I’ve been using Ardour for a couple months, and need to know if Ardour (.99.3) allows me to adjust input gain, or if that has to come from my FirePod?
Obviously, I have preamp gain on the FirePod, but it seems to peak and clip before I get above about -10 dB on the input meter in Ardour.
I could swear that my earlier sessions in Ardour allowed me to use the channel fader to compensate, but it seems that the channel’s slider only affects the “post” level.
I realize that this could also be related to the FreeBob driver for the FirePod, but want to make sure I know what the software is supposed to do before bothering the FreeBob guys.
Ardour does not offer input gain control. This is because 99% of all audio devices have only physical knobs for selecting input gain - there is no way to control input gain by software.
Ardour could apply gain to the input signal it receives from jack, but that wouldn’t make any sense. That would just mean losing percision, there is no sense in changing the gain of the incoming digital signal as we can store it “perfectly” without adding any amplification / attenuation to the data we store on disk.
If the devices which offer software controlled input gain control get more popular, support for it is sure to come. First the ALSA drivers / OSX drivers must provide a standard way to control the input gain, then Jack must provide an interface for it and then Ardour can provide input gain controls to all devices which support it.
There is absolutely nothing wrong at all with peaking at -10.
In our very high end pro studio, I like to keep ALL level peaks below -12, wherever possible. (This has been in Protools, but I am looking at doing an Ardour/Linux system.)
Read this link if you want:
About page 7 or so is where it gets really good. Especially pay attention to comments by Paul Frindle of SSL and Sony Oxford design fame.
Basically, in digital, you will have more sound problems when you DO track at higher levels. In the old analogue world, you HAD TO keep the levels up to fight inherent noise. That practice has made it into the modern psyche, and now everyone feels like they “aren’t doing enough” if their levels aren’t as high as possible (in a DAW).
Nothing could be further from the truth.