Help with volume difference in ARC3?

IK Product Manager, Lurssen Mastering Console, CSR (Classik Studio Reverb), and acoustic correction system ARC (Advanced Room Correction) System

Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby twilson74 » Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:06 pm

Hey guys,

I got ARC3 as part of my Total Studio 3 Max upgrade and today I got the MEMS mic (which shipped from IK in a plain ziploc bag with no box and missing the mic stand clip, weird. It's ok, I had a spare clip, but it was a bit odd). I did the room calibration tests and everything. It was pretty easy. It was cool seeing a graph of my room's acoustics with the corrections. This is my first experience with any room correction software and I'm stoked to start using this.

What I wasn't expecting was the massive dip in volume when I put ARC on a master stereo channel in my DAW and turned it on. I'd seen some youtube reviews where they said this would happen so I guess I was expecting some loss.

I read the online manual and the best of my understanding leads me to think the solution is to grab the trim knob and turn it all the way up-- which is all the way into the red-- if I want to match the volume of ARC3 bypassed.

So what is the absolute best and simplest way to correct for the volume change? I'm not a tech/engineering wiz so I don't know why there's an intentional drastic difference in volume in the first place... curious if anyone can tell me why it's supposed to be like that.

Also, I think I understand that ARC3 is supposed to be turned on and used through all stages of the recording process, including tracking (but bypassed when using headphones?), etc (and obviously turned off during a bounce)? So if that's the case I just want to make sure that I handle the volume discrepancy as precisely as possible.

I'm left pretty murky about how to use metering to achieve the same levels of output volume with ARC3 and with it bypassed. I mean, sure if I turn the trim knob all the way up, it sounds about 90% close enough, but it doesn't feel very precise.

I'd appreciate any help,

Cheers,

Ted
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby Peter_IK » Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:41 pm

The volume decrease is covered in the FAQ at https://www.ikmultimedia.com/faq/index.php?id=1317
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby twilson74 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:00 am

Thanks Peter!

I read the manual and somehow missed that.

So it's a 12dB cut that it's doing? Still not sure exactly how to best deal with that. Just crank the output knob on my interface? Insert 12dB of gain after ARC3 in my stereo output? Or just raise the trim into the red, which also clips the indicators on my interfacem thought I don't really hear it clipping.

Upon messing with it some more I think I'm just supposed to turn up my interface output but leave the settings mostly the same within ARC3-- that way it sounds mostly the same volume when I bypass by using turning the orange "correction" button on and off.

My old mixes sound so much different using this. I can see which ones were good and which were bad-- and which ones I mixed on headphones (usually the better ones). I think it'll be a big help going forward.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby Billy86 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:55 am

Hi. New to the ARC world and learning about it. Did you ever get this figured out, or get it resolved via IKM? I read the posted link that explains the 12db swing. What’s the best practice for gain matching the pre and post ARC levels? That’s a pretty healthy potential swing.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby twilson74 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:06 pm

I wasn't really sure how to wrap my head around the concept of this difference in volume in a measured way that would be like gain matching-- in the meantime I just started turning up the output knob on my interface to get my monitors to the volume that sounded best to my ears for mixing.

Once you have turned up your monitor output level on your interface to compensate--whatever level sounds good to you, you can go into ARC3 itself and toward the bottom you will see a button that says "Correction" and you turn it on to enable ARC3. When you turn this button off, you hear it without the correction applied but the volume levels seem to be matched. This is where you will really hear the benefits of ARC in an A/B comparison.

I'm still a bit on the casual side when it comes to "earballing" something rather than being overly mathematical with the metering in all situations-- so maybe my answer is helpful, maybe it's not; in my case, to restate what I found best-- just turn up the interface output to taste and treat the "Correction" button within ARC3 as a gain-matched on/bypass toggle.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby Billy86 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:36 am

Interesting. I guess my concern would be that cranking the monitors via the interface to bring the ARCized sound up to level, and turning it off or removing it from the mix bus for whatever reason would result in the monitor level being crazy hot. But you say doing that sort of thing with the ARC on/off button is pretty gain matched?
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby twilson74 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:27 pm

Yeah, you gotta be careful not to bypass ARC while your interface output is cranked or the sound from the monitors will be very loud. After I'm done mixing and ready to bounce, I'll lower the volume on the master faders and bypass ARC and then bring up the master faders to where I want them. Maybe there's a better way to do it and if there is, I'm all ears. :)

I'm not 100% certain, but it does seem to me that within ARC itself, the Correction button sounds like it is gain matched when off and on.

I wish I could give more specific answers regarding best practices, as you said; this is just what I've been doing based on my interpretation of the info I've been able to find.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby Billy86 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:44 pm

"I'm not 100% certain, but it does seem to me that within ARC itself, the Correction button sounds like it is gain matched when off and on."

Yes. I worked with this, and it does seem to be pretty gain-matched, so my non-ARC monitor level seems fairly in line with my ARCed monitor level. Thanks for the replies.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby ben.jennison » Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:39 am

Heres what I do, (I use Logic but any DAW can do this)
1. Output all tracks to a Bus, use this Aux Bus and its metering as your final mastering and mixing output channel.
2. Insert ARC3 and only ARC3 on your stereo output and disregard the metering. Never bypass ARC3, use the Correction button on/off.
3. Turn "Correction" off to bounce.
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Re: Help with volume difference in ARC3?

Postby audio4entertainment » Thu Dec 30, 2021 11:13 am

First off, I only have ARC active while mixing.

Then, I use it on my listen bus only, NOT on the master. That way, only my studio monitors get the corrected signal, but mastering and bouncing remains unaffected.
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