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Direct Recording: Low output volume

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Hi,

I'm recording with helix directly into the DAW using the USB. What I have noticed is, that the output volume is pretty low. I usually record the processed signal in one path and on another the dry signal. The dry signal is even much lower but I guess that is desired so that the signal isn't too hot when reamping.

 

But my processed signal is way too low too - even when the amp volume is at 8-10. The only way to get a higher volume is to raise the USB Level. I have to set it to +8 for my clean patch and to +6 for the distorted patch. Is this normal or do i miss something?

 

I used to record with the HD500 and there you could set the volume in the driver settings. Never had a problem with low volume.

 

Thanks

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Yeah, unfortunatley nobody seems to care or nobody else has noticed similar things :-)

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For the processed signal simply add a gain block. You should be able to turn it up at loud as you need - and if not for any reason... Just add another.

 

But really you don't need (or want) the signal to be going anywhere near 0dB for recording unless you are making a live mix - for example adding it to a live camera feed to stream it or broadcast.

 

Assuming you are just recording it and will do some post production / editing later there is little need to worry about signal levels as long as you're not clipping.

 

There is so much dynamic range available with 24 bit recording it really makes recording levels less of a worry.

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When using Helix as a direct USB input device into apps like S-Gear or BIAS FX, you want to be sure those apps are being driven sufficiently so that they are in their sweet spot. That is, they are expecting a certain level and the drive and amp distortion models are designed for that input. Helix SPD/IF and USB direct are unity gain. But compared to other interfaces that have a gain control, it seems to have lower output. S-Gear and BIAS FX can compensate for this, but some other apps may not.

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Thanks for the replies. Yeah I had other soundcards too and always had much higher input.

Also when recording directly into the daw I was taught I should alwas try to record with the best signal possible without clipping. You can always fade out in the mix. Raising the volume sometimes also adds noise.

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Thanks for the replies. Yeah I had other soundcards too and always had much higher input.

Also when recording directly into the daw I was taught I should alwas try to record with the best signal possible without clipping. You can always fade out in the mix. Raising the volume sometimes also adds noise.

 

Yes in the old days (16 bit recording) it was very important to record as close to 0dB as possible.  I was taught this too.

But 24 bit recording is not just "half as much again" as 16bit - it's not got 50% more resolution.  Its got WAY more.  

16 bits can measure 65,536 levels.. whereas 24 bit measures 16,777,216.

Full volume at 16 bits is less than 0.5% of what's available at 24 bit.

 

Basically if you are even moving the VU meters at all at 24 bits it's way more precision than full 16 bits....

....and then at the end of the day we'll listen to it on a compressed 16 bit mp3 that throws away 90% of the information we've recorded ;)

 

So if you can add a gain block in Helix (i.e. as long as you're not needing to use USB7) just add it and don't worry.

 

If you really need to use USB7 and there's not enough level coming through then you may have a problem.. a small buffer or clean boost pedal in front of Helix's guitar input might be your only answer there.  

 

It is true that increasing the volume/gain will add noise.. but that will be true wherever you put the gain.  If you put an actual analog amp / buffer between the Guitar and Helix it will increase hiss and hum.  If you add gain in the digital domain within Helix or the DAW it will increase the hum and hiss levels as well plus there will likely be some digital artefacts at very low levels (inaudible usually these days)

 

It might have been nice if there was a gain control on the guitar input to accommodate higher levels for guitars with passive pickups - but that would still increase noise if it was turned up from the level where it's set at now!

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Yeah I have the same problem...if I boost the signal too much, it's way way too noisy. But if I record without any adjustment, the wave file is pretty much a flat line.

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Does your DAW have any option to zoom in on the peaks without actually adding any gain to the signal? In Reaper, I think the option for that is shift-up arrow.

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Yeah I have the same problem...if I boost the signal too much, it's way way too noisy. But if I record without any adjustment, the wave file is pretty much a flat line.

 

Me too. I am recording into Reason and want to record both the processed signal and a dry signal (to tweak amp etc settings later later if needed)  But the helix LT USB7 dry output signal is a flat line. Has any way around this been discovered or developed since these posts of 6 months ago?

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Me too. I am recording into Reason and want to record both the processed signal and a dry signal (to tweak amp etc settings later later if needed)  But the helix LT USB7 dry output signal is a flat line. Has any way around this been discovered or developed since these posts of 6 months ago?

 

The dry signal will be very low, and will look like a flat line most of the time. It's an instrument level signal. That's what you want.

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Use an empty tone/patch and record dry out and your guitar pass through signal.
They should have same levels and sound the same. If not, the dry out could not be directly used to drive your tone like your guitar.
Take a look at your peak and RMS levels in the DAW and decide what target output levels you need for your use case.
For further processing in the DAW you may want to consider not exceeding -12 or -9 dBFS for peaks and ~10dB less for RMS.
Your total gain of your model chain should produce the difference between your input (dry) levels and your target output levels.
Personally, I try to avoid big swings around the target levels from block to block, but if it it sounds good, it is good.
Shouldn't be too hard to figure out what all your model blocks add or remove level wise if you have a DAW and are used to or get into recording.
Good luck and enjoy the ride :)

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