4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 12, 2011 11:38 PM by NMcQ
NMcQ Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

I seem to be getting a lot of volume spikes that are almost ruining my love affair with MainStage, which have people reaching to block their ears at gigs and sessions -- not a way to get asked back. They're transient, big short spikes probably associated with percussive attacks of elecric pianos, pianos,

organs with perc on, certain synth patches, etc., for which I've tried various configurations of compressors, limiters, etc. I'm probably mid to advanced level in my use of MainStage, so I've tried a number things, but none seem quite right, so I want to ask here for tried and true ways to get the sounds but quell the volume spikes without messing up the beauties of the software instruments and samples.

 

I am a hard player, so I probably dig in to 127 a lot, especially on Electric Piano -- Scarbee in EXS24 with Overloud VKFX -- and Wurli, but also on funky wah Clav and others. I have tried various compressions and limiters on the channel strip, on the output, and both, with marginal results. they either compress the life out of the sound -- esp leslies and panning fx -- or they only help a little but not enough.

 

I have also tried scaling the velocity curve down to max or to flatten with some slope at about 100, and 86, etc, which works ok but especially on the Scarbee samples it doesn't let the best samples trigger, the top barking ones.

 

I'e tried just turning the volume back to -6 and -12, but at gigs the sound isn't enough unless it's turned up on the board, so ear splitting spikes still come through.

 

again, I know there are various solutions with compressors and limiters and such, but u wanted to get some of the tried and true solutions here please. Feel free to skip to the advanced level, I can handle it :-).

 

thanks,

 

Neil


MacBookPro 3.06gHz 4GB ram, iMac 24, Mac OS X (10.6.1), Prymary.com,myspace:AlteredDominant
  • 1. Re: Settings to handle volume spikes (I've tried a lot of things)?
    rc tech Level 2 Level 2 (215 points)

    You said you have been getting a lot of spikes -- is this with the just released MainStage 2.2 or with 2.1.3? The new 2.2 handles the cpu much differently, so maybe that will solve your issue?

     

    What is your buffer size set to, and do you have safety buffer on or off?

  • 2. Re: Settings to handle volume spikes (I've tried a lot of things)?
    NMcQ Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Hi, my Duet buffer is 128 usually, safety buffer off to help latency although I know it could be a clipping-saver I want to figure this out from the inside out, I'm MS 2.1 with 8GB ram in a MacBook Pro with 3.06 dual core.

     

    I've been reading too many bug and hang comments about 2.2, so as I usually do will wait a bit on that.

     

    thanks,

     

    Neil

  • 3. Re: Settings to handle volume spikes (I've tried a lot of things)?
    CCTM Level 6 Level 6 (9,015 points)

    Hi

    NMcQ wrote:

     

     

    I have also tried scaling the velocity curve down to max or to flatten with some slope at about 100, and 86, etc, which works ok but especially on the Scarbee samples it doesn't let the best samples trigger, the top barking ones.

     

    I'e tried just turning the volume back to -6 and -12, but at gigs the sound isn't enough unless it's turned up on the board, so ear splitting spikes still come through.

     

    So, if the combination of the Scarbee samples, their velocity response, and the way you play, something must be done to moderate the output levels.

     

    Have you tried reducing the velocity response dynamics "from the bottom up", such that the high velocities are retained, the lower ones increased to reduce the overall 'dynamic range', allowing for a more even output?

     

     

    CCT

  • 4. Re: Settings to handle volume spikes (I've tried a lot of things)?
    NMcQ Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Wow, that is a really great idea, definitely something I will try. However it does happen with other instruments, again often related to some kind of percussive transient, so I would like to find out the solution big picture.

     

    I keep thinking that the answer is something like a standard approach to compression or limiting or fader/dB levels in a live keyboard setting that everyone knows and uses, but which I missed somewhere along the line. 

     

    So along with any other possible solutions to my issues, I would be very grateful to hear if there is some standard approach to live compression/limiting/spike handling that keyboard players use, and (assuming 24 bits for headroom's sake) what dB levels people target for their instrument channel strip and their output channel strip.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Neil