Quick Tip - Gain Staging Virtual Instruments In Studio One 4 Using Macros

The Trouble With Most Virtual Instruments (In My Opinion)

I find that in general, most of the Virtual Instruments that I use (regardless of whether they are soft synths, or sampler type instruments) tend to come in very hot. When I say hot, I mean some of them are literally either clipping or a step away from clipping.

As a side-note, I have created some custom virtual instruments myself, and I opted to "split the difference" and made sure that the levels were nowhere near zero (dbfs) but more along the lines of around -12 or so when played at higher velocities. I personally think that this is a happy medium.

Now as to why VI's output at such a hot level, well to be honest, that's another topic altogether. I've heard some arguments from people 'in the know' that it has to do with noise floor levels when playing back the samples at different sample rates, etc. But in the end, it's an issue that I deal with - and found a way to combat it when working in Studio One that I thought might be useful to some of you.

My Solution To The Problem

I think it's worth mentioning that I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I know lots of people are most likely using a gain plug-in of some sort to tackle the above issue, but what this quick tip is all about is simply automating that process. Which of course just happens to be something that Studio One handles really well via the use of Macros.

In this video I demonstrate how to create a Macro in Studio One 4 that will automatically help gain stage your virtual instruments when needed. In addition, I also outline some other workflow benefits to using a Macro vs manually adjusting the global output volume on VI's.

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Cheers, Marcus