Twitch sound output comparisons
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  1. #1
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    Default Twitch sound output comparisons

    I was going to add this as another post in my original ITCH thread but I decided that this was important enough to have its own thread for attention.

    This is largely a repost of my thread on the serato forums but since it is much more likely that twitch owners here also own traktor I would love it if other twitch owners are able to do some testing to confirm my results.

    Anwyays, I found that the sound output levels in ITCH are a lot lower than in other programs.

    Compared to itunes and traktor, itch is much quieter at the same master/booth knob settings.

    I was astounded at the difference. Even with traktor's autogain on (reducing the gain on my test track), it was louder than ITCH with autogain off.

    Please, would be great for other twitch owners to test this and confirm whether they are experience the same. This would explain the low sound output levels, it appears to not be a fault of novation but serato's

    I am running MBP, 10.6.8, so using coreaudio drivers.
    Last edited by Kaek; 03-18-2012 at 05:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Itch is probably more correct. Traktor's gain staging is incredibly messed up and tends towards clipping/distortion…or it would if NI weren't hiding some code in the background that tries to preserve the sound without explaining what it's doing.

    At any rate, it doesn't matter. That's why DJ mixers have gain knobs and why clubs that care about sound hire FOH engineers…since apparently DJs can't be trusted to figure out what a volume knob does.

  3. #3
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    I don't have a Twitch but Ive had a few Itch controllers - VCI-300, NS7, and now a DDJ-S1. The "strongest" sounding was the NS7. This is a great post and observation as I've always been curious about Itch and it's limiter settings. I can crank SSL thru a DJM-800 MUCH louder without any clipping, but when I crank up Itch it starts to hit the limiter at a MUCH lower volume. Seems like I can never get it as loud.

    Having said that, I took the DDJ-S1 to a lounge this Saturday and I adjusted the volume and gain on the house mixer and it was plenty loud and kicked ass.
    SSL - DJM 800 - Technic 1200's - X1 - ITCH - NS6 - VCI-300

  4. #4
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    As you should have.

    There's some kind of setting that you're missing. Or maybe it actually is a difference between them. I don't know…I haven't seen their code. But it doesn't matter. Digital zero is digital zero…how loud it is depends on what happens after the DAC.

    I thought about it some more, and I'm actually thinking that the issue is one of compression. iTunes has a setting to even further compress audio. I think it's called "sound enhancer." It's basically a broadcast-esque limiter that squashes what little dynamic range is left in audio to make it sound more like the radio than just the normal loudness war. Traktor might do something similar depending on how you have it set. Considering that none of its gain staging makes sense to me, I'm not quite sure how it's limiter actually works…except that I didn't like the way it sounded compared to basically every other playback medium I used……so I ran at like -20 to avoid it entirely and turned up the next gain stage.

    So it's possible that iTunes and Traktor are just playing more compressed versions of your stuff…which would just sound louder to most people.

    I'm not sure how SSL works in that regard because I just haven't really looked into it as much, but I'd bet it has a limiter function of some kind. Unfortunately, it's internal meters are almost as useless as Traktor's and I just haven't put that much effort into figuring out what the hell it's doing.

    So…basically, it's the same as every other digital audio system. Whatever you do, don't clip. And if it's not at the right volume, the gain staging after your DAC is wrong.

  5. #5
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    I don't use any fancy settings in iTunes and for traktor I always disable limiter and headroom settings. I only use autogain.

    However for this test I disabled autogain.

    I repeated this for itch. Set headroom to 0db. Disabled autogain.

    I actually in the end tried a huge number of combinations and I found the twitch to have a much louder volume in all cases using traktor, iTunes, safari web browser, QuickTime player. I even tried running foobar2000 under wine.

    There is something weird going on with itch's sound output.

  6. #6
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    I am saying that for everyday use of twitch as a computer soundcard I am getting great volume output.

    When I run itch it is low and sucks.

    This is digital right? Are you saying that os x itself playing system sounds and YouTube clips is compressing the audio to make it louder?

    All my testing points to itch being the culprit of low sound output.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    No, I'm not saying OS X does anything.

    Quiet doesn't mean shit in this context. If you set up your speakers so that a sine wave actually peaking at digital zero would cause permanent hearing damage in seconds, you could still reproduce the sound of a fly in the room without changing a single setting.

    If it's too quiet, stop complaining and just turn the next gain stage up. You're not amplifying any noise that matters. At one point, I ran Traktor at -48dB to prove a point to a friend. No one noticed except me, and the problem was that there was a Behringer Xenyx in the signal chain because I didn't bring my Xone that day.

  8. #8
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    You appear to think that my issue with the low output is simply the low output itself.

    The real issue I am trying to address is the blatant lying serato as a company has done about this issue.

    It appears to me that their audio code does not work to what people expect when using such equipment.

    I can turn up the volume in the next gain stage, I understand that concept. I also understand that if this was a hardware problem on novations side, (ie a design oversight) then nothing could have been done after the product was released to fix this issue.

    However what I wanted to find out was whether this issue was a software problem in reality. If so then this issue can be resolved in software, and the fault placed with the correct party who is liable for the problem. (The famed Serato "free updates").

    If you can contribute objective reference data about this I would appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Everyone who can is under an NDA. I'm done with this. I've told you how to get around it more than once, which you supposedly knew. Now, you're complaining about something that doesn't matter, something that SSL has probably done to help you not clip everything, unlike NI, which seems to do everything in its power to make signals distort. If you don't like it, stop using it.
    Last edited by mostapha; 03-22-2012 at 04:31 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    since apparently DJs can't be trusted to figure out what a volume knob does.
    lol no they cannot...

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