly turning up or down depending on the song i load. This isnt a great problem to turn up or down a bit but can be a bit of a guess when im starting a song without the band (tempting to turn down a bit to start, then the band kicks in and im too soft!!). Is there a plugin or Cantabile fix to set all the COMPLETE SONG output levels the same so when i set the volume at soundcheck i can pretty much leave the level alone regardless of what song i load ?, hope this makes sense :slight_smile:

Thanks, Steve


You need to check your levels before the gig, there are many metering plugins for that.
(check https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=476730)
Unfortunately there is nothing to do with automating this task - no one knows which is the way you may change the sound (and its loudness) during the show.
You might use sort of a compressor or limiter, but there is some weak points in that approach.

kind regards, Alexander


I never really thought about it but you might try Waves Vocal Rider right before the main outputs. I’m going to have to try this. It just rides the fader. You set the output level you want and it turns the fader up or down to achieve that level. Has anyone ever tried this?

Perhaps in a background rack or something?



Unfortunately, I don’t really see an automated approach to this, aside from the “brute-force” approach of setting a brickwall limiter into your output path and simply slamming it. Yes, that will equalize all your levels, but at the expense of dynamics and sound quality (plus, it will introduce significant latency for the brickwall look-ahead).

I can only recommend to create all your songs against a fixed reference level either via a metering plugin or against a reference track (maybe a simple drums / bass track to add your keys to?). I’d actually recommend doing both; first a rough “numerical” calibration against a fixed VU level (I’m using Klanghelms VUMT for that) or LUFS if you want to get more sophisticated (Klangfreund LUFS is nice for that). But both approaches don’t fully take perceived loudness into account, when it comes to individual instruments instead of mixes. I encounter this when e.g. matching a Rhodes sound against an acoustic piano: even though both measure at the same LUFS / VU level, the Rhodes (less brilliant overtones) doesn’t appear as loud as the acoustic piano. Same with a clean guitar patch against my piano. That’s why I after rough VU calibration, I usually give the sounds a trial run against a backing track and further tune levels.




Hi Thorn

I have Vocal Rider, and actually was intending to experiment with it last night in a recording, but never got around to it. Hopefully I will try it today


Thanks for the replies guys :). I think your right Torsten, lower tones and higher tones give a different perceived level of sound in my opinion. Think ill set up a simple db indicator and do them by that and manually by ear as well. As long as its close enough it should be fine live


Yup - close enough should at least give your sound person (if you have one) a good enough basis to work with. It’s just horrible for a sound guy/gal to constantly have to correct levels that are all over the place.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt…

These days, I’d expect any somewhat proficient band to have their levels roughly levelled (and do the basic solo boosts themselves) so I can focus on getting the mix right. It’s horrible when you suddenly have to react to an organ bleating 6 dB louder than the previous piano - or when the clean guitar sound is 10 times louder than the crunch. Nothing but fire-fighting the whole night :scream:




Agreed Torsten. As i said previously, i have sorted out the levels with all the samples contained in each song, its the complete SONG levels that i want the same. Just a thought, is there a Gain type VST that i could put before the output to my sound card for the song level when i adjust it?, rather than have to adjust every sample level ?, any other suggestions ?


Ahhh, reminds me of the old garage band days, except everyone was bleating 6 dB louder than a 747. But I do understand what you are saying. I have experienced fire-fighting many nights myself, and again, I get that guitar player look from across the stage every time. :rage:


I usually have volume adjustments at multiple levels in my songs:

  • individual instruments that together constitute my main sound (e.g. piano & pads; separate volume control for the pad layer via a FreeG plugin within the pad rack, bound to a fader)
  • a summary “main volume” rack with a FreeG fader to control the whole mix of all elements of the main sound via one fader. I can then adjust the overall static level of the main sound via the Gain slider for this rack and still dynamically control my main sound via a binding to the FreeG --> two independent ways to control the volume.
  • a similar “solo volume” rack to control the volume of solo sounds independently of the main volume, again bound to a fader
  • then, in my “master rack”, I have a general “keys master” and “guitar master” faders which aren’t controlled by the song to provide a persistent volume control across songs (have the guitar a little louder this evening).

In your case, I’d suggest routing all your sample players in a song to one “overall volume” linked rack with a FreeG plugin (or any other gain plugin) in it, with the fader of the FreeG plugin controlled by a fader on your keyboard/controller. Now, with the gain of this plugin set to 0 dB, you can simply fine-tune the volume of all your sounds via the gain slider of the rack --> at song level without having to open the plugin. Now you can use the remote control fader to further adjust when playing live.

Hope this makes some sense - let me know if it doesn’t, then I’ll post some pictures :wink:




You mean the kind of guitar player that blasts the room with a double Marshall stack cranked to 11 - so that the sound man simply gives up on him, because he’s already louder than the rest of the P.A.? :smiling_imp:


Thanks for the info Torsten, i dont think i need anything as involved really. Once i have all my songs at the same level i want to keep them that way, so after sound check, all the songs we play during the night (and all the gigs in the future) will be at the same volume. Im thinking i will use a “gain plug in” on each song and keep tweaking them all till i dont notice a huge difference during the night playing one after the other. Unless theres an easier way than having 40 odd “gain plug in” instances pre loaded on C3 ?. Maybe i could have a dedicated rack with the “gain plug in” that i route all the songs through?


@Torsten Yes !! Absolutely !! You know that guy. I have performed with him in many bands. He always looks different, but is the same guy, cause he always gives me that same look. He sure gets around. I have fired him at least 30 times, but he keeps showing up with a different face. He also carries a fan with him so his thinning long hair will blow in the wind as he slides across the stage on his knees.


Don’t forget the SRV letters on his perfectly stressed strat copy.


As well as his ONE over distorted tone, with fully wet reverb and endless echo pulses. He almost knows all of the pentatonic scale which he blazes thru like lightning throughout the whole song whether it is solo time or not. I see you know him too.


He moved to Fayetteville but a new one grew out of the side of the mountain and took his place. :weary:


It was one of his many kids that grew out of the mountain. My son lives in Fayetteville and I bet he played in a band with him. To play with my son he would have to use a minimum of 7 strings on that SRV knockoff… Well…that’s what eye hooks and screws are made for.

My condolences to the OP Steve for hijacking this thread. :blush:

Perhaps a new thread about that #%$@# guitar guy is needed.


My apologies as well, but where else do you get to read and comprehend (enjoy) a comment like this …



I agree…I probably have too much fun sometimes, but I enjoy it. I really didn’t expect Torsten’s comment:

That got me started.


Well, if you REALLY don’t want to tweak real-time, the simplest way is to just use an empty embedded rack in your songs - embedded racks should be pretty lightweight when they don’t load a plugin. Now connect the input of that rack to its output and simply control overall volume via the gain control of that rack. See below: I’ve called the embedded rack “Volume Control”