Managing Noise Issues & Gain Staging on OPUS
When gain staging in the OPUS architecture, the signal level at the input is a key factor to consider - especially when mitigating the impact of noise on your audio signal. The VU meters on OPUS’ OLED display indicate both the input and output levels of the device; to ensure optimal performance, the top bar graph (input level) should peak as high as possible without clipping. For output levelling, ensure all DSP-powered processing results in the output VU metering matching (or sitting slightly under) the input VU meter.
OPUS features a global INPUT PAD located within the GLOBAL menu - this setting is set to Off by default. This setting is a global parameter and as such impacts each and every preset; furthermore, it has been engineered to reduce the input level of the source audio before reaching OPUS’ audio DSP. The INPUT PAD is a technical corrective tool and not a creative tool. Before instantiating the INPUT PAD, it is important to first set the 3-way IN LEVEL switch to match the nature of the input source:
- If you are connecting your instrument, set the switch to INST
- If you are connecting a hardware audio device that delivers line level signal set the switch to LINE
- If you are connecting an amp, set the switch to AMP.
If after setting the 3-way IN LEVEL switch - correctly in accordance with your signal requirements - OPUS displays a clipping signal , please then use the INPUT PAD to further attenuate your source signal.
When a dry/unprocessed signal passes into the OPUS, there are a number of points in the processing signal chain where levels can be raised:
- The TSM™ Preamp
- The TSM™ Poweramp
- The DynIR Engine™ Mic Levels
- The Enhancer
- The EQ
- The Preset Level
Below is our Suggested Process for Optimising Gain Staging on OPUS
- First, ensure the built-in EQ and Enhancer are both disabled
- TSM™ Pre and Power-amp Configuration
- Set the preamp gain to taste. Please note, when using mid-high gain preamp models, you will notice some noise is added to your signal - the same as if using a real-world amplifier. When seeking pristine clean tones, use the Foundry model and set your gain to 45% or lower.
- The Power amp will provide differing tonal textures depending on the tubes chosen. The volume of this component should be thought of as the master volume of your amp. When dimed, it will add the natural drive of the power tubes along with some noise, similar to the manner in which a real-world tube amp behaves when it is pushed. Depending on the choice of tubes - and if you instantiate a Pair or a Single Ended setup - you will need to set your volume accordingly.
- DynIR Engine™ & Mic Configuration
- - First, start with Mic A (mute Mic B). Not sure which microphone to use? We would suggest the studio staple ”57” variant. It provides the all-important edge you will need and is the perfect complement for the other mics included in our catalog. Think of Mic A as your foundation tone; move the mic around the cabinet until you get the fundamental component of the tone you are seeking. Once you have found this position, listen carefully for what you are missing in your tone (top-end, bottom-end, etc).
- - Then, mute Mic A and unmute Mic B. Audition mics for slot B to find the sonics you are seeking. If you are looking for bottom end and warmth, choose a ribbon mic. If you are looking for top-end and a bit of air, choose a condenser mic.
- - Then, move Mic B in the virtual studio space and position to taste.
- - Once you’re happy with the positioning, turn the level of Mic B all the way down.
- - Unmute Mic A, and gradually increase the level of Mic B until you have the perfect balance. Our top tip here is to routinely check what Mic B is adding to your tone, as such we advise muting this mic channel occasionally.
- - By using this technique, it is highly likely that you will not set the same levels for Mic A and B - Mic B will often be lower as it is not the fundamental component to your tone.
- - In terms of level management, do not boost the signal in the mic settings and avoid going past 0 dB.
- Finally, set the preset level to 0 dB; Once this initial setup is complete, you can experiment with the Enhancer and the EQ to further fine-tune the preset.
Our support team is here to assist you! For any enquiries, please head over to our "Help Desk"and submit a ticket to speak directly to one of our in-house specialists.