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Logic 8 Changing ALL volumes, including automated ones

Discussion in 'Logic 8' started by jmage, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. jmage

    jmage New Member

    Hey party people,
    I have a mix where a bunch of tracks have volume automation, and a bunch of tracks don't, and i now want to turn down ALL volumes by the same amount, so it does not slam the master fader like it's doing. suggestions?
    Thanks much
    J Mage
  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    First suggestion: Just set the master volume fader so it is not going into the red. Logic's internal 32 bit float engine means that until the signal passes the master fader and is heading towards DA conversion, it is virtually imposible to overload it.

    You could also consider splitting up and routing your mix through a number of busses controlled by aux channel strips and lower these. For example, if you have some drum tracks prepared with automation, and the drum mix is too loud, route them all through an aux channel strip to your master output and use the aux channel strip fader to lower the total level of the drums.

    You can lower the overall level of the signal on tracks even with automation this way: Comm click on the yellow signal meter in the inspector immediately to the left of each arrange track and drag it down. This will result in the whole automation level being reduced.

    Another way is to open the automation event list (you may need to find and assign a Key command to do this) and lower the volume there.

    Another way to deal with this would be to insert a gain plugin in each channel strip affected, and lower the signal level with that.

    I suggest that you experiment with all of these methods until you find the one that works best for you.

    HTH, kind regards

  4. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    This is the method I've got used to using after I discovered the pitfalls of automating volume. Slightly more labour intensive to set up, and even more so to convert a project in which you've automated that volumes already, but it certainly solves the problem.

    A more elegant way to do this should go onto the wishlist.
  5. bambony

    bambony Administrator Staff Member

    I too use the gain plug in when I know there's going to be a ton of automation in a mix.

  6. alienimplant

    alienimplant Senior member

    Just select all the channels you are concerned about in the mixer that are currently directly feeding the master output (including any busses you want to turn the volume down on (do not include channels directly feeding other busses; just add those busses, or you will lose your intended routing). Then select a buss output that is not in use as the new destination for the channel output (all selected tracks will be switched to the new output setting at once). Turn your gain down on the new buss. This will prevent slight discrepancies from occurring when you try to move the faders on a lot of tracks at once. There is NO change in the proportions of audio signal and you can turn everything down at once before you hit the mastering chain on your main outs.

    Hope that helps. I do it all the time.
  7. jmage

    jmage New Member

    Mark and Alien Implant,
    My concern with the three methods quoted above is that they change the gain structure of the whole song in an unhealthy way. Maybe I am stuck in an antiquated way of thinking, but to me it seems that lowering a master fader that is getting slammed creates different processes, different math, than having the channels sending out the right levels in the first place to not slam the master bus. I have never actually heard any audio evidence to support this idea, but it just seems right. Marks statement about the 32 bit float engine is intriguing and reassuring, but i will have to research what it means. I have the same concern regarding sending everything to one bus. I do like the idea of multiple buses, however..."Drums" "Vocals" "Everything Else" and just turn each of those down. Maybe I am stuck in an analog way of thinking, but it just seems to me that you are asking the computer to do less of the wrong kind of math that way. Maybe this is just total blather, but it feels intuitively correct.
    The use of the gain plugins for this purpose also seems problematic: is adding 5db of GAIN exactly the same as adding 5db of volume on the channels fader? Certainly not on an analog console. Curious if anyone has any further, geeked out, technical thoughts on these questions, which basically relate to Logic's internal processes and their difference with analog processes for the same function.
    Definitely, I will post to the wish list the wish for a way to just grab every volume and turn them down or up globally for all tracks.
  8. alienimplant

    alienimplant Senior member

    You can test your theory very quickly by using my suggested method of sending everything to a bus, reducing the bus and bouncing the song. Then open the bounced file in a 2-track editor and examine the peaks. Are any of them chopped? If so, you are right. If not, then Logic has some algorithmic method of handling max headroom in place on everything leading up to the main outs. You may be correct, but the ears are what is important. Very often, when I turn all my tracks down, the mix sounds and "feels" different. It is a subjective choice to proceed in that direction or not. In my experience, digital has its own idiosyncrasies just like analog (depending on the sequencer and its digital summing), but they are all unique.
  9. Ginger

    Ginger Member

    IMO, the only solution that really would make 100% sense would be to implement a way of selecting volume automation across all channels, and lower the volume with the same amount on all of them in one operation.

    The other solutions seem like workarounds, and since the question about how to edit the automation on all tracks in one operation comes up regularly, it seems that that's how people expect to be able to.... edit the automation on all tracks in one operation. :)
  10. alienimplant

    alienimplant Senior member

    Agreed, but sadly this is impossible given the fader increment limitations in Logic. The problem is that volume is controlled by 128 fixed levels so it can be controlled by MIDI. This is a major shortcoming in my humble opinion. It's relevance to our wish is expressed in this example:

    Say I have two tracks at 0dB and two tracks at -2dB. When I pull all four tracks down, the 0dB tracks move to -2dB and the other two tracks move to -4.1dB, which of course is NOT a change of 2 decibels thereby making this process completely useless to me after hours of mixing that has already taken place. I need more precise volume adjustments than 0-127 MIDI increments, period. I can hear a 0.1dB change in volume, and it makes a difference in a mix. The disparity gets worse the lower the fader volume is set to.
  11. jmage

    jmage New Member

    Well, glad to hear I am not nuts, anyway.
    Here is some extra detail regarding some of these questions from a good friend who is a logic expert extraordinaire. Anyone living in NYC who wants logic tutorials let me know and I will send you his way...

    - It is easy to insert a Gain plug in on all tracks - just drag across all tracks in the mixer and then insert one Gainer, and they will all have the plug in the same spot. But this still requires you adjust each track's Gain plug-in individually so even though it might be useful, it doesn't answer your question. You could insert one Gain plug-in on one track, set it's trim to, let's say, -3 db, and then Command-Option drag the plug-in to all tracks -- this copies the plug-in with it's settings......

    - In any Native (not TDM) mixer, the audio is floating point after the input and prior to the output. This means that those are the only two places in the mixer where clipping actually may cause audible distortion (here it is fixed-point math). What that means in practical terms is that the dynamic range of channel strips, and busses within the mixer (between input and output), is huge - practically impossible to distort even when the meters show red. Knowing this should take away the concern about individual channels clipping, though I always still to try to practice good gain-staging as a general rule.

    - One way of dealing with the output meter clipping, where distortion does matter, is to simply lower the output channel strip by the amount of clipping. But using sub-grouping (submixes) prior to the output is probably a better mixing technique, and because of the floating point math, you won't be losing lots of resolution by trimming sub-grouped auxes. At the very least you could simply subgroup all tracks to a single bus/Aux prior the output - this is as easy as selecting all tracks in the mixer and changing the output assignment of any one of them

    - It's a little hard for many people to accept that trimming a sub-group aux prior to the output is just the same as trimming all the individual tracks' automation. This is probably due in part to the fact that Pro Tools TDM (HD) systems are _not_ floating point -- they are fixed-point math throughout, and you do not want to clip channel strips, TDM plug-in inputs, etc. It would be nice to be able to group things like automation trim in Logic, but right now when you group automation, all tracks' automation moves the same absolute value, not a relative trim - not particularly useful. As i mentioned, Subgrouping is fast and easy in Logic's mixer, because of the automatic creation of aux channels with correctly set inputs when you utilize a bus..."
  12. alienimplant

    alienimplant Senior member

    Dude, you are my hero. This profoundly helpful! Thank you!! And I thought I was a Logic wiz. This info will help a lot of people I know. Thanks for posting!
  13. BKmusic

    BKmusic New Member

    Create a fader group and enable the "automation mode" in the group settings!
  14. oortone

    oortone Member

    Nope, all channels get identical automation.
    Not very useful:(

    The lack of real trim is definitely a serious drawback of Logic.

    I also miss an equivalent to 'X' in PT which makes it possible to make a transition between two values on all tracks at the same time, with unique levels on each track. I don't see a quick way to do this in Logic.
  15. Nupacific

    Nupacific New Member

    Very helpful Jmage, thanks!

    Wondering what you might think about inserting a gain into Output channel (before any other plug ins)

    Then lowering the Gain (in plug in) to equally decrease the overall level arriving in Output channel.
  16. alienimplant

    alienimplant Senior member

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