Jump to content

Revisiting the problem of patches having different volumes.


Recommended Posts

I've tried both a phone app that measures decibels and using Audacity to get several patches evened out so the sound board is getting a similar volume level over several patches --- still not there. Audacity's "monitoring" function shows a needle moving around as you play, with a red line where the most recent peak was. I'd like to find a way to get more precise about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no "problem". Though it has been at least 11 minutes since we've had a new thread addressing the grand and glorious mystery of volume...so here we go! But if I live to be 1000, I'll never understand why this ever a discussion.


You don't need toys to level patch volumes. You need ears. Relative volumes between patches are PERCEIVED, for reasons that have been disussed ad nauseam (two very enthusiastic 👠for our friends Fletcher and Munson). Two patches might yield identical numbers from your friendly neighborhood dB meter, yet one may still SEEM louder than the other... clean vs. dirty tones being the most obvious example (HINT: distorted tones will always SEEM louder). This is about PERCEPTION, not physical absolutes. It's what you HEAR that matters. Therefore, the number the meter spits out is...wait for it...UTTERLY USELESS.


1. Listen.

2. Adjust accordingly.

3. Throw dB meter in trash... or convert it into an attractive cactus planter, your choice.

4. Play guitar.


Lather, rinse, repeat....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you two may have revealed the "issue."   The music leader at our church seems to notice a difference in volume  --- mainly in my case since I'm using a different patch for each song.   So hearing a patch with distortion, followed by one without, he's thinking the second one is set too low.


It can be a challenge when on the one hand, there is a desire to hear electric guitar parts as they were on the recording, but on the other hand no recognition of the fact that this will involve a wide variety of drive/delay settings  AND...  take a couple of seconds to switch patches.  So my educational effort must continue ---  THIS IS NOT A PIANO   :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ALWAYS set the volume of your clean tones first. Get them as as loud as you can without clipping, then level your dirty patches relative to the clean ones. If you try to do it the other way, you will NEVER have enough headroom for the clean tones to keep up...distortion will forever be perceived as louder. Hence the uselessness of a dB meter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes a clean tone has a much wider meter swing where amp and or pedal distortion has less and more constant.

The meter reading you need for visually checking is db in RMS.

This is an average reading of volume and is more accurate and how the ear perceives sound.

Peak readings are not usefull for actual perceiving volume, but good for ensuring there are

no overs in the digital domain.

I have a VU meter and it works and shows an average.

There are free versions of these as plugins and are more valuable at seeing what the ear hears.

You can also buy a kit https://www.jlmaudio.com/shop/vu-meter-kits.html to turn a cheap VU meter into an actual audio VU that can be buffered from headphone output of your HD.

And you could build it your self following the tutorial from Audio Technology magazine.

These are designed for mixing so you can be sure of the power of a track or mix.

But for now here is a primer on VU metering and a free one to download.http://www.mixitecture.com/learn/why-you-need-vu-meters

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...