Output Volume to Board Too Low


Hi all, I’ve read the gain post from last year. Lots of info that’s beyond me and my minimalistic/simplistic use of Cantabile Performer. My occasional problem is that my final output to the board at any venue/rehearsal space is sometimes too low. I have everything in Cantabile cranked up to just about distorting, and I have my Scarlett 2i2 cranked up. Still not enough for some venues. I could go into each of my songs, I suppose and try adjusting gain on the instrument itself. Tedious, days of work sort of thing. Is there a plugin I could use instead to effect globally? I don’t use racks (I know I should! I said I was less than a basic user of this software). I’ve been thinking of switching to a new audio intferface with higher dBu output (Scarlett is 15). Presonus products are at 18 and Arturia Audiofuse is as 24. I use the audio interface as a pedal, basically. It sits over the faders on my Arturia controller and I adjust up for solos and down for quiet spots. Any advice on increasing output volume to “the board” greatly appreciated!


Are you using the Scarlett mix control?


No, just the main volume control.


I have a Scarlett 18i8. Not for sure if 2i2 uses it, but it should be running in the background. There is an output level on it, which I had to initially increase. It also controls output/input options. Unfortunately, it is not very intuitive and requires some reading to understand how everything works. Download it at Focusrite, but make sure 2i2 uses it.


Thanks, I’ll look into it. Still, the Scarlett output is 15dBu. Would 18 or 24 dBu be a significant difference I wonder…


For sure, that would make a difference. I struggled with volume as well, and went with compressors, but I eventually went through all the stages of gain in C3, from vst level, to output level, and made sure nothing was clipping. It is essential that volume coming out of C3 is not distorted. The gains on Scarlett Mix helped a lot. Once you have all you can get, then raise the board levels. Since I go directly, in most cases, out from Scarlett to my 600W amp, I adjust levels at the amp, which is usually set around 2-3. I can rock the walls at 5.


from your current +15db a +3db (+18db) increase is about 1.5 times as loud and a +9db (+24db) increase even louder at 2.3 times louder so the 24db box would be lots louder but the +18db box not so much.


BTW…there are other 2i2 users on this forum who will probably chime in soon with their unique experiences. Just so you know…


I never get to go to an amp! Every place I play makes keys run to a board. The 2i2 doesn’t have a mix know like the Behringers do. But it had a Monitor On/Off button, which I always keep off. I just tested it with it on and the volume level dropped by 15-20%. But I’ve never had it on, so that isn’t the issue. But I could put some gain VST plugin in the rack behind the whole set to make things louder using software?


Oh I see, Scarlett Mix Control is software. Does it modify my Scarlett itself or is it a VST I insert into Cantabile?


Bummer, the 2nd Gen 2i2 doesn’t use Mix Control, only hardware.


It runs in the background…not a vst. It is now called “Focusrite Control” and you can download it for your specific model on the Focusrite website.



Got it. Thanks!


Looks like 2nd gen needs this too, on the same page.



I have to pitch in here: any current mixing board should be able to get a decent level from pretty much any reasonable audio interface - unless you are forced to go in via a line channel or some other somehow restricted channel. Every channel in a decent mixing console has a gain control - and that is powerful enough to bring up a microphone level signal. So if you can deliver a symmetrical signal (XLR) to your mixing console, you should be able to turn the gain to a comfortable level to have it sit “in the green” with occasional peaks into orange and red.

No need at all to run your interface into clipping distortion - with a 24 bit interface, you should be able to leave at least 8 dB of headroom to make sure you never clip in the digital domain.

So NO: don’t put any gain plugins or any other nonsense into your chain to stress out your interface and risk clipping - unless your final output (check Cantabile’s meters or any decent metering plugin) shows that you are significantly below 8 dB in your peaks.

Just be sure that you can plug symmetrical XLR outputs into your mixing console, then you should have more than enough level for your console. In fact, most professional techs will give you a DI box to plug your keys into, just so your levels get reduced to microphone standards. And these DI boxes usually have different switchable levels of padding (i.e. level reduction) in order to deal with “too hot” signals.

I think the 2i2 doesn’t have XLR outputs, but they are definitely balanced, so you can use a simple TRS to XLR adapter to provide an XLR output to your desk - and these definitely run through the pre-amp. Or, alternatively, you get a decent (passive) DI box, feed a standard instrument cable or (better) a stereo (TRS) cable from your interface to the DI box and then feed the console from the DI box.

With keys or an audio interface, you should never have an issue with your levels being too low, if you know how to feed your console.




Just one additional point: if you are using standard (mono) instrument cables to go from your interface to the console, you automatically lose 6 dB of volume, because half of the symmetrical signal is pulled to ground. Plus: on various consoles, the instrument plug input bypasses the preamplifier, so this could contribute to the lower levels.

Safest way IMO is to use a DI box and then use the gain control on the console to get the signal level just right.


Great advice as always! I play places where the waitron is running the board via ipad and serving beers at the same time–and occasionally checking the board. It can be weird. But I will follow your advice with this Scarlett to my DI box. Everything is mono, everywhere I’ve played. There’s no special setup for that? I do need a plugin I think for emergencies. Not for regular use, as you say. Levels have not been an issue in bigger venues. But some rehearsal studios and bars/cafes… well, I’ve had some issues. These are technical issues that I can’t solve for the venue, so I have to have something in my hip pocket for DIY.


That was a hard lesson learned a few years back, for sure. :wink:


Yeah, a bit of nerdiness helps at times (computer science / electrical engineering degree ages ago). Doesn’t compensate for sloppy playing though, unfortunately. So back to practicing :wink:


An excellent description of most “sound people” I have encountered. Only they are drinking the beers :grin: