Jump to content

Presets level determination


kingroyal
 Share

Recommended Posts

Afternoon;

How do you guys set your final preset levels so they match each or all presets closely?

This would be in the writing and saving portion. Is a SPL level meter useful for this or do you guys just typically set them by ear?

Inquiring, so that front of house mixer is ultimately getting even levels each time you change presets.

 

Before you ask, :) I'm setting up an HD Pro X rack with a Mesa rack amp with 2 (2X12's) on each side.

I'm pretty good with my ear, but going back and forth on each of my many presets gets a little old.

 

suggestions?

Edited by kingroyal
grammatical clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I generally do it by ear but I know many use meters of some sort. There are many threads in here that discuss this so you will get other ideas by searching and reading. But here’s how I approach(ed) it:

 

Start by setting your Main Output volume level at about 80% or even higher. This will deliver a strong clear signal to the outputs - something the FOH willl appreciate.

 

There are two main controls that I use - the Volume setting in the Mixer block and the Volume setting in the Amp block. These are best because they don’t affect the tone. You can obviously adjust the amp Gain/Drive parameter, or Master Volume parameter but they also have a dramatic effect on tone.

 

I haven’t found a good way to do this other than one preset at a time. Begin with your clean presets and adjust the above parameters until you can switch among all of them without causing noticeable volume level issues. Then move on to the crunchy tones, and finally the hi-gain tones. It takes time but you’ll get there. After normalizing all existing presets you’ll quickly learn to get any new presets to the same level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, kingroyal said:

I'm pretty good with my ear, but going back and forth on each of my many presets gets a little old.

 

suggestions?

 

There is but one suggestion:

 

Level everything once, and be done with it... and your ears are the only reliable option. Yes, it's tedious and nobody else wants to do it, either... but you have precious few options if you want everything to sound as it should.

 

You can wave meters around all day long if you like, but in the end it's the perception of loudness that matters. All other things being equal, a high gain tone at 90 dB will always seem louder than a clean tone at 90dB... likewise for the mid-heavy lead patch vs. the scooped rhythm tone... making the number a meter spits out of little to no utility. If two patches sound even in volume, then they are... don't care if some gadget is telling me otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear what you're saying...

What leveling everything out once sounds like, to me means, setting the mixer at a starting point of (0 db unity gain) and adjusting all amp presets to sound equal in relation to each other.

In the Line 6 presets there are dramatically different preset levels that need fixing before actually using. But I'm sure that's no revelation to anybody.

The thing is though, in my experience, is that these preset levels within the band context is tricky. What might sound decent at home or practice might become underwhelming or overwhelming live. I see that with my fellow guitarist who turns to his amp adjusting amp loudness for compensation. That's what I'd like to avoid.

I imagine with in ear monitoring this would be a whole lot easier but I'm not there yet. 

For now, I guess doing it by ear is the only answer, and I'll get the 15'ish patches dialed in for a night's gigs. It's no biggie... I can do it. 

I was just wondering how you all approached it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, kingroyal said:

The thing is though, in my experience, is that these preset levels within the band context is tricky. What might sound decent at home or practice might become underwhelming or overwhelming live.

 

Yes... and that will always be the case. Large differences in volume, and evaluating any given tone in a mix vs hearing it solo will always present a problem... but that's true no matter what you're playing through. You could go 100% old school and play bone dry into a Marshall head and 4x12, and you'll still have the same sonic issues to deal with.

 

The bottom line is this: you need to dial in sounds for a specific purpose, and at (or reasonably close) to the volume at which you intend to use them. Live is live, and jamming on the couch is jamming on the couch... a patch that works for the former  will almost always be utterly useless for the latter...and unless you plan for both and create patches specifically for their intended use, you'll constantly be tweaking back and forth, and you'll end up spending more time fiddling with knobs than with your hands on the strings.

 

Quote

 

I see that with my fellow guitarist who turns to his amp adjusting amp loudness for compensation. That's what I'd like to avoid.

 

You'll never escape this entirely... it's impossible, because you are not the only variable in a live situation. Sooner or later you'll have to turn your master volume up or down, or tweak a little EQ. That's why there's a global EQ - fine tuning for the room you're standing in at the time... with special emphasis on "fine". Don't dial in your patches with the global EQ on, or you'll torpedo all the work you've done on every other patch you've already created without it. The best you can hope for is to have all your patches leveled well enough that a slight volume bump or cut won't send everything straight to hell... it's not hard to do, just time consuming and boring as f*ck...

 

Quote

I imagine with in ear monitoring this would be a whole lot easier but I'm not there yet.

 

It's often assumed that certain monitoring methods have some sort of baked-in magic that'll automatically compensate for all the variables discussed herein, and  somehow make everything sound exactly the same all the time, independent of volume or context (live vs home, etc etc)... but that simply isn't the case. A mix is a mix... the same variables are always at play, doesn't matter how you're hearing it. Adjustments are inevitable... that's what sound check is for.

 

Quote

For now, I guess doing it by ear is the only answer...

 

And next week, next month, and next year,  too... some things don't have a shortcut. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, about the first quote, I misrepresented that. I actually meant switching from preset to preset within a live context. In the early days of amp switching, it didn't take long to figure out how loud your clean and overdrive levels should be, then you just adjusted the master as the band got louder. But on a modeler (new to me) there's ample opportunities to switch between four different cleans, if you want that. Try dialing that in as your working from one to the next... it takes a while just to get one close to what you heard 15 minutes ago on a different preset. 

Dialing the level in for a specific purpose is a little vague to me as I prefer having four different flavors dialed in a switch between then. Like you would with pedals. 

the second quote... It's obvious that when my fellow guitarist switches to a random preset that sounded great at home practicing now lacks something live. (Just an example here) 

It might be that the EQ needs a focused boost to punch through on that particular preset. It's all doable, it just takes the experience and noting what needs fixing. If you're playing with 3 presets then it can get done right there onstage. 

I do believe that in ears is a little easier because all you need to worry about is your own sound. You can practically dial that in at home and gig that way letting the FOH figure you out in the mix. 

Fourth quote... I wasn't asking for a shortcut, just asking how you guys dial it in. I'm setting this up at home and don't need to be tweaking every single preset at practice or better yet at an actual gig. I know that it's not rocket science and I'll get there one way or another. Like learning to play a guitar, you want it bad enough, you'll learn it. Right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, kingroyal said:

within a live context. ...  you just adjusted the master as the band got louder

 

No, you don't. Because the amp is mic'd, any change to the volume would lollipop off the sound guy.  

 

However, to answer the question with the answer I have said countless times (you are new, therefore have never seen me say it): 

All the adjusting needs done before you hit the stage. 

Once the curtain rises, it is too late to fiddle around with anything. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, kingroyal said:

Yeah, about the first quote, I misrepresented that. I actually meant switching from preset to preset within a live context. In the early days of amp switching, it didn't take long to figure out how loud your clean and overdrive levels should be, then you just adjusted the master as the band got louder. But on a modeler (new to me) there's ample opportunities to switch between four different cleans, if you want that. Try dialing that in as your working from one to the next... it takes a while just to get one close to what you heard 15 minutes ago on a different preset.

 

Yes it does take a while... but there really is no other option. On the bright side, you only have to do it once.

 

Quote

Dialing the level in for a specific purpose is a little vague to me

 

Live straight to the PA is one purpose. Playing at home through studio monitors or headphones is another, etc etc. Different scenarios, different volumes, different monitoring equipment. You can't expect a patch that's dialed in one way to translate to another situation with 1:1 tonal continuity when other variables, independent of the patch itself, keep changing. You'll save yourself a ton of grief if you keep different sets of patches for their intended use. Yes, it's more tedious grunt work up front... but as I said before, you only have to do it once.

 

Quote

It's obvious that when my fellow guitarist switches to a random preset that sounded great at home practicing now lacks something live. (Just an example here)

 

Yes... that's always the case, and is due mostly to the large volume discrepancy between the two scenarios... unless you're trying to rattle the windows at home and pi$$ off the neighbors.

 

Quote

I do believe that in ears is a little easier because all you need to worry about is your own sound.

 

That's not how it works at all... at least not if it's done properly. You should have the full mix from the board in your IEM's... the whole point of using in-ears is to have controlled, individual mixes tailored to everybody's needs so you can all hear exactly what you want to hear...and a lower, if not completely absent stage volume because everybody's running direct.

 

My band has been doing the "silent stage" thing for 3 or 4 years, now... it's so much easier. No amps or monitors on stage at all, no more whining that you can't hear yourself or anybody else, and less hearing damage because there's no volume creep as the night goes on. We even have one recurring gig in a small restaurant/bar where we can't crank it that loud, so my drummer brings an electric kit... if we didn't have him in the IEM's, everyone would be lost because the stage volume is totally non-existent, save for the dull thud of rubber drum pads. Anyway, the point is you still have to dial in a tone that sits well in a mix, because that's what you're getting in your ears. You can bump your own guitar's volume up to whatever level suits you if you like... most probably do... but you still have to hear the rest of the band or it'll be a train wreck. Most IEM's isolate pretty well. If you're only piping yourself in there, you won't be able to hear a damn thing that anybody else is doing... trust me, it won't end well.

 

Quote

I'm setting this up at home and don't need to be tweaking every single preset at practice...

 

Unfortunately, that's how you'll get into trouble. Any patch played at low volume at home, through different monitors, outside of a mix, will never sound the same when cranked to stage volume with a full band.

 

The perception of loudness of different frequencies varies tremendously with volume. It's a limitation of human hearing that we all suffer from (see Fletcher-Munson curve if you really want to go down the rabbit hole). So unless you're playing at stage volume in the living room,  when you take a patch that sounded spectacular at home and crank it to stage volume, 9 times out of 10 it's  gonna be a complete mess...so tell your cranky band members to bear with you one night while you get your levels set, and after that you don't have to think about it anymore. ;)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

they are all correct.... however, as you will find if you look at the tons of other posts, some people start with a loudness meter LUFS.  (that may not be the correct name).  I use that to get a good starting reference point, then I adjust from there.  I will play with spotify at home and switch between patches.  I try to match the levels against the backing tracks.  That helps.

 

The whole set your patches at the volume you will use them is important.  Live patches need to be tweaked at the Live volume.  bedroom patches will not sound good at live volumes (may not sound good).  Some people have created a EQ block at the end that (comes close) to mimicking the Fletcher Munson effect.  Of course it is not perfect, but what is!  I used that eq block at the end of my chain when creating patches at lower levels.  That helped some.  Eventually you will get used to what you need to change for the different volumes.

 

It's all a journey, so enjoy the ride!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow guys, there's a wealth of information here! 

Much more to think about than I imagined. So I think I fully understand what Cruisinon2 is saying.  

It really didn't occur to me to create a preset (or patch) with my home gear and then copy that preset with adjustments intended for a live application. Probably get as close as I can at a full band practice. Then.. make mental or written notes during the night. First gig in, and hopefully improve from there.

I get it about the IEM's... It's really about a personalized band mix in everyone's ears. In my band there's only a couple players who have them tailored to hear themselves only. Basically relying on ambient stage volume for timing and instruments. Not the ideal situation... the whole band should commit to it, I guess.

Thanks, everyone for the starting points. and I'll try to read similar old posts for more ideas. 

 

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.

Guest
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...