Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk Audio Interface Soundcard Question

  • This topic has 22 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by face (chris) Janton.
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    face (chris) Janton

      That's a nice, small, interface. Not much space at all.

      BD? I assume Beyerdynamic? They make great headphones.

      I don't want to have to turn my volume knobs - ever. 😉

      It's hard to pin down actual levels going out from my Mac, but Sonarworks Systemwide says I have my volume set to peak at -9 dB. That's what I get when the output controls on the system are at 75%.

      My monitors are calibrated to get 75 dB output with volume controls at top-dead-center. Makes it easy to get my levels right with a quick twist of the knob.

      I try to keep all of my critical listening at that same level so when I mix I know where things "belong" relative to everything else.

      I refer to these articles from "Sound on Sound" when the topic comes up

      I re-calibrate every 3-4 months when the seasons change. Things are different when the studio is living at 79F and 35% RH vs 69F and 30% RH, but that's just me. I calibrate my living room speakers as well. These days it's handy, living room monitors are same tweeter and waveguides as studio with bigger woofers (and more of them). I can AirPlay my music to "all the rooms" and sanity check things.

      Whee. Probably more than you wanted for an answer.

      Just Lisa

        Yes, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250 Ohm. I hate having to specify. Just like my guitar. If I told you, you might draw unfair conclusions about who I am and what I want. Just me being sensitive. Which is stupid in this context, I know.

        Anyway. Hope Christmas is good for you. Was it sunny today in Tucson? I miss that.

        Thanks for reply.

        My question was about how hard I'm driving the system. Just like how my guitars sound better with the volume up near ten and the amp's master turned down. Contrast with how my friend's computer cranked to max trying to push a quiet signal through the auditorium sound system caused a lot of distortion etc. Or plug ins -- some want to be 'driven' more than others, the Klanghelm like to have the needles hitting zero so you calibrate the sensitivity to the incoming signal.

        I'm looking for a general rule of thumb kind of answer.
        Computer volume up, interface volume down
        computer volume down, interface volume up.

        It's hard to hear the subtle differences with some things. Really, I had to be told about my guitar and the plug ins, and eventually it began to be noticeable.

        : )

        Simon Brown

          For the specific situation you're talking about, there shouldn't be any differences because there's nothing analogue, either actual or simulated, in the path between the computer and the audio interface.

          Just Lisa

            Thanks, Simon.

            Nothing sounds the same as it did a year ago. Different computer. The DAW. The 'training' my ears have had. Headphones.
            This whole mixing thing has my head in a game of 52 card pick up.

            And this latest change threw them all up in the air again.
            My husband's passing remark about the internal workings of the computer influencing what was coming out of the soundcard -- until a few weeks ago, I was thinking the soundcard was the issue. Nothing sounds the same when I take a mix to the car or my studio spaces (dance not recording). And now it seems so obvious. The analog noise around the soundcard!

            So, wrt my original question, it seems that any interface is going to be better than no interface.
            And I also need to just keep using it for Feedback Fridays or any other critical listening.

            Need to start an anonymous "things I wish I'd known when I was starting out" sheet for everyone.
            : )

            • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.

              Happy New Year!

              I have a chance to upgrade my editing system and I wanted some advice from the forum on DSP & what is everyone is doing with their gear in hopes to make a good choice on equipment to do editing in my master room. I use a program called Traction to edit with and have been using it for nearly 10 years. I want to make the jump over to pro tools but its costly for me to go to that software - I am a hobbyist, I got a great PC but I been doing more and more work with plug ins and my system bogs down fast and now its virtually impossible to do what I want - there isnt much in terms of what to buy? but it seems the Plugs are the issue, is buying something like a DSP interface a good idea to upgrade too? I am looking at UA Apollo TWIN Thunderbolt 2 - apparently it claims to help with plugs to help the computer from bogging? I just cant keep up anymore with all the plugs and tracks now - and thanks to the lessons from the Academy I am using more and more? anyone have any luck with it OR is there anything better to use? I am all ears? any advice on this would be welcome! Have a great New Year! Mike

              Simon Brown

                Hi Michael,

                Not a huge amount of detail to go on, so I'll try to cover all the bases.

                Firstly, the UAD Apollos are great interfaces but they will only run plugins which have been designed for them. They come with a number of these, and more can be had from UAD, but you'll need to bear in mind that your current plugins won't run on them. If you don't yet have a pro-level audio interface this'd still be a good choice anyway, but if you want more oomph to run your current plugins, upgrading the PC would be a better bet.

                Regarding the PC, you say it's great but you haven't given any details, so we don't know how up to date it is and whether there might be newer, better options open to you. Similarly with Tracktion, we don't know if you've been using the same version all this time or if you've been upgrading as time's gone on. As the newest versions are now named Waveform, could be that you haven't. More recent versions may spread the plugin load over available CPU cores better. Similarly, a newer or better CPU might give you more power to run plugins with.

                Finally, there's the least expensive option, which is to render tracks to audio. This is especially pertinent if you have a lot of instrument VSTs in your song; rendering them to audio and removing the instrument plugins will free up the CPU they're using and you'll then have more to spare for effects. Similarly you can render tracks with effects on them to audio and then remove those effects plugins. If you're not making a lot of use of aux/subs/busses, those can also help reduce your plugin count by routing multiple tracks of audio to a single sub which then had one set of plugins on it.

                Oh, and a bonus forum hint: it's usually a better idea to start your own topic thread rather than ask a new question in an existing thread, because that way your replies won't get mixed up with replies to the original topic.

                I hope that some of this has been helpful, if you want to let us know what your PC specs are I'll probably be able to offer more suggestions in that area.



                Just Lisa

                  Or, you will get replies from the people who want to know about the same stuff who read their emails. Frequently, no one looks at the new threads. Alternate perspective.


                  I shopped long and hard before getting into my 'system'. I was using Audacity and a USB mic in a padded box in front of my guitar amplifier.
                  I figured if I was serious, it was time to learn a "real" DAW and get a recording interface.

                  DAW: Based on my initial research, I saw my options as Pro Tools and Studio One. The software would be included as a bonus with the interfaces. Studio One looked friendlier with cost of entry and the 'drag and drop' features and the integrated notation software, Notion. (I compose using Musescore as kind of instrument.)
                  1.5 years later, Notion and I aren't getting along so well, but Studio One and I have become best buds. I've upgraded to the full version, bought fifty million plug ins and I'm not sorry. Presonus is a good company. The latest update fixed all of my bug issues, even. The customer service is decent. The user forums are active and often helpful.
                  After watching Warren work in Protools so much, I think I could probably sit down and do it myself. It seems like Studio One has features that make it more intuitive for a software user while Pro tools might appeal to people who have a background working with real gear.
                  (Chris can speak to this, I think.)

                  Interface: The research turned up the Presons 44VSL. It's advantages for me were the price, the versatility, and it's powered. My old computer wasn't going to stand up to the rigors of powering the interface and recording and running software all at the same time. With the four inputs (two have phantom power), it looks like it will serve all my recording needs forever. I could be wrong.

                  About the computer: I bought a new laptop last year. My husband, the AI robotics engineer software developer gaming nerd, looked at my needs and suggested this one. It's designed for gaming! The sound and graphics, the internal processing, the sturdiness, expand-ability (Memory upgrades and SSD are a must!) needs are very similar. I am very happy with it.
                  Edit to add: He has one, and it's the laptop he says is the favorite one he's ever owned in his life. His first home computer pre-dated the term "PC" and most people were still using mainframes with tubes. (Chris?)

                  When I upgrade, it will be to a desktop machine with a much larger monitor! Finding the space for that is my issue right now. It's about commiting to a lifestyle I never saw coming and my family isn't 100% supportive of.

                  Hope this helps.

                  FWIW: today, I can't make the RODE interface, my computer and Studio One play together to record my guitar DI, but the SOUND coming from the interface vs. the computer is incredibly improved!

                  : )
                  Happy New Year.

                  • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                  • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                  Just Lisa

                    Hey Chris!
                    Happy New Year! Thought about you in wonderful, dry Arizona yesterday. Jealous.

                    How do you calibrate headphones? Any clues would be appreciated.

                    Never did get the Klanghelm VU meter stand alone to work, so I don't have an accurate output level for my computer. Have to get on that. I do have the SPL meter and had settings for approx. 80dB worked out with my computer and speakers. Those are useless now.

                    Everyone is home for the holidays until mid-January, distractions abound.
                    I had no idea about the learning curve I was taking on this time last year.
                    Pretty crazy.
                    : )

                    face (chris) Janton

                      I didn't work with tube-based computers in my youth. Touched some. I started out with PCAM (Punch Card Accounting Machines) that were programmed with patch cords - like this -

                      I didn't calibrate my headphones. I just use the "average" calibration from SonarWorks for frequency. I use my ears to keep levels sane. I simply adjusted volume knobs to match what I perceive to be how my room sounds.

                      Speakers and monitors get sound measured with an app on my iPhone (Installed Sound Support from Audio-Technica). It's free. I use it to measure everywhere I want a rough level - bars, auditoriums, my living room. It's consistent within itself, so I am OK.

                      For Logic (and Studio One) I just use test tone generators (pink noise) and turn knobs until it's done.

                      That's a mighty fine looking laptop. Should drive Studio One just fine and dandy.

                      My next display (monitor in computer terms) is going to be a 43" 4K TV 😉 It will sit perfectly between my speakers (monitors in audio speak) and get me some serious screen real estate (50% more pixels in each direction, and 16" diagonal increase). If I hate it it will make a nice TV!

                      Just Lisa

                        Oh! We have an overly large tv in the living room! I could take my very portable laptop there, hook it up and use that. The husband would dearly love to upgrade the sound system in there ...
                        Maybe in the future.

                        Right now, I'm very happy to have been able to diagnose and work out my driver and interface problems. I can now plug my guitar cable into the Rode box and record signal in my DAW! Given where I was a year ago, this is pretty big. Does it sound fantastic? No. But the distance between having an idea and having a soundfile to show for it is significantly reduced which will increase output and facilitate creativity.

                        : )

                        Here's a sample. I recorded through an amp sim with cabinet IRs then mixed it with some eq, compression, delay, reverb, and a Lo-air to give it some room noise. It could sound a lot worse. And I've sounded a lot better. Ew. But there's nothing like doing a lot of recording to get me back into it -- I'd rather not have to spend time editing myself, so I get better by forcing myself to get everything right in one take.

                        • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                        face (chris) Janton

                          So glad you got the DI guitar to work. For "noodling" your Studio One should have some version of "Ampire" - more sounds.
                          If you really want to go down the "sounds" rat hole there's the "first hit is free" Amplitube from IK Multimedia


                          Warren did a session on re-amping guitars using Amplitube


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