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Low volume on Synchron libraries
Last post Sun, Mar 27 2022 by Psalmster, 14 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Dec 16 2021 19:25
by EmBee1972
Joined on Sat, Jan 17 2015, Posts 25
I run into the fact that my Synchron libraries sound pretty soft on my system. I have Synchron strings pro, Synchron Brass pro (both standard) and Synchronized Woodwinds. I really have to turn up the main volume of my speakers to get a decent volume. Next to that, they sound quite far away, nothing comes close to what I hear in the demos on the website, or from other users.
I've put up the volume slider to 100 in the Synchron player, I tried different mixer settings from the presets, messed around with mic settings in the several default mix options, but nothing really helps. All this keeps me away from using the library and go back to the old VI libraries, which do give me the wide range of dynamics, which I don't have in the Synchron libraries. A passage in dynamics from mp and below is pretty much inaudible, mf and up is audible, but sounds far away.
I'm on Windows 10, 64Gb RAM, SSD's for the software and samples. Most of the time I'm using VEP with Dorico, Cubase or Studio one. In all three programs the problem is the same. The problem is In both Synchron player standalone and in VEP.
Posted on Fri, Dec 17 2021 14:45
by Armin G.
Joined on Mon, Jan 11 2010, Göttingen, Posts 5

I encountered this too in the beginning. I simply increased the channel gain in Cubase to +6dB.

When adding more instruments the mix is getting much louder, so I ended up decreasing the channel volume to 0dB later on again.

So I guess the Mixing Presets are actually balanced to be used in an arangement. However, I found in general that the synchronized Samples are much better pre-mixed than the Synchron ones. Out-of-the-box you don't need to tweak anything with r.g. the special edition, but combining Synchron Brass and Synchron Strings, I found that you have to adjust the sections and also individual levels alot.

Also, the dynamic range is pretty big in Synchron. So you could try to reduce it externally (compressor) or internally with the CC (there is an option).

Posted on Sun, Dec 19 2021 11:46
by EmBee1972
Joined on Sat, Jan 17 2015, Posts 25

Thanks for your reply. I did the compressor trick as well, which indeed makes a huge difference. It's more that I was afraid something in my intalled libraries had gone wrong, or that I use them in the wrong way, or even had to buy the full version to make them really shine. It's good to see that I'm not the only one who encountered it. The libraries are soft  from themselves I read yesterday, so I guess you have to pump it up using a compressor or maximizer.

Posted on Mon, Dec 20 2021 18:38
by The Minstrel
Joined on Fri, Oct 16 2009, Sweden, Posts 119

I'm not sure whether by design or not, but for me only the room mics are activated by default. I'm using the standard library. If you haven't tried it already, load the default mixer preset (or any other of your choice). This gives quite a boost to the volume. I've always found it odd that the defaullt mixer preset is not, well, loaded by default. :)

Posted on Thu, Dec 30 2021 22:47
by Sing4doe
Joined on Sat, Jun 18 2005, Posts 89

I thought the volume was really low as well but then I started digging into the perform settings and found that depending on how the expression and Vel XF was set it made a huge difference. Not sure if you are programming the CCs in your compositions but that solved my volume issues.

There are a lot more subtleties in Synchron and these libraries require a lot more tweaking than I have been used to but that is where the power of Vsl really shines.

I haven't need compression but I find myself spending a lot of time tweaking the CCs.

Good luck!

Posted on Fri, Dec 31 2021 12:57
by EmBee1972
Joined on Sat, Jan 17 2015, Posts 25

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure if I understand your remark about 'how the expression and Vel XF was set'. This is how I use it:

  • CC11 - Expression is set to 127 and only goes down if I need (really) soft dynamics.
  • CC1 - Dynamics.
  • CC7 - Volume, level is set to 100.

The Brass patches 'Long notes' and 'Legato' and so on are using the 'Con ff' patch, so you also get the final (=loudest) layer for the loud passages.

Personally I think everything is as it should be to get a well sounding (i.e. not distant and soft) Brass choir. Unfortunately this is not the case, unless I use a Compressor or Maximizer, which gives good results, altough I'm not sure how this all will be in the final mix as everything may get too much 'pumped up', if you know what I mean.

Posted on Sun, Jan 02 2022 17:36
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

Kontakt has a Master Volume control knob that let's you add as much as +36 db!

It's time-consuming to have to go into the mixer in Synchron Player and add plug-ins to bump up the volume. Doing it in the DAW is also just extra steps, as in Pro Tools you have to add a Trim plug-in to increase the volume.

It'd be a most welcome addition if Synchron Player could have a Master Volume control ala Kontakt.

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Sun, Jan 02 2022 19:10
by Pixelpoet1985
Joined on Fri, Dec 23 2016, Germany, Posts 330

Interesting, because I thought I was the only one with this "issue". Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but in order have Synchron Strings match with other libraries I need a gain of +12 dB and even more to bring them to the same and then reduce the track volume back by -12 dB. Don't know maybe a compressor would be a better choice. Curious, because all other libraries I have only have minor volume differences. I just have to deal with the track volumes by some dB. With Synchron it's like the libraries not having enough power.

Posted on Mon, Jan 03 2022 01:55
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1763

Originally Posted by: EmBee1972 Go to Quoted Post

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure if I understand your remark about 'how the expression and Vel XF was set'. This is how I use it:

  • CC11 - Expression is set to 127 and only goes down if I need (really) soft dynamics.
  • CC1 - Dynamics.
  • CC7 - Volume, level is set to 100.

The Brass patches 'Long notes' and 'Legato' and so on are using the 'Con ff' patch, so you also get the final (=loudest) layer for the loud passages.

Personally I think everything is as it should be to get a well sounding (i.e. not distant and soft) Brass choir. Unfortunately this is not the case, unless I use a Compressor or Maximizer, which gives good results, altough I'm not sure how this all will be in the final mix as everything may get too much 'pumped up', if you know what I mean.

Hello EmBee
A) You should also check if the xVelocity is on or not. Off means that the keyboard is responsible for the volume. If xVelocity is on, CC01 or CC02 is responsible.

B)  Look also under "Mix" there you can adjust the different microphones in the desired volume. If everything sounds too far away, you can turn up the microphones "Close" and "Mid" a bit louder or you reduce the level of the "main-" and/or the "room-" microphones. If you only want to have the microphone signals pure, you can select the mixing preset "default". Then all "processed effects" of the synchron stage engine are switched off and you get the pure microphone signals from the sync stage directly. With this you should be able to produce the sound you want. Admittedly, it's not easy to adjust everything yourself with the different microphones. But maybe you'll manage to achieve what you want.
When you have found a good setting, you can save it under User Presets.

All the best
Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Sat, Jan 22 2022 06:15
by Psalmster
Joined on Mon, Jul 30 2018, Posts 29

Beat's suggestions are good... However, as the mixer is PER INSTRUMENT, this means making those adjustments over and over!

I discovered today that the defaults on Strings Pro are running about 6 dB below the defaults on Strings I. I thought the "fixed gain" feature was to standardize volumes across the line. 

Posted on Sat, Jan 22 2022 09:51
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1328

If I’m not wrong, the recent trend in orchestral music is to stay low even in the final mix. The recommended suggestion is to stay between -18 and -14 LUFS, that are very low, if accustomed to a long time of loudness wars.

My preference is to keep each channel low, to avoid overloading the final mix in a crowded orchestration. And temporarily use a gain plugin in the master channel to increase the final level. Or simply increase the master volume, to let the amplifier work at full capacity.

If you want a stronger final mix, you should be able to increase its volume in the very end, either on the master channel, or on the bounced file.

Paolo

Posted on Sat, Jan 22 2022 11:09
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 563

Looking at trends in templates for orchestral work, I notice that pros still give themselves the opportunity to set up basic balance and other initial conditions for their whole orchestra, by means of a short controller/automation region at the very beginning of every instrument track.

Pop music producers no doubt will go on and on about orchestral instrument libraries being too quiet. Well, it's up to them to make it louder if they want it that way. Why annoy everyone else by whingeing about it?

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Sun, Mar 27 2022 02:10
by Psalmster
Joined on Mon, Jul 30 2018, Posts 29

Originally Posted by: The Minstrel Go to Quoted Post

I'm not sure whether by design or not, but for me only the room mics are activated by default. I'm using the standard library. If you haven't tried it already, load the default mixer preset (or any other of your choice). This gives quite a boost to the volume. I've always found it odd that the defaullt mixer preset is not, well, loaded by default. :)

But make sure you recognize what you are doing here.

You are activating all mics' samples, so you've raised your CPU overhead substantially. 

You could also simply raise the Room Mics (or in my presets it seems it is typically Room mics plus one other set, i.e. close or mids, etc.)

But mainly, volume should be adjusted at other locations, right? i.e. Volume (CC7), channel volume (Expression, CC11). Played Dynamics (or XFade, CC#1/2). DAW Mix channel fader.

Posted on Sun, Mar 27 2022 02:29
by Psalmster
Joined on Mon, Jul 30 2018, Posts 29

Originally Posted by: PaoloT Go to Quoted Post

If I’m not wrong, the recent trend in orchestral music is to stay low even in the final mix. The recommended suggestion is to stay between -18 and -14 LUFS, that are very low, if accustomed to a long time of loudness wars.

My preference is to keep each channel low, to avoid overloading the final mix in a crowded orchestration. And temporarily use a gain plugin in the master channel to increase the final level. Or simply increase the master volume, to let the amplifier work at full capacity.

If you want a stronger final mix, you should be able to increase its volume in the very end, either on the master channel, or on the bounced file.

Paolo

Hmmm... I'm not sure how to interpret your meaning about your recommendation.

When you say "stay between" and show a LUFS range of 4dB, are you referring to a MAX volume for the master channel? (i.e. full mix peak should aim for between -14 to -18 LUFs?) What are your individual channel targets?

I am thinking that the question here is not related so much to final mixdown, however, but to recording levels and/or channel output levels. Most users are looking at Peak Meters for their intended volume targets per channel, which has little relationship to LUFS for final mastered streaming. 

So, for recording and initial channel levels of individual sounds (as opposed to a mix) are LUFS even relevant? I'm thinking that it makes more sense to use standard recording levels (RMS around -18dB, with peaks -6 to -12dBFS). Then you have enough channel headroom to mix.

What's surprising to many of us is simply how low the Synchron Strings are coming out of the box. I'm working on a template, and have spent time optimizing my Kontakt libraries for Albion and CSS. In general, I'm adjusting them from the -6dB Kontakt default to 0 to -4, depending on the instrument. I have the louds topping at -12dBFS via peak meters. Meanwhile, Synchron String 1 comes out about 12dB below this, around -24dB at defaults, per channel. And Synchron Pro Strings and Elite Strings are coming out in the -30 to -34dB range (another 6-10dB lower)! This is the issue being addressed. Brings up lots of questions, namely:

 

1. Why are Synchron sounds in general SO MUCH LOWER? And 2. Why are the libraries not volume matched? 

Regarding the Loudness Wars, Bob Katz is famous for his K12, K14, K20 monitor reference system where orchestral music has more dynamic range and is recommended for MONITORS to be set to -20dB (K20) to allow for larger dynamic contrasts than for commercial or broadcast music. But, these are monitoring calibration standards. This is similar to recognizing that digital systems (DAWs) set the former analog 0dB at -18dBFS (with no digital headroom above 0; whereas analog systems tended to have still 18-24dB headroom above). "Loudness wars" has to do with super low dynamic range (i.e. 4-6) -- everything FF all the time); rather than classical music which ranges from pp to FF and requires much larger dynamic range (i.e. 20dB). 

The LUFS system has largely replaced Katz' system (even for Katz to my understanding) as it has broader usage. This is partly based on sending out to streaming services (i.e. AppleMusic, Spotify, YouTube) which tend to center at or near -14LUFS. Again the commonality is one's intended DYNAMIC RANGE. So, this means setting metering to -14LUFS and then peaking at just below 0dBFS. (Or via -14LUFS metering, which is more akin to RMS than to peak metering). Additionally, I'm reading that LUFS corresponds better to how we hear musical frequencies than does simple peak metering. 

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