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The Master Volume knob in a live situation
by Astaroth_CY on 2012-07-29 14:17:06.8350

I run my HD500 direct into the PA. The other guitarist in the band also has an HD500. We both have our Master Vol knobs set to 3 o'clock (i.e. pointing right), which is roughly 80%, for reproducibility and live flexibility. This means that we'll always know that if our Master Vol is at that position, our patches SHOULD behave as we've created them in terms of levels. But - if something does "misbehave" for whatever reason (e.g. a patch is not loud enough or too loud), then having the Master knob at that level allows us to pretty easily and quickly adjust our own levels either up or down without having to go to the mixing board. Contrast this with always having the Master Vol at 100%, if I am on stage and I switch to a patch that sounds quieter than I thought it would, I am not able to easily turn up other than using the amp volume knob (which may or may not already be set to 100%, and runs the risk of a sudden huge jump in volume due to the nature of the "soft" saved level of this knob not corresponding to the physical level.

I've read meambobbo's guide and he recommends always keeping Master Vol at 100% for proper gain-staging... but in my view, the benefit of flexibility from having it at less than 100% outweighs a subtle gain-staging effect of doing that. I wonder if anyone would even be able to recognize any gain-staging difference between the Master Vol being at 100% and it being at 80%. What do you think?

Re: The Master Volume knob in a live situation
by jimsreynolds on 2012-07-30 02:45:37.4550

I don't think there is an huge tone or gain structure hit by running the Masters at 80%  - and many people do. 

For me ... I run at 100% but then I make sure I have some headroom left in my Patch Volume using the Volume knob.  I try and peg the volume levels at around 50-70% and use the mixer to set the output level so that patch volumes are generally equal.

I do this because I am more likely to find that an individual patch is too quiet than all of my patches.  Doing this:  I can set the patch manually using the volume knob.  Hit 'save' twice quickly and this holds the patch level relative to the rest of my patches.

Re: The Master Volume knob in a live situation
by phil_m on 2012-07-30 06:47:55.7560

I don't think there's anything wrong with your logic. I never liked having the master dimed simply for the fact that if I would have to plug into another PA, it gives me room to adjust either way. I don't think there's going to be enough of a difference in the noise floor that anyone would ever notice in a live situation. Recording is where that really becomes more important.

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