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Confused about block levels and output clip lights

mrstrat

Experienced
OK, what am I missing here?

Clean setting:

(1) I set the Amp Block Level setting to just below where the clip lights flash,
(2) Then go into the Drive block and increase the Level control and it increases the sound level coming out of the speakers significantly, but doesn't cause the clip lights to flash?
(3) But if I go back and changed the Amp Block Level to the same volume level, it peaks like crazy??

Why would changing the Drive Block Level increase the output volume and not cause clipping, but the Amp Block Level does?

I must be missing something...can anyone help me understand this? :?
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
The clip lights indicate peak clipping. Adding a Drive block increases the apparent "loudness" but not the peak level. The peak level is set by the Amp block. Loudness is basically the average level. As you increase the distortion the peak level stays the same but the minimum level increases and, therefore, the average level increases.
 

mrstrat

Experienced
Wow, thanks for the quick response. :)

In this case, it's my clean tone, so I'm using the RCB in the Drive Block which isn't adding distortion, but that magic "something" that the RC Booster adds.

So, if you're looking at a wave form, and the average level increases, wouldn't that also increase the peak level? It seems as though the entire wave form (Min., Average, and Peak) would all move up? I think I'm still missing something, lol. :)
 

aziz

Power User
If you run the amp drive or master volume high, the amp compresses the peaks quite a lot. So adding more drive before the amp doesn't push the peaks much higher. This is the reason why distorted sounds are "louder" than cleans - the lowest parts are almost as loud as the peaks, so the average volume is higher, even if the peaks are at the same db level.
 

mrstrat

Experienced
If you run the amp drive or master volume high, the amp compresses the peaks quite a lot. So adding more drive before the amp doesn't push the peaks much higher. This is the reason why distorted sounds are "louder" than cleans - the lowest parts are almost as loud as the peaks, so the average volume is higher, even if the peaks are at the same db level.
Ahh, that makes a lot of sense aziz. Thanks! :)
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
If you run the amp drive or master volume high, the amp compresses the peaks quite a lot. So adding more drive before the amp doesn't push the peaks much higher. This is the reason why distorted sounds are "louder" than cleans - the lowest parts are almost as loud as the peaks, so the average volume is higher, even if the peaks are at the same db level.
In my experience, this is why folks struggle with their cleans being louder than their distorted presets. Same reason but opposite results.

An uncompressed clean preset can typically get much louder peaks when played hard than a distorted preset can. For the exact reasons you stated.

Because of this, in the heat of battle during a show, uncompressed clean presets tend to pop out of the mix, while distorted presets may even seem too low. When you are playing harder, the cleans do get louder but the distortions won't get appreciably louder despite amped up playing.

Its wide dynamic range vs. narrow dynamic range.

Richard
 

kkolb71

Inspired
Interesting note on the cleans vs distorted and the interaction with compression. I have noticed similar results when I do my preset leveling with a dB meter. Whenever I feel cleans and gain patches sound equal to my ears, the gain patches are usually 3 to 6 decibels lower based on what the meter reads as compared to what I thought was equal volume.
 
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