Amplitude effect in DAWs

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Dr. Fuse, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. Dr. Fuse

    Dr. Fuse Active Member

    Just wondering what people believe is the best Amplitude effect for increasing the volume of tracks? Do you hear differences in quality between different DAWs? Are there standalone programs that are markedly better?
    o_O
     
  2. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    To increase the volume, you don't need anything other than a gain utility or most DAWs allow you to increase the whole wave. Amplitude is mainly to simulate a sound of a type of amp and speaker. Really, you don't need an amp sim. You could DI the guitar, add effects, EQ, compression and then boost the signal. Amp sim is only to "pretend" you are using that amp/speaker/peddle.

    I do use Amplitude for full disclosure, but I understand what it is doing.
     
  3. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    What DAW are you using?
    - Just curious
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You mean AmpliTUBE - the amp sim/modelling VSTi by IK Multi Media. ;)
     
    Sean G likes this.
  5. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    Yea, guess I read it wrong.
     
  6. Dr. Fuse

    Dr. Fuse Active Member

    I am using Audacity. :( The gain feature is called Amplitude in the effects menu. To my ears when it is used, even way under it's default setting bringing the highest level to 0 dB, it sounds like it is introducing distortion. Is this just my ears, or is this a well documented fact?
     
  7. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    Well, you have to keep the source under 0 or else it will clip. When it clips, it will sound very bad. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but to get your volume up, it will require some understanding of how you use all of the tools. Some understanding of recording and mixing.

    It isn't hard, but there are some fundamentals you have to understand.
     
  8. Dr. Fuse

    Dr. Fuse Active Member

    I set the recording levels too low. Default level settings on a Tascam DM 680. My Marantz PMD 671 died last month, so I had to borrow the Tascam and learn how to use it. High learning curve for me, with this unit. Decided to keep the default settings to be on the safe side and not risk clipping.

    This was on top of rewriting and preparing Bartok parts so they were performable, doing publicity for the concert, and - oh yeah - actually practicing and performing. :p

    When a file is opened in Audacity, it is almost flatlined, and just audible at full volume on my macbook pro or PC. Increasing the volume in Audacity by even a little bit (new peak amplitude about -16 dB!) introduces a very slight hiss. The default gain, which makes the highest peak at 0 dB, introduces a slight but audible hiss.

    The mics used are an AT4022 and a Rode NT2A (don't ask what configuration was used. I TOLD YOU NOT TO ASK ME THAT!). Both very quiet mics. And the preamps in the Tascam seem to be quiet.

    Do cheapo DAWs like Audacity add more hiss and white noise when increasing volume than better DAWs?
     
  9. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I have Audacity, but I have only used it for the paulstretch feature, while never actually recording with it.
    Have you tried normalising the track?, this will give it a boost to the levels but can also cause distortion depending on the original recording levels.
    One advantage other DAW programs have over Audacity is the added features they may have that Audacity does not. You may wish to have a look at Reaper, while not my primary DAW I do have it and have used it quite a lot.
    You may want to have a read of this link, Its only opinion of course, its pretty basic and not nessesarily mine.

    http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/recording_with_audacity_or_not
     
  10. Dr. Fuse

    Dr. Fuse Active Member

    I have been fooling around with Reaper a little bit, but haven't got a feel for splicing and joining acoustic takes, while I am very adept doing this with Audacity.

    I am really only concerned about adding noise and hiss when increasing the volume in Audacity. It would be nice to hear confirmation that the ones and zeros go through the exact same process in Audacity versus popular commercial DAWs like Pro Tools, etc. Can anyone confirm or deny? Am I degrading the files by increasing volume in Audacity?
     
  11. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I think like anything, the more you play with Reaper, the more adept you will become at using its features and editing tracks etc.

    Can't help you there...
    - Maybe one of the more informed members on this forum may enlighten us with their views on the subject.
     
  12. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    Are you monitoring through the interface? If you are listening through the sound card of the computer, that is probably the hiss you are hearing.

    I use Audacity for wave editing and file conversions, nothing wrong with it, but it is more of a file editor and not very good at complex recording. I don't think it is introducing the hiss.

    If you gain the wave file to where it clips, even if it shows the main level is below zero, you are still going to get distortion. It seems you are trying to get it "commercially" loud. A lot of people do this and it requires more than just boosting the file. For example, you can use compression to reduce the peaks of the audio file so you can bring the lower levels up. You can also manually reduce the peaks so you can bring up the lower level. Lots of ways to do it, just have to do some research on your preferred approach.
     
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's not a DAW effect, it's because there was not enough clean gain in the input signal path. Whether setting the mic gain trims higher would have improved the signal/noise ratio is hard to say without analysing the signal path. What it would have improved is the digitising resolution of the signal, but that primarily affects signal quality rather than the level of white noise.

    I've managed to find a figure for the signal/noise ratio on the DR-680, and it's 98dB, which in tape days was luxury. However, if your signal levels are 30dB or so below full scale, then your noise levels are going to be around -70dB, which is not disastrous, but will be audible in quiet sections.
     
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    While anything is possible, I really doubt it's your DAW platform. I'd be looking more at the gain chain before it hits the computer as your likeliest culprit... the mic, the preamp, etc.

    Most of the time, noise is introduced through your hardware, ( preamp/I-o/converters) and is less likely that it is being added by your DAW.

    It could be the Tascam ... Tascam isn't known for making the "quietest" of preamps - I know from experience - part of this is due to many of their preamps lacking sufficient gain, and when you are dealing with a pre that is shy in gain, the more you gain that pre up - to try and reach hotter recording levels - it's possible that it's also introducing noise at the same time. While condensers don't require the same amounts of gain that dynamics and ribbons do, it's not impossible for a budget level preamp to introduce noise - with any mic.

    edit: whoops.. Sorry Bos! I just refreshed this page and noticed you already addressed this. ;)
     
  15. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Ditto, Donny - I've just found the S/N figure for the DR-680 and added a comment on that.
     
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    To add to what Bos said, the gain on the DR-680is 60db.
    While sufficient for condensers ( most, anyway), you have to take into account that the 60 db measurement is 60db at most. So, it is a bit on the shy side, as pretty much all of Tascam's i/o gear is. Some dynamic mics could suffer... Ribbons would for sure, and when I say "suffer", I mean this in the "optimal" db region sense... 60db could operate a Ribbon, it's just not considered optimal, and the chances of getting noise at the same time increases, because you are having to max out the input gain stage of the pre... and this is one of the things that separates the cheap gear from the pro gear. Cheap gear doesn't take well to being driven. At lower gain ranges, they're decent, but when you push them, you can start to hear the nasties.

    I'm wondering if implementing something like a Cloudlifter would help? Then again, you'd need several of them to record multiple tracks at once...
    It might end up being cheaper to just get into a multi channel pre/i-o with better SNR, more gain, and better conversion... okay, maybe not cheaper, but pretty close, and better quality to be sure.

    Perhaps something like this?


    http://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-44VSL/techspecs


    Just kinda thinking out loud...

    IMHO of course.
     
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