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Karl_Houseknecht

Meters...but no numbers?

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Educate me on this point.  I see meters for output, but without any graduations or numbers.  Is this right?

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Correct.  But from what I've seen it seems to be consistent with external signal level meters, but no numeric reference.

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That's just...odd.  I've used external meters forever to get my patches in the neighborhood of being "level", or at least where I need them to be given our FOH system.  Was hoping to rely on the output meters on the unit but if they're just a green bar, what's the point of them?

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I've been waiting for a Metergate thread with precisely this complaint! I'm amazed it took this long...lmao ;)

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I believe they don't want numbers in place because the numbers are arbitrary since there is more involved with the output levels depending on how users setup their Helix. 

 

That said...a few strategically placed LINES (or SHADES of GREEN) would be nice. They won't be referenced as hard values, but they will be a visual reference point. 

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Just now, cruisinon2 said:

I've been waiting for this complaint! I'm amazed it took this long...lmao ;)

 

Ha!  It's not a deal breaker or anything I'll cry over.  I get along just fine with what I already have.  Just a little thing that struck me as an odd implementation choice.  Maybe we'll see an update in 3.0.

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Just now, codamedia said:

I believe they don't want numbers in place because the numbers are arbitrary since there is more involved with the output levels depending on how users setup their Helix. 

 

That said...a few strategically placed LINES (or SHADES of GREEN) would be nice. They won't be referenced as hard values, but they will be a visual reference point. 

 

At least give me a 0db marking.  That's all I really need.  It's useful.

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3 hours ago, Karl_Houseknecht said:

 

Ha!  It's not a deal breaker or anything I'll cry over.  I get along just fine with what I already have.  Just a little thing that struck me as an odd implementation choice.  Maybe we'll see an update in 3.0.

 

Lol... agreed. I too have managed just fine without meters for years, and really couldn't care less...I just found it amusing that after years of indignant "Where are the meters?!?!?!" threads they finally caved, only to provide unit-less meters... all but guaranteeing a fresh round of b1tching. The world's first "spite meter", lol

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2 hours ago, Karl_Houseknecht said:

 

At least give me a 0db marking.  That's all I really need.  It's useful.


0.0dB is all the way to right. The meters don’t show anything above that. They just turn red to indicate you’re hitting it.

 

I was also a little surprised I haven’t heard anyone talk about the lack of a scale.

 

One thing is that they’re just showing the output level at the output block, not at the final converter. It will apply to the final converter if you have the large volume knob all the way up, but I don’t believe the final converter starts clipping until a few dB past 0.0.

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Interesting.  Why not more than zero?  The meters on my Fractal gear tends to match almost exactly with the meters on my Focusrite interface mixer, and those show above zero.  When I configure the Helix the same way, 0dB on my external meters isn't jiving with the top of the range on the meters on the Helix.  I'm probably missing something.

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1 hour ago, Karl_Houseknecht said:

Interesting.  Why not more than zero?  The meters on my Fractal gear tends to match almost exactly with the meters on my Focusrite interface mixer, and those show above zero.  When I configure the Helix the same way, 0dB on my external meters isn't jiving with the top of the range on the meters on the Helix.  I'm probably missing something.

 

I suspect that this is precisely why they resisted including them for so long... they knew that people would plugging into all sorts of meter-equipped external gear. It's inevitable that something "wouldn't jive" with a meter on some other device, and then they'd be fielding complaints about that, too.

 

Come to think of it, that probably explains the lack of a scale... having no numbers to fixate on and obsess over reduces one's ability to whine about accuracy. With no absolutes,  there's no comparison to be made. In retrospect, the lack of a scale seems like a pretty shrewd decision. Lol...;)

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Doesn't really matter if it "lines up".  At least give me a line as a target so I can get levels in the right ballpark.

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3 hours ago, Karl_Houseknecht said:

Interesting.  Why not more than zero? 

 

In digital... 0 = the end. You cannot go higher. 

In analog.... 0 left room for more because the technology would degrade (distort, compress, etc...) some more before completely dying. 

 

For reference.... 0 on a VU meter (analog) is often compared to -12 to -24 in the digital world depending on the metering system used.

This is just ONE reason I suggested numbers are arbitrary earlier, and I can see why they are not used!
 

1 hour ago, Karl_Houseknecht said:

Doesn't really matter if it "lines up".  At least give me a line as a target so I can get levels in the right ballpark.

 

Exactly why I recommend a LINE (or a change of the shade of green) about 2/3rd or 3/4 of the way to the end. You can read that line as 0, I can read that line as -12, @cruisinon2 can see it as a waste of time, and nobody can compare it to anything. It's just a reference line :) 

 

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2 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

In retrospect, the lack of a scale seems like a pretty shrewd decision. Lol...;)

 

As you will see in my posts.... I fully understand the lack of actual numbers. But you are right.... this is shrewd! It was like a slap in the face to those of us that do use meters... it's a sabotaged system without scale, there is no other way to put it. 

 

That said.. the gain reduction meters on the compressors and the clip lights are done to "near perfection"! 

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On 6/23/2020 at 3:27 PM, codamedia said:

 

As you will see in my posts.... I fully understand the lack of actual numbers. But you are right.... this is shrewd! It was like a slap in the face to those of us that do use meters... it's a sabotaged system without scale, there is no other way to put it. 

 

That said.. the gain reduction meters on the compressors and the clip lights are done to "near perfection"! 

 

Gotta agree. It is not enough to just add a feature.  The implementation and details matter. Here's your ice-cream(dumps a scoop directly into your cupped hands). Sorry there's no cone, cup, spoon, or bowl with it.  Eat up fast! What's the matter with you?  I gave you ice cream and still you're complaining?

 

I don't want to jump to any conclusions though. This feature may only be half-baked or even three quarters but I could see Line6 adding some tweaks to the meters along the way. Could even be an interim version with modifications planned in the 3.0 firmware. :-)  They often do phased rollouts of new features or respond to users' feedback in later firmware revisions when they're not too busy working on the next latest and greatest project. More to come? And yeah! The gain reduction meters are awesome!  

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I was thinking about this while I was building some patches last night. I don't think I want numbers, necessarily, but peak indicators would be awesome. Just a little white bar that sits at the loudest transient it's passed until something else comes up louder when you click on an output block. The main use I would have is doing things like corrective EQ'ing before an amp model or dirt where I would disabled everything between the eq and the output to make sure I had the make-up gain on the EQ set so the level didn't change because of the EQ. 

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What about this. Professional Audio line level is +4dBU. So, a signal at +4 dBu is equivalent to a sine wave signal with a peak amplitude of approximately 1.736 volts, or any general signal at approximately 1.228 VRMS (Wikipedia). Could they find a sine wave signal generator. Make sure the output is 1.736 volts. Put it into one of the returns  (the only input that has a line level option). Create a patch with only the return block in it. Make the output line level and keep the output level at 0dB. Adjust the return signal level until the sine wave at the output is 1.736 volts. Where ever the meter winds up after that, give me a line there on the meter. That would at least give me something that would be useful to me.

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Btw, although the output meters could use some other tweaks as well, my primary request would be to have them displaying on the screen at all times, at least while a preset is being edited. Having to jump over to the Output block every time to see the meters while editing makes no sense to me. They should be up constantly during an edit so you can level up each block you are working on. I know you can do that by bypassing the block and listening for the difference but the metering would provide a nice sanity check.

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6 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

Btw, although the output meters could use some other tweaks as well, my primary request would be to have them displaying on the screen at all times, at least while a preset is being edited. Having to jump over to the Output block every time to see the meters while editing makes no sense to me. They should be up constantly during an edit so you can level up each block you are working on. I know you can do that by bypassing the block and listening for the difference but the metering would provide a nice sanity check.

 

Im unclear on this.
The meter is kind of nice - but faily redundant if you maintain unity thoughout as recomended, leveling each block to its bypassed state..  Unity gain will be fairly low on the meter...havent actually checked that but -18 would be a reasonable guess with all blocks bypassed...might be lower. (and yes there is an exception when using a drive block to hit the front of an amop hard- in which case you balance the pair of blocks to bypass)
The difference in volume between say, Rhythm and solo, may not show clearly on any meter - it must be done by ear.
Given no one would reasonably be boosting by more than 6 - 10 db in volume during any edit why is it required to be jumping back and forward to the meter?

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5 minutes ago, lawrence_Arps said:

 

Im unclear on this.
The meter is kind of nice - but faily redundant if you maintain unity thoughout as recomended, leveling each block to its bypassed state..  Unity gain will be fairly low on the meter...havent actually checked that but -18 would be a reasonable guess with all blocks bypassed...might be lower. (and yes there is an exception when using a drive block to hit the front of an amop hard- in which case you balance the pair of blocks to bypass)
The difference in volume between say, Rhythm and solo, may not show clearly on any meter - it must be done by ear.
Given no one would reasonably be boosting by more than 6 - 10 db in volume during any edit why is it required to be jumping back and forward to the meter?

 

Kind of the point.  Limited usefulness as I have no intention of constantly highlighting my output block just to see the meters. When it comes to meters or visual feedback in general some people find it redundant, others find it helpful. If we're going to have them let's make 'em as user friendly as possible.

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5 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

Kind of the point.  Limited usefulness as I have no intention of constantly highlighting my output block just to see the meters. When it comes to meters or visual feedback in general some people find it redundant, others find it helpful. If we're going to have them let's make 'em as user friendly as possible.

 

I don't really have a dog in this fight since I always set my signal level based on my XLR connection to a QSC TM-30 mixer.  But seeing how they implemented the feature and it's apparent consistency with my TM-30 it makes me wonder if they're getting their measurements after the D/A conversion which would preclude measuring within the signal chain.

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10 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

I don't really have a dog in this fight since I always set my signal level based on my XLR connection to a QSC TM-30 mixer.  But seeing how they implemented the feature and it's apparent consistency with my TM-30 it makes me wonder if they're getting their measurements after the D/A conversion which would preclude measuring within the signal chain.

 

My dog is just laying out with his muzzle on the front porch watching the squirrels go by on this one too. Definitely not an overriding concern and not sure how many development cycles I would want to see diverted to this. Still going to be using my ears primarily to make presets. I am even less diligent than you about leveling presets and have rarely used a DAW,  or mixer meter as an assist. I did use a decibel meter for a bit but that was a short-lived and less than rigorous discipline for me. As has been commented on many times between the Fletcher Munson Curve and the fact that different tones can be perceived as different volumes, particularly related to how much energy they have in the mid-high end, you really have to use your ears for the final product but I still like that visual assist.

 

You make an interesting point regarding the D/A conversion and placement. I wouldn't mind some more official details on how the meters work although phil_m has provided some along the way.

 

Having a meter as you allude to that could be activated within the signal chain right after a specific block could be useful and some folks have requested it.  Don't know if we will ever see that. Even if it is only at the end of the signal chain though it can still be a handy additional visual cue for measuring the cumulative level when you are adjusting blocks or comparing one preset's level to another. My point is that it having no options to for example display persistently or at least for the duration of an edit, and instead only showing up when the output block has the focus, makes its use extremely limited IMHO. Having an amorphous mono-color bar without markings isn't ideal either.

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