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about the audio input levels (again) ...

Discussion in 'MASCHINE Area' started by jbuonacc, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. jbuonacc

    jbuonacc NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    225
    been a while since i've sampled into Maschine or Ableton using the inputs of the MK3, so i thought i'd try and figure out if i'm doing something wrong or what. i hooked up my iPad using a 1/8"-to-dual/stereo-1/4" cable into the line inputs on the MK3. as i suspected, even with the volume cranked on the iPad the level coming into the sampler (Monitor enabled) was barely audible.

    here's a photo of the screen after recording (look at how small the waveform is on the right):

    [​IMG]

    here it is after Normalizing the sample inside Maschine:

    [​IMG]

    this is ridiculous, same weak signal when using the inputs routed into Ableton (at least on that you can use a gain plug-in and route all this to another channel for recording). is this normal? how is there no input gain control in the MK3 audio control panel?

    couldn't find the other thread, but i remember someone saying that you're supposed to use the Channel Input gain control for this but i see that's wrong... the gain knob (which only boosts 10db) only works if you have the audio input enabled, but this isn't even used for sampling. you can monitor the incoming signal in the sampler without this engaged (set to None). if both are enabled you're just hearing the signal doubled, even louder if you turn up the channel gain. either way, this gain knob has no effect on the incoming signal when recording.

    ** while writing this i realized that i use that same workaround in Maschine that i do in Ableton. use one pad as an input with gain/eq/fx, then sample onto another pad with the source set to Internal.

    ** this might also allow you to get a decent guitar signal into it as well, i'm going to try that and report back.
     
  2. b-r@nno

    b-r@nno NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    234
    i often see this "issue" commented here on the forums. the few times i was recording from my phone worked as expected...

    may i ask: what is the level of your "source-material" on your phone if you load that file in an audio-analyzer? what kind of dp peak/rms does it have?...

    and regarding your comment of "only boosts 10db"). 10db of boost is more then twice as loud...so it should be enough.
     
  3. jbuonacc

    jbuonacc NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    225
    no idea, it's a track on Spotify playing out of the iPad with the volume maxed. just to check, i plugged the stereo outs from the TR-8S into Maschine. same thing. at full volume it's only hitting -28db inside Maschine/Ableton. if i engage the output 'Boost' function on the TR-8S it raises to -14db (still pretty low). no idea of the peak/rms on that either, but hooked directly into my mixer that thing is LOUD.

    never experienced anything like this on my old PC with MOTU interface.

    might be, but it doesn't matter as the channel input gain knob has no effect on the sampling input signal. Maschine's internal sampler sees the same low signal as when using 'Ext. In' on Ableton.
     
  4. jbuonacc

    jbuonacc NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    225
    i did get around this using a gain plug-in on an audio track in Ableton and running the output of that into the Maschine VST to sample it at a better volume. should work similar using two pads/channels in Maschine standalone, i'll try that as well. will also do a few tests running a guitar into it.

    i don't understand how this is normal, or if there's still something i'm doing wrong. again, never had any problem like this before using the MK3 as an audio interface.
     
  5. René must be Unique

    René must be Unique NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    1,286
    • Like Like x 1
  6. BigPictureSound

    BigPictureSound NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    155
    I looked into this and other devices in the same price class with "louder" inputs, like the Focusrite 2i2 for instance, achieve louder input signal using digital gain knobs. That's why most users of the unit suggest keeping gain set to 1 (knob turned all the way to the left) to keep a clean signal.

    The "weak" signal from the MK3 is actually clean and as Rene says, is compliant. What I do is either normalize (not really the best option but faster), or use leveling compressor such as Selig Leveler (not sure if available as VST) that you can use to boost the quiet parts while leaving the transients unaffected.
     
  7. D-One

    D-One Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    6,846
    Anything the boosts the audio will also boost the noise floor, normalizing, the physical gain knob on the interface, the gain/level meter on software, etc... A compressor depending on settings can boost more than the other options thus increasing the noise even more. This might not be much of an issue for modern recordings but for old ones that already contain some noise it can be.

    If I want to sample from Spotify or similar I just search for the same song on SoulSeek, sometimes I find flac versions there which are lossless or 320kbit/s mp3's, this way I avoid some of the physical conversion and use the material at exactly the original volume.

    BTW... Spotify is 160kbit/s for regular users and 320kbit/s for premium users who enable "High Quality".
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  8. BigPictureSound

    BigPictureSound NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    155
    That is definitely the best option- avoiding physical conversion altogether. I've mentioned this in another thread, but if you also have a Mac you can connect the iPad into it via lighting or usb-c (depending on model) and activate it as a sound source digitally, avoiding the ad/da conversion.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1