How much gain should be applied to EFX Sends
I built a mixer to handle a bunch of external inputs as well as VSTs. I have two EFX available for each channel.
Recently, after some great advice from people here, I corrected a big problem with my faders which were doing linear rather than log style fades. That stuff works much better now but I have found that when I use post-fade mode to feed the EFX channels, I have to set my EFX Send values very high to make them work reasonably well. I’m wondering if I should have a different kind of gain system for the effect send stuff.
Attached are the basic ChannelStrip and EffectSend patchers and if anyone has time to see if I should be doing it differently, I’d really appreciate it.
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-- Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. --Copy all of the following text. Then, in Max, select New From Clipboard.----------begin_max5_patcher---------- 939.3ocyX07aaBCE+bxeEH5kso1Hay26VmzNLocZ6X0TEe3PoKwf.mttU082 9reFnjDRBzAzbATLNO+6C6m8yOMeldP5izBcsOpci1rYOMe1LnIYCyJ+8L80 9OFtxu.5lNi9qzf60uT8IN8QNz7pDF8uZnEUeHIBZVz0qLvUMx1rNcCeEkCg hT1ppI9uynJbnWjDy7WoeoldfOKVW6GkcbYJiWj7GnaXxBzKQMgsaPy74g2k vhuMmFxUwkXiE+GMSCa4KKj7IQ7bq3y7WCwW+57DAFje344ykOt7+Sfx7C+o 1R4v1hDQLZWhvGRhFZQwvyR9x1XZEkn.dpeK5A1bT0C7o0CaXRhIdjzivz0q oL99BxmpZJKmVH5gOOIk0DyMWX41tJgZSJP0RQyH2f4FFKbwFV1xIC.qAtic ax873.X.5srZZ4Bxpq5k89gdXllsYc.MuORnywyMk4mK.EmleKk4Grh1Td2a RXhzP2MoEWvEV71+yCXLAo4Qz7vzUo4pHpbf5GMmFd.S7JzBqZCzYOUtU6JH tiCYK1JgzvVaY.GFaM.F5dYrdGOARMlxhDXZgXzDCg9gL1kqREeslT94wkaY peAQ53WXb6mWtTnJEemxhzOkIgJUVwlPP9VKyCYQGKwsGRo1pcy.G2wSFnAb OqbZlfPZUyPZIQM5sJQcYFELBlm54LRIpArzBwce07dKBhNBAK2BxDXlU0y5 3TsEBr.ozfFNquHzeEUCIbFGsqbPKzra6bK1ip6aejY+tpSpnN1BF4Mw1u0n a+DGH0JtK1+0BLv3ZuCckvtd+PxSiQmmpkwD6NPyukDeGeHYGdzYG1oyr6qz k7AbArZCI49QegocAtshNL6wwG6ekEF.0MsfIvd1SagEePVKJwpMV2WSurZz gpfKkRX3AYrL8NajExaqrP7Txh6nJKqoEE9wz8zkVKJG69VUTNFCB.VsDxfH OS+XTszAtJmT+HnFl8kDmdpH8+9avmTUbfDJ1885aftAWS0NW2ELRx12VoJR 2jGVwixJJzdYvhnE7DVcEH2TednF84tjnHJqYJ0njBYUjffhZ0w5JZb6.ZjG NehfiSWfi6jAG6N.GCmyJ3HuxqIBNVc.NdSFZjWO7Igib6IM7YDdvSGd5Jbl F6hzE7XLg3gzE8Y5VbQvcEOSyzGr6Y0p8cRyc.4wX5vCpixyD4VcMW3qQcTG AxOK6AZdQYLAjHNV38pK.FtxEcw4wT+DhndN8gjp96LWFsmm+OfGTCmc -----------end_max5_patcher-----------
i cant look at max 6 patches now, but an effect send as well as an AUX or any other kind of output
should usually have the same level as the inputs and should usually allow the "full" output
just as every other channel, for example 1.0 in digital, or +12 db or whatever.
how can your be not loud enough? did you lower the volume somewhere? :)
What I’m finding is that if I use ‘post-fader’ mode, then unless my fader is very high, the input from the fader output to the EFX send is very quiet and so I have to have the EFX send very high (usually higher than 0dB) to get anything useful out of it. I don’t really know too much about the mixer process so I haven’t figured out whether I’m supposed to be adding some gain to the EFX or not.
Your patches are missing the bpatcher abstractions, so I can’t tell. One minor bit of advice would be to do something like this for your db scale, since right now when your fader is at 0, it’s not fading all the way out. (you’re applying -70 dB of gain, but things will still make it through.
I recommend something like:
-- Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. --Copy all of the following text. Then, in Max, select New From Clipboard.----------begin_max5_patcher---------- 1154.3ocyY80bhpCE+Y7SQFd11gDAQ2259w31YGm.DwraLgAhscu6z6m8a9C PCHnXqqiu.ZRNImyuy+C+Ylmeh3MRkO3afmAdd+YlmmYH8.d0+2yeO9sTFtx rLeN4UQxO8mamRRdSZFt.7OjRwSxuKjRw9lo4G1S4LhzPJrdPZlgB0t7PTfy JEGj8W5VAWxw6IFBdpjhYfuKXYMDUfko6n77MkjToUHVsZ8iAyAKPw5Wv.j9 EJ3w.vOpIxdLxeWPrT362Nk93pn+qYBnlRmigTVCJ0nhZ0TF4ERYEUvc3YOe bQgyvdNjngxeJLazx4sCQ41gBZGpj7Bsg9X6fuOqY6+PViiLxHzHwKCCzuBW 4HqJcYNSj9KRl696KJHbJunjTQ3Rrr9fZmNirEefI2LLZzc9s3TxnDOtlyyO ujlI3ZNoC45gaNymAPq.F4JQlUvwECPbkRXNTkfK0nWByrInlIkBAq6TsJLk AOlS2ikDI0xwnf1MktunjxkcNHBGq1icUokBFqyVYm4kAlISoSSIuRyj6L6k KdpVNsnQO32hQYzbRkr6XRbdU2Q53A6Zr45I2Y7ddzoh86UFBMaXG25mjfDi GMPrETh44j4fbA.yX.4NB3U7uAJ+oGcocHe9998ndD335G3LyYLhFID.L.ZL aVXbHPnU8CAbBec6Tk4I05nlAee1rleL+SBy6IUU3bxfv7CPU7pQAQzvfXX7 3nH7KihQANf3BCFBW0CCGOT5fP7UDL6jEpKVVQXfGhCtb3LZb3Dcsfy.yqH3 fljGAmIJGN+42PX0.RiBbAi.bqllc3nnhMyEJp44kXi0D7xDR7JhD1i8RiqE tdZA1FEJPAmBKNmv9QVRFkOVRAyYqmeXTnRbnLsAqa7K.c4CUFKIk2V4vyeD Op2B2Qyx5lj1lWqRmkzVTxjzYWLOuZp7bz8COGOUdd88COqgO3sjmA+Xla4v 9U3WHYaTGgxQZCVJKoIGjVSe2Z0uJ0rd9BiufB4FjSNGGL1IqpxOAyp6SocC FnnwYe.mlmVifoz22VlPEOqsyKmlGb69xVrUXfokjf5Gs8Wct1ACCGtcPzmt cv33PKCYKfIXw4aGTInXoNqqI6a65JvkpSVRJ2Xqw2QuMXF4uD7dVfJ3ZCT0 8MiVZJMoIYz8GNoj2DUq3m1LT0QbjN8oUjNp9+yBuKhuT38DH65UKMkPub4H Ha+Fwgig351PuH7NIOUvrWtfBTLd.sOb4.UTS0ddrtpI9D7z2ORhnLiTdli5 ynqG9plz4m9OPaA9CVbeGsI7JpMq8SBgwS0Oohly0aYeE20vYXj6hCm9KvVM yMUHBs3RuGtIbEb1WKW7UtAtqGnjkHE3oFeEF9W.OrA.Bg2G3QUJlQTkjAQw l1kAKG1ZY4.nyeAqEz5HcLansxgq.7XVS29frnU+ZbqwripsUKkeTx5H00pu .amEcTMsGWO6QZuoxO8Npg4Gsg68D+rH9lwO8D8Q5C41gOgSRes39BeP2N9A ME+Kct6OE+Xc+68oXzrRuOASuO+R+O8hZ2de1+enU1OC -----------end_max5_patcher-----------
Also, I have an object in my tools called "PM.MatrixVolumePan" which will turn a matrix~ into a mixer, with muting, panning, trim, etc. It doesn’t do sends right now, but that would be easy enough to add. It also does all of the dsp in one matrix~…
Thanks, Peter — I thought the second patch I posted was actually the contents of the bpatcher used in the first one.
I’ll study your solution and also take a look at your MatrixVolumePan. I’ve never worked with matrix~ and indeed my MSP knowledge is very sketchy….just enough to have built the simple mixer that I needed.
Appreciate the suggestions.
You’re absolutely right about the slight audio still making it through so the suggestion to detect -70. is a great idea….I’ll modify my patcher immediately.
However, not sure how this applies to the Send stuff. If I have my fader half way up (physically), the dB is -32 and although I can hear an instrument quietly, that also means that only -32dB of audio is getting through to the ‘Send’ if the latter is at 0dB. So I seem to have to put the Send way up (3 to 6dB) to get anything useful when the underlying audio is quiet. In my limited experience with physical mixers, it has not been like that.
Wouldn’t it be simpler using a [gain~] object?
The [gain~] is hard coded for sliders. I needed to do this for dials as well as other places where there are no GUI parts.
Also trying to separate as much as feasible the view pieces from the model pieces.
ok good that you added that the problem is on the theoretical layer :) the problem is clearer now.
effect sends are usually "prefader", so you just have to create a second branch of the input to the fader.
some analog desks also offer post fader sends, and many of them have sends where the user can switch between "pre" and "post".
maybe this could be of help? http://cycling74.com/forums/topic.php?id=33254
as you can see, it is easier than you think.
@dhjdhjdhj: It sounds like the problem that you’re having is one of taper. You can have scale use a logarithmic mapping to give you more values up at the top, so use something like:
scale 0. 127. -70. 0. 0.5 @classic 0
The 0.5 means x^1/2 (which is sort, though you could use other log scalings > 0 and < 1). @classic 0 tells scale to not use the wonky IRCAM way of doing it and just use normal exponents.
@Roman — I already have both prefader and postfader support in my implementation, the issue is just with levels. I had a chat today with a friend who runs a recording studio and he mentioned that ProTools faders have gain up to 12dB so I might try playing with the max gain.
@Peter I’m going to try that scaling trick right now and see what happens.
You can also accomplish something similar using the "function" object as a lookup table. (esp. with curve mode on!)
"If I have my fader half way up (physically), the dB is -32 and although I can hear an instrument quietly, that also means that only -32dB of audio is getting through to the ‘Send’ if the latter is at 0dB."
this doesnt sound anormal to me, it is what you would exspect, except when you confused pre and post. :)
n * 0.2 * 1 == n * 0.2
I guess I said that badly — what I meant by that was that when I have the fader at a volume that is appropriate for the sound in question, there isn’t enough signal going into the effects section such that I can hear the desired effect along with the original sound unless the EFX Send is at a very high value. That had led me to wonder whether the Send section should have a higher multipler on its gain.
The second part of this was that fading the volume in real time didn’t feel "natural" to me. I know that’s qualitative. If I have a knob or a foot pedal attached to one of the faders, the amount of change I was getting relative to the adjusts I was making felt wrong.
Having said this, Peter’s modification of the [scale] object has improved this significantly…..I’m still experimenting.
You might try a different exponent for pre and post. Pre-fader doesn’t need as much of a logarithmic bent, whereas post-fader (presuming fader is < = 0 dB) really might benefit.
Alternatively, you might look for a compromise value.
I’m not as concerned with prefade right now as I don’t really use them much. But I made the changes you suggested for scaling the faders and the difference is terrific, new way feels much more intuitively right.
In digital mixers, the master fader for aux sends goes to 0dBFS at max, but the aux send for each channel can go up to + 6/10 dB. So sometimes you have to cheat by raising the gain on your channel to send enough gain to your FX, then apply an attenuation in the eq section for example. But the logarithmic scale sure will give you more range in your settings with the high values.
A recording engineering friend of mine told me yesterday evening that in Pro Tools, the sends go up to 12dB and that extra gain seems like it might come in very handy. I’m going to try that today. Combined with the tapering that I added yesterday, my guess is that my system is going to be much more effective.
The advice here has been great.
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