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Old 12-30-2023, 01:25 AM   #1
Krillo
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Default Loudness war

I'm noticing most Ninjammers levels are almost always pegging 0dB. As a drummer I'm forced to use a compressor and limiter in order to not be completely drowned out. I'd like to leave some headroom, but it's not really possible since I have no control over what levels guitarists and others use.

Ninjam has it's limitations, but users setting appropriate levels is not one of them. One could set up a test-mix in Reaper and see what levels guitar (distorted / clean), bass, drums, keys etc end up with, and aim for those when using Ninjam. If everybody is aiming for 0dB, it becomes a mess and automixed jams posted online become unlistenable, not to mention the constant ear-rape of people entering jams and bombing them to crap.

Please take a second to check your levels and keep Ninjam a good place for creativity!
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Old 12-30-2023, 01:53 PM   #2
Rock Tribe
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You are so right!

I don't understand why we can't come to a general understanding about sound balances. When I raise this issue while playing in the room or in various communication channels (telegram, discord etc), they suggest to adjust my own mix.

Adjusting our own mix doesn't solve the problem and makes it worse. I'm not going to write it here because I've repeated it so many times.

The levels in reaNINJAM indicators in at -12db, I have also read settings where around -18db is recommended, but our upper limit should be -12db. I don't know how this is set in JamTaba but it shouldn't be difficult.

There is also the "monitoring mix" issue. In reaNINJAM we can use this option to make our own playing sound a bit louder (similar setting should be available in JamTaba). In other words, just like at a gig we have to make additional adjustments to hear ourselves, if we imagine NINJAM as an online version of this, we need to make this adjustment as well. Of course we can't play without hearing ourselves, but that doesn't mean we have to send our sound to others at the same level.

It would also be very good to add a limiter clipper at the end of the whole signal chain.

When we download the track file and look at the channels, I see that many people have a red light on their channels.

If it's even -12db too high, again we need to lower it with a common understanding because if someone in the room is loud and refuses to turn it down then it's a complete chain reaction and things get mess.
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Old 12-30-2023, 09:36 PM   #3
Krillo
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Thanks for your reply, good to get a discussion going!

But I have disagree to a certain extent: -12dB will solve clipped signals, but any fixed level will have the rest of the issues.

What I am calling for is an understanding of how to set up a decent mix.
For example, I took a recent jam and set up a quick mix and these are the instruments and levels:

Drums: 0dB
Bass: -5dB
Tenor Sax: -12dB
Piano: -12dB

I normalized the tracks before setting these levels, in order to get a picture of the difference between them, in a quick OK sounding mix.

If someone uses effects that increase the perceived level, like multiband compression, this will of course affect the balance. Also, a nice mix for an audience is not the same as we want to hear during jamming. We all want "more me" in that situation.

In part I think the problem is the general attitude on the internet. Many don't care about others, and the anonymity of the web makes some think they can act poorly with no consequence. It may not be very important to them one way or the other, it's just a pastime. Some may not have the interest or skill to do it "properly".

Those of us who are more passionate of course see it differently.

Last edited by Krillo; 12-30-2023 at 10:00 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-31-2023, 07:58 AM   #4
Rock Tribe
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I thank you for raising this issue. It's really important.

All NINJAM users never ever agree on a more advanced mix like you suggest (i wish they do), since we can't even agree on just a reduction to a certain level? I'm not sure about that, but I hope so. I've been working hard for a couple of years now to try to get people who agree in this way to be more organized and jam with better sound balances.

Btw we never met at NINJAM. At least that's the result of searching for ninbot automatic recordings, and you've been using NINJAM a lot less in the last years, I hope it's not because of the loudness issue.

Now the first thing I have to ask is, have you noticed that the volume is low on ninbot radio or automatic recordings? There is a drop of about -10 db (in 2-3 person jams).

Of course this is if we pay attention to the levels in reaNINJAM. So when we set -12db for each channel, this is how it is reflected in the stream. So if we take the drum channel as 0 (its actually -12db), sax should be -24db according to the list you gave.

We also apply a multiband limiter to all sounds to convert these streams to stream on the collective youtube channel. This allows us to bring the whole mix to around 0 db.

So since there is no option like a master channel for the jam room in NINJAM, we can only make it usable by adding multiband to the channel of the streaming computer we use for broadcasting. If everyone does this on their own, it can be more confusing.

What everyone should do is to reduce the volume to the agreed level, as you suggest. I am ok with any level we can agree on

Because if for example the sound I add is too loud and I need to lower myself to -24db, no problem. I just increase the "monitoring mix" option by +12 db to be able to hear what I'm playing, I can hear myself comfortably and the sounds in the mix will sound much clearer.

I hope one day we'll have the chance to meet in jams and test all these settings. I tried to make all the settings first in jams and then by examining the automatic recordings of these jams. I open a project as presets and then I try to re-adjust all the instrument sounds I add according to the sounds in the room. I am sure that when we change all these presets again and make jams in a more organized way, the result will be much more satisfying.

We completely agree about the general problem of behavior on the Internet. We see the reflections of this in NINJAM, some friends don't even deign to answer what is written in the chat, because they don't care

But I still hope that they will realize that NINJAM means nothing without listening to each other and for that we need a healthy mix.
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Last edited by Rock Tribe; 12-31-2023 at 02:26 PM. Reason: translation correction
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Old 12-31-2023, 11:52 PM   #5
Krillo
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I think it's a good idea to keep suggestions as simple as possible. One could simplify my previous suggestion regarding levels as: The more density your signal has, the lower level you should transmit. The more dynamic it is, the louder you can transmit.

Also, I must admit that if you're a good player, levels matters a lot less, imo.

How to lower your transmit level without lowering your monitoring level:
Have your guitar on one track. Set up a pre-fader send to another track where you have reaNinjam or Jamtaba, and set that send level to about -7dB.

Happy New Year!

Last edited by Krillo; 01-01-2024 at 12:17 AM.
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