How do I Increase DAW Input Level for Dante Connected MacBook

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of KeithJ A&H KeithJ A&H 3 years, 9 months ago.

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    Profile photo of arretx

    Okay, new SQ user here. Goal: Increase input level in Ableton Live over Dante network through Dante Virtual Sound Card.

    As a test case:

    • I have Spotify playing on my MacBook at about 80%.
    • Dante Controller sees the Dante Virtual sound card and I have patched output 1/2 to channels 1 & 2 on the SQ, which are both set to -24dB.
    • I’ve also patched the output back to the MacBook, and Ableton Live picks it up. Ableton Live’s inputs are at 0dB (default).

    Side Note: I think the volume levels of the powered speakers is the source of the problem.

    In order to get a level that bumps the meters in Ableton Live to a reasonable range, like -10 to -6 or something like that, I have to bring up the gain on the SQ for each channel. In doing so, naturally, the mains get louder and louder.

    If I bring the gain up for the IO port (1 & 2) on the SQ, my meters on the SQ nail the 0 mark…which seems about right-ish (again, not an expert.) Maybe I could shoot for a bit less.

    At zero on the SQ, my peak level in Ableton hits about -15dB. As I understand, in my DAW, -18db is basically the same as 0dB on the console, correct? So, if I can get my meters to bounce around the zero mark on the mixer, and the -18dB mark in Ableton, I must be on the right track…

    …which would mean that if I can get there, but the dB coming out of the house is way too hot for my brain, then the problem lies between the console and the ears (i.e., DSP or amplifiers). We have active speakers and a separate DSP.

    Am I catching on or do I need to be slapped?

    Order of operations:

    – Reduce active mains to zero.
    – Set gain on digital input source (i.e. Spotify or YouTube player to about 70-80%)
    – Increase gain on SQ input to about -10 to 0dB
    – Set Console LR Main output to 0dB
    – Bring input channel fader up to 0dB
    – **NOW*** bring up house speakers on each speaker until the desired dB level is measured in the room.

    Profile photo of volounteer


    what is the real problem? is it seeing the meters or hearing the sound.

    if the sound level and quality is good what do you care about the meter level?

    do remember that there are a lot of dBs and dBFS does not relate do dBSPL or dBu dBV etc.

    that said our LR dBFS level is way below zero, our channel faders are at zero, and the room is plenty loud.
    the difference is the power amp settings which we leave at 0dB fader on the AH and never change.

    sounds like you need to lower spotify or lower the output not try to set everything at a given number.

    Profile photo of arretx

    The issue is that the sound level in the DAW is too low. Raising them boosts the signal too much, so I believe it’s the output on the speakers that’s the source of the imbalance.

    My head is happy when the little green bars are bouncing around where they should be -and- what I hear sounds right.

    Profile photo of volounteer


    what do you mean the sound level in the DAW is too low?
    what do you mean boosts the signal too much. is it clipping? if not then it is not too much.

    you mean the signal you see or do you mean the sound from your speakers?
    turn the knob on the amp to the right to make the speakers louder.
    if you mean the pc output is too low to the speakers then adjust the internal settings from the control panel.

    you wont always get green bars bouncing where you want to see them and the speakers sounding good at the same time.

    Profile photo of arretx

    Never mind.

    Profile photo of SteffenR

    Side Note: I think the volume levels of the powered speakers is the source of the problem.

    then fix it…

    proper gain staging is not that easy, but done well avoids a lot of hassle in other areas
    leave some headroom wherever possible
    but make sure not to add extra excessive headroom at every routing or processing stage

    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H

    Hi @arretx,

    Just to say, you are correct about the difference between the SQ metering and DAW metering – 0dB on SQ meters = approx -18dBFS in DAW = +4dBu on line outputs

    There are many gain stages to think about, but we would recommend running through the console at around 0dB and then
    a) Boost in the DAW after-the-fact if required – Increasing level beforehand is at the cost of lower digital headroom and no difference to noise floor (which would follow any gain change exactly), so you’d not be making improvements in the same way as if optimising an analogue path. If you do want to increase digital level however, this would be by using the direct output trim (up to +10dB), using a matrix to simply add level with the fader, or by using the compressor make-up gain (if you don’t want to compress, just set 1:1 and boost).
    b) Attenuate at the speaker processor, amplifier or active speaker – This means you are making the most of the mixer, sending a good signal on line outputs, and adjusting the overall level for the room/venue/situation.


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