Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

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Posts: 47
Joined: April 25, 2016 - 12:19
Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

As you can see in this image, both Windows' and VMS' mixers show low volume, but for some reason what I can hear, as shown in the horizontal mixer insert from Audacity, the volume is quite loud, and easily peaks and becomes overloaded.

I've tried several soundfonts, the same result. My soundcard has a smart volume normalization option but I've checked this and it's disabled, and turning it on you can still hear a difference, so it's not that. It happened with VMS 1.17.0 so i tried 2.0.0 beta 6 and it still happens. Any ideas?

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 3 GHz quad core

8 Gb RAM

Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe soundcard

Windows 7 64 bit

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http://kiwi6.com/artists/GEN_MIDI

Posts: 47
Joined: April 25, 2016 - 12:19
Re: Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

Nevermind. No fault with Virtual Midi Synth, but I think I found out something about how Windows (7 64 bit) handles audio. Bare with me...

I restored my system to a point when the midi player/Winamp audio sounded ok, and noticed in Windows mixer Winamp's audio was well low (about 25%). I'd noticed it beforehand, whacked it up full volume, and that's why the midi (and wave) now sounded louder in Winamp. But using Audacity I could monitor the sound/wave/'what you hear' playing on my computer, and it was clipping far to easily, far too loud. So I got a sine wave wav sample, loaded it into another audio program, and normalized the volume, played it back and it was a constant peak at -0.2. I then lowered my master output/default device's volume in Windows mixer to 50%. I then played back the sine sample, and in Audacity it was showing no clipping and appeared just below 0. So I can now continue to mix, trusting volume and meters.

Conclusion: anything above 50% in Windows and it's adding gain, boosting natural volume.

Does that sound right?

http://kiwi6.com/artists/GEN_MIDI

Posts: 1536
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

AFAIK Audacity samples its audio input before it got its way to the device output; it's like that to allow the user to play->sample independently to the Master volume set on Windows Mixer.
I used it some time ago to convert some MIDI to MP3 with VMS1 (VMS2 has an integrated MIDI->MP3 converter).
On the other side, VMS MIDI Mixer Master volume acts directly on MIDI synthesis, so it should affect Audacity input too.

By the way, Windows7 (and newer) audio layer is getting worst and worst.
The most annoying thing I found is the level clipping (compression) audible when you play something near its max level, like a drum track...

Posts: 47
Joined: April 25, 2016 - 12:19
Re: Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

I think I found the problem.

There are so many separate sound settings, all it took was to turn down the mic/record input in Audacity (or your soundcard). The sound then played correctly, as displayed by VirtualMIDISynth's meter.

I've since tried the MIDI converter with the beta, and it works really well. Thanks for the great software!

http://kiwi6.com/artists/GEN_MIDI

Posts: 1536
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: Loud MIDI despite low Mixer levels

Good, that makes sense ;)

Thanks for reporting it.