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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » NM Classic (NM1 or G1)
Newbie question
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The Lurker



Joined: Sep 17, 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject: Newbie question Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello all. I'm very new to the nord modular (I'm using the rack edition with the latest software) and have found the sound output to be about 25% less than that of my ordinary analog synths: Juno 106, Alpha Juno 1, and MAM ADX. This is still the case even when I have the knob on the modular all the way up, and the internal modules up as well. Is this synth just naturally quiet? Thanks for any advice.
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davep



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm. Nope, it seems to be about the same as all of my other synths. But of course it depends on the patch, so maybe you happen to be using some patches that have lower output levels, maybe because of velocity control or something?

Try this: create a patch that is nothing more than a sawtooth osc connected directly to both outputs of a two channel output module. Than should produce a fairly sturdy signal, and it will rule out any issues like velocity control that could be lowering the signal level of certain patches. If this kind of patch doesn't produce a signal that is about as loud as any other synth (when playing only one note on the other synth) there could be something wrong.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmmmm, I agree with the Lurker; the outputs of the NM are kinda soft in my opinion too. Especially the headhone one doesn't nearly go loud enough to be usefull in a stage situation.
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gomidas



Joined: Jul 09, 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The HEADPHONES output of the NM routes audio signals that are assigned to mix buses 1 and 2 with the same level as out 1 and 2.
Some patch are quiet, but some can sound VERY LOUD (watch your ears Wink...
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The Lurker



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: re: davep's suggestion Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey there, I tried the experiment you suggested and came up with the following results:
Standard Juno 106 patch being held comes in at -8db.
Straight saw wave of Nord Modular registers -18db on my soundcard's inputs.
I tried other comparisons as well, and the Nord seems on average 10db quieter.
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The Lurker



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think the modular is just a naturually quiet instrument. I've got another virtual analog synth from the era, and it seems to be softer as well but I always thought that it was just broken. Here is what the Clavia tech support wrote:

"Hello, i have never compared the modular that way but if you have no other problems with it it is highly unlikely that it would be something malfunctioning inside it to make just this behavior, in this case i would say compared to your other machines it has a lower output, use a little gain on your mixing desk and keep on playing, thanks"


I suppose it never occured to me to use gain boost for an instrument beccause the various analogs were so loud. You learn something new everyday ; )
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

gomidas wrote:
The HEADPHONES output of the NM routes audio signals that are assigned to mix buses 1 and 2 with the same level as out 1 and 2.
Some patch are quiet, but some can sound VERY LOUD (watch your ears Wink...


Yes, I've been aware of the headphones mirroring output 1&2 for a while now and I also noticed patches can vary in volume, this isn't the problem though. The problem is that the headphone outputs don't go loud enough to be very usefull in stage situations and the problem is that the main outs can't output a hot enough signal to properly drive some of my outboard gear, particularly D&R material.

Mixing desks can fix the main out problem but in stage situations when something is malfunctioning it's often usefull to verify the Nord is behaving properly *before* any other gear such as mixers enter the equation. This is NOT a matter of some patches having some sort of behaviour since I try to make the max sound volume of patches as close as possible to the max value of the samples; this is a matter of the max value the dac can output not corresponding to sufficient voltage. It is also NOT a matter of my headphones since my trust MDRV-700's are speciffically optimised for outputting insanely hot volumes which they indeed do with other headhpone pre-amps, but not with the NM.

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gomidas



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: re: davep's suggestion Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Lurker wrote:
Straight saw wave of Nord Modular registers -18db on my soundcard's inputs.
I tried other comparisons as well, and the Nord seems on average 10db quieter.


I think that it is because of the open architecture of the Nord Modular you feel it is lower, but if you look page 215 of the manual you can see that :
" The headroom of the audio signals in Nord Modular is -12 dB for every sound generating module. Examples
of sound generating modules are oscillators and LFOs. The headroom in the mix buses of the output
modules are -6dB. If you mix more than four sound generating modules in a voice, at high or unattenuated
levels, distortion may occur. This can easily be dealt with by attenuating the level of each
sound generating module.
In the figure below is shown the headroom for two oscillators (per voice) connected to a mixer and an
output module. As an option, all voices can be routed to the Common Voice Area instead of to a physical
output. To be able to output the signal from the Common Voice Area to a physical output, another output
module must be used as last module. The headroom in the mix buses of the output modules are -
6dB. To compensate the attenuation of the extra output module, there is a +6dB button on the PolyAreaIn
module. Activating the +6dB amplification can be useful if you use only a few voices. When using
more voices you may have to deactivate the amplification to avoid distortion. "

As you can notice there is an attenuation in the output module of -6dB, use the polyareaIN +6dB amplification to get some boost.
In fact you are right the synth is maybe low but you still can get some hell out of it.


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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah, ok, yes, that's a system architecture issue that's easily fixed (and not realy a problem either). Indeed, you can't realy base anything on the relative volume of internal modules compared to line level at the output because those modules can be amped up and realy, there's nothing that says your sound even needs to be based on normal "sound generation modules". This is a completely different issue from my problem with the headphone output.

I think it's nice that it's so well documented how headroom interacts with voices and any problems that may occur there due to pieces that use monphonic, slow passages alternated with large chords are easily fixed with some well-planned use of a compressor module.

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